Daily News

The United States is currently facing its worst drought in decades which is likely to reduce power supply since electricity generation can be very water-intensive, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) warns.

Swiss power and automation group ABB has been awarded an order worth $60 million by American Electric Power (AEP) to replace a 30-year-old high-voltage direct current (HVDC)  converter station in Texas. The new station is scheduled to be operational in 2014.

Despite short term restraints in the market for gas-fired power generation, new analysis from Frost & Sullivan's Energy & Power Research expects "sound" medium- and long-term prospects and forecasts global gas-fired power plant orders to total 537 GW through 2020.

GE Energy Financial Services has served as lead arranger of an $107 million senior secured credit facility for two Illinois gas-fired peaker plants, managed by Tenaska Capital Management, LLC (TCM), an affiliate of Tenaska, one of the largest U.S. independent power producers.

The majority of the coal-to-gas switching activity in the U.S. is "permanent" as most utilities are not expected to revert investment decisions of converting coal plants to run on natural gas,  Moody's Investors Service said.

General Electric's (GE) has signed a 12-year, multimillion contractual service agreement (CSA) with Thailand's petrochemical company IRPC that includes the delivery of six GE Frame 6B gas turbines for a combined heat and power plant (CHP) in Rayong Province.

South Korea has risen high on the agenda of Siemens, Germany's engineering giant, who is targeting the country as a key growth market for gas turbine sales.

Sales prospects and revenue generated in Asia and the Middle East currently more than offsets reduced earnings in ailing European markets, says Lothar Balling, Head of Gas Turbine Power Plant Solutions in the Fossil Power Generation Division at Siemens Energy.

Germany's largest utility E.on said it has no intention of building additional gas or coal-fired capacity in western Europe until 2020 as it expects markets to be oversupplied with power generation capacity until the final shutdown of all German nuclear reactors.

Wärtsilä, a leading supplier of gas engines, has singled out the United States as a fast growing market for Smart Power Generation (SPG). "Ancillary services such as spinning reserve, frequency regulation and black start capability can all be sold in the market," Melle Kruisdijk, Director Market Development, Wärtsilä Power Plants told Gas to Power Journal.

Japan's Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has announced plans to install eight additional cogeneration gas power generators and demand management systems before year-end with the aim of reaching a rate of 30% self-sufficiency in electricity supply at its manufacturing plants.

Wärtsilä, a supplier of flexible power plant solutions, has won a contract to supply equipment for a  gas engine based expansion to the McArthur River zinc mine power plant in Australia's Northern Territory. The scope of supply includes six 34SG engines running on natural gas with a combined output of 53 MW and related engineering services.

A pilot power-to-gas plant that will enable the storage of electicity generated by wind turbines in the gas grid will start operations in Germany in 2013. E.on said it started construction works of the pilot facility, located in Falkenhagen, north-east Germany.

Hong Kong has secured sufficient natural gas supplies from China but pricing issues constrain operators to switch from coal-to-gas generation, Larry Chuen-Ho Chow, Director, Hong Kong Energy Studies Centre at Hong Kong Baptist University told Gas to Power Journal.

Investment in combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGTs) power plants in Germany are "highly problematic" as decreasing, even negative clean spark spreads resulting from reduced runtime hours have cut profit margins to zero". Unless capacity remuneration mechanisms are introduced, PricewaterhouseCoopers sees no market signals that could convince operators to build new plants.

During the first half of 2012, new gas-fired and renewable capacity has dominated power plant additions in the United States. As total of 165 new electric power plants were added in the 33 federal states, with combined new capacity of 8,098 megawatts (MW), according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

News in Brief

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.

IEA and China collaborate on energy efficiency

Oct 24 –The International Energy Agency (IEA) and China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) have agreed to work together on energy efficiency. The IEA acknowledged China has made strong progress on energy efficiency in recent years, and led energy intensity improvements globally.

ABB relays help protect Brussels power grid

Oct 23 – Sibelga, the distribution system operator (DSO) of the Brussels metropolitan area, implements ABB’s Relion 615 series relays to ensure a protected power supply for 700,000 citizens. The agreement will see ABB add medium-voltage control relays to remote terminal units (RTUs), most of which will be retrofitted.