Daily News

Wärtsila’s energy segment has lost market share as the performance in the second quarter was burdened by fewer power plant deliveries, as well as an unfavourable project and equipment mix. “We still need some orders to come through in the energy sector, but the sales pipeline is good and we expect those orders to be signed,” said Wärtsilä CEO Jaakko Eskola.

MAN Energy Solutions and China National Heavy Machinery Corporation (CHMC) have jointly won a contract to build a 200 MW power station in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. While CHMC will carry out engineering, procurement and construction, MAN will deliver and commission the plant’s eleven 18V51/60DF engines.

Switching from coal to existing gas-fired plants could help avoid up to 1.2 Gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon emissions, lowering global power sector emissions by 10%, the International Energy Agency finds. Most potential for fuel switching is seen in the United States and in Europe.

High carbon and low fuel prices in June gave Germany’s gas power plants a competitive edge over lignite-fired generation. According to Fraunhofer ISE findings, gas units’ fuel and carbon costs at €24-28/MWh outcompeted costs of lignite plants at €30-40/MWh, at a time when power prices averaged just under €32/MWh.

Rebuking EU sanctions, Turkey has vowed to step up its drilling activities offshore Cyprus and claimed it found natural gas. Ankara dismissed Brussels’ initial set of sanctions as “worthless” and announced it would send a new drilling ship in waters where Greek Cyprus has exclusive rights.

British roads will see some 35 million electric vehicles by 2050 which can be used to store excess electricity and enhance the grid flexibility. According to National Grid, these electric vehicles could store roughly one fifth of GB’s solar generation for when this energy is needed.

America’s green energy transition is gaining pace as retired coal power stations are being replaced with flexible gas peaking plants and renewables. Energy-related CO2 emission in 2019 consequently fell 2.2%, reversing last year’s 2.7% rise, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows.

Power system flexibility is a prerequisite of the clean energy transformation. Fossil power plants were for long deemed vital to ensure flexible supply and system inertia, but “if modern wind and solar power plants are technically able to provide frequency regulation, they should be allowed access to ancillary services, as was done in Spain,” said Enrique Gutierrez, energy analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Siemens, the state of Saxony and the Fraunhofer Institute have signed a ‘future pact for Görlitz’ and committed to invest around €30 million to develop a competence center for hydrogen technologies. The initiative is meant to ease the effects of region’s structural transformation which has been hit by Siemens’ closure of a long-running turbine manufacturing site.

Argentina is seeking to identify potential natural gas storage sites to use supply from its prolific Vaca Muerta shale to meet peak demand. Strategic storage could also help reduce the need for seasonal LNG imports during cooler months from March through October.

Two new steam turbine units have been commissioned at the Shirvan Combined Cycle Power Plant in North Khorasan Province, Iran. The two 320 MW units were built at a cost of $260 million, according Iran’s state news agency IRNA.

Egypt has reduced fuel subsidies, raising domestic prices by up to 30% in compliance with requirements for a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). While most fuel prices are now in line with their costs, the government is still subsidizing gas used in bakeries and for power generation.

Germany’s Council of Economic Experts have urged the government to put a price on carbon emissions in the transport and heating sector as a quick and easy fix to help meet the country’s climate goals. This unilateral move would work as an interim solution before integrating the sectors into the European Emission Trading System (EU-ETS).

General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) has connected of the fourth unit of its Ubari Gas Power Station  (640 MW) to the public electricity grid. Unit-4 used to operate on crude oil but has been revamped to run on cleaner-burning natural gas instead.

MIT researchers have developed a membrane-based system that can convert power plant emissions into fuels for cars, trucks and planes, as well as chemical feedstocks. The membrane – made of a compound of lanthanum, calcium, and iron oxide – allows oxygen from a stream of carbon dioxide (CO2) to migrate through, leaving carbon monoxide (CO) behind. Combined with hydrogen or water, this CO can be turned into syngas.

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.