Daily News

The successful deployment of carbon capture and storage technologies (CCS) in power generation will be crucial to achieving the UK's climate change goal of an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050, says a new report from Carbon Connect. "Electricity supply will likely need to rise significantly by 2050, and decarbonising the power sector beyond 2030 without CCS would be expensive and politically challenging," the report reads.

Introducing capacity payments for power producers in Germany is deemed "inevitable" by 2017, UBS analysts say, as hard coal and gas-fired power plants need additional incentives for operating during peak-demand hours or for balancing intermittent renewable energy supply.

Relative gas and coal prices will have a significant impact on the future energy mix in the US, according to the US Energy Information Administration's (EIA) 2013 Annual Energy Outlook. Under the EIA's Reference case, natural gas power plants will begin to lose their competitive advantage over time as natural gas prices increase relative to coal, making up 28 percent of the generation mix in 2040. This represents a rise from the 2011 level of 24 percent but falls short of the 42 percent that would be expected under the EIA's High Oil and Gas Resource case.

Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) announced on Tuesday that it will seek approval to construct a new natural gas-fired power plant named the Wildcat Point Generation Facility near the town of Rising Sun, Maryland on existing property of its Rock Springs Generation Facility. ODEC says the plant will generate about 1000MW of power – enough to supply 390 000 homes annually – and is expected to become operational in 2017.

Germany's 'green' energy policies are failing to provide their intended emissions reductions , says John Rhys, Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES), arguing that phasing out nuclear will continue to increase coal use significantly. "Germany does not promote CCS (...) and it is also foregoing gas," he said in an opinion piece published by the Institute, claiming "Germany's simultaneous capitulation to anti-nuclear prejudice and willingness to compromise on cheap high CO2 emissions coal is therefore a disappointment to British supporters of EU ambitions to lead on climate change".

A coalition of 10 US states and 5 cities lead by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has filed a court brief urging the US Supreme Court at the request of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review and reverse a lower court decision that invalidated an EPA rule requiring substantial cuts in the interstate transport of air pollution.

Success in the micro Combined Heat and Power (CHP) market is dependent on having a standardised, efficient and cost effective generation unit, Jean-Pierre Van Wingen, General Manager of E. Van Wingen (EVW) told COGEN Europe's annual conference in Brussels. "It is essential that you have a standard product. It needs to be competitive and have a low price and that is only possible when you have a concept that can be produced in volume," he said, adding that "production in volume also allows you to have standardized service and decrease marketing costs."

Gas-fired distributed power projects in the UK will benefit from specific support schemes, including capacity mechanisms, which are forthcoming as part of a new regulatory package stipulated under the Electricity Market Reform, says Dr. Jim Fitzgerald, Associate Partner at The Advisory House.
"Contracts for Difference (CfD) will differentiate on technology, with different auction prices for each low carbon technology. We expect a specific capacity mechanism to be put in place to enhance support available for distributed gas fired power generation projects," he told Gas to Power Journal in an interview.

MAN Diesel & Turbo has supplied a custom-made steam turbine for the 100MW Shams 1 solar thermal power plant in Abu Dhabi, owned by the Shams Power Company – a joint venture between Masdar, Total and Abengoa Solar. Unlike conventional solar plants using photovoltaics where solar cells convert the sun's energy directly into electricity, the plant utilises concentrated solar power (CSP) technology to work with fossil fuels.

The 'Golden Age of Gas' fueled by the rise of unconventional gas resources such as shale gas is set to spur new CHP capacity, Shonodeep Modak, Global Marketing Manager at GE Gas Engines told Gas to Power Journal at this year's COGEN Europe annual conference in Brussels. "In the near term, the majority of new CHP will be gas based. There will be some biomass projects in places such as South East Asia and parts of Latin America which lack fossil fuels, but that is still some time away," he said.

Unless new efficient policy measures are implemented, about 40 percent of Spain's installed Combined Heat and Power (CHP) capacity is at risk of being shut-down in 2015, Javier Rodríguez Morales, Director General of Spain's Cogeneration Association (Acogen) told Gas to Power Journal. "At the moment, there is a moratorium in place to install new cogeneration capacity since 2012, as well as uncertainty about the actual regulatory framework reform and new energy taxes applied since 2003 which are deeply impacting CHP," he said.

Sembcorp Industries has sealed a deal to develop its first energy-from-waste facility outside Singapore. The 49MW plant project, located in Teesside, UK, will be developed under a 40:40:20 joint venture between Sembcorp, SITA UK (part of SUEZ Environment) and ITOCHU Corp.

News in Brief

Low-carbon batteries

Jan 26 – Geyser Batteries, a Finnish cleantech startup, has calculated the emissions of its electrochemical recuperators (ECR) to be significantly below industry averages. The ECR is an energy storage used for heavy-duty applications in the power grid and industrial machinery. The calculation, validated by the research institution VTT, shows the carbon footprint of ECR production is up to 74% lower when compared to its closest competitor, supercapacitors based on li-ion batteries.

Green hydrogen production surges

Jan 25 – Global green hydrogen production is seen skyrocket at a rate of 57% between 2019 and 2020, according to Frost & Sullivan, rising from 40,000 tons to 5.7 million tons. The hydrogen surge comes as industry and power generators increase investment  in alternative low carbon technologies and more countries set binding targets to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

Italy’s power exports Montenegro surge

Jan 22 – Italian electric power exports increased by 28% in 2020, largely driven by flows to Montenegro which surged 26% to 8.6 TWh. In contrast, domestic power demand fell 6% last year to 271.6 TWh with electricity sales from conventional plants down nearly 9% to 140.5 TWh, figures by the Italian energy exchange GME show.

US considers new nuclear

Jan 21 – The new US President Joe Biden has said his country could construct new nuclear power plants and reiterated plans to “swiftly rejoin” the Paris Climate Agreement swiftly. Germany’s environment minister, Svenja Schulze, called it illusionary to believe that newer, smaller reactors will be a technology of the future.

Mitsubishi produces methanol in Trinidad

Jan 20 – Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company has launched commercial operations of a methanol and dimethyl ether plant in Trinidad and Tobago. The plant has an annual production capacity of one million tons of methanol and 20,000 tons of dimethyl ether, which can be used as an alternative fuel for cars and power generation.

First 8-cylinder B36:45 engine delivered

Jan 19 – Rolls-Royce has delivered the first 8-cylinder variant of its Bergen B36:45 gas engine to a tomato producer in Belgium. The medium speed genset is planned for delivery this spring and will drive an onsite power plant that generates 4700 kW electricity and 5520 kW heat. The new engine offers a 20% increase in power per cylinder and will replace an existing Bergen 12-cylinder B35:40 genset.

Moody’s upgrades Enel to Baa1

Jan 18 – Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Enel’s long-term rating to Baa1, with a stable outlook. The upgrade reflects Enel’s progress in reducing its risk profile, analysts said, pointing at the Italian utilities ongoing investment in networks and renewables, growing geographical diversification and focus on centralised financing.

GE sues Siemens Energy

Jan 15 – General Electric has sued its German rival Siemens Energy over the alleged use of stolen trade secrets to win gas turbine contracts worth several billion dollars. GE told the US district court in Virginia that Siemens received the secret information from a Dominion Energy employee.

Orbital Energy launches Eclipse

Jan 14 – Nasdaq-listed Orbital Energy Group has launched a new subsidiary, Eclipse Foundation, a drilled shaft construction company. The new company specialises in providing services for power transmission and substations, communication tower and a disaster restoration through emergency power.

S’Korean coal and LNG imports slide

Jan 13 – South Korea’s imports of thermal coal and LNG have fallen 12% and 11%, respectively, as the government cracks down on fossil fuel usage to curb air pollution. Customs data shows that coal imports amounted to 10.2 million tons in December, down 1.4 million tons from the same month last year but up from November’s imports of 9.5 million tons.

SMC builds 1.7 GW CCGT in Batangas

Jan 13 – Excellent Energy Resources, part of SMC Global Power Holdings, is building a 1,700 MW combined cycle gas power plant in Barangay Dela Paz and Ilijan in Batangas City with investments of about 67.863 billion Philippine Pesos ($1.41bn). The project is estimated to be completed in 36 to 40 months.

UK’s National Grid issues supply warning

Jan 12 – Natural gas prices in the UK surged as National Grid issued warnings on supply deficit as LNG cargoes are being diverted to North Asia. Prices at the British NBP gas trading hub soared to the equivalent of $8.95 per MMBtu, while the JKM price for North Asian spot LNG cargoes for February 2021 was last at $19.700 per MMBt.

Fortistar invests in hydrogen

Jan 11 – Fortistar, a privately-held fund, has joined an equity investment of up to $157 million in hydrogen producer BayoTech. Cottonwood Technology Funds and the New Mexico State Investment Council also participated in the latest financing round. BayoTech’s systems produce local hydrogen close to the application, serving end users in the industrial gas and petrochemical segment as well as those who use of hydrogen to power fuel cells.

Ashtead appoints new CFO

Jan 5 - Ashtead Technology has appointed a chief financial officer (CFO) and five managers for newly created roles across its international team. The appointments are meant to cement the company’s position in the offshore energy market, including offshore wind and decommissioning of thermal power plants

NFE secures LNG for Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua

Dec 23 – New Fortress Energy (NFE) has agreed to purchase Henry-Hub-indexed LNG for its integrated gas and power businesses in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua. The New York-based project developer said it now has covered 80% of its expected needs throughout Latin America, thus reducing its need for spot purchases and its exposure to changes in the market price for LNG.

China and Korea mandate coal-to-gas switch

Dec 22 – The Chinese government has launched a coal-to-gas boiler switching programme, targeting 7.1 million homes, which makes gas demand more weather-sensitive this winter. Similarly, South Korea mandated the closure of 15 coal-fired plants since the start of December in an effort to reduce air pollution. Analysts expect this will accelerate the drawdown of LNG terminal inventories going into Q1-2021.

GE repowers oil field in Brazil

Dec 21 – GE Power Conversion has been awarded a contract by Sulzer Pumps UK to supply motors for four water injection pumps of a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. The 8,000 kW, two pole motors will run at 3,600 rpm with a limitation of the starting current at 300%, enabling the oil and gas field operator to optimise the generator which supplies electricity on the FPSO.

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