Daily News

Wärtsilä has launched a new product called the GasReformer for turning gas associated with the production of oil into energy. Traditionally such gases would be flared and wasted but the GasReformer uses steam reforming technology to convert gases rich in hydrocarbons into a methane rich product which can be used as fuel in gas fuelled engines.

The use of natural gas to generate electricity in Japan was up by 15 percent in 2012 when compared to 2011, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Japan's use of all fossil-fuelled power generation was also up 21 percent in 2012 when compared to 2011, and now represents 90 percent of the country's energy mix.

Temporary energy provider Aggreko has signed Tri-Party Power Purchase Agreements (TPPA) with Mozambique utility Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM) and Namibian utility NamPower to provide them with up to 32MW and up to 90MW of gas fuelled power, respectively from its interm power plant at Gigawatt Park in Ressano Garcia, Mozambique.

As dispatch patterns shift, gas-fired power plants can now increasingly be described as intermittent energy sources, much in the same way as renewables, Richard Sarsfield-Hall, principal consultant at Pöyry Energy Consulting, said at this year's FLAME Conference in Amsterdam. Weather conditions impact the output of wind and solar installations and subsequently determine what levels of backup power is required from combined-cycle gas and coal plants on an intermittent basis. 

Most European power markets face an oversupply of fossil power plant capacity, Guido Custers, Managing Director at Delta Energy said at this year's FLAME conference in Amsterdam. In both the Netherlands and Germany, adverse market conditions and negative profit margins is prompting operators to consider either mothballing or even decommissioning existing gas-fired plants.

Norwegian utility Statkraft has decided to put a second gas-fired power plant in Germany into cold reserve by announcing the planned closure of its 510 MW 'Robert Frank' installation in Landesbergen, Germany this summer due to unprofitable market conditions. The transmission system operator TenneT had recently classified the power plant as non-system relevant.

Vattenfall, Europe's fifth largest utility, is pessimistic about the prospects of gas as a fuel source in the future energy mix; so in the next few years it is unlikely that new investments (apart from already planned investments) in gas power plants will be forthcoming, said Gabrielle Seeling-Hochmuth, head of gas strategy at Vattenfall's gas competence centre at this year's FLAME gas conference in Amsterdam.

Natural gas consumption in Mexico is on the rise with the country's consumption increasing by 4 percent per year on average during the period between 2007 and 2011 due to growing demand in the industrial sector. Mexico also plans to add 28GW of gas-fired power generation capacity between 2012 and 2027 according to the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), Mexico's state-run electricity provider. CFE estimates that this could raise natural gas needs for power generation by 5.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d).

The gas market is not yet fully liberalized and things still needs time, but as the government we are committed to duplicating the efforts made when we liberalized the power market, Turkey's deputy minister for energy and natural resources, Hasan Murat Mercan, told a conference in Istanbul organized by Gas to Power Journal.

The hunger of Turkey's industry for natural gas is unabated, while new government incentives and tax breaks aim to put the use of domestic lignite resources at an advantage over natural gas as a fuel source for power generation.

"We are over reliant on gas imports and this dependency is set to rise in line with GDP growth," said Levent Özcan Caner, Strategy Department, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, suggesting that government regulation in favour of coal would help reduce Turkey's gas import dependency.

Keen to fast-track the liberalisation process of the Turkish energy market, the government has set a timeline for divestment of state-owned power generation assets.

"We hope to finish the privatization of Turkey's thermal power plants by 2015," Atif Kir, Head of Project Group, at the Turkish Ministry of Privatization Administration (OIB) told Gas to Power Journal in an interview.

Turkey's gas-fired power generation capacity will continue to expand until new nuclear capacity starts operation. "We believe 60 bcm is a viable figure for Turkey's total gas demand volume by 2020, as gas-fired capacity will defend its 45 percent levels of market share until new nuclear capacity starts operation, said Ali Güleç, Senior Consultant at Deloitte.

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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