Daily News

India's power ministry and the eight north Indian states, which were affected by prolonged blackouts after the collapse of the power grid on 30 and 31 July, have agreed on a 12-point resolution to avoid a similar crisis. "The Centre and the concerned states agreed to abide by a 12-point resolution to ensure that such breakdowns in the power grid do not recur," the ministry said in a statement.

Starting from 2013, E.on Russia will source its entire gas supply for its power plant fleet from Russia's second largest gas supplier Novatek instead of Gazprom. Under a $22 billion agreement, Novatek will supply gas to E.on Russia's plants at Smolensk, Surgutsk, Shatursk and Yaivinsk until 2027.

Alstom Poland has signed a contract worth close to €4 million (PLN 16 million) for the modernisation of a UK-50 type steam turbine at the Siekierki combined heat and power (CHP) plant, owned by PGNiG Termika SA, a subsidiary of state-controlled PGNiG. The retrofit is scheduled to be completed by September 2013.

The Indian government is not paying enough attention to smaller gas-based plants to cater for peak load demand as it focusses on large-scale coal-fired plants that provide base load capacity. The Indian power ministry recently awarded licenses for four Ultra Mega Power Projects with a capacity of 4,000 MW each. All plants are coal based.

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.

August 28 – ABB has been commissioned to launch the largest battery energy storage project of its kind in Switzerland together with EKZ, a power distribution utility.

ABB supplied EKZ with battery energy storage solution using Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries that can provide one megawatt of power during 15 minutes.

The storage facility is integrated into EKZ's power distribution network and is being used to evaluate
performance in key areas such as balancing peak loads and intermittent power supply, and the viability of the solution for grid optimization.

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.

News in Brief

French court rejects appeal against Total CCGT

July 24 – Judges at an appeal court in Nantes have thrown out an appeal by environmentalist against Total’s planned Landivisiau combined-cycle gas power plant in Brittany. The 440 MW project, initiated by Direct Energy which was since acquired by Total, is over two years behind schedule. The French grid operator RTE has singled out the Landivisiau CCGT as “critical” in guaranteeing supply security in winter 2020/21 due to the planned shutdown of four coal power plants.

U.S. gas production falls in wake of ‘Barry’

July 23 – Shut-ins related to Hurricane Barry have scaled back U.S. gas production by 1.6 billion cubic feet per day, compared to last week, while power sector gas demand rose by just over 2.0 bcf/d. Consequently, there is significantly less gas available for storage so the injection rate has halved, according to Energy Aspects figures.

Blackout after fire at Madison substation

July 22 – Electricity is gradually being restored at Madison, Wisconsin, after 13,000 people experience a blackout following an explosion at a substation near Madison Gas & Electric’s 100 MW gas-fired Blount Generating Station. No injuries were reported.

Fuel switch could abate 1.2bn tons of CO2

July 19 – Some 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 could be abated by switching to gas using existing infrastructure, if prices and regulation are supportive. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), this would be enough to bring global CO2 emissions back down to where they were in 2013.

IEA launches methane tracker

July 18 – A new ‘methane tracker’, launched by the International Energy Agency (IEA), provides up-to-date estimates of current oil and gas methane emissions by drawing on the best available data. Analysts stressed methane emissions could be reduced by nearly half at no net cost.

Canada’s CO2 tax also affects gas power

July 17 – Change in Canada’s carbon tax regulation for new power plants has changed to also affect cleaner-burning, gas combined-cycle power stations starting from 2021. The move could cause SaskPower to reconsider its planned upcoming Moose Jaw gas power station.

MAN, Daewoo, HSD partner on engine digitalization

July 16 – MAN Energy Solutions, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and HSD Engine (HSD) have signed a strategic agreement to cooperate in the field of marine engine systems digitization. The three companies also work together on auxiliary systems and data analysis, aiming to apply part of their know-how to power generation and related sectors.

Canada launches first utility-scale smart microgid

July 15 – The Ontario-based municipal utility North Bay Hydro Services is cooperating with the smart grid solutions firm S&C Electric to launch Canada’s first utility-scale microgrid system. Among some solar power, the 789KW microgrid system will be powered by two 265kW natural gas generators.

Macquarie funds Mexican power plant

July 12 – Macquarie Capital has chosen Credit Agricole, Natixis and SMBC to co-finance a $380 million combined-cycle gas power plant. The 560 MW plant is designated to be built in San Louis Potosi, a city in central Mexico.

B&V launches distributed energy group

July 11 – Black & Veatch has launched a dedicated distributed energy group to place its conventional power business in the context of the global energy transition. The distribute energy group will look into new fuel sources such as hydrogen and aspires to “re-power the more-than-century-old power industry.”

Funding secured for Kazah CHP project

July 10 – Kazinform Erg has committed to spend $500 million on a gas cogeneration station that will provide heat and electricity to the south of Kazakhstan. Over 87% of Kazakhstan’s electricity is generated from fossil fuels, and in 2018 the country produced 107,060 billion kWh of electricity, a 3.8% increase over the previous year and enough to cover total power use of 103,228 kWh.

Bitcoin mining uses much energy

July 9 – Estimates of bitcoin’s electricity consumption are wide-ranging, on the order of 20‑80 TWh annually. According to George Kamiya, digital energy analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA), bitcoin mining consumed around 45 TWh in 2018 although this has risen significantly this year. Through the first six months of 2019, bitcoin mining has already consumed an estimated 29 TWh.

Coal exit doesn’t impact Germany's supply security

July 8 – Electricity supply security in Germany is set to stay “very high” even as the country begins to phase out coal-fired power generation, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) said in a monitoring report. “Energy supply is adequately ensured”, the ministry said, in all scenarios examined up to 2030. Thereafter, things are less clear but the German Coal Commission is adamant that its proposal to exit coal power by 2038 is feasible and won’t seriously impact reserve margins.

Hydrogen demo plant starts in Adelaide

July 5 – The Australian Gas Networks (AGN), part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG), has received A$4.9 million in government funding for an A$11.4m hydrogen electrolyser demonstration project at the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide. At the test site, AGN plans to blend 5% renewable hydrogen with natural gas for supply to customers using its existing gas distribution networks. The project is based on a Siemens proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser, running based on wind and solar power.

Wärtsilä forms biogas solution

July 4 – Wärtsilä Puregas Solutions, specialists in biogas upgrading technology, has merged with Wärtsilä’s biogas liquefaction team to create a one-stop-shop service for biofuel production. Having installed the world’s largest bioLNG facility in Skogn, Norway, Wärtsilä will deliver two more bio-LNG plants to customers in Scandinavia. The company’s Puregas CA process recovers more than 99.9% of the biomethane present in raw biogas.

PNM to close San Juan Generating Station

July 3 — New Mexico's largest energy holding, PNM Resources, has filed an application to the Public Regulation Commission to close the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station. For replacement power, PNM said the preferred option was a mix of gas power plants, solar and wind farms and new battery storage facilities. The utility strives to be ‘emissions-free’ by 2040.

ADB opens office in Singapore

July 2 — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has decided to open an office in Singapore. The lean office with twelve staff will focus on the expansion of its private sector operations, e.g. through Public-Private Partnerships. “We estimate that developing Asia will need $1.7 trillion per year in infrastructure investments until 2030 to maintain the region’s growth momentum,” commented Singapore’s finance minister Heng Swee Keat.