Daily News

Substations in the digital age are increasingly known as “the heart of the power supply system,” connecting parts of the grid that operate at different voltage levels. Siemens’ vision is a largely decarbonized energy system in a “near-to-all electric world”. The technology is already there, but utilities and grid operators still need to fully embrace it.

General Electric has signed a multiyear service agreement with GEL Utility to support the power generation unit at Nigerian National Petroleum Corps’s refinery in Port Harcourt. The aim is to achieve uninterrupted power supply at Nigeria’s largest refinery, which currently produces up to 210,000 barrels per day (bbl/d).

Rebounding oil prices are putting energy pricing reforms under pressure in some countries, with fuel subsidies creeping higher again after having fallen from a high in 2012 of more than a half trillion dollar. New IEA data for 2017 show a 12% increase in the estimated value of fuel subsidies, to more than $300 billion.

Natural gas production in the United States is hitting new records after output increased to an average 86.9 Bcf/d in October, and continues to rise. In its Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said 2018 production will average 83.2 Bcf/d, and is seen to top 89.6 Bcf/d in 2019. This supply glut is likely to push down prices at Henry Hub.

Coal exports from New South Wales, Australia, are seen entering a phase of “terminal long-term decline” as key buyers are turning away. Exports of thermal coal out of the Port of Newcastle peaked three years ago and analysts now observe a steady decline as Asian markets transition towards cheaper more sustainable renewables.

Northern Indiana Public Service Co. (NIPSCO) has alerted state regulators about plans to retire four coal-fired power units by 2023, and another one by 2028. The utility’s latest Integrated Resource Plan details NIPSCO’s efforts to produce 65% of its electricity from renewables and at least 25% of its output from natural gas.

Advent International, a Boston-based private equity group, has acquired GE’s Distributed Power business and is now a stand-alone energy company, rebranded as INNIO. The transaction includes the Jenbacher and Waukesha product lines, with main operating sites in Austria, Canada and the U.S.

Germany utility RWE has decided to freeze the development of Tilbury Energy Centre in the UK, which included proposals for a 2.5 GW combined-cycle gas power plant and energy storage. The project is no longer economically viable, RWE said, considering current market conditions and costs.

The Italian turbine manufacturer Ansaldo Energia has signed a contract worth about €60 million, stipulating the supply of its first H-class GT36 gas turbine to the Minhang combined-cycle gas power plant (CCGT) in China. The 800-MW is being built in Minhang District, a suburban area of Shanghai.

Fuel security has been politicized in the U.S. and PJM Interconnection has just passed a stress test, imposed by the U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry on all transmission system operators. Selecting 14-day period of winter weather, PJM analyzed the system under more than 300 different scenarios that might occur from 2023 onwards. “We could handle it, but need to focus on fuel supply and demand response,” said PJM President, Andrew L. Ott.

A consortium led by ACWA Power, the Saudi power plant developer and investor, has signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with for a 2,300-MW project to be built in Luxor, southern Egypt, at an estimated cost of $2.3 billion. Phase-1 of the project will start up in summer 2022, and the entire plant is due to be operational in summer 2023.

Duke Energy has stepped up efforts to finalize and commission the second 820-MW unit of its 1,640 MW Citrus County Power Plant by the end of December. In April, the utility first announced plans to have the entire new CCGT fully operational by the end of 2018.

New York Public Service Commission (NY PSC) has approved a petition by Consolidated Edison Company (Con Edison) for a $5 million, three-year gas demand response pilot program, one of the first schemes of its kind. Industries and large commercial customers will get financial incentives to reduce gas consumption at times of peak demand.

Siemens has successfully concluded the first phase of its Subsea Power Grid shallow water test in Trondheim, Norway. Working together with Chevron, Equinor, ExxonMobil, and Eni Norge, Siemens is in the final stages of developing a barrier-breaking system to distribute medium-voltage power, using pressure compensated technology.

Strong winds and plentiful sunshine has pushed up the renewables share in Germany to 43% in January, April and May – and with an average amount of wind in Q4-2018, renewables could cover 38% over the entire year. “Clearly, renewables are in the fast lane, while the contribution of conventional energy sources to cover gross power consumption is falling continuously,” said BDEW head Stefan Kapferer.

News in Brief

PG&E nears bankruptcy

Jan 18 – Northern California’s utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has informed federal regulators that it expects to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by January. The San Francisco-based utility is under investigation for its shortcomings in the deadly 2018 wildfires. S&P this week downgraded PG&E’s gas and electric unit to ‘D’ to ‘CC’ after the utility failed to make a $21.6 million interest payment

Hitachi suspends work on Wales nuclear project

Jan 17 – Japan’s Hitachi is close to suspending construction works at its Horizon division’s Wylfa nuclear power plant in Wales. If the project gets shelved, EDF Energy's Hinkely Point-C will be the only nuclear project remaining hence flexible gas power will have to fill the capacity gap.

PG&E files for bankruptcy by Jan 29

Jan 16 – Northern California’s utility Pacific Gas & Electric has informed federal regulators that it expects to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by end of this month. The San Francisco-based utility is under investigation for its shortcomings in the deadly 2018 wildfires.

Gas engine market to top $4.4bn by 2020

Jan 15 – Global demand for natural gas engines is forecast to expand with the market set to exceed $4.4 billion in value by 2022, according to Zion Market Research. Key manufacturers include, GE, Rolls-Royce, Cummins, Caterpillar, Wärtsilä, Kawasaki, MAN, Deutz, Doosan and Yanmar.

Encana selects Siemens rotating equipment

Jan 14 – Siemens has been selected to provide one feed and sales gas train and one refrigeration compression train for Encana’s Pipestone Processing Facility in Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada. The new unit, due to operational in 2021, will provide Encana with 19,000 barrels per day of net raw condensate processing capacity plus 170 million cubic feet per day of net inlet gas processing capacity.

Cheap U.S. LNG underpins power project in Panama

Jan 11 – AES Colón expects the entry of low-cost US LNG will transform the Central American energy sector, much as it has in the Panama. The utility in September started up an $1.15 billion LNG import terminal and adjacent combined-cycle power plant.

Rolls-Royce joins forces with OT industries

Jan 10 – Britain’s bellwether manufacturer Rolls-Royce has signed an accord with OT Industries to explore areas of joint work for the provision of Emergency Diesel Generators (EDGs) and Instrumentation and Control (I&C) systems for new units at the Paks nuclear power plant in Hungary. OT industries is majority owned by the MOL Group.

State-run utilities dominate energy spending

Jan 9 – Future investments in global energy supply largely rest in the hands of governments. In the power sector, a striking 95% of monies are spent by regulated utilities under schemes to minimize risk associated with variable prices on competitive markets. However, once China will have completed its power sector reform the share of countries that rely on competitive markets will rise from 54% to almost 80%.

Floating power market to top $1.4bn by 2022

Jan 8 – The market for floating power plants (<250MW capacity) is expected to grow at an annual rate of 10.11%, expanding from currently $889.6 million to reach $1,440 million by 2022. Main growth drivers, according to MarketsandMarkets, are cost advantages of floating over land-based power plants, particularly in regions with a lack of power infrastructure.

Energean to supply gas to Israel

Jan 7 – Energean Oil and Gas has agreed to supply 5.5 Bcm of natural gas Karish and Tanin fields over 19 years to the Israeli power producer I.P.M. Beer Tuvia. The deal is expected to $900 million in revenue for Energean over the contract duration.

Eranove builds 390 MW plant in Ivory Coast

Jan 4 – Ciprel, a subsidiary of Eranove Group of France, is preparing to construct a 390 MW power plant in Jacqueville near Abidjan, the capital of the Ivory Coast. Driven by one of GE’s F-class turbine the combined-cycle power plant will be similar to one that Ciprel already has in operation.

Works advance on Jawa-1 CCGT

Jan 3 – Construction works are forging ahead for Jawa-1, a 1,760 MW combined-cycle gas-fired power plant. Built at cost of $1.8 billion the facility will be built by PT Jawa Satu Power (JSP) and PT Jawa Satu Regas (JSR) in Karawang, West Java.

Grozny TPP due onstream in 2019

Jan 2 – Construction of Unit 2 of the Grozny Thermal Power Plant (TPP) is advancing fast with a view having the entire plant operational in mid-2019. The first 180 MW unit has been running uninterruptedly for a fortnight and once the second unit will start up, Grozny TPP will reach its design value of approximately 360 MW.

E&P profitable at $50/bbl

Dec 21 – Globally, Wood Mackenzie expects exploration budgets to remain steady in 2019. But with stronger prices, lower costs and a greater focus on commerciality, the exploration sector is now seen to be more resilient than ever, and “well positioned to generate positive full-cycle returns at oil prices of US$50/barrel or even lower.”

GE upgrades substation in Germany

Dec 20 – TransnetBW has asked GE Power to upgrade one of the substations in so-called ‘Badische Rheinschiene’, a highly loaded link in the transmission grid of southwest Germany. The project will deliver 22 bays of 400 kV GIS to reduce the substation’s footprint while increasing its capacity.

Burckhardt opens service centre for Central Europe

Dec 19 – Swiss-based Burckhard Compressions has opened a new service centre for Central Europe in Slovakia. Reciprocating compressors of any brand are serviced there for operators in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

Global CCS growth nears 10% per year

Jan 19 – A report from analysts Research and Markets says the global Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) market will grow 9.18% per year between 2017 and 2021, with Babcock & Wilcox, ENGIE, GE Power, Linde and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries dominating developments.