Daily News

Hong Kong has secured sufficient natural gas supplies from China but pricing issues constrain operators to switch from coal-to-gas generation, Larry Chuen-Ho Chow, Director, Hong Kong Energy Studies Centre at Hong Kong Baptist University told Gas to Power Journal.

Investment in combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGTs) power plants in Germany are "highly problematic" as decreasing, even negative clean spark spreads resulting from reduced runtime hours have cut profit margins to zero". Unless capacity remuneration mechanisms are introduced, PricewaterhouseCoopers sees no market signals that could convince operators to build new plants.

During the first half of 2012, new gas-fired and renewable capacity has dominated power plant additions in the United States. As total of 165 new electric power plants were added in the 33 federal states, with combined new capacity of 8,098 megawatts (MW), according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

NAES Corp. said it has taken over the operations and maintenance (O&M) of the 748 MW Salem Harbor Power Plant. An affiliate of Footprint Power bought the coal-fired plant from Dominion in early August with the intention switching the plant to run on natural gas.

Germany's energy industry association BDEW on behalf of its members has submitted a discussion paper to the Ministry of Economics (BMWi) pushing for a deal to compensate operators for refraining from carrying out planned closures of fossil power plants to guarantee supply security during the upcoming winter period.

As Europe increases its dependence upon green renewable energy as a major source of power generation, it will also need to install fast-starting, aero-derivative gas turbine generators to backstop the electricity grid, forecasts Swift Tarbell, Area Director for Europe with Pratt & Whitney Power Systems.

The Pratt & Whitney Power Systems' 30MW / 60MW FT8 and soon-to-be-launched 60MW / 120MW FT4000 SwiftPac gas turbine units can reach full load on the grid in less than 10 minutes from cold start, and are able to quickly fill the sporadic gaps in power supplied from intermittent wind and solar power technologies.

The German government has abandoned plans to help finance up to 15 percent of the investment costs of new coal-fired power plants, with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. The lack of public support for storing carbon underground could shift political support towards gas generation.

Whether US operators choose to dispatch electric generators largely depends on system demand for electricity and the relative cost of operating the plant, a report by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows.

Doosan Heavy Industries (Doosan HI) is considering local investment in India with the aim of better tapping into the country's rapidly growing power generation market.

August 17 - Germany's municipal utility Stadtwerke Neustadt solar power developer IBC Solar have inaugurated a pilot project to store up to 200 kWh of electricity within a local grid area.

If the utility's solar plants produce more power than is required, the energy can be stored and supplied to the grid at a later point, online media solarserver.de reported on Friday.

The power storage unit helps to stabilises the local grid and reduced the need for further regional grid expansion.

Excelsior Energy said its Mesaba energy project has gained ground after receiving notification from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that all its permits for a natural gas plant are valid through 2019.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) together with China's Sinosteel Equipment & Engineering (Sinosteel MECC), has received an order for two 150 MW blast-furnace-gas fired gas turbine combined-cycle power generation plants from Baotou Iron & Steel (Baogang).

Schmack Biogas, a German suppliers of biogas technologies, is close to finalising construction works of a 2.85 MW biogas-to-energy plant Tongere, Belgium. "We plan to get the plant ready to start full commercial operations in the second half of this year," Schmack Biogas sales representative, Gernot Buchta, told Gas-to-Power Journal.

German utilities E.on and RWE  have spoken out in favor of a strategic reserve as a quick solution to resolve a capacity squeeze in southern Germany in the coming winter. The debate over capacity markets, by contrast, would take years and the scheme is believed to proof counterproductive to energy-only-markets.

CLP Power Hong Kong is prepared to expand capacity at the 2,500 MW gas-fired combined cycle Black Point Power Station (BPPS) to guarantee security of power supply and meet the Government's tightened statutory emission cap, Robert Cochran, Head of Planning and Venture Support at CLP told Gas to Power Journal.

News in Brief

SaskPower proceeds with Moose Jaw project

Nov 13 – Canadian utility SaskPower has taken a significant step towards realizing a 350 MW gas power plant at Moose Jaw. The project was first proposed in 2017, but in the Canadian federal government June last year introduced new regulations for gas generation coming online after January 1, 2021, which stalled the plans. Having completed its regulatory review, Sask Power was now granted permission to proceed from the municipality of Moose Jaw. Major Fraser Tolmie said “this $700-million investment into the city of Moose Jaw, will ensure we have base-load power in the province of Saskatchewan and to maintain our power independence.”

Sembcorp powers up first BESS unit in the UK

Nov 12 – Sembcorp Energy UK, part of Singapore-based Sempcorp Group, has started to operate the first 60 MW unit of its battery energy storage system (BESS) fleet, supplied by GE. Combined, the three storage units in Leicestershire and Cheshire will bring Sembcorp Energy UK’s total energy portfolio to 973 MW.

Global gas glut may clear in 2021

Nov 11 – Economics of exporting American liquefied natural gas to Europe no longer add up. With Henry Hub spot prices around $2.7/MMBtu, moving LNG cargoes from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Europe is “not workable,” BP analysts said, indicating that production shut-ins could help clear the massive supply overhang towards the end of 2021.

Gazprom reassures Germany of Ukraine gas transits

Nov 8 – Alexey Miller, chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, has been trying to reassure the German government commissioner Georg Graf Waldersee that Russia was ready to signing a new transit contract with Naftogaz if both companies mutually waive claims. Before gas flows can proceed, however, Ukraine will have to create an independent gas transmission operator by January 1, 2020.

GE makes gains in wind power

Nov 7 – GE Power is gradually turning away from its loss-making fossil power segment to focus on the fast-growing renewable business. This week, GE struck a deal for its new Haliade-X turbines to be used at Dogger Bank Wind Farms. The three 1.2 GW Dogger Bank projects, situated offshore the UK’s Yorkshire coast, are expected to trigger approximately £9 billion of capital investment between 2020 and 2026.

PetroVietnam eyes LNG-to-Power project

Nov 6 – PetroVietnam has signed an agreement with B.Grimm Power Public Company (BGRIM) to jointly study the development of an integrated LNG import and power generation project. The aim is to build a 3,000 MW gas-fuelled power plant and an adjacent LNG import terminal. The location of the project has not been disclosed.

ABB launches ‘Smart City’

Nov 5 – Electrification specialists of the Swiss manufacturer ABB have designed an interactive ‘Smart City’ that contains smart buildings, e-mobility, energy management and data centers. The use of smart technologies and digitalization are encouraged by the United Nations as a way to help decarbonize cities around the world.

Gazprom, BASF cooperate on sulfur separation

Nov 4 – The Russian major Gazprom and the German chemical company BASF have agreed to devise a comprehensive solution for separation of sulfur from natural gas. The aim is to  enhance eco-efficiency of the Astrakhan gas processing plant and improve operational efficiency of BASF’s amine gas treatment units at the Orenburg gas-fired power plant.

Germany’s emission fall ‘markedly’

Nov 1 – Germany is headed for second consecutive year of substantial reductions in carbon emissions, amid a sharp drop in coal-burn in the power sector and an overall decline in energy use in 2019. If this trend continues, the country could get much closer to its 2020 climate target than widely anticipated.

Exmar to refinance Tango FLNG

Oct 31 – Exmar, the Belgian shipping company, is trying to refinance the Tango FLNG vessel, moored offshore Argentina on behalf of YPF. The aim is to generate around $60 million in additional capital, Exmar said, suggesting a deal will likely be struck in the first months of 2020.

Petronet doubles net profit

Oct 30 – Indian LNG importer Petronet has nearly doubled its net profits in the third quarter although revenues fell by 13%. Net profits came in at 1,089 crore rupees ($153.6m), an increase of 90% on the same period in 2018 as the company benefited from India’s lower corporate tax rates. Third-quarter revenues, in contrast, fell to 9,449 crore rupees ($1.33 billion).

Wildfires spread around LA

Oct 29 – Thousands of Los Angeles residents have been evacuated as wildfires spread fast around the metropolis and power outages brought life close to a standstill. The risk of fires caused by overland transmission lines prompted Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to prolong precautionary blackouts that could last up to three days.

Dominion embraces solar & storage

Oct 28 – Dominion Energy South Carolina has signed contracts for more than 1,000 MW of solar capacity. About half of that capacity has entered service. To complement intermittent solar energy supply, Dominion earlier announced several energy storage projects.

Wärtsilä downgrades outlook for its energy business

Oct 25 – Wärtsilä has downgraded the outlook of its Energy Business from “soft” to “weak” amid low equipment demand, although the its services activity “remains sound.” The current order book for 2019 deliveries is 1,708 million Euros, comprised mainly of equipment deliveries, Wärtsilä stated today when posting mixed Q3 results. Looking ahead, the company said its operating result for full-year 2019 will be approximately 100 million Euros lower than in the 2018 result of 577 million Euros.

Siemens names new CIO

Oct 24 – Hanna Hennig will be appointed as new Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Siemens starting from January 2020. The change at Siemens’ IT organization supports the execution of the company’s Vision 2020+.

GE to service Austrian CHP

Oct 23 – Sappi Austria, provider of sustainable woodfibre products, has handed GE Power a multi-year service agreement to for its 42 MW onsite power plant.  GE will carry out a cross-fleet turbine and combustor upgrade to help Sappi reduce costs through a maintenance interval extension and better plant performance.

Brookfield invest $2bn in Cove Point LNG

Oct 22 – Brookfield Asset Management, an investor in energy infrastructure and power storage, has agreed to take a 25% stake in Cove Point LNG for just over $2 billion in cash. The alternative investor also owns assets in hydro (7.9 GW), wind (4.9 GW), solar (1.7 GW), distributed generation (400 MW) and energy storage (2.7 GW).