Daily News

Canada's natural gas industry is in a "holding pattern" as low prices of around $3.00/MMBtu in Western Canada are stifling new equity investment for gas producers, a report by Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) finds. Low gas prices have displaced "significant amounts" of coal-fired in favour of gas-fired generation but it is unclear if demand can be retained long enough to move prices into the $5.00/MMBtu level necessary to resume substantial investment in dry natural gas drilling.

ABB's Turbocharging business unit has won an order to upgrade 30 turbochargers in a series of power plants in Brazuk operated by Wärtsilä under O&M agreements. The order is the first of three, and once installed the turbocharging equipment will help power producers to achieve "substantial annual fuel savings".

Gazprom International has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Russian-Dominican cooperation in the Energy Sphere with Transgas Caribe S.A. and the Dominican Corporation of State Electricity Companies (CDEEE).

The Belgian energy regulator CREG has dismissed government plans to subsidise proposed new combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plants as "state aid", calling the move a "bad idea" that might lead to market distortions.

Costs for power transmission rises following the construction of new electricity grid lines which is expected to spur growth in Alberta's cogeneration market, Vittoria Bellissimo, Executive Director at the Industrial Power Consumers Association of Alberta (IPCAA) told COGEN Canada's annual seminar in Calgary.

"With transmission costs predicated to go up, cost sensitive industrial customers will need to consider their options. This could mean out of province investments but could also mean an increase in onsite generation. Customers with large thermal requirements will inevitably be looking at this option," she said.

Investing in higher efficiency filters can help improve turbine performance in cogeneration units by reducing fouling, Jim Benson, senior product engineer at Camfil Farr Power Systems told Gas to Power Journal at COGEN Canada's annual seminar in Calgary. "The operator can make up for the cost and pressure drop of a higher quality filter through the operational benefits provided by the product," he said.

Pre-engineered combined heat and power (CHP) systems can provide customers with a variety of benefits when compared to customized CHP systems, Mike McElligott, sales engineer at European Power Systems (EPS) told Gas to Power Journal at COGEN Canada's annual seminar in Calgary. "The standardized design means that there is no custom work necessary. Because there are thousands of these units out there, the standardized unit is proven and the customer is not going to be in the position of having to work the bugs out of a custom system," he said.

'Reliability' has once again been rated as the 'top issue' and cause of concern in Black & Veatch's seventh annual U.S. electric utility industry report, compiled to reflect "views and outlooks of an industry in transition," according to Dean Oskvig, President of company's global energy business.

China's economic slowdown combined with policy goals to reduce the energy intensity of GDP growth has led Deutsche Bank analysts to forecast softer Chinese coal demand growth both for power generation and industrial use.

Electricity prices are of prime importance when it comes to investment in combined heat and power (CHP) facilities by Alberta's oil sands developers, W. Dale Hildebrand, President of Desiderata Energy Consulting told this year's COGEN Canada annual seminar in Calgary.

"The most important factor for oil sands developers that are considering cogeneration is the price of electricity: can they generate it cheaper on site compared to buying it for the grid?" he said.

Danish utility Dong Energy has decided to drop plans to build a 1,100 MW gas-fired power plant in Ludwigsau in the German state of Hesse and is searching a buyer for the rights to build a plant at the same site. "We've started the sales process for the project rights and aim to find a buyer by the end of this year," said company spokeswoman Iris Franco-Fratini.

E.ON said it "seriously considers" mothballing the 430 MW gas-fired power plant Malcenize in Slovakia, the Essen-based utility said in charts published on the company's website.

News in Brief

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.

Rolls-Royce to build Czech nukes

Nov 10 – British engine maker Rolls-Royce and the Czech energy conglomerate CEZ have agreed to design and develop small modular reactors (SMR). These low-cost nuclear power stations are being built by the UK SMR Consortium aimed at installing a “fleet of factory built” nukes in the UK, and exporting the design abroad.

CCUS to reach $3.5bn by 2025

Nov 9 – The global carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) market size is expected to grow at a rate of 17% from $1.6 billion in 2020 to $3.5 billion by 2025. According to ResearchAndMarkets, the rising use of captured carbon for enhanced oil recovery plays a key role for the expanding CCUS market.

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