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Daily News

Widening cost divergence between coal and gas generation and spark spreads becoming ever more negative amid rising renewable feed-in, has caused a 42 percent plunge in E.ON's first-half 2013 profit and heralds further power plant closures in Europe.

"A sober view of the situation indicates that, at least for 2013 and 2014, no recovery is in sight," said E.ON CEO Johannes Teyssen when presenting the results.

EDF has handed over operation of three of its nuclear plants in the US, two in New York and one in Maryland, to its joint venture partner Exelon, citing higher profitability of generating electricity from gas and operational risks of nuclear reactors. 

South Korea's state-owned Kogas has forecast its domestic LNG sales in 2013 will jump 3.6 percent year-on-year to reach 36.548 mtpa amid rising demand from gas-fired power generators. A heat wave propelled up electricity consumption and squeezed reserve margins, prompting the energy ministry to ration energy use to avert the risk of blackouts.

Despite the growth in capacity, not all gas-fired plants are continuously used as Brazil's gas industry is going through a transition period and is adjusting to changes in the gas supply balance whereby lower imports of pipeline gas from Bolivia are balanced with rising LNG imports and new domestic gas reserves from upstream projects in Santos, Campos, and Espririto Santos basin.

This insight comes from a thought-provoking book released by the British Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Brazil (Britcham) entitled Doing Energy Business in Brazil.

 

Use of premix combustion chambers has helped MAN Diesel and Turbo achieve a breakthrough by reducing nitrogen-oxide (NOx) emissions at its MGT 6100 gas turbine (6-8 MW) to single digits at up to 100 percent load.

Capacity markets will provide stable cash flows to thermal generators in the UK to enable them to finance new projects at lower discount rates, reflecting lower risk. However, financiers may find that regulatory uncertainty exceeds the price risk in energy-only markets, warns Dr. Jim Fitzgerald, associate partner at The Advisory House.

Alstom has validated its MXL2 upgrade for GT26 gas turbines, enabling operators to flexibly dispatch their plants and match production hours to fluctuating demand – a key requirement in markets with high volumes of intermittent renewable power supply such as Spain or Germany.

Ontario Power Authority's (OPA) latest report, issued at the request of the Canadian energy ministry, is likely to shake-up the top-down planning process for gas-fired power stations in the region and might spark a flurry of follow-up consultations.

Indian power plant equipment manufacturer Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) has won a €32.5 million (Rs.2650 million) contract to supply gas turbines for a state-owned 103.5MW combined heat and power (CHP) plant at Kochi Refinery.

E.ON, Europe's second largest power producer after EDF, is assessing the feasibility and costs of extracting and relocating gas turbines from its mothballed Malzenice power plant to more profitable markets like Turkey.

Siemens has won an order to deliver eight SGT-800 industrial gas turbines to supply heat and power for the $20 billion Yamal LNG production plant in the North of Western Siberia.

American power producer NRG Energy has started commercial operation of its repowered 550MW El Segundo Energy Center only weeks before the launch of the adjacent 392 MW Ivanpah Solar Power Facility. The repowering stepped up the capacity of the combined-cycle gas turbine plant by 158MW, and equipped it with new turbines to support renewable energy integration.

News in Brief

Orbital signs MSA with Midwestern utility

Dec 3 – Orbital Energy has signed a master service agreement (MSA) with a US Midwestern investor-owned utility. The accord is expected to generate monthly revenues from the fourth quarter and increase revenues by 30% on an annualised basis.

Wärtsilä to use Shell engine oils

Dec 2 – The Finish engine maker Wärsilä has selected Shell as its test oil partner for engines during stress tests and fine-tuning at engine manufacturing sites. Shell’s Mysella, Argina and Gadinia range of engine oils have been developed to provide top class engine cleanliness, enhanced wear protection, long oil life, and high system efficiency.

Hamburg CHP runs fully on hydrogen

Dec 1 – Field testing has started for HanseWerk’s combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Hamburg to run fully on hydrogen. The converted 1 MW pilot plant, powered by Jenbacher engines, provides district heating equal to 13,000 MWh/year to 30 residential buildings, a sports facility, a daycare center, and the Othmarschen Park leisure centre.

Oil majors in the red

Nov 30 – For most oil majors worldwide, higher prices are needed to get their business out of the red. Breakeven prices for Saudi Arabia are $85 per barrel, around $64/bbl for Iraq, $49/bbl for Kuwait and as little as $40/bbl for Russia. As business confidence plummets, major oil companies have already slashed planned CAPEX spending by almost $89 billion in first quarter of 2020, with further cuts being made throughout the summer and autumn.

EU invests into battery cells

Nov 27 – Germany's EU Council Presidency has pledged Europe should develop an integrated value creation chain for battery cells, starting with the processing of raw materials over battery cell production to recycling. Germany is investing 3 billion Euros into the two projects that foster novel methods of battery production.

Rolls-Royce wins order from Hinkley Point C

Nov 26 – Rolls-Royce has been awarded an order from Hinkley Point C to deliver 140 Bibloc pressure transmitters for the two EPR nuclear reactors currently under construction in Somerset, UK. The transmitters will measure the flow, level and pressure of the Nuclear Steam Supply System (NSSS).

CHP industry to grow 14.4% through 2025

Nov 25 – The combined heat and power (CHP) market, evaluated at $12.152 billion, is expected to expand nearly 14.4% per year to reach $27.196 million by 2025. Growth is primarily driven by government funding and subsidy schemes. According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, the country aims to install 40 GW of new, cost-effective CHP to save $10 billion per year, compared to current energy use.

Rolls-Royce opens US customer center

Nov 24 – Rolls-Royce has opened its latest US customer support center in Savannah, Gerogia. The 62,000 square feet facility houses a power plant completion center, a wing services repair unit and a warehouse, all under one roof.

Lithium Werks grows manufacturing

Nov 23 – US-Dutch manufacturer Lithium Werks is growing the output and sales fuel cells and battery modules for use as power, pulse, and stand-by applications. The company’s 26650 Nanophosphate cells are used as single cells, as well as to build cell-packs and modules like Lithium Werks P40-24 battery modules. The Austin and Enschede-based company said it can “produce millions of 18650 and 26650 cells a month in China.”

AGL plans 1,000 MWh battery

Nov 20 – Australian power producer and retailer ALG wants to realise a large grid-connected battery storage unit of up to 250 MW rated output and four hours’ duration of storage, equalling 1,000 MWh. The battery will be built in stages on the site of Torrens Island Power Station in South Australia. AGL vowed to reach net zero emissions by 2050, but is currently still operating some 40 GW of coal-fired generation.

Fusion demo plant to be designed in Canada

Nov 19 – Vancouver-based General Fusion has entered a partnership with the architecture firm AL_A to design a demonstration plant, based on magnetized target fusion (MTF). Once operational, the demo plant will showcase MTF technology under power plant-relevant conditions.

Toshiba opens H2One fuelling station

Nov 18 – Toshiba has opened the first ‘H2OneMulti Station’ which fills fuel cell vehicles with green hydrogen and supplies for green electricity at Tsuruga City in Fukui prefecture. The station consists of H2One ST Unit and H2One, using hydrogen produced from wind and solar power sources.

Shale gas market grows at 7% rate

Nov 17 – Unconventional gas markets are poised to grow by $41.76 billion through 2024, rising at a rate of almost 7%. According to Technavio, about 87% of the supply growth this year is coming from the Americas.

Agua Blanca pipeline expanded

Nov 16 – Austin-based WhiteWater Midstream and MPLX have completed a 1.8 billion cubic-feet-per-day (Bcf/d) expansion of their joint venture Agua Blanca pipeline system. Christer Rundlof, CEO of WhiteWater CEO, said the expansion will be brought into service ahead of schedule. Testing and commissioning will begin this month, for the new pipeline stretch to be brought into full service in early 2021.

Wärtsilä integrates clean energy

Nov 13 – Finish technology group Wärtsilä strives to integrate variable clean power sources to achieve a 100% renewable energy future. The necessary operational flexibility will come from gas generation assets running on synthetic renewable fuels and by the extended use of energy storage.

First German-Belgium power link to start operation

Nov 12 – The two TSOs Amprion and Elia are preparing to launch the first electric interconnector between Germany and Belgium. The 1,000 MW interconnector stretches between Aachen and Lüttich, from where it links to the Rhineland region and Wallonia. It will go into operation as of 18 November, with intraday capacities to begin trading on 8 December.

Sachsen Energie takes on E.ON and RWE

Nov 11 – A small regional energy provider in Saxony seeks to counter the dominance of E.ON and RWE. Sachsen Energie, set up in a merger between two local utilities, claims it will become "the largest municipal utility in eastern Germany," catering to about one million customers, when it begins operation in 2021.

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