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Daily News

"Disappointing gas power demand" and a "supply creep" have pushed US gas prices back to February 2013 levels, Morgan Stanley analysts said today, forecasting Henry Hub prices for natural gas will average $3.42/MMBtu for 3Q13 and $3.69/MMBtu for 4Q13.

India's federal government has allotted natural gas supplies from new production areas of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC) and Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) to operators of 25 power plants in an effort to alleviate supply shortages and keep the plants operational.

Satellite capacity for global data operations is set to expand fivefold over the next five years, allowing power TSOs to accurately forecast intermittent renewable power supply and fine-tune grid operations accordingly. "Global energy markets have witnessed a revolution in the provision of telemetry data of all kind since the inception of the smart grid programme," said Henrik Nørrelykke, CobhamSATCOM's vice president of land services.

UK-based manufacturer M1 Engineering has seen a spike in orders for its 40ft ISO Cryogenic LNG container, used to hold feed-gas at remote industrial combined heat and power (CHP) plants. "We know that people have been using it as a mobile storage facility. It's very easy to put onsite compared to a vertical storage tanker and I think the planning application is very much easier with it being an already approved piece of transport equipment," Jason Gil, technical sales director for M1 Engineering told Gas to Power Journal.

Norway's incumbent utility Statkraft has stopped commercial operation of two loss-making gas-fired power plants in Germany with a combined capacity of 1,200 MW, putting the Knapsack and the Herdecke plant in a 'wet reserve'.

Malaysia's government has decided to abolish subsidies on domestic gas prices early next year, prompting analysts to forecast a hike in national electricity tariffs by up to 50 percent.

In the wake of gas shortages, India's largest power generator Essar Power gears up to increase coal import by a fifth to underpin plans to convert some of its gas-fired power plants to run on coal. The move may set a precedent for other utilities, and could herald an increase in India's majority share of coal generation.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is providing $4,998,319 in funding for ten university research projects on making gas turbines more durable and fuel-flexible, covering the lion's share of the total project costs of $6,314,361.

German Aerospace Centre (DLR) has teamed up with industry partners Alstom and Rolls-Royce to invest some 47 million euros into gas turbine research infrastructure at DLR's Cologne site, including a combustor test facility that is set to startup in mid-2014.

American IPP Calpine Corporation this week started commercial operations of two CCGT power plants with a combined capacity of almost 1GW near San Francisco, California, the new 619MW Russell City Energy Center and the preexisting 309MW Los Esteros Critical Energy Facility.

RWE, Germany's second largest power producer by output capacity, has decided to close a total of 3,100MW, or around 6% of its total generation capacity of 52GW, as first-half year profits plunged 38% amid a recession-induced drop in electricity demand and competition from renewables.

US manufacturer Capstone Turbine Corporation will supply six turbines for shale gas treatment facilities of an undisclosed producer at its gas pipeline in West Virginia. Jim Crouse, Capstone's executive vice president, said "We normally provide turbines to power site load at the wellhead for processing equipment and treatment equipment."

News in Brief

Operating assets ‘from anywhere’

Oct 29 – GE Digital’s latest software gives electric utilities remote and mobile control over their power stations for remote start-up, external monitoring and operational fine-tuning. The goal is to safe cost through autonomous operation from any location.

Enlit Europe goes digital

Oct 28 – In face of the second wave of the pandemic, Enlit Europe has decided to move its Milan trade show online. A virtual keynote will be held on Thursday, October 29, starting from 9:30 CET.

Singapore sets aside $36m for low-carbon tech

Oct 27 – The Singapore government is supporting low carbon tech by setting aside SG$49 million ($36m) for research into hydrogen, carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) and energy storage. Testbeds for blending of low-carbon hydrogen with natural gas in combined cycle gas turbines, will yield insights into low-carbon tech and facilitate future deployment, said Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star).

Researchers develop lightweight battery

Oct 26 – Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability (LBF) have developed a lightweight battery pack to reduce the overall weight of e-car batteries. The new pack holding the battery cells is made of fibre-plastic composites, reducing the weight by 40 percent compared to a casing made of aluminium. The new battery is hoped to drive the upward trend for e-car registrations in Germany and help lower emissions in the transport sector.

MAN to maintain power plant in Benin

Oct 23 – PrimeServ, the after-sales brand of MAN Energy Solutions, has signed a service agreement with BWSC for the Maria Gleta power plant near the city of Cotonou, Benin. The 127 MW plant is powered by seven MAN 18V51/60DF engines. The ten-year contract covers the supply of spare parts and the provision of technical services for scheduled maintenance.

Gas saves Virginia over $14bn

Oct 22 – Virginia’s businesses and families saved more than $14.2 billion between 2008 and 2018 thanks to low-cost natural gas and expanded energy infrastructure, according to a new Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) report. Almost 60% of power generation relies on natural gas and a third of its households use gas for home heating.

Energy storage for LNG-powered vessels

Oct 21 – Louisiana-based Harvey Gulf has asked Wärtsilä to retrofit its energy storage system (ESS) on four LNG-fuelled platform support vessels. Once upgraded in early 2022, all vessels will be of full tri-fuel operation.

Mott McDonald starts construction on ALCP6

Oct 20 – US construction firm Mott McDonald has started building the ALCP6 waste to energy project in Krabi province, southern Thailand. The plant will incinerate 144,000 tonnes per year of municipal solid waste, and the heat obtained will be converted into 6 MW of electricity to be exported to the Thai national grid.

Brace for EU sustainable finance rules

Oct 19 – Sustainable finance practices, drawn up by the European Commission, could create a "bureaucratic monster" that smaller companies and energy investors would find overbearing, the Munich-based Institute for Economic Research (ifo) warned. The regulation should hence prioritise closer scrutiny of large and listed companies.

UK could become net power exporter

Oct 16 – Increased interconnection could provide a route for excess offshore wind power in Britain to be consumed elsewhere in Europe. National Grid Interconnector Register shows up to 16 GW of interconnection could be operational by 2025 and up to 25.4 GW by 2030.

Wärtsilä to deploy GridSolv in US city

Oct 15 – AEP OnSite Partners has contracted Wärtsilä to deploy its GridSolv Quantum energy storage in the city of Martinsville, Virginia. The system includes an UL9540A limiting 2-hour battery firewall and will help lower the city’s energy costs.

Rolls-Royce spends $13.9m in Mankato

Oct 14 – Britain’s engine maker Rolls-Royce has decided to invest nearly $14 million in its Power System business to build a new R&D centre at its MTU manufacturing plant in Mankato, Minnesota, US. The expansion will see 28,000 square foot added to the facility’s existing hall, making room for the production of high-power MTU gas gensets, enhanced product testing and the creation of 20 new manufacturing positions.

Clarke commissions Vitalait power unit in Tunisia

Oct 13 – Clarke Energy and INNIO Jenbacher have completed the commissioning of an onsite power plant of a milk producer in Tunisia. The installation of another Jenbacher gas engine has increased the plant’s output to 4 MW of electricity as well as 1,100 kW of hot water and 800 kW of steam.

Secondary battery market to top $55bn

Oct 12 – Technavio expects the secondary battery market to grow by $55.62 billion through 2024, rising at an 11% rate over the forecast period. Falling costs for lithium-ion batteries as well as growing demand in Asia Pacific allowed the market to grow 2.01% this year, despite adverse effects of the pandemic. Top battery suppliers are Tesla, Clarious, Exide, LG Chem, GS Yuasa and Samsung.

Shift to sustainable tech

Oct 9 – Three quarters of utilities, surveyed by EIT InnoEnergy, are considering adopting sustainable technology over the next 12-18 months. However, over one third of the respondents found it hard to recruit the skills they need.

Generator rentals slow

Oct 8 – The rental market for power generators has slowed down due to the pandemic, with genset rentals from the oil and gas industry forecast to grow by just $153.87 million this year. However, Technavio expects the market will return to a 3% annual growth rate by 2024.

GE upgrades Italian CHP

Oct 7 – GE has completed an axial fuel staging upgrade on its 9E gas turbine at an onsite combined heat and power (CHP) plant at the Milazzo refinery in Sicily. The entire electricity needs of the refinery, over 780 GWh in 2019, will soon be supplied by the upgraded and more flexible gas turbine.

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