Daily News

NorthWestern Energy has started commercial operation of its new $55 million natural gas-fired peaking Unit 2 with a capacity of 60MW in Aberdeen, South Dakota. The new generating unit complements an existing peaking unit and is powered by a 60MW Pratt & Whitney gas turbine generator.

Sembcorp Industries has commissioned and started commercial operations of its $1billion gas-fired Salalah Independent Water and Power Plant (Salalah IWPP) in Oman. The plant provides electricity (445MW net) and water (69 000 cubic meters a day) to the government-owned Oman Power and Water Procurement Company under a 15 year power and water purchase agreement.

The impact of the US shale gas revolution – though positive for coal-to-gas switching in US power generation, will keep a lid on oil prices. The price of crude was "more likely to go down than up" over the next two to five years, said Paolo Scaroni, chief executive of Italy's incumbent energy company Eni.

US government approval for the Freeport LNG Terminal on Quintana Island, Texas to export LNG to countries with which the US does not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) have brought Japan a step closer to realising cheaper supplies of natural gas for power generation. Osaka Gas and Chubu Electric have already signed liquefaction tolling agreements with Freeport LNG, back in July 2012, to each acquire a 2.2mtpa production capacity of the first train at Freeport, potentially as early as in 2017.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has legally completed the acquisition of Pratt & Whitney Power Systems (P&W PS), a manufacturer of small and medium-size gas aero engines. Following the takeover, the Japanese engineering conglomerate launched operations of its new aero-engine segment under the name of PW Power Systems.

Toshiba Infrastructure South America Ltd (TIC-SA), the Brazilian arm of electronics multinational Toshiba has started producing electricity transformers in a newly launched $58 million (¥6.0 billion) manufacturing plant in the city Betim, which is part of the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte.

EDF is planning to add 975MW of gas-fired power generation to its installed capacity in France, a spokesman for the company told Gas to Power Journal. The additions will come from the planned commissioning of a second 465MW combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant in Martigues in 2013 and the joint development with GE of a 510MW "new generation" CCGT plant on EDF's Bouchain site in Northern France, scheduled for late 2015.

With gas turbines increasingly used from the smallest to the largest scales of power generation systems, the technical scope of machinery has grown dramatically in recent years. Modern Gas Turbine Systems, published by Woodhead Publishing, gives a comprehensive introduction and overview to the subject, outlining the mechanical principles and underlying physics of gas power generation, and describing a range of operational concerns relevant to plant operators and engineers.

A leading driver behind Mexico's rising natural gas consumption in recent years has been the substantial rise in the use of gas in the power sector, country analysis undertaken by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) finds.

Industry in southern Germany could curb their electricity consumption at times of peak demand by up to 480MW in the course of an hour if Demand-Side Management (DSM) mechanisms were to be widely implanted, according to study presented by energy think thank Agora in Berlin this week.

Commercial operations have begun three months ahead of schedule at the $900 million gas-fired 800MW Sentinel Energy Project near Desert Hot Springs, Riverside County, California. The plant is co-owned by Competitive Power Ventures (CPV), GE Energy Financial Services and Diamond Generating Corporation (DGC). The general contractor for the construction of the project was Gemma Power Systems California.

The EU's Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard has called on the European Council and Parliament to approve the proposed back-loading of 900 billion carbon emission allowances (EUAs) in emissions trading scheme (EU ETS). Back-loading would reduce the surplus of emissions in the ETS, and the subsequent rise in carbon prices would encourage power producers to favour gas over coal.

News in Brief

Tokyo Gas snaps up US shale assets

July 31 – The Japanese utility Tokyo Gas has agreed to raise its stake in the U.S. firm Castleton Resources to 70 percent from 46 percent to increase its foothold in shale gas production in Texas and Louisiana.  Castleton Resources holds acreage in the Haynesville and Cotton Valley formations. The transaction is scheduled to be completed on August 14.

Electrical PE market to grow 1.7% through 2027

July 30 – The market for electrical protective equipment (PE) in North America, valued at $2,787 million in 2019, is forecast to rise at an annual rate of 1.7 percent to reach $3,163 million by 2027. Main growth drivers, according to ResearchandMarkets, are ongoing power transmission projects in the context with U.S. LNG export infrastructure expansions.

GE wins turbine order from Italian paper mill

July 29 – DS Smith Paper Italia has ordered a GE LM6000PF aero-derivative gas turbine for its paper mill in Lucca, Italy. The paper mill is currently powered by two aero-derivative turbines, and the additional unit will increase plant efficiency by 2%, while assuring steam supply for the industrial process.

Aceleron secures £2m green energy investment

July 28 – UK battery developer Aceleron today announced receipt of a £2 million equity investment from BGF and Mercia Asset Management. Aceleron is BGF’s second investment into a pure clean technology, signalling a shift in behaviour as more and more fund managers support a green recovery and the UK’s policy of net-zero carbon by 2050.

NRG buys Centrica’s North American arm for over $3.6bn

July 27 – U.S. utility NRG Energy has agreed with Centrica to acquire the latter’s North American subsidiary Direct Energy for $3.625 billion in an all-cash transaction. The transaction will diversify NRG’s earnings by adding more than three million retail customers and generate an estimated $740 million in adjusted EBITDA upon closing.

Siemens rolls out Comfy app

July 24 – Siemens is deploying its workplace experience solution Comfy across its global offices, including major utility customers. The aim is to equip approximately 600 company locations by October 2020.

BlackRock puts $18bn into sustainable investment

July 23 – Sustainability aspects are poised to bring about "fundamental change" to the way financial market actors operate, said Philipp Hildebrand, vice head of U.S. investment company BlackRock. About 18 billion dollars have been put into BlackRock's sustainable investment products since the beginning of 2020, he told the German business daily FAZ, arguing this would be "only the beginning" of a much larger shift in investment practices.

Vaca Muerta output slows

July 22 – Argentina has resorted to importing LNG for the Southern Hemisphere winter as domestic production at the vast Vaca Muerta shale formation fell in the first half of 2020. State-owned IEASA purchased 28 LNG cargoes at average prices of $2.87 million British thermal units (mmBtu).

GE to implement air quality control systems in India

July 21 – GE Power India Ltd (GEPIL) has won three contracts with a combined value of $112.57 million to supply air quality control systems. One semi-dry flue-gas desulfurization (FDG) unit will be installed for Hindalco Industries’ 1x150MW power plant at the Aditya aluminium smelter in Sambalpur. A wet FDGs system will be installed on behalf of NTPC for their Feroze Gandhi Unchahar thermal power plant (2x210MW plus 2x210 MW plus 1x210MW units) in Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh.

Wärtsilä CEO sees “tough” H2 ahead

July 20 – Wärtsilä CEO Jaakko Eskola has told analysts he sees a “tough second half of the year ahead,” as the Finish manufacturer seeks to mitigate Covid-related business disruptions. In the segment of up to 500 MW, Wärtsilä’s market share fell from 9% to 8%, while orders for gas- and liquid- power plants increased by 1% to 17.8 GW during the twelve-month period ending in March 2020.

GE launches update to digital plant software

July 17 – GE Digital has unveiled updates to its digital power plant software: Proficy Plant Applications, Proficy Operations Hub, Proficy Historian, and Proficy CSense. The software accelerates digitization for industries and integrates related onsite power generation units.

Germany EEG fund slips into the red

July 16 – Germany's green energy fund, funded through the renewable energy surcharge (EEG levy), has slipped into the red for the first time since 2013, according to TSO data. The account, funded by end-customers through a surcharge on their power bill, fell from about €2 billion in available funds to €-1.16 billion in the first six months of 2020.

China seen overtake Japan as worlds’ largest LNG buyer by 2025

July 15 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects China to overtake Japan as the world’s biggest LNG buyer with imports of 128 Bcm a year by 2025, equivalent to around 174 million tonnes. However, IEA analysts cautioned this scenario is “highly dependent on China’s future policy direction” and whether that includes an ongoing push for coal-to-gas switching for industry, residential heating and power generation.

IEA stages Clean Energy Transitions Summit

July 14 – Ministers from dozens of countries, accounting for over 80% of the world economy, have participated in the first Clean Energy Transitions Summit organised by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, said there “clearly is momentum” behind a sustainable recovery from the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Participants agreed to reconvene in mid-2021.

Siemens Energy to exit coal

Jul 13 – Newly formed technology company Siemens Energy wants to phase-out any operations and technology to related to coal-fired power generation, CEO Joe Kaeser said, without giving a specific timeline. Siemens had been harshly criticised earlier this year for participating in the Adani coal mine project in Australia.

Statkraft, GE enhance GB grid stability

July 10 – Statkraft and GE Power Conversion are working together to stabilise Britain’s power grid. To that end, GE will manufacture and install two Rotating Stabiliser synchronous machines at Statkraft’s site in Keith, Moray. Statkraft was awarded four stability contracts (two at Keith and two at Lister Drive) by National Grid ESO (NGESO) earlier this year.

Siemens Energy spin-off approved

July 9 – A large majority of Siemens shareholders have voted to approve the spin-off of the company’s energy business. The spin-off was approved by 99.36 percent of capital stock represented at today’s extraordinary shareholders’ meeting.

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