Daily News

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.

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.

News in Brief

Tohoku Electric tenders for LNG cargo

Aug 19 – Tohoku Electric Power, the fourth-largest electric utility in Japan in terms of revenue behind Tepco, Kepco and Chubu, is understood to be seeking an LNG cargo for delivery in September. A tender process is ongoing.

Cost for decarbonizing industry tops $21tr

Aug 16 – Total costs to fully decarbonize the four most polluting industries – cement, steel, ammonia and ethylene – are estimated to amount to $21 trillion between today and 2050. McKinsey said this could be lowered to about $11 trillion if zero-carbon electricity prices come down further compared to fossil fuel prices. In this event, industry could switch to using electricity for heating processes.

Co-firing Braskem plant with hydrogen

Aug 15 – Siemens is making fossil energy greener at the Braskem onsite power plant in Brazil. In this modernization project two SGT-600 gas turbines are co-fired up to 60% with hydrogen, enhancing efficiency for the production process of the adjacent the petrochemical complex.

Canada's CO2 tax to hit CCGTs

Aug 5 – Change in Canada’s carbon emissions tax regulation for new power plants has changed to also affect cleaner-burning, gas combined-cycle power stations starting from 2021. The move could significantly lower the profitability of gas generation and could prompt SaskPower reconsider its planned Moose Jaw gas power station.

GE CFO steps down

Aug 2 – Jamie S. Miller, General Electric’s chief financial officer, has decided to quit after two years in the job and 11 years with the company. Having overseen GE’s fiscal activities during a period of intense restructuring, Miller will remain in office while the GE board is looking for a successor.

Siemens HR boss quits

Aug 1 – Janina Kugel, Siemens chief HR officer, is leaving the company amid an apparently scattered working relationship and stark personal differences with CEO Joe Kaeser. Her contract will expire by mutual agreement on January 31, 2020.

ABB standardizes eBus chargers

July 31 – Zurich-based ABB, a member of the ASSURED consortium, is working on standardizing the specifications for automatic charging of heavy vehicles. The aim is to drive down the total cost of ownership for electric fleet operators, helping increase adoption of eBuses and eTrucks. Conformance and interoperability tests will be carried out in Q4-2019.

U.S. Senate helps fund EV charging stations

July 30 – The need for expanded electric vehicle charging infrastructure is greater than expected given that there had been over 1.75 million electric vehicles (EV) in North America at the end of 2018, a nearly 60% increase from the previous year. To help fund additional charging stations, among other things, the U.S. Senate approved the $287 billion America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA).

PNOC, Lloyds to develop merchant LNG-to-Power projects

July 29 – Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lloyds Energy to develop a 1,200 MW LNG-fuelled power plant in partnership with Mitsubishi. Dubai-based Lloyds Energy is looking at ways to develop integrated LNG import facilities and gas power plants on a merchant basis in Bataan and Batangas provinces.

Macquarie finances CCGT in Mexico

July 26 – 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.

Naturgy cashes in on gas network

July 25 – Spanish gas utility Naturgy has posted a 7% rise in core earnings for the first half of the year due to strong gains from its gas network business that helped offset falling revenues from power generation and slimmer LNG margins.

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.