Daily News

General Electric (GE) will supply the Japanes steel producer JFE Steel Co. with a heavy duty Frame 9E gas turbine system for a steel gas-to-energy recovery project at its East Japan Iron Works in Chiba City, east of Tokyo. GE said today it will start delivering the equipment to Japan in December 2013.

Karoo Sustainable Energy (KSE) has won the 2012 Africa Competitive Strategy Leadership award after it negotiated the first Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) as a step towards structuring the financing of a 180 MW gas-fired power plant project.

Investment bank Société Générale today questioned the affordability of natural gas as a fuel for European power plant operators. „At today's prices, gas is too expensive a fuel for Europe," the bank said today, suggesting the "overprice" in terms of the bill is $315/1,000cm or $153bn for 2012e.

The drop in LNG supply to Japan is negatively impacting on the utilisation of gas-fired power plants. „If we were to measure a 30 mcm/d fall in LNG supply against higher gas-fired generation in Japan, then the drop in LNG supply is equivalent to power generation from 7.3 GW of gas-fired capacity," Deutsche Bank analysts said.

Plant operators in the UK are requested to apply for funding under the UK's carbon capture and storage (CCS) competition by July 3, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) confirmed. Designed to develop commercial-scale CCS facilities, the competition will make available £1bn in funding to up to four coal or gas-fired CCS projects.

Venezuela has seen a surge in new-built gas turbine and distributed power plants to cover rising demand, a study shows. Increment power generation capacity is mainly supplied by gas turbines and CCGTs (2,057 MW) and distributed generation plants (983 MW), in accordance with the policy of the Venezuelan government to decrease dependency from hydropower.

Alstom has refocused its sales strategy into the German market as the country's energy mix is undergoing a dramatic change to accommodate the nuclear exit.  "Chances in renewables and in upgrading Germany's existing fossil power plants are clearly driving our business in Germany, which is a positive outcome of the nuclear phase-out," says Alf-Henryk Wulf, chief executive, Alstom Deutschland.

Sasol New Energy plans to start operations of its gas engine power plant project in Sasolbury, South Africa, before the end of the year. The 140 MW plant is currently under construction and is set to run on 18 Wärtsilä 20V34SG generating units, fuelled by natural gas imported from Mozambique.

Investment into new power generation capacity in the U.K. has ground to a halt as utilities and banks lack certainty about the U.K.'s future market design. "The uncertainty surrounding the Electricity Market Reform (EMR) has put a complete block on financing," Alan White, Head of Conventional Energy at Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets told delegates at PowerGen2012.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is fine-tuning last details of an upcoming capacity market in the U.K.  "There is currently a lot of discussion about a penalty regime [for delays and non-delivery] and the eligibility of power plants for capacity payments," Neil Bush, Head Energy Economics at DECC told delegates at PowerGen 2012. "More details will be announced in late October," he said in Cologne today.

Siemens Energy has presented the SST-111 - a new industrial steam turbine for outputs of up to 12 MW - and an Enhanced Platform industrial steam turbine design at PowerGen2012 in Cologne. The first order for a SST-111 came from Devon County Council and Viridor Waste Management, with the new turbine set to be installed in a refuse incineration plant situated in Exeter.

The German 'Energiewende' concept – a replacement of nuclear capacity mainly with renewables and some fossil power plants – is not technically impossible. Its implementation, however, requires "a great deal of coordination, time, money and public acceptance," Bernhard Fischer, chief executive, E.ON Generation said at PowerGen2012 in Cologne today.

Gas and wind is set to become "the backbone" of Germany's future power generation portfolio, Michael Süß, chief executive, Siemens Energy said today. "It is not about if and when. We have to combine renewable and fossil fuels - with gas as the backbone – to ensure security of energy supply," he said at PowerGen2012 in Cologne.

Alstom, a manufacturer of power generation and transmission infrastructure, has won a key 'green' award for 'Growth Strategy Excellence' for its achievements in the field of air quality control systems (AQCS).

Gas is the "ideal backup" fuel for renewable energy sources (RES), key note speakers at PowerGen2012 agreed in Cologne today. "This is good news if you are building gas turbines because the capacity is needed. But this is not good news if you are investing in gas-fired plants as your return in investment is extremely unpredictable," said  Laszlo Varro, Head of Gas, Coal and Power Market Division (GCP), International Energy Agency (IEA).

News in Brief

China eases ban on coal power

Aug 22 – The Chinese National Energy Administration (NEA) has allowed 11 provinces to resume building coal power plants in a move that lies bare the country’s dependency on thermal coal even after several hundred billion dollars were invested cleaner energy sources, notable wind, solar and natural gas. Areas earmarked by NEA for new coal power plants include Qinghai, Chongqing, Guangxi, Guangdong, Yunnan, Guizhou and Henan.

Blackout after Didcot demolition

Aug 21 – Yet another blackout hit thousands of British households early Sunday after the demolition of cooling towers at the disused Didcot-A power station in Oxfordshire. Moments after the explosion at 7am to bring down the cooling towers some nearby electricity poles and overhead transmission lines caught fire, causing a sudden loss of electricity that lasted for one hour and twenty minutes.

Fuel cell vehicle market gathers speed

Aug 20 – Sales revenue from fuel cell vehicles will soar to $255.2 billion in 2032, up from just $400 million last year, driven by fast growth in China and wider Asia. Hydrogen fuel cells achieve an energy conversion efficiency of 50% to 60% amid zero emissions and a low maintenance cost thanks to the engine’s modular design.

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.