Daily News

Investors in new cogeneration plants in Spain eagerly await the introduction of a new support mechanism.

“An extension of the cogeneration tariff could prompt new investments worth up to €2,000 million for about 5,000 MW of new capacity by 2015,” Jose Luis Garcia, associate partner at Energia Local forecasts.

Profitability of combined cycle power plants (CCGTs) in Spain is likely to deteriorate further on rising electricity supply from solar PV and wind power generation. “We may not have reached the bottom yet. No investment in new CCGTs is likely in the next 10 to 15 years,” James Cox, Principal Consultant, Poery Energy Consulting, said at the ‘Gas to Power conference’ in Valencia today.

The share of LNG re-exports from Spain has risen to a record 30% of import volumes in 2012 as shippers divert cargoes contracted on flexible terms to profit from high gas prices in Asia, lga Vedernikova, LNG Divisions Director at Clarksons said today. Spain gas demand is forecast to remain on low levels, leaving regas capacity underutilized.

 The volatility of natural gas demand in Spain is set to rise as the integration of electricity and gas market intensifies, Maria Teresa Bravo, responsible of European gas infrastructure development at Enagas said today. "Natural gas is as a facilitator for Spain's rising renewable energy production, therefore gas infrastructure needs provide sufficient flexibility for gas to play that role, she said at the LNG & Gas-to-Power conference in Valencia.

Operating profit of Statkraft, Norway's largest utility, eased off slightly in the first quarter as the negative impact of lower power prices was offset by higher electricity production.

Japan's hunger for LNG imports to fuel gas-fired power plants is set to ease off gradually as a regional government approves the restart of nuclear reactors. Global LNG markets, however, are forecast to stay tight, investment bank JP Morgan forecasts.

German engineering conglomerate Siemens has started a second project on carbon capture and storage (CCS) with the Masdar Institute. The R&D projects focus on improvement and adaptation of proprietary Siemens Post-Combustion technology to CO2 capture at gas fired power stations, the Erlangen-based company said.

 Russia's energy minister Anatoly Yanovsky has backed efforts of Gazprom to go downstream by buying gas-fired power generation assets in Western Europe.

Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), an integrated power plant equipment manufacturer, has bagged a Rs.3800 million (US$70.43 million) contract for setting up a 160 MW Combined Cycle Power Plant (CCPP) in Rajasthan.

E.ON has not decided on whether to close three gas-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 1,420 MW in southern Germany. "We have not taken a formal decision on whether to close these or other gas-fired plants but we in the process of evaluation the profitability of each plant," an E.ON spokesman said today, dismissing contrary news reports.

Wärtsilä, supplier of flexible and efficient power plant solutions, has signed an Operations & Maintenance (O&M) agreement with South Africa's Sasol New Energy Holdings. The three-year agreement covers Sasol's gas engine power plant project in Sasolburg, South Africa.

Franco-Belgian utility GDF Suez has sold a 40% stake in Bahrain's Al Hidd power and water plant to Malakoff, Malaysia's largest independent power producer for US$113.4 million (€87.6 million). The divestment was made to fulfil a Bahraini regulatory requirement.

Drax Power Station is a month away from completing a £100 million upgrade programme to modernize the steam turbines. Upon completion, Drax and Siemens will have replaced the low pressure and high pressure turbines on all six units at the power station.

Investment bank Societe Generale anticipates a drop in traded prices for natural gas in the U.S.  due to lower demand. The NYMEX front month is forecast to drop to US$2/MMBtu, with falling gas prices set to increase the share of gas-fired power generation in the U.S. energy mix.

Alstom, the French manufacturer of power generation technology, is ramping up manufacturing capacity and output at its Chattanooga facility in Tennessee, with a view to boosting its share in the buoyant U.S. market.

"Our investment in Chattanooga is a reflection of our confidence in the U.S. market," Patrick Fetzer, Regional Vice President of Alstom's gas power plant business in North America said with reference to forecasts about "a substantial short-term grow of the country's gas-fired power generation sector.

News in Brief

Slow start of STT pipeline

Oct 18 – U.S. gas exports to Mexico have not picked up substantially despite the start of the Sur de Texas-Tuxpan (STT) pipeline. Exports are still below 6.0 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), although there no current postings regarding maintenance on the Sistrangas pipeline that feeds from NET Mexico.

EIB defers ban on fossil projects

Oct 17 – Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank (EIB) has bowed to pressure from Germany and the European Commission and deferred its decision to ban loans to fossil-fuel projects until mid-November. Germany wants the bank to keep financing gas-fired power projects as it views the cleaner-burning fossil fuel as a vital backup for renewable energy sources.

Brexit will not impact UK gas supply

Oct 16 – Security of power and gas supply in the UK will not be jeopardized this winter by the country’s imminent departure from the European Union, even in the event of a hard Brexit, National Grid said. In its assessment, the TSO factored in a halt to flows via the Belgium and Dutch gas interconnectors “from EU exit day one”, but said ongoing deliveries from Norway, the UK Continental Shelf and storage will continue as usual.

Ferrybridge C gets demolished

Oct 15 – Four cooling towers at the Ferrybridge Power Station have been taken down as the coal-fired power station will make way to a new, high-efficiency gas power station. Operator SSE shut down the 500 MW Ferrybridge C unit in March 2016 and now started to tear it down.

Global energy storage tops 10 GW by 2025

Oct 14 – The global market for grid-connected energy storage will grow by 6,900 MW, or 16.6% to reach over 10,500 MW by the end of 2025, according to Reportlinker.com. Germany will add over 267 MW energy storage installations over the next five to six years, while 330 MW will come from other European markets. These numbers are dwarfed by China, where up to 1,200 MW energy storage units could be connected to the grid by 2025.

Wärtsilä services EDL plant

Oct 11 – Energy Developments Ltd (EDL) of Australia has awarded Wärtsilä a service contract for gas engine-based baseload power plant at the McArthur River zinc mine in Northern Territory. The maintenance approach for the 53 MW onsite power plant is no longer pre-planned and scheduled but has been changed to condition-based and predictive maintenance, with an advisory contract.

EPH buys CCGT in Galway

Oct 10 – The Czech energy company EPH has received regulatory approval to purchase an 80% stake in the 400 MW Tynagh Energy combined-cycle gas power plant in Galway, Ireland. Mountainside Partners will continue to own the remaining stake in the CCGT, which operates based on a security-of-supply contract from the Irish TSO based on guaranteed power prices.

ITM gets £38m boost from Linde

Oct 9 – Sheffield-based ITM Power, maker of electrolysers for hydrogen production, has been boosted by a £38 million cash injection, as Linde acquired a 20% stake in ITM at 40 pence per share. Looking ahead, ITM said it is seeking to raise £14 million from new and existing institutional investors.

Drax to convert two power units

Oct 8 – Drax Group has received government approval to convert up to two coal-fired generating units at its power station in North Yorkshire to run on natural gas. With this ruling, the UK regulator overturned objections by ClientEarth, stressing some fossil power is vital for the UK to backup intermittent renewable power source.

Storage use tops 80% in key U.S. regions

Oct 7 – Gas storage utilization in the United States is rising in the autumn, with net injections topping 112 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in the first week of October. According to EIA figures, underground storages are at least 80% full in the East, Midwest, and South Central non-salt regions, allowing for seasonal withdrawals to help meet peak-day gas demand throughout the upcoming winter.

Maine, NY aspire to 100% clean energy

Oct 4 – Three U.S. states—Maine, New York, and Ohio—have updated their renewable portfolio standards (RPS), since May 2019. As a result, Maine and New York joined California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia in requiring 100% clean electricity by 2050.

TransAlta to built CHP in Alberta

Oct 3 – Canada-based Transalta and SemCAMS Midstream have agreed to develop, construct and operate a new cogeneration facility at the Kaybob South No. 3 sour gas processing plant in Alberta. To be built at a cost of some 105 million, the CHP will have an installed capacity of 40 MW. Start of commercial operation is targeted for late 2021.

GE’s 100th HA turbine sold in Greece

Oct 2 – Greek industrial firm Mytilineos has ordered a GE 9HA.02 gas turbine to be the heart of the 826 MW Agios Nikolaos combined-cycle gas power plant. This deal also marks the 100th unit of GE’s HA gas turbine sold. Construction of the CCGT is due to start before the end of the year.

ABB launches M4M analyzer

Oct 1 – Swiss technology firm ABB has launches its first Bluetooth-equipped network analyzers, called M4M. The system gathers data from distribution grids and connects them to a cloud-based control system, allowing users to react on energy consumption and on-site power generation trends.

Microsoft invests in wind power

Sept 30 – Microsoft and ENGIE have entered a long-term solar and wind energy power purchase agreement (PPA) in the United States. The deal will see Microsoft purchase a total of 230 MW from two ENGIE projects in Texas, bringing Microsoft’s renewable energy portfolio to more than 1,900 MW.

Gazprom tackles issue of ownerless gas grid

Sept 27 – Gazprom, the main supplier of pipeline gas to Europe, is trying to settle the issue of ownerless gas pipelines – a relic of the former Soviet Union. Abandoned gas transmission pipeline spanned 6,651 kilometers as of March 1, with the issue seen as “especially acute” in the North Caucasus region where half of this infrastructure is located. If no owner registers these facilities within three months, Gazprom will take over to ensure reliability and safety.

Investors flock to Myanmar

Sept 26 – Fitch Ratings has singled out Myanmar’s power sector as one of the largest beneficiaries of foreign direct investments (FDI) worldwide. Nearly $21.2 billion was poured into power generation and energy infrastructure projects thus far in 2019, which is 27% of total FDI under the Myanmar Investment Law.