Power generation companies have built fewer power plants in the US during the first six months of 2012. New-build capacity dropped by 927 MW as operators realised 54 plant units less than in the first half of 2011, according to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Facing up what it calls the "Red Tap Challenge", the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced it will scrap unnecessary regulation with the aim of stipulating 100 billion pounds of investment in the electricity sector.
Spot-price elements in long-term gas purchase contracts (LTCs) are required for new gas power projects to ensure enough gas is supplied at a sufficiently low price. "Since the end of 2008, the price level of supply contracts for [gas fired power plants] has often been above the level required for a commercially attractive use in power generation," Uli Brunner, energy expert, PA Consulting Group told Gas to Power Journal.
Footprint Power LLC has officially completed its acquisition of the Salem Harbor Power Station from Dominion Energy Inc. for an undisclosed sum. New Jersey-based Footprint Power plans to demolish the 61-year old coal plant and build a new gas-fired plant on the same site.
Swiss power and automation group ABB has won a $40 million order from Al Toukhi Group, a Saudi engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company, to supply high-voltage gas-insulated switchgear to a expand power grid capacity in Saudi Arabia.
The profit margin of gas-fired power plants in Germany has dropped to a 4-year low, as the clean spark spread for baseload 2013 delivery has plunged to minus Eur8/MWh at the end of last week. Utilities can only operate their gas plants profitably for generating power for higher priced peak load hours between 8am and 8pm local time.
The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is facing further cuts in gas supply from the Reliance-operated Krishna-Godavari basin which will reduce gas-to-power generation by another 400-700 MW, exacerbating the energy shortage in the region.
The price advantage of US LNG exported to Europe over gas prices at the UK National Balancing Point (NBP) is seen to drop to "virtually nil" over the 2016-2020 period. The lack of a price discount means that "US LNG exports cannot directly displace gas into Europe, but could free up flexible LNG supplies which otherwise would have been imported into Asia," analyst Michael Lewis said in a report today.
French-Belgian utility GDF Suez is planning to mothball a total of 1.6 GW of fossil – mainly gas-fired – generation capacity in the period in this and the coming year, Jean Francois Cirelli, the company's vice chairman and president said.
While the Indian government is blaming the federal states for causing the blackout by overdrawing electricity from the grid, Wartsila India told Gas to Power Journal that "to remedy, if not prevent future crippling power cuts" the creation of decentralized, reserve power is of paramount importance.
"This is one thing we have to work on in right earnest," Rakesh Sarin, Managing Director of Wartsila India said.
India's power ministry has appointed an expert committee to investigate the reasons for the massive grid failure that affected 600 million people, nearly half of the country's total population on Tuesday, July 31, across all northern states. The new power minister, Veerappa Moily, who took charge late yesterday, declared that the grid is now functioning normally.