Daily News

Germany has emerged as a leader in the European Cogeneration market due to the country's strong commitment to energy efficiency, comprehensive policy promotion through the combined heat and power (CHP) support scheme and the government's decision to phase-out nuclear power is revealed in the recently released COGEN Europe report European Cogeneration Review – Germany.

Natural gas is set to remain important in transitioning the UK to a low-carbon electricity producer in the short term future, but can only play a more significant role beyond the 2020s if carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) is deployed on a commercial scale, according to a report from the London School of Economic’s (LSE) Grantham Institute on Climate Change.

Gas consumption in India has grown at an annual rate of 10 percent from 2001 to 2011 despite insufficient pipeline infrastructure. Natural gas mainly serves as a substitute for coal in electricity generation and with 45 percent of total use, the power sector is currently the largest user of natural gas in India, according to a country specific energy analysis from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Natural gas fired power plants will continue to face severe difficulties to stay in the merit order in competitive OECD Europe power markets in such as Spain, Germany and the UK, as dispatch of coal plants stays more economic at current fuel and carbon emission prices, Dennis Volk, gas and power market analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA) told Gas to Power Journal in an interview. 

"Under current market conditions, gas-fired plants have no longer a big role to play in much of OECD Europe ..."

The Cockenzie Power Station in East Lothian, Scotland has shut down all four of its turbines after using up all of its permitted running hours under EU regulation. Owner and operator ScottishPower already has planning permission, obtained in 2011, to build a new 1000MW gas-fired combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station on the site of the now shut down Cockenzie plant.

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.

News in Brief

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.

VELO distributes Sapphire Metal 3D-Printers in the US

Dec 18 – California-based VELO3D has formed a distribution partnership with GoEngineer for Flow pre-print software, Sapphire metal AM printer, and Assure quality assurance and controls. GoEngineer will be VELO’s only distributor in the United States.

Indian electric boats to achieve zero emissions

Dec 17 – Cochin Shipyard, India’s largest shipbuilder, has asked Siemens Energy to equip India’s first fleet of 23 boats with electric propulsion drive train, integrated with batteries and vessel automation. Combining the electric propulsion drive trains, energy storage, and automation systems is expected to significantly reduce fuel consumption.

Terna BESS auction six times oversubscribed

Dec 16 – A pilot auction, held by the Italian TSO Terna, for battery energy storage systems (BESS) to provide reserve grid services has been six times oversubscribed. The auction was held with an expectation that around 230 MW would be on offer, but Terna received 1,327 MW worth of bids and eventually awarded contracts for 249.9 MW.

New £150m link to UK’s Easington terminal

Dec 15 – National Grid has completed a gas pipeline under the River Humber, build in 18 months and at a cost £150 million, as new link to the import terminal at Easington. Following commissioning, the pipeline is now operational and can now transport between 70 to 100 million cubic metres - around a quarter of Britain's gas needs.

US emissions fall 11%

Dec 14 – Energy sector-related emissions in the US are expected to fall 11% this year, largely due economic and behavioural effects the coronavirus pandemic. According to the EIA's December Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), emissions in 2020 are forecast fall by 19% for coal, by 13% for petroleum, and by 2% for natural gas.

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