Daily News

Unconventional gas, due to its estimated abundance, has improved energy security in the United States and started a process of gas displacing coal as the dominant power generation fuel. Europe needs to adapt regulation to foster shale gas drilling, as it needs unconventional gas to make up for depleting indigenous gas production and supply new-build gas-fired plants, says Morgan Bazilian, deputy director of the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis in Colorado, USA.

Enel has taken action to increase the competitiveness of its fleet of combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plants, as the operator needs to come to terms with reduced operating hours and increases number of plant start-ups and shut-downs to balance renewable energy supply.

South Korean energy companies, in line with the government's "Green Growth policy", have shifted towards generating more electricity from nuclear and renewable energy sources backed up by gas generation, analysts say. The government has also embarked on the liberalization of its electricity market to improve competition in the industry and encourage investment with the aim of increasing installed capacity.

Future gas turbine research and development (R&D) needs to focus on a 'big is beautiful' approach to developing smaller, flexible units that can run efficiently at part-load, OEM representatives from Alstom, GE, Mitsubishi HI, Siemens and Pratt & Whitney Power Systems agreed at a conference in Brussels today.

Singapore has ruled out nuclear energy as an alternative for the near future despite concerns over energy security. The city-state is heavily reliant on imported natural gas for power generation and policy makers had mulled the nuclear option to complement its energy mix.

Natural gas is set to become a 'high-carbon fuel' after 2025, as the perception of gas generation changes over time amid EU member states trying to reach the Commission's 2020 carbon reduction goals. "In the short-term, we need gas [generation] to keep the lights on, while in the long run we need to develop additional technologies such as carbon capture storage (CCS), so that gas can still be perceived as a low-carbon technology," says Steve Heinen, energy analyst, energy technology policy division at the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Turkey keeps getting the attention of players from every corner of the natural gas-based power generation industry, even though the government complains about the country's dependency on natural gas and pledges to bring it down from today's 70% market share.

Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) has accelerated works to commission a replacement 640-MW gas-fired plant and the utility said it will consequentially retire three units at the 536 MW Cane Run coal plant in Kentucky eight months earlier than initially planned.

Britain is preparing to make a 'dash for gas generation' which may pove to be the more affordable option than renewables.

"Following the government's change in policy direction, it is now time and money that will determine whether a power plant, equipped with viable Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology, will be in operation by 2020," says Howard Rogers, Director, Gas Programme, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES).

To break the vicious cycle of high gas prices leading to demand destruction, no downstream investment and gas generation being displaced coal, analysts at the French investment bank Société Générale recommend to adapt pricing to the source of demand.

Singapore is building three new large combined cycle plants to cater for the city state's growing electricity demand.

"The selection of combined cycle plants based on GT26 advanced gas turbines for all three of these projects indicates the importance of high plant flexibility while maintaining high efficiency and low emissions in many of today's electricity markets," says Pascal Radue, regional vice president, Alstom Gas Business, Asia.

GE has revealed plans to add 12.5 GW to its portfolio of operational gas turbines in Brazil by 2020, as the country turns to gas generation to dent a shortage in peak-load power supply.

Commercial operation has started at Imperial Irrigation District's 140 MW El Centro Unit 3 repowering project at the gas-fired El Centro Generating Station, located in El Centro, California. The revamped plant is adding 140-MW of electricity to the local power grid.

UK utilities and investors with gas to power assets in their portfolios face rising uncertainty in predicting long-term operational cash flows as market interventions as proposed under the UK's Electricity Market Reform have the effect of replacing market risk with political risk, says Dr. Jim Fitzgerald, Associate Partner at The Advisory House.

Supply woes notwithstanding, gas-based power generators are gaining in importance in India, according to country's Central Power Research Institute (CPRI). “Gas is a good, alternative solution for peaking problems,” an analyst with CPRI told Gas to Power Journal.

News in Brief

German coal plants “worthless” at CO2 of €45/t

Feb 16 – Coal power plants in Germany would have to be almost completely eliminated by 2030 in a scenario with a carbon price of €45/t, a study of Barclays bank finds. A total of 46,000-MW of black and brown coal-fired generation is currently in service in Germany.

Iran plans to add 40 decentralized gas gensets

Feb 15 – Off-grid, decentralized power supply will help avert electricity shortages in Iran’s northern provinces of Mazandaran and Golestan. To that end, the Iranian energy ministry launched a plan to build 40 small-scale power plants across with a combined capacity of 1,000 MW over the two provinces over the coming six years.

National Grid makes £1m for top projects

Feb 14 – The UK’s National Grid System Operator is reaching out to industry and academia to open up a discussion on priority investments across the GB gas and electricity systems. Up to £1 million is available for the top projects, National Grid said when opening the funding application process which closes on 28 February.

Wärtsilä renews O&M accord for Saudi power plant

Feb 13 –Saudi Arabia-based Hail Cement Company hasrenewing the three-year asset management agreement with Wärtsilä and for a power plant in Turbah, Saudi Arabia. Under the agreement, Wärtsilä provides guarantees for the performance of the 53 MW base load plant, equipped with seven Wärtsilä 32 gas engines.

Black & Veatch eyed as EPC contractor for £500m Wyre plant

Feb 12 – Wrye Power, a subsidiary of NPL Group, and China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) have hired Black & Veatch as EPC contractor for the £500 million Wyre power project. Black & Veatch will provide engineering and planning consultancy services to develop the 900 MW combined cycle gas turbine plant, which will be built at Fleetwood in Lancashire.

Lockyer Valley Energy Project gets environmental nod

Feb 9 – The Lockyer Valley Energy Project, a 1,000-MW gas-fired power plant formerly known as the Westlink Project, has received environmental approval from the US Federal Government. As part of the approval, Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, the developer of the plant, has been ordered to commit up to $800,000 for an environmental offset plan.

GIP buys NRG Yield

Feb 8 – Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), an independent infrastructure investor, has agreed to acquire NRG Energy’s US renewable energy platform for $1.375 billion in cash and provide backstop support for NRG Yield agreed purchase of the Carlsbad Energy Center project. NYLD is the second largest US power company by enterprise value and market capitalization, operating a total capacity of 5.1 GW, diversified across wind, solar, and natural gas technologies.

Rolls-Royce tests lean-burn combustion system

Feb 7 – Rolls-Royce has run a demonstrator engine featuring ALECSys (Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System) for the first time on a testbed in Derby, UK. Designed for future jet engine programmes, ALECSys may be adapted for the power generation segment at a later stage.

Just Energy takes over EdgePower

Feb 6 – US retail energy provider Just Energy Group announced today it has agreed to acquire all shares or EdgePower, a privately-held energy monitoring company. Based in Aspen, Colorado, EdgePower provides lighting and HVAC controls, as well as enterprise monitoring in hundreds of commercial buildings across North America

Pöyry to carry out EPC for cogen project in Finland

Feb 6 – The Finnish utility Pori Energia has selected Pöyry to carry out project management, basic and detail engineering and procurement services for 90-MW Aittaluoto combined heat and power (CHP) plant project. The construction of the new cogeneration power plant will be completed by mid-2020, and once operational Pöyry will replace some of the boiler capacity at Aittaluoto.

Kosmos advances FLNG offshore Senegal

Feb 5 – Kosmos Energy has completed drilling the Requin Tigre-1 exploration well in Senegal’s Saint Louis Offshore Profond block. Exploration of the deepwater Cretaceous petroleum systems offshore Mauritania and Senegal are part of Kosmos’ efforts to source more feedgas for a FLNG project, though some of the gas find will be reserved by local governments for power generation.

Eland gets involved in Innovate UK project

Feb 2 – Participating in a £1 million Innovate UK grant-funded project, Eland Cables will install its new long linear capacitor cable technology, dubbed the Capacitive Transfer System (CTS) to help reduce power loss in the national grid. The UK currently loses around 7.6% of the power it generates during transmission and distribution, which equates to an estimated £1.1 billion spent annually.

Floating power market to quadruple by 2023

Feb 1 – The global Floating Power Plant industry is expected to surge exponentially by 2023, registering a growth rate of 10.23% during between 2017 and 2023, according to Market Research Future. Gaining full viability as a technology, floating power plants are being rolled out to guarantee uninterrupted electricity supply in remote locations that are not connected to national distribution grids.

Ener-Core, Dresser-Rand grid synchronize CHP

Jan 31 – Ener-Core’s first two 1.75-MW power oxidizers, integrated with Dresser-Rand KG2-3G gas turbines have achieved electrical synchronization with the power grid at the Pacific Ethanol bio-refinery in Stockton, California. The oxidizers are replacing the traditional gas-fired combustion chamber within CHP gas turbines, allowing industry customers to convert their low-quality waste gases directly into clean power, heat and steam.

Gazprom’s curbs domestic gas debt

Jan 30 – Accumulation of overdue debt for gas supplies remains a problem for the Russian gas market. According to Gazprom data, the total outstanding debt reached RUB 170.7 billion ($3.03bn) by January 1, 2018, an increase of RUB 9.8 billion ($173m) from early 2017. Among the most problematic non-payers are heating suppliers, which account for about 35% of the debt and two-thirds of debt growth.

Global gas demand up 3%

Jan 29 – Spurred by China’s green energy policy, global gas demand increased 3% year-on-year in the first three quarters of 2017, according to Cedigaz figures. The Paris-based research institute criticized that investments made upstream and in liquefaction infrastructure have been “insufficient” in recent years, with Coral the only LNG export venture to take a final investment decision last year.

UKPR launches iGrid App for Android

Jan 26 – UK Power Reserve has launched an Android version of its iGridUK app, providing near real-time information about the energy market, such as generation by fuel type and peak demand. The release complements the popular iGridUK app for Apple.