Daily News

Since the start of the February billing cycles, customers of the Dominion Energy subsidiary SCE&G are enjoying a 15% drop in their expenses for electricity. Dominion had to commit to lower energy bills to get approval from South Carolina’s state regulators for the $7.9 billion SCANA takeover.

The Italian utility A2A Group has contracted GE to deploy hardware and software solutions at its Chivasso, Sermide, Cassano and Monfalcone power plants with a combined capacity of 3,420 MW. A Predix upgrade at the 1,179-MW Chivasso plant allows the operator to start up the facility in a range from 90 to 120 minutes in every condition.

State-owned utility Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) has signed two non-binding LNG supply deals, seeking to start shipments from 2023. The imported fuel is designated for Taipower’s combined-cycle gas power project at Taichung, where unit 1 of 2 is scheduled to start up in early 2024.

Electricity consumption in the United States will continue to grow but at a slower pace than in recent years, the EIA forecasts, as global trade tension have an adverse effect on economic growth and reduce electricity demand from the manufacturing sector. Though net U.S. electricity output rose 4% last year to a record high of 4,178 million MWh, the EIA attributes this to a one-off weather related effect.

Caterpillar Energy Solutions’ new Cat G3512 generator series set is now EPA-certified for use at 1 g/bhp-hr NOx emissions.  Rated for standby or continuous power at 750 ekW, or 1000 ekW at 60 Hz, the new genset series conforms to ISO 8528-5 G3 load acceptance criteria, improving transient and steady state performance.

The American family-owned independent power producer NOVI Energy has selected two GE’s 7HA.02 gas turbines to drive its Charles City combined-cycle power plant. The 1,100-MW project is planned for construction in Charles City County, Virginia. 

Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has agreed with NFEnergía, the local New Fortress Energy affiliate, to supply LNG and convert Units 5&6 of the San Juan power plant. The diesel-to-gas conversion of these two combined-cycle power units is expected to generate about $750 million in fuel cost savings.

Edison has signed a 300 million Euros contract with Ansaldo Energia to create a new H-class GT36 gas turbine for use in combined-cycle mode at the Marghera Levante power station, striving to turn it into the most efficient plant in Europe. The new turbine will have a total capacity of 780 MW and an energy performance of 63%.

Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors has selected GE’s HA gas turbine technology for its Long Ridge Energy Generation project in Hannibal, Ohio. Kiewit Power Constructors will break ground on the project immediately, as the 458-MW plant is due for completion by November 2021.

Alarmed by an air pollution crisis in Seoul and other key cities, the South Korean government is proposing measures to help utilities to convert their power plants from coal to natural gas in order to reduce worsening levels of toxic fine dust and mercury emissions in Seoul and other northern cities.

South Korean conglomerate Hynix has announced plans to invest over 1.68 trillion won ($1.49 billion) to build LNG-fuelled power stations adjacent to its semiconductor plants in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, and Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province. The two plants are scheduled to start up by 2022.

Norway’s state energy group Statkraft says its new 1GW virtual power plant (VPP) in Britain will help bridge the intermittency challenge and aims to double capacity by the summer. Connecting gas engine-driven power units, energy storage and renewables, the VPP can react to market demand within seconds.

The Swiss equipment manufacturer ABB has expanded its portfolio of source-to-socket electrification following its $2.6 billion acquisition of GE Industrial Solutions. ABB said the takeover helps boost its competitiveness in the North American market and strengthens its position in electrification.

U.S. Democrats have voiced concern that Andrew Wheeler, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will undermine the Obama-era Clean Power Plan by rolling back regulation on power plant emissions. President Trump-nominee Wheeler was instated at the top of the EPA after winning a vote in the Senate by 52-47.

Striving to achieve universal electricity access, utilities invested $500 million globally in off-grid energy access last year. Though investments in energy access grew another 22% in 2018, after surging 37% the year before, Wood Mackenzie says “total volumes still fall well short of the estimated financing needed to reach universal electricity access globally by 2030.”

News in Brief

ABB microgrid makes Indian villages energy self-reliant

May 17 – ABB’s MGS100 microgrid is helping some 39,000 homes and shops in remote regions in India to become energy independent, relying solely on renewable power sources and energy storage. Together with Husk Power Systems, ABB developed the MGS100 microgrid using wind and solar power to reduce household energy costs by up to 40% and improve productivity in 85% of factories and small businesses.

J-ENG develops new biofuel engine

May 16 – Japan Engine Corp. (J-ENG) has started to cooperate with Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line) to research and development a test engine running on biofuel. The new engine is designed for use in the maritime sector and is likely to be re-calibrated at a later stage for use in small-scale power generation applications.

‘Smarter E-Europe’ conference opens doors in Munich

May 15 – Today, the 2019 “Smarter E-Europe” conference and trade show is opening its doors to visitors in Munich. At the exhibition, Siemens is presenting decentralized energy solutions based on renewables and intelligent energy management systems for buildings, infrastructure and industry. Expert presentations on transforming the energy system, renewable integration and storage technologies can be seen at Siemens’ exhibit at Booth 110 in Hall B2.

Marubeni buys stake in U.S. distributed energy firm

May 14 – Japan's Marubeni Corp. has invested an undisclosed sum to buy an equity stake in GridMarket, a U.S.-based provider of development services to distributed energy resources (DER). Using proprietary analytics and machine learning, GridMarket’s distributed energy project platform helps utilities by recommending best-fit solutions like battery storage, solar PV, fuel cells and combined heat and power. By cooperating with GridMarket, Marubeni expects to identify cost-effective projects and source best-fit technologies for its own DER network in North America and Japan.

Global RES additions stall after 20-year growth

May 13 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) has reported an “unexpected flattening of growth trends” in the deployment of renewable energy sources (RES) deployment that raises concerns about meeting long-term climate goals. After two decades of strong annual growth, renewable energy developers around the world added as much net capacity in 2018 as they did in 2017.

RWE cancels €1.5bn coal power project

May 10 – The German utility RWE has decided to no longer invest in any coal-fired power projects and has cancelled a planned €1.5 billion ($1.68bn) lignite-fired power plant in Niederaussem, Germany. Instead, the utility is accelerating its transformation to renewables, energy storage and gas-fired generation through an asset swap with Europe’s largest utility, E.ON.

China’s CPECC to process gas from Iraq’s Halfaya oilfield

May 9 – Iraq and China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corporation (CPECC) have signed a $1.07 billion deal to build and operate facilities to process natural gas extracted alongside crude oil at Iraq’s giant Halfaya oilfield. CPECC, an affiliate of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), will process around 300 million standard cubic feet per day (mcf/d) of natural gas extracted from the field alongside crude oil, the oil ministry said.  Halfaya, operated by PetroChina, is Maysan Oil Company’s largest oilfield, producing 370,000 barrels per day (bpd) of the company’s total output of around 510,000 bpd.
Iraq continues to flare some of  gas extracted alongside crude oil but the Iraqi oil minister Thamer Ghadhban told Reuters Iraq is in talks with international oil companies to build a 300 mcf plant to process gas from the West Qurna 2 and Majnoon oilfields.

Chiyoda to get large cash injection

May 8 - Following losses of nearly $1 bill on an liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant project in Louisiana, Japanese construction company Chiyoda is to get a $1.4 bill cash injection. The company suffered a $953 mill loss in the six months to 30th September, 2018 after costs spiralled on the $10 bill Hackberry LNG plant in Louisiana, largely, due to escalating labour costs, it was claimed. Chiyoda was expected to record a net loss of about $1.4 bill for the fiscal year to March. Mitsubishi Corp, which owns a 33.4% stake in Chiyoda, and the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, have agreed to provide capital while the company implements a rescue strategy, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

Siemens, TÜV SÜD partner on digital energy security

May 7 – Siemens and the German technical verification association TÜV SÜD have come together to address the growing risk of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, notably in the energy sector. The companies will digitally asses industrial control systems in both the oil and gas and power generation sectors (nuclear applications excluded). All tests will be vendor-agnostic.

UK ‘can cut emissions to net-zero’ by 2025

May 6 – Advisors to the British government have urged the Cabinet to “set and vigorously pursue” a new target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to ‘net-zero’ levels by 2050, replacing the current target of an 80% reduction against 1990 levels. The the Committee on Climate Change, which published the report, believes the new target could be achieved within the same cost-framework as the current more lenient goals.

Iraq’s gas imports from Iran bound to rise in June

May 2 – Iraq has no alternative to importing more Iranian gas to meet peak summer demand, the country’s electricity ministry said. He specified that halting imports would cost Iraq’s power grid 4,000 MW per day. Some 14 GW of Iraq’s installed capacity is run on domestic gas, and supplies from Iran keep an additional 4GW operational. “Until now, we have no alternatives to Iranian gas,” a spokesman of the energy ministry said, adding imports from Iran are expected to increase in June from currently 28 million cubic metres per day to 35 MMcm/d.

Waukesha gas engines delivered to CHP in East Germany

May 1 – INNIO’s authorized partner, S&L Energie-Projekte, has provided four packages of INNIO’s Waukesha VHP 9394GSI gas engines for a CHP, operated by the municipal utility of Lutherstadt Wittenberg in eastern Germany. The modernized district heating plant is claimed to achieve an overall efficiency above 95%.

Burns & McDonnell oversee commissioning of fast-ramp plants in Michigan

April 30 – Two quick-ramp gas power plant projects in Michigan, overseen by Burns & McDonnell, are now commissioned and in full commercial operation. Both the F.D. Kuester and A.J. Mihm generating stations are powered by 18-MW, gas-fueled Wärtsilä 18V50SG reciprocating engines. The two plants have a combined 180 MW in generating capacity.

Gazprom advances start of ‘Power of Siberia’ link

April 29 – Russia’s Gazprom is preparing to start injecting natural gas into the ‘Power of Siberia’ pipeline to China in Q3-2019. Preparations are “going according to schedule”, Gazprom chairman Alexey Miller told CNPC chairman Wang Yilin at a working meeting in Beijing.

Siemens to focus on energy transition at OTC 2019

April 26 – “Navigating the new normal” in the oil and gas industry - against the backdrop of the global energy transition - is in focus of Siemens’ exhibit at the 50th annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC). The event will be held in Houston, Texas, on May 6-9.

Norway’s sovereign fund invests $14bn in renewables

April 25 – The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) has been given permission to invest up to $14 billion in unlisted renewables. Norway’s finance minister, Siv Jensen, said the new approach was based on financial rather than environmental considerations. Moreover, Norway’s GPFG decided to tighten its coal criteria, which will lead to the divestment of large mines and coal-exposed power companies.

Smart grid market to top $70bn by 2027

April 24 – The global Smart Grid Market is expected to reach around $70 billion, growing at an annual rate of 15.56% in the coming years through to 2027.North America is forecast to see the largest revenue growth, according to ResearchNester, while Europe also shows promising growth in smart grids due to high awareness for decentralized power generation, battery storage and conserving energy.