Daily News

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has won an order from TransAlta Generation Partnership, a subsidiary of TransAlta Corporation, to supply two M501GAC gas turbines for the proposed Sundance 7 power generation facility in Alberta.

Transco, a key gas transmission pipeline in the U.S., is preparing to increase gas transport capacity to satisfy rising gas demand for power generation. "Power generation is the driver behind about a third of the volumes in proposed projects in development on our Transco pipeline," Alan Armstrong, chief executive of Williams Partners' said.

Southern has burned more natural gas than coal for power generation during the first quarter of this year as plunging gas prices due to abundant domestic supply makes gas the cheapest fossil fuel in the U.S.

Entso-E, the representative body of European TSOs, is criticizing the lack of investment in power grid expansions to support the massive increase of renewable capacity throughout Europe. Gas-fired power plants are widely used to backstop the intermittency of electricity produced by renewable energy sources.

The impact of today's strike at E.ON's gas- and coal-fired power plants in France is expected to be "minimal" and will not curtail electricity output as the German utility is not planning to operate the affected plants.

The focus in hot section coatings is shifting from temperature to time. "It's all about coating durability," Carol Crowe, aftermarket coatings discipline chief at Pratt & Whitney said today.

Alstom has developed a new nozzle design for gas turbines and is getting ready to put it to production. "We started to use them in production, now that we've solved an initial problem with nozzle life time," Sebastian Mihm, coating engineer at Alstom said today.

Robustness and increased thickness of thermal barrier coatings (TBC) of industrial gas turbines  is 'key' as the industry aims to ramp up firing temperatures and pressure ratio to boost turbine performance. "We need to spend more R&D money on TBC process robustness," Matthias Oechsner, professor for materials technology at the technical university of Darmstadt, Germany, told an industry forum in Nice today.

Danske Commodities has started to take on physical power generation assets by buying a 38 MW combined heat and power (CHP) plant outside Copenhagen from Dong Energy. The acquisition marks the first move  of the Danish energy trading house to get risk exposure to power generation assets. Other purchases may follow "if the price is right," Jakob Bendixen, head of power generation at Danske Commodities said. 

ABB has delivered in record time a Symphony plant automation system for a 500 MW supercritical unit at South Korea's largest thermal power plant in Boryeong. The speedy delivery enables the unit to start production 11 days ahead of schedule, ABB said today.

 A new gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant could be on the horizon for the Milford Haven waterway, South Hook LNG has confirmed. The news comes after the UK Government announced its backing for a major expansion in gas generated electricity to avert a looming gap in power generation capacity.

Siemens and the Nigerian company Scanpower have signed a technical partnership agreement for the construction of a 1,600 MW gas turbine power station at Lekki in Lagos state. The German engineering giant also announced it entered a strategic partnership with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Power to support the financing of power plant projects "on a case-by-case basis".

Electricity Supply Board (ESB), Ireland's premier utility, plans to spend £750 million (US$1,207 million) to build a new 1,500 MW gas fired power plant in Britain. Operational start of the plant is scheduled for 2018, an EBS spokesman confirmed today.

Saudi Aramco has commissioned International Power and GDF SUEZ (IPR-GDF Suez) to expand the Tihama power plant sites, located in Saudi Arabia, by 532 MW. Long-term offtake contracts through to 2026 have been signed for this expansion, the two companies said today.

February 2012 was an "outlier" in electricity consumption and should be considered as such, Societe Generale  analysts, led by Paolo Coghe and Thierry Bros, wrote in the Energy Pulse report issued today. The prolonged and record-breaking cold spell endured by Europe during the first half of February resulted in strong electricity  consumption – but just for the month itself.

News in Brief

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.

Ofgem expects green energy to cost more

Feb 4 – Britain’s energy regulator Ofgem has been seeking to incentivize investment in green energy. However, the watchdog’s new head, Johnathan Brearly, cautioned “more investment does mean higher cost.” Though investors’ returns could come down, technology improvements will reduce down capital costs further in the long run.

FES takes over 1.3 GW Pleasants Power Station

Feb 3 – FirstEnergy Solutions (FES), soon to be renamed Energy Harbor, has completed the ownership transfer of the Pleasants Power Station, a 1,300-MW thermal plant located in Pleasants County, West Virginia. FES took over the power unit from Allegheny Energy Supply Company.

Körte heads Siemens Strategy

Jan 31 – Peter Körte, aged 44, has been appointed the new head of Siemens’ Strategy Department, effective February 1, 2020. In his new role, he will develop Siemens’ strategies for digitalization and the Internet of Things (IoT) which are deemed “crucial growth drivers.”