Daily News

Higher natural gas prices relative to coal prices in the US have caused a 14% plunge in the use of gas for power generation over the first seven month of this year, according to EIA figures. Henry Hub spot prices currently hover around $3.50/MMBtu – a substantial rise from the $2.39/MMBtu average spot price for the first half of 2012.

A tax on the use of fossil fuel for power generation in France was announced by prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault this week. Scheduled to be in place from 2014 onwards, the carbon tax will be levied on power producers in proportion to carbon emissions.

China's energy market reform, to be announced in November, and efforts to curb pollution is forecast to increase natural gas and uranium imports for power generation, while thermal coal will be "one of the most likely losers," Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Hsueh told Gas to Power Journal. Volumes of gas and uranium imports are forecast to rise substantially over the next 5 years, as China shifts its energy mix towards cleaner-burning fuels.

As renewable, intermittent wind and solar energy replaces traditional base load coal-fired and nuclear energy in Europe, the need for substantial sources of fast-start and cost-effective backup gas power increases, says Swift Tarbell, PW Power Systems Area Director for Europe. Following the sale of the first FT4000 SWIFTPAC to Exelon, PWPS is showcasing the technology in Europe.

Energi Danmark analyst today issued a 'buy' recommendation for the German front year Cal-14 that currently hovers around 38.85 EUR/MWh, suggesting players should buy the contract now before the new-elect government will implement "less business-friendly" policies.

Japan is to start publishing benchmark prices for short-term LNG imports, in a bid to reduce costs for gas power generators in the country. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will initiate the index in a bid to reduce the spread between Japanese and US gas prices, and encourage greater use of gas in the country's energy mix.

Profit margins for gas-fired power in Russia are set to see a further squeeze as domestic gas prices rise over the mid-term, forecasts Alexander Grigoryev, analyst at Russia's Institute of Natural Monopolies Research (IPEM). Admitting that the government's recent decision to freeze Gazprom's domestic tariffs in 2014 makes gas forecasts "very speculative", he suggested reduced exports to Europe will lead to higher domestic prices.

Rebuking plans of Labour leader Ed Miliband to freeze gas and electricity prices for 20 months if he wins the 2015 election, the UK Big 6 energy companies have condemned this proposal – at a cost of £4.5 billion – as a roadblock to investment in new power plants which exacerbates the risk of blackouts.

Gas turbine lifetimes could double thanks to new sensor monitoring technology developed by researchers at Cambridge University. The tested sensors monitor turbine operation at higher temperatures more accurately and help reduce fuel consumption between 0.5% and 1.5% as "improved accuracy allows greater control over the amount of fuel ingress," project lead Dr Michele Scervini told Gas to Power Journal.

California's power mix has seen a 10% rise in the contribution from natural gas and other fossil fuel sources over the summer months. In-state fossil fuel account of 47% of the mix on average, but this number can rise well above 50% on an hourly basis depending on the level of intermittent renewable supply, latest daily figures from the California Independent Systems Operator (CAISO) show.

Varying fuel gas composition presents a challenge to gas-to-power equipment such as internal combustion (IC) engines, gas turbines and fuel cell based machines as it impacts performance and component lifetime as well as meeting emissions regulations. By measuring the optical fingerprints of C1-C5 alkanes, the Precisive 5 Gas Analyzer enables real-time and high-accuracy fuel gas analysis, says founder and president, Vidi Saptari.

 

Members of the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) expert technical conference will discuss the impact of rising intermittent power supply on the country's capacity markets and potential solutions when they meet this Wednesday.

Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Alaska's Natural Resources commissioner with a view to developing LNG exports to Japan to dent the island nation's growing hunger for gas to fuel power plants.

Germany's re-elected chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking a coalition partner before the new Government can jointly tackle rampant electricity costs that resulted from the 'Energiewende' policy of phasing-out nuclear energy in replacement of subsidised renewable power. Curbing the EEG levy – an extra charge for renewables imposed on the taxpayer – is one of the most likely options.

SPE, an affiliate of Algeria's state-owned utility Sonelgaz, has awarded GE three contracts worth $2.7 billion to provide 26 heavy-duty gas turbines and 24 mobile aero-derivative gas turbine for nine power plants with a combined capacity of 9 gigawatts.

News in Brief

Siemens opens Pittsburg Service Center

Nov 16 – Pittsburgh Service Center (PSC), a $32 million state-of the art facility spanning over 300,000 square feet, has been opened by Siemens in Mount Pleasant. The centre is home to Siemens Turbine Generator Specialty Services (TGSS) which belongs to the company’s large-scale turbine segment

Drax faces legal action over Repower project

Nov 15 – Britain’s power producer Drax is facing a law suit over plans to start converting two coal-fired units at the plant into four combined cycle gas turbines (CCGTs). Drax argues the move will help it exit coal by 2023, but environmentalist object the Repower project, arguing it would “risk locking in high-carbon energy onto the grid until 2050.”

U.S. turbine market to top 14GW by 2024

Nov 14 – The U.S. industrial gas turbine market is expected to exceed 14 GW by 2024. Federal government initiatives to expand the penetration of natural gas-fired station will augment the industry outlook, according to a Market Study Report.

Xcel snaps up Mankato Energy Center

Nov 13 – U.S. electric utility Xcel Energy has agreed to purchase Mankato Energy Center in Minnesota from Southern Power in a $650 million deal. A second gas-fired power unit is scheduled to come online in 2019, set to increase the plant’s total generating capacity to 760 MW.

Shell re-focuses on new energies

Nov 12 – Electricity and new green fuels have risen on the agenda of Royal Dutch Shell, with the company announcing plans to invest up to $2 billion a year through to 2020. “That might seem modest by oil and gas standards, but we can do a lot with it in this space,” commented Brian Davis, Shell’s VP energy solutions.

Kollsnes shut down

Nov 9 – A collision between the frigate Helge Ingstad and the tanker TS Sola off the Sture terminal near Bergen in western Norway has led to the closure of the Vestprosess pipeline and Kollsnes gas processing plant, the Norwegian TSO Gassco said in a market note.

MHPS to service Uzbekenergo’s power plants

Nov 8 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd. (MHPS) has signed an accord with state-owned Uzbekenergo and Mitsubishi Corp to collaborate in a service and maintenance program (CSMP) for power plants in Uzbekistan. The agreement is meant to help grow the reach of Japanese companies in Central Asia.

Austria to import more Russian gas

Nov 7 – Russia’s gas giant Gazprom and OMV of Austria have signed Gazprom and OMV an amendment to their supply contract, stipulating deliveries to Austria will be increased by 1 Bcm/y beyond the contractual. In the first ten month of 2018, alone supplies of Russian pipeline gas have grown by a third compared to the previous year, reaching 8.8 Bcm.

UK launches 1st geothermal plant

Nov 6 – The UK’s first geothermal electricity plant has gotten underway today, backed by £18 million in funding. Drilling started using a rig from Helsinki. Once operational, demonstration plant will deliver up to 3 MW of electricity to the National Grid.

Germans register more EVs

Nov 5 – Electric vehicles (EVs) are gaining popularity in Germany: The share of pure EVs in s new car registrations climbed to 1.3% in October, as the total number of new EVs increased 55% year-on-year, according to the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA). Hybrid cars account for a 4.4% market share, diesel fell to 31.8% and the lion’s share of 62.3% is still taken by petrol models.

GE retrofits Wet FDG in India

Nov 2 – India’s largest energy conglomerate NTPC Ltd. has asked GE Power to supply and install Wet Flue Gas Desulphurization (Wet FDG) technology at four power plants in a deal worth US$247 million. The four facilities are the 2x660 MW Solapur power plant, the 2x660 MW Tanda Stage-II, the 1x500 MW Feroze Gandhi Unchahar project and the 2x660 MW Meja power project.

Floating power barge

Nov 1 – Siemens has developed barge-based, turnkey floating power solutions that take a critical part of an FLNG facility’s infrastructure — power generation — off a project’s critical path. According to the manufacturer, this helps reduce overall project execution time by as much as 25% or more, maximizing return on investment.

KBR posts 28% rise in profit

Oct 31 – U.S. engineering company KBR has reported a rise in net profits and voiced optimism to secure more mid-scale LNG and downstream projects with its joint venture partner ConocoPhillips. Third-quarter revenues rose by more than 23% to $1.27 billion, compared with $1.03bn in Q3-2017. Net profit was $58 million, up 28% from $45m in the year-ago period.

Togo: IPP gets go-ahead

Oct 30 – Eranove, a private equity-backed independent power producer (IPP), has received the green light for a $110 million power project in Togo. A concession agreement was signed for the combined-cycle power plant to be built in the area of Lomé port. The Spanish firm Grupo TSK was selected as EPC contractor for the 65-MW project.

Goldman, Cargill fined for avoiding tax on Teeside

Oct 29 – Goldman Sachs and Cargill have been hit with a £79 million fine for dogging tax on their ownership of a Teesside power plant. The two U.S. banking giants took over Teesside Power Ltd after the collapse of Enron in 2001, and HM Revenue and Customs just won a court case against the two trading houses over a tax avoidance scheme.

Gazprom to start production at Kovyktinskoye in 2019

Oct 26 –The Russian gas giant Gazprom has announced it will to start production drilling at the vast Kovyktinskoye field in 2019, with a view to start feeding gas from Kovyktinskoye into the Power of Siberia gas pipeline in late 2022. Situated in eastern Siberia near Lake Baikal, the field holds an estimated 2.7 Tcm of gas reserves, and 90.6 million tons of gas condensate, and 25 Bcm/y of planned design capacity.

MAN launches ETB blower in China

Oct 25 – A new Electrical Turbo Blower, the designated ETB40, has been launched by MAN Energy Solutions at a ceremony in Shanghai hosted by its two-stroke licensee, CSSC-MES Diesel Co. (CMD). The blower raises the exhaust-gas pressure in order to overcome the pressure difference between exhaust gas and scavenging air receiver.