Daily News

Gas prices across Europe need to drop by 20% to make the fuel competitive with coal for power generation during hours of peak demand, Vitol's gas head David Gallagher said. At that level it would make economic sense for electricity producers to switch from burning coal to gas.

Reliance Industries, India's biggest company by market capitalisation,  has filed for arbitration this week, claiming the Indian government is restricting it from recovering cost on developing an offshore gas block. The dispute prompted Reliance to curtail gas supplies to Indian power plant operatiors, leaving India with a severe electricity shortage.

International Power (IP), a London-based energy group, has posted a 5% rise in  revenues to €4,257 million in the first quarter driven by strong growth in Asia and Lation America. In an interim management statement, IP said revenue in Asia surged 22% to Eur491 million while revenue in Latin America increase by and 16% to Eur1.021 billion.

Investments in new combined cycle power plants  (CCGTs) in Germany are "highly problematic" without the introduction of capacity remuneration mechanisms as the internal rate of return (IRR) for such projects is close to zero, Reinhard Rümler, senior manager, energy advisory at PwC told Gas-to-Power Journal.

Operators of gas-fired power plants in Spain are confronted with slower repayments of loans taken out to build their assets as the run-time hours of plants are curtailed by preferential grid feed-in of renewable energy.

Gains for gas demand in the power and industrial sector will offset a decline in gas demand for residential use, Howard Gruenspecht, acting administrator, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said today. The share of natural gas in the U.S. energy mix is forecast to rise 27% by 2035, from 24% in 2010, according to EIA forecasts.

Ofgem, the U.K. energy regulator, warns Britain might face a gap in power generation capacity as ageing plants are being retired while construction of new nuclear, gas-fired or offshore wind power projects are delayed. "Britain is facing pretty frightening times with regards to spare capacity," Alistair Buchanan, Ofgem CEO said today.

Except for Europe, the global gas-to-power sector is expanding rapidly driven by rising electricity demand in emerging markets. "Even if gas is regulated to death in Europe, the growth of gas-to-power generation will continue outside Europe," Stefan Judisch, chief executive of RWE Supply & Trading said today.

The share of gas-fired power generation is likely to rebound in the mid-term future in line with growing renewable power production. "The key driver for gas demand growth in Europe will come from the power generation sector," Klaus Schäfer, CEO, E.ON Trading & E.ON Ruhrgas forecast today.

Gas does not get to play its rightful role in the European energy mix, Rune Bjornson, senior vice president natural gas, Statoil said today. Adverse economics currently hamper the rise of gas in the energy sector, he said, suggesting "the price of carbon is far too low to incentivise a switch from coal to gas".

China is set to become "the engine of global gas demand" in the coming years, as opportunities for a greater share of gas in power generation arise due to Government concerns about air pollution, Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today.

China's State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) has imposed measures compelling power plant operators to improve coordination of plant dispatchment to meet summer peak demand. To this end, SERC set out measures to enhance stability of the power grid by closer supervision of plant dispatchment and load scheduling.

ABB, a power and automation technology group, will invest about $50 million to build new facilities in India to manufacture high-voltage products and transformers. "This decision supports our business philosophy to locate production facilities closer to markets," Bernhard Jucker, head of ABB's Power Products division said today.

The Middle East has seen the highest growth rate globally of dry natural gas consumption, rising from 53 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) to 113 Tcf between 1980 and 2010, according to figures published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). A key driver for the rise was the expanding in gas-fired power generation sector in the Gulf region.

Tianjin Electric Power Construction Company (TEPC), the project contractor of the Huaneng Yingkou Cogeneration project, is forging ahead with construction works at the plant, located in Beijing. TECP is close to finalising building the boiler for the plant, according to Huaneng Power International.

News in Brief

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.

Testing starts at Haliade-X

July 1 – Technology testing has started at GE’s Haliade-X, the world’s biggest offshore wind turbine. The 12 MW nacelle and 107-metre long blade was shipped to the UK as part of an advanced technology testing program, focused on enhancing the platform before it enters into serial production in 2021.

Tata to build UK’s first CCUS plant

June 28 – Tata Chemicals has announced plans to build the UK’s first industrial-scale Carbon Capture, Usage and Demonstration plant at its Northwich industrial site. The CCUD unit will be built at an estimated cost of£16.7 million and is planned to start operation in 2021. It will make use of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel power plants and turn it into sodium bicarbonate, which can then be sold to pharmaceutical industries.

Gazprom seeks to partner with Fortum

June 27 – The heads of Gazprom and Forum, Alexey Miller and Pekka Lundmark, have met in St. Petersburg to discuss a potential cooperation in the field of power generation. The Finish energy company Fortum owns 29.5% of the Russian power plant TGC-1 as well as a 49.99% share in the German utility Uniper. Through the talks, Gazprom could gain Fortum’s support to expand its firm long-term deliveries of Russian gas to Finland and Germany.