Daily News

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).

NAES Corp. said it has taken over the operations and maintenance (O&M) of the 748 MW Salem Harbor Power Plant. An affiliate of Footprint Power bought the coal-fired plant from Dominion in early August with the intention switching the plant to run on natural gas.

Germany's energy industry association BDEW on behalf of its members has submitted a discussion paper to the Ministry of Economics (BMWi) pushing for a deal to compensate operators for refraining from carrying out planned closures of fossil power plants to guarantee supply security during the upcoming winter period.

As Europe increases its dependence upon green renewable energy as a major source of power generation, it will also need to install fast-starting, aero-derivative gas turbine generators to backstop the electricity grid, forecasts Swift Tarbell, Area Director for Europe with Pratt & Whitney Power Systems.

The Pratt & Whitney Power Systems' 30MW / 60MW FT8 and soon-to-be-launched 60MW / 120MW FT4000 SwiftPac gas turbine units can reach full load on the grid in less than 10 minutes from cold start, and are able to quickly fill the sporadic gaps in power supplied from intermittent wind and solar power technologies.

The German government has abandoned plans to help finance up to 15 percent of the investment costs of new coal-fired power plants, with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. The lack of public support for storing carbon underground could shift political support towards gas generation.

Whether US operators choose to dispatch electric generators largely depends on system demand for electricity and the relative cost of operating the plant, a report by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows.

Doosan Heavy Industries (Doosan HI) is considering local investment in India with the aim of better tapping into the country's rapidly growing power generation market.

August 17 - Germany's municipal utility Stadtwerke Neustadt solar power developer IBC Solar have inaugurated a pilot project to store up to 200 kWh of electricity within a local grid area.

If the utility's solar plants produce more power than is required, the energy can be stored and supplied to the grid at a later point, online media solarserver.de reported on Friday.

The power storage unit helps to stabilises the local grid and reduced the need for further regional grid expansion.

Excelsior Energy said its Mesaba energy project has gained ground after receiving notification from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that all its permits for a natural gas plant are valid through 2019.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) together with China's Sinosteel Equipment & Engineering (Sinosteel MECC), has received an order for two 150 MW blast-furnace-gas fired gas turbine combined-cycle power generation plants from Baotou Iron & Steel (Baogang).

News in Brief

PTT steps up power sector investment

June 25 – Thailand's state-run PTT Pcl has decided to boost investments in the retail and industrial power sectors to help insulate the energy company against the impact of a global economic slowdown on its oil refining and chemical businesses. Referring to the Sino-U.S. trade war as a global challenge, PTT chief executive Chansin Treenuchagron said the company is looking “how we can survive in the short term.”

APR helps power Libya’s recovery

June 24 – Libya’s state-owned GECOL has asked APR Energy to bring in temporary generators to provide a rapid 450 MW boost. Under the latest contracts, APR provided mobile gas turbines at four key sites in Libya (250 MW) as well as 200 MW of diesel generators at two sites.

GE supplies SCADA to New Zealand

June 21 – GE’s Renewable Energy Grid Solution’s business has won an order from two New Zealand utilities to upgrade their traditional Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems with GE’s Advanced Distribution Management Solutions (ADMS). The orders were placed by Top Energy Ltd with some 31,000 customers and Northpower serving over 60,000 customers, though the contract values were not disclosed.

Top 5 OEMs to rule two thirds of global wind market

June 20 – After a decade of fragmentation, the top 5 turbine OEMs are consolidating again and Wood Mackenzie anticipates key players will surpass a combined market share of 68% by 2020, up from 47% five years ago. Vestas, SGRE and GE remain the top 3 wind turbine producers wwhile the Chinese leaders, Goldwind and Envision, are becoming increasingly popular due to their product reliability and track record.

Keane to merge with C&J Energy

June 19 – Oil- and gasfield service providers C&J Energy Services and Keane Group have agreed a merger-of-equals in a $746 deal that will give the two companies the necessary uplift in an industry burdened by budget cuts of hydrocarbon producers. The 50:50 merger will create a company will create a company with a combined enterprise value of $1.8 billion, including $255 million in debt. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

Evol LNG helps power Australian gold mine

June 18 – Kirkalocka Gold Mine in Western Australia will use Evol LNG to fuel Zenith Energy’s 14.5 MW power station with regasified natural gas starting from September 2019. The mine is run by Adaman Resources and had been relying on diesel to cover its energy needs. Based on the current diesel price, Adaman Resources expects to reduce fuel costs by more than A$13 million (US$9 million) during the first six years of operation of the new onsite LNG-to-Power plant.

Shell Energy ordered to refund overcharged UK customers

June 17 – UK energy regulator Ofgem has ordered Shell Energy Retail to refund around 12000 customers who were overcharged after the Government’s cap on gas and electricity prices came into force in January. Shell Energy Retail s agreed to refund these customers by paying £29,000 in compensation (£5 per fuel), and also pay an additional £200,000 into Ofgem’s voluntary redress fund.

BASF enters battery market

June 14 – German chemical company BASF is using NGK Insulators’ sodium sulfur batteries as its entry point into the energy market. The Japanese manufacturer NGK is currently the only maker of the large-scale sodium sulfur (NAS) batteries, capable to store several hours of energy. A joint project in northern Germany uses NAS batteries that store energy for five hours, while a recently completed project in Abu Dhabi using 108MW / 648MWh of the systems with a full six hours storage duration.

CNPC boosts domestic gas production

June 13 – China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the largest Chinese oil and gas company, has announced plans for domestic natural gas output to reach 55% of overall domestic supply by 2025. Last year, CNPC managed to boost production by 5.9% to reach 138.02 billion cubic metres, while also increasing imports of pipeline gas and LNG.

Gazprom taps new gas deposits for Nord Stream 2

June 12 – Gazprom is fast-tracking hydrocarbon production in northwest Russia to boost reserves for export through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline (55 Bcm/y), currently being built through the Baltic Sea. At a meeting with Nord Stream shareholders, Gazprom noted that its Yuzhno-Russkoye field has yielded about 276 Bcm of natural gas, including 0.9 Bcm of hard-to-recover Turonian gas, since the start of operations. Turonian gas reserves, consisting of about 99% methane with no heavy residues, lie at a depth of 800–850 meters in reservoirs with low permeability. Commercial production at the Turonian deposit is scheduled to start in late 2019.

PG&E turns off electricity to avoid wild fires

June 11 – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has turned off electricity for some Californian communities at risk of a wildfire during the lastest heat wave. The authorized blackout started on Saturday in Napa, Solano and Yolo counties, with electricity being gradually restored over the course of Monday. Approximately 16,000 customers have been affected.

Gazprom to build power plants in Serbia

June 10 – Gazprom Energoholding has signed an Agreement of Intent (AoI) to build an upgrade several gas-fired power plants in Serbia. Together with Novi Sad, Gazprom Energoholding is already building a CCGT with some 200 MW capacity near a refinery in the Serbian town of Pancevo.

U.S. fund splashes out $4bn to buy El Paso Electric

June 7 – Infrastructure Investment Fund (IIF), a private investment vehicle within J.P. Morgan Inc., has agreed to acquire the U.S. utility El Paso Electric Co for $68.25 per share in a cash transaction. The enterprise value on the transaction is estimated at $4.3 billion. El Paso Electric customers will receive a total $21 million in bill credits over three years.

Caterpillar gensets back up Finnish data center

June 6 – The Swedish telecom giant Telia has ordered 12 Caterpillar gensets to provide standby emergency power to back up operations at its new data center in Helsinki. The Cat dealer Witraktor figured a system which includes eight Cat 3516B and four 3516E generator sets. The Telia Helsinki Data Center is the largest such facility in Finland, and its primary electric power supply comes from a combination of wind, hydroelectric and biomass.

Capstone wins orders in Iraq

June 5 – Micro-turbine producer Capstone has secured an order for two C600 Signature Series microturbines to provide 1.2 MW of energy to power a triethylene glycol (TEG) dehydration facility near Basra, in southern Iraq. The contract also includes Capstone’s new self-cleaning pulse filtration system, allowing the turbines to better withstand hot and sandy conditions with minimal maintenance.

Gas to supply record 43% of US power needs

June 4 – This summer, natural gas is forecast to cover between 40% and 43% of 2019 peak electricity demand in all U.S. states except Texas, according to projections by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Gas demand soared to nearly 10,700 billion cubic feet (Bcf) last summer, a 16% rise from 2017 levels. Should there be another heat wave this year, that record may well be broken. Capacity wise, natural gas is on course to top its 45% share in the U.S. power mix.

Lukoil to upgrade CHP at Krasnodar

June 3 – Russia’s oil and gas company Lukoil has received government approval to modernize and expand three combined heat and power units in Krasnodar. The gas-fired CHP units have more than 400,000 hours and ran an average 74% utilization rate, the operator said. The upgrade will add 150 MW of power generation capacity and Lukoil said it expects the revamped power plant to be ready for commissioning as early as 2022.