Daily News

Houston-based utility Dynegy announced the closure of its 650 MW gas-fired power plant in Morro Bay, California. The shut-down was initially planned for November last year as the plant fails to generate revenue and would need significant investment to be upgraded.

UK energy minister Ed Davey has written to the chief executive of Ofgem, the market watchdog, urging for tougher regulation of Britain’s big 6 energy companies and suggested a future break-up of British Gas and Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE). “This might lead to more contracting in the wholesale market, so greater liquidity across the power market, but the intent of the split would be to make the retail end more competitive,” Trevor Skiroski, analyst at Energy Aspects told Gas to Power Journal.

The decision of Queensland's largest power producer, Stanwell Corporation, to stop producing electricity for three years at one of its modern gas-fired power plants and restart two ageing coal-fired units instead shows it is more profitable to sell Australia's gas output as LNG to global markets than using it to produce electricity.

As much as 26GW of gas-fired power capacity in India is at risk of closure following the decision by the country’s finance ministry to reject a plan for $4 billion in subsidies proposed by the power ministry. Ministers instead called on power providers to work on gas price pooling and pass tariff hikes on to distribution companies or consumers.

Momentum is building up for the Ventus Project, a crowd sourcing initiative to map the world's thermal power plants, carried out by Arizona State University (ASU) under the lead of Dr. Kevin Robert Gurney. An array of users contribute information about power plants location, fuel type and CO2 emissions by placing a pin on Google Maps and filling a form.

Newly formed Japanese equipment manufacturer, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS), has launched joint operations with president Takato Nishizawa stating that the new company aims to “become the world’s leader in thermal power generation and environmental businesses.”

As the world's most populous country and largest power generator China has surpassed the U.S. already in 2011 when generating capacity reached 4,476 Terawatt-hours (TWh), and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects capacity to expand nearly three times to reach 11,595 TWh by 2040.


The U.S. state of New England is facing a power shortage in the medium term as the closure of older plants left a shortfall in a recent capacity auction for 2017-2018. The region’s electric grid operator ISO-New England secured a commitment of only 33,700 MW in its recent capacity auction which did not cover its capacity requirement of 33,855MW.

Renewable gas – in the form of biogas, syngas or hydrogen – is intended to cover a 5% of Denmark's gas demand by 2020. To achieve this goal, the character of the gas pipelines transmission system needs to change from being a carrier of natural gas to becoming an energy storage system.

The Californian state regulator has approved construction of a new 305MW natural gas-fired power plant in San Diego. The quick-start Pio Pico Energy Center will help replace capacity lost due to the retirement of the erstwhile 2,100MW San Onofre nuclear plant.

The growth of the gas industry is under threat from a worldwide skills shortage, delegates at GE’s Oil & Gas annual meeting were told this week. “We are running out of capable people – technicians, field service support through to engineers in this particular space. We need to develop a competency base dramatically higher than it what it is now,” said Erik Bonino, vice president of project & engineering services  at Shell.

U.S. private equity firm, Rockland Capital, has this week completed the acquisition of three natural gas-fired power plants in Illinois with total generating capacity of 1,166 MW. The purchases include the 460 MW Elgin Energy Center and 228 MW Gibson City Energy Center – both simple cycle plants, as well as the 478MW Grand Tower Energy Center – a combined cycle facility.

News in Brief

B&W wins $13m new contracts in North America

Feb 25 – The thermal segment of Babcock & Wilcox has been awarded several energy-related projects in North America, worth approximately $13 million, as the market strengthens and projects continue to restart following delays in 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis.” We’re seeing customers now moving forward with necessary work that had been previously put on hold. The recent inclement weather also has forced higher loads within the utility sector and we anticipate stronger demand for parts and services going forward,” said B&W Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Morgan.

PIC Group to service 1.1 GW Hummel Power Station

Feb 24 – Atlanta-based PIC Group has been awarded an Operation and Maintenance (O&M) contract for the Hummel Power Station, a 1,124 MW combined-cycle plant operated by LS Power Group. Situated in Shamokin Dam, Pennsylvania, the CCGT is equipped with three SGT6-5000F gas turbines, one SST6-5000 steam turbine, three SGen6-1000A air-cooled generators and one hydrogen-cooled SGen6-2000H generator.

Duke Energy claims natural gas is cheaper than energy storage

Feb 23 – Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas have both indicated in their latest integrated resource plans (IRPs) they view battery storage as potentially more costly than proven gas-fired generating technology. Market observers noted, however, that Duke’s estimates peg the capital costs of a 50 MW/200 MWh energy storage plant at $347 per kWh —far higher than the cost of units that entered commercial service in 2020, as per Lazard data.

EU emission rules could herald end of combustion engine

Feb 22 – Future EU emission rules for cars could mean the abrupt end of combustion engines and put many jobs at risk, the German engineering federation VDMA has warned in a position paper. The use of efficient combustion engines is “still important” – both for vehicles and small generators –VDMA President Karl Haeusgen stressed, especially since these engines can be operated in a climate-neutral manner with synthetic fuels or hydrogen.

Saudi cement producer renews Wärtsilä O&M deal

Feb 19 – The Saudi Arabian cement producer Umm AlQura Cement has signed a five year Operation and Maintenance (O&M) agreement with Wärtsilä for the customer’s captive power plant in Taif City. The 47 MW plant operates with five Wärtsilä 32TS engines. The initial three year maintenance agreement was signed in 2015, and thereafter renewed once.

Gazprom expands Sakhalin–Vladivostok gas pipeline

Feb 18 – The Russian major Gazprom is expanding the Sakhalin – Khabarovsk – Vladivostok gas trunkline at the section between Komsomolsk-on-Amur and Khabarovsk. More than 315 kilometers, or three quarters of its overall length, has been welded to date. Gazprom’s 2021-2025 investment programme will total RUB 5.49 billion ($70 million) – more than three times he money spent in 2016–2020. Planned projects include 14 inter-settlement gas pipelines, 9.3 kilometers of gas pipeline branches, and six gas distribution stations.

Enstor closes sale of Waha gas storage

Feb 17 – Houston-based Enestor Gas has completed the sale of its Waha Gas Storage assets in northwest Texas to WhiteWater Midstream. Waha Gas Storage assets have the capacity, when fully developed, to store approximately 10 Bcf of natural gas and include six underground caverns and permits for five additional caverns.

Technip Energies listed in Paris

Feb 16 – Today, Technip Energy has been listed at Euronext’s regulated market in Paris. CEO Arnaud Pieton said the company’s mission is to “serve the energy transition” through its leading position in LNG, hydrogen and ethylene. As growth areas, he singled out sustainable chemistry and CO2 management.

US renewable energy share to double by 2050

Feb 15 – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that the share of renewables in the U.S. electricity generation mix will increase from 21% in 2020 to 42% in 2050. Wind and solar generation are responsible for most of that growth, while nuclear and coal-fired generation decrease. The share of gas-fired generation will remain stable even though gas prices remain low at an estimated $3.50 per MMBtu, according to EIA projections.

Nikkiso to build electric-mechanical actuators

Feb 12 – The clean energy arm of Nikkiso Cryogenic Industries has bought the intellectual property to manufacture electric-mechanical actuators (EMA) and control panels. Coupled to a cryogenic pump, the system works without gearbox which reduces the size of these vertical pumps frequently used in the oil and gas industry.

Europe’s hydrogen projects outnumber current plants

Feb 11 – The number of hydrogen projects across Europe is almost double that of operational electrolysers as demand for the clean fuel is rising fast. According to research by DLA Piper and inspirata, there are 192 planned or announced hydrogen projects in Europe compared to 107 currently operational ones.

NTE to develop 5 GW clean energy projects

Feb 10 – Florida-based NTE Energy is working with investment partners to develop 1.2 GW of solar and 3.9 GW of battery energy storage systems (BESS) next to thermal power plants. “By co-locating renewable projects with thermal generation, we can offer customers access to affordable solar power options backed up by reliable natural gas,” said Steve Remen, NTE managing director. The company aims to bring 4 GW of its proposed clean energy projects into commercial operation by 2026.

Oil price bounces back

Feb 9 – The price of crude oil has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, after plunging to an all-time low last year. Brent crude oil prices for the front-month April were last seen trading at nearly $61 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the benchmark for US oil, has risen above the $58 a barrel mark for the first time in over a year.

Equinor VP named co-chair of OGUK board

Feb 8 – Arne Gürtner, Senior Vice President UK & Ireland Offshore at Equinor has been appointed to co-chair the Oil & Gas UK board, as the sector strive to recover while meeting its net-zero targets for 2021. He will be working with Phil Simons, VP North Sea & Canada, Subsea 7.

Enagás to tap wind power for hydrogen

Feb 5 – The Spanish utilities Enagás and Naturgy are evaluating the potential of producing hydrogen from a 250 MW floating off-shore wind farm and a 100 MW on-shore wind farm in Asturias. The project is hoped to generate more than 1500 jobs during construction and operation, with developers applying for funding under the IPCEI scheme.

Turboden wins contract in the Philippines

Feb 4 – Italy-based Turboden, part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has been awarded a contract by the Philippine utility EDC to supply a 20 MW geothermal power plant at Bacon-Manito, on the island of Luzon. The zero-emissions power unit is scheduled to start operations before the end of 2022, and will help lower the local grid’s dependence on fossil energy source.

DNV GL streamlines energy businesses

Feb 3 –Norwegian-German classification society DNV GL has combined its current Oil & Gas and Power & Renewables business. The new ‘Energy Systems’ unit employs over 4,000 experts as of February 1, 2021, providing certification, advisory and digital monitoring services across the entire energy value chain. By combining its expertise, DNV GL said it is “better equipped to support clients in tackling the energy transition.”

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