Daily News

China will more than double its natural gas consumption over the next five years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts in its Medium-Term Gas Market Report 2012, released at the World Gas Conference 2012.

"As gas competes against other energy sources in all market segments, notably in the power sector, pricing conditions are a key element to keep it competitive everywhere," IEA Executive Director, Maria van der Hoeven, said at the official presentation of the report on Thursday.

Haldia Petrochemicals in India has plans to retrofit one of its gas turbines with "uprated" parts this year. "This will reduce the heat rate and increase the efficiency as well as enhance the life of the components," Nirmallya Sen, Deputy General Manager (Mechanical) at the plant, told Gas to Power Journal in an interview. Turbine capacity will also be enhanced by three to four megawatts, he added.

Germany's gas consumption could rise markedly in the medium term as a result of the nuclear phase out – it could impact prices across Europe, say analysts. Much depends, however, on whether Chancellor Merkel's energy policy – alias 'Energiewende' – will ultimately work out.

In an effort to alleviate Tanzania's power shortage, Japan's Sumitomo Corp. and the Tanzania's state-controlled Electric Supply Co. have joined forces to build a 240MW gas-fired power plant at Kinyerezi in the Dar es Salaam Region of Tanzania.

Uncertainty surrounding China's future energy mix is alerting key global gas suppliers such as Qatar's Rasgas. "The Chinese power market is perhaps the biggest demand uncertainty in Asia. Coal has been the fuel of choice so far, but as environmental concerns increase, gas has a vast opportunity to have an increased role in the market," Al Mohannadi, general manager of the Qatari LNG producer Rasgas he told delegates at the World Gas Conference (WGC2012) in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

E.ON, Germany's largest utility, is facing a loss in the lower double-digit million euro range on deals of an ex-trader. E.ON did not disclose whether the losses were incurred by traded contracts of natural gas or electricity in the forward market.

Vattenfall Europe has applied to local authorities for planning permission build a new gas-fired power plant in the city of Wedel near Hamburg. The plant is scheduled to start operations by the end of 2016 and will to replace an existing coal plant built in the 1960s, the Sweden-based utility said.

Investments in carbon capture storage (CCS) for new-built and operational power plants has a softening effect the carbon price - albeit not a big one, Energy Brainpool's chief analyst Tobias Federico said. Gas-fired power plants are allowed to operate without CCS until 2045 in the U.K., the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) confirmed.

To launch capacity payment schemes at a national level in EU countries makes "no sense", said Philip Lowe, Director General for DG Energy in the European Commission. Only pan-European mechanisms could make sense and would support investment in new gas-fired plants, he said at Eurelectric's annual conference in Malta on Tuesday.

As renewable, intermittent wind and solar energy replaces traditional base load coal-fired and nuclear energy in Europe, the need for substantial sources of cost-effective backup power will be great, forecasts Eleazar Rodriguez, Director of Sales for Spain, Portugal and Latin America at Pratt & Whitney Power Systems.

The European electricity industry stands by its commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, but struggles with investors' lack of confidence and the low carbon price, delegates learned at Eurelectric's Annual Conference. E.ON CEO Johannes Teyssen, however, criticized the preferential treatment of renewable energies, which widely profited from generation subsidy schemes across Europe, causing market distortion.

Alstom, the French turbine manufacturer, has launched turbine shaft welding shop at its turbine factory in Elbląg, Poland. "This is the biggest investment made by Alstom Power in Poland this year," the Levallois-Perret-based company said without revealing the exact capital expenditure.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has been contracted to perform the Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) services for the gasification and power island of the Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) project. The FEED effort is already underway, MHI said today, forecasting works will be completed by March 2013.

Amid gas replacing coal as the fuel choice for American power plant operators, the stockpile of coal has risen to a record high, latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows.

Alstom, a leading global power generation company, has secured GT13E2 gas turbine generator contract and long-term service agreement in China. Alstom Senior VP Gas Business, Mark Coxon, said the contract win represents "Alstom's determination in returning to the Chinese gas power generation market".

News in Brief

MHPS extends service for Thai power station

Feb 26 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has been awarded a third long-term maintenance agreement for the 1,400 MW BLCP Power Station in Thailand. The service accord covers the power plant’s major equipment including boilers, steam turbines and flue gas cleaning system built by MHPS on a turnkey basis.

VPower signs PPA in Sri Lanka

Feb 25 – Hong Kong listed VPower Group has entered into a power purchase agreement for two 38.8 MW projects in Sri Lanka. The latest deal brings VPower Group's installed capacity in the Chinese city state to nearly 100 MW.

UAVT launches portable genset

Feb 24 – UAV Turbines has launched a lightweight microturbine generator for on-demand electrical power ranging from 3 kilowatt (kW) to 40 kW. The new device extends UAVT’s micro propulsion technology, the Monarch 1, and features a new portable micro-turbogenerator system that fits in a small case that can be carried by two people.

Castleton buys CCGT in Spain

Feb 21 – Castleton Commodities International (CCI), a British independent power producer, has acquired the Amorebieta combined-cycle gas power plant in Bilbao, Spain, for an undisclosed amount. CCI claims the 786 MW plant is “one of the most efficient CCGTs in the Iberian Peninsula.”

NNPC scrutinizes Abuja IPP project

Feb 20 – Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is scrutinizing technicality and economics of developing a 1,350 MW Independent Power Plant (IPP) project in Abuja. The project is likely to be realized, as it is backed by a $1.1 million grant from the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and will be powered by GE gas turbines.

Batteries vs. hydro power

Feb 19 – More than 28 GW of lithium batteries deployed for stationary storage applications by the year 2028, according Navigant Research. Pumped hydro power plants, however, dominate the market as they account for 96 percent of installed energy storage worldwide.

Micro CHP market to top $3bn by 2026

Feb 18 – The global micro CHP market revenue is forecast to exceed $3 billion by 2026 amid rising demand for captive combined heat and power units by industry. According to Global Market Insights, micro CHPs are also increasingly combined with solar PV and energy storage into hybrid power units.

Rio Tinto uses battery to power Pilbara mine

Feb 18 – Australian mining company Rio Tinto has freed up $98 million for a new solar PV unit and a lithium-ion battery energy storage system to help power its entire Pilbara mining network. The 12 MWh battery storage at Tom Price will provide spinning reserve to help stabilize the local grid.

Japan and Korea eager to build ‘hydrogen economy’

Feb 17 – Liquid hydrogen is meant to become the basis of Japan’s and South Korea’s new energy economy. Several public-private partnerships accelerate efforts to produce hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and use hydrogen as a clean energy source, gradually replacing oil and natural gas.

MHPS teams up with KBR to expand sales

Feb 14 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has agreed to cooperate with U.S. firm KBR to expand sales of SDA pitch-fired power plants. The fuel for these plants is insoluble matter (SDA pitch), which remains when light oil fractions are recovered from heavy oil fractions using the solvent de-asphalting (SDA) process. The petroleum industry can now utilize this residual material for power generation.

Turboden provides CHP to First Nations

Feb 13 – Brescia-based Turboden, part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), has agreed to an 8,000 kW combined heat and power (CHP) plant, running on woody biomass to indigenous First Nations in Saskatchewan, Canada. The Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) power gen system will uses sawmill residual woody biomass as fuel and help electrify some 5,000 homes.

Himoinsa gensets win award

Feb 12 – Himoinsa has received an Innovation Trail Live award for its rental gas generator sets. Three gensets – HRGO 30, HRGO 40 and HRGO 70 – were distinguished due to their long running time, low operational costs, as well as reduced emissions and sound level.

Ofgem lowers default price cap

Feb 11 – UK energy regulator Ofgem has announced it will lower the default price cap by £17 to £1,162 for the six months effective from 1 April 2020. Analysts say Ofgem’s decision comes amid a “warm winter” and “healthy LNG supply,” which pushed down wholesales gas prices to a 13-month low. Looking ahead, there might well be “another slight reduction to the cap later this year.”

Opel plans Gigafactory for battery cells

Feb 10 – German carmaker Opel, part of French PSA, plans to manufacture enough battery cells for half a million e-cars annually in a new factory in the western German town of Kaiserslautern from 2024. Two billion Euros would be invested in the factory, designed to house three units with 8 GWhs each, which would be the largest in Europe so far.

GE adds 235 MW in Ivory Coast

Feb 7 – GE is carrying out a gas turbine extension at the Azito power plant in the Ivory Coast. Under the contract, GE will supply its GT13E2 gas turbine in combined-cycle configuration, one HRSG, one steam turbine and associated equipment. The upgrade will boost the plant’s capacity by 30 percent, or 253 MW to reach a total of 710 MW.

FID on Azito extension

Feb 6 – Independent power producer Globeleq and IPS have reached financial close on expanding the Azito gas-fired power plant in Ivory Coast. The plant currently has 460 MW installed capacity and provides 25 percent of the country’s power supply. Once the lasted upgrade will be completed, Azito’s capacity will be boosted to 713 MW.

Batteries vs. hydro power

Feb 5 – More than 28 GW of lithium batteries deployed for stationary storage applications by the year 2028, according Navigant Research. Pumped hydro power plants, however, dominate the market as they account for 96% of installed energy storage worldwide.