Daily News

Keen to block tough new regulation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on new coal-fired power generating capacity Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have voted through a bill aimed at thwarting the rules. The vote in the Republican-controlled House passed by 229 to 183 but commentators are sceptical it will make it past the Democrat-controlled Senate.

National energy company Saudi Aramco plans to deliver 160 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of unconventional natural gas by 2018 to fuel a new power plant. The gas-fired plant will be located in Waad al Shamal Mining City and attached to a new phosphate project which will receive a further 40 mmcfd.

GE Power Conversion has won two orders to supply 24 units of 18-megawatt MV7000 variable speed drives (VSD) to for Saudi Electricity Company's (SEC) Jeddah South and Shuqaiq steam power plant projects.

Gas-fired power has been partly classified as "intermittent" as the U.S. Independent System Operator for New England (ISO-NE) created a new category – "Generation at Risk due to Gas Supply Issues" – for planning future capacity needs in the New England Power Pool in early 2015.

Up to 3.5 GW of gas-fired power generating capacity are "expected to be at risk during cold weather conditions or gas pipeline maintenance outages," ISO-NE forecast.

South African energy firm Sasol believes there is significant upside in Mozambique’s vast natural gas reserves and is pushing ahead to capitalise on further exports. Estimates of reserves Mozambique have risen ten-fold recently and the government’s Gas Master Plan forecasts 10 liquefaction trains will be in operation by 2026, with an overall capacity of 69 Bcm/y, making Mozambique one of the world’s top LNG exporters.

Security at power plants in the United States is under threat from cyber-attacks, according to a recent report from the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC). “Evidence collected by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suggests that cyber-attacks on key energy infrastructure—and on the electricity system in particular—are increasing, both in frequency and sophistication,” said Margot Anderson, lead author of the report and director at the BPC.

U.S. power provider AES has launched a new modular battery product designed to deliver energy to the grid at comparable rates to smaller gas-fired power plants. The Advancion solution allows companies to combine multiple battery units to achieve output similar to a 50MW peaking plant with the option to grow incrementally.

Ukraine has missed the March 7 deadline of paying Russia $1.89 billion for February's gas deliveries, prompting threats from Moscow about a halt of future supplies; but analysts suggests even if Russia cuts off gas flows to Ukraine it would have "much less of an impact [on Europe] than in 2009".

New gas pricing policy in India that is due to come into force in April will affect an estimated 19 GW of power generating capacity from gas-fired plants, potentially causing further shutdowns or shortages. The price of gas is expected to almost double from the current rate of $4.2 per MMBtu when the new regime starts next month, leading to a power price hike of as much as $10/kWh for end users.

Shifting from exporting its oil and gas resources to domestic consumption, Indonesia is reorienting its energy production to cater for growing demand of its buoyant industry and power producers. Keen to give 90% of its citizens access to electricity by 2020, the government has introduced a fast-track plant to step up power generating capacity by 20 GW.

Swiss engineering and manufacturing firm Sulzer has signed a joint venture agreement with China Huadian (CHD) to provide ongoing gas turbines services. The deal covers field service, component repair, and delivery of new capital parts for CHD's gas power plants in China.

The first two generators for the Kinyerezi-I power project in Tanzania are set to arrive on site this month, paving the way for construction of the 150 MW plant to be completed later this year. The Kinyerezi-I plant is expected to cost the government $124 million with another $65 million set aside for the construction of a power plant and a substation at Kinyerezi-II. In total the two projects will generate 390MW of electricity.

News in Brief

Low-carbon batteries

Jan 26 – Geyser Batteries, a Finnish cleantech startup, has calculated the emissions of its electrochemical recuperators (ECR) to be significantly below industry averages. The ECR is an energy storage used for heavy-duty applications in the power grid and industrial machinery. The calculation, validated by the research institution VTT, shows the carbon footprint of ECR production is up to 74% lower when compared to its closest competitor, supercapacitors based on li-ion batteries.

Green hydrogen production surges

Jan 25 – Global green hydrogen production is seen skyrocket at a rate of 57% between 2019 and 2020, according to Frost & Sullivan, rising from 40,000 tons to 5.7 million tons. The hydrogen surge comes as industry and power generators increase investment  in alternative low carbon technologies and more countries set binding targets to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

Italy’s power exports Montenegro surge

Jan 22 – Italian electric power exports increased by 28% in 2020, largely driven by flows to Montenegro which surged 26% to 8.6 TWh. In contrast, domestic power demand fell 6% last year to 271.6 TWh with electricity sales from conventional plants down nearly 9% to 140.5 TWh, figures by the Italian energy exchange GME show.

US considers new nuclear

Jan 21 – The new US President Joe Biden has said his country could construct new nuclear power plants and reiterated plans to “swiftly rejoin” the Paris Climate Agreement swiftly. Germany’s environment minister, Svenja Schulze, called it illusionary to believe that newer, smaller reactors will be a technology of the future.

Mitsubishi produces methanol in Trinidad

Jan 20 – Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company has launched commercial operations of a methanol and dimethyl ether plant in Trinidad and Tobago. The plant has an annual production capacity of one million tons of methanol and 20,000 tons of dimethyl ether, which can be used as an alternative fuel for cars and power generation.

First 8-cylinder B36:45 engine delivered

Jan 19 – Rolls-Royce has delivered the first 8-cylinder variant of its Bergen B36:45 gas engine to a tomato producer in Belgium. The medium speed genset is planned for delivery this spring and will drive an onsite power plant that generates 4700 kW electricity and 5520 kW heat. The new engine offers a 20% increase in power per cylinder and will replace an existing Bergen 12-cylinder B35:40 genset.

Moody’s upgrades Enel to Baa1

Jan 18 – Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Enel’s long-term rating to Baa1, with a stable outlook. The upgrade reflects Enel’s progress in reducing its risk profile, analysts said, pointing at the Italian utilities ongoing investment in networks and renewables, growing geographical diversification and focus on centralised financing.

GE sues Siemens Energy

Jan 15 – General Electric has sued its German rival Siemens Energy over the alleged use of stolen trade secrets to win gas turbine contracts worth several billion dollars. GE told the US district court in Virginia that Siemens received the secret information from a Dominion Energy employee.

Orbital Energy launches Eclipse

Jan 14 – Nasdaq-listed Orbital Energy Group has launched a new subsidiary, Eclipse Foundation, a drilled shaft construction company. The new company specialises in providing services for power transmission and substations, communication tower and a disaster restoration through emergency power.

S’Korean coal and LNG imports slide

Jan 13 – South Korea’s imports of thermal coal and LNG have fallen 12% and 11%, respectively, as the government cracks down on fossil fuel usage to curb air pollution. Customs data shows that coal imports amounted to 10.2 million tons in December, down 1.4 million tons from the same month last year but up from November’s imports of 9.5 million tons.

SMC builds 1.7 GW CCGT in Batangas

Jan 13 – Excellent Energy Resources, part of SMC Global Power Holdings, is building a 1,700 MW combined cycle gas power plant in Barangay Dela Paz and Ilijan in Batangas City with investments of about 67.863 billion Philippine Pesos ($1.41bn). The project is estimated to be completed in 36 to 40 months.

UK’s National Grid issues supply warning

Jan 12 – Natural gas prices in the UK surged as National Grid issued warnings on supply deficit as LNG cargoes are being diverted to North Asia. Prices at the British NBP gas trading hub soared to the equivalent of $8.95 per MMBtu, while the JKM price for North Asian spot LNG cargoes for February 2021 was last at $19.700 per MMBt.

Fortistar invests in hydrogen

Jan 11 – Fortistar, a privately-held fund, has joined an equity investment of up to $157 million in hydrogen producer BayoTech. Cottonwood Technology Funds and the New Mexico State Investment Council also participated in the latest financing round. BayoTech’s systems produce local hydrogen close to the application, serving end users in the industrial gas and petrochemical segment as well as those who use of hydrogen to power fuel cells.

Ashtead appoints new CFO

Jan 5 - Ashtead Technology has appointed a chief financial officer (CFO) and five managers for newly created roles across its international team. The appointments are meant to cement the company’s position in the offshore energy market, including offshore wind and decommissioning of thermal power plants

NFE secures LNG for Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua

Dec 23 – New Fortress Energy (NFE) has agreed to purchase Henry-Hub-indexed LNG for its integrated gas and power businesses in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua. The New York-based project developer said it now has covered 80% of its expected needs throughout Latin America, thus reducing its need for spot purchases and its exposure to changes in the market price for LNG.

China and Korea mandate coal-to-gas switch

Dec 22 – The Chinese government has launched a coal-to-gas boiler switching programme, targeting 7.1 million homes, which makes gas demand more weather-sensitive this winter. Similarly, South Korea mandated the closure of 15 coal-fired plants since the start of December in an effort to reduce air pollution. Analysts expect this will accelerate the drawdown of LNG terminal inventories going into Q1-2021.

GE repowers oil field in Brazil

Dec 21 – GE Power Conversion has been awarded a contract by Sulzer Pumps UK to supply motors for four water injection pumps of a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. The 8,000 kW, two pole motors will run at 3,600 rpm with a limitation of the starting current at 300%, enabling the oil and gas field operator to optimise the generator which supplies electricity on the FPSO.

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