Daily News

Intelligent use of drones in the electric power sector can help utilities enhance the operational safety of their assets. Routine inspections of boilers, wind turbine blades and power transmission lines can be made cost-effectively by an unmanned drone – without putting workers at risk.

High-voltage direct current (HVDC) lines play a vital role in integrating renewable energy into the electric grid. Considering their cost effectiveness and lower electricity losses, HVDC lines could – if properly configured – help mitigate some operational issues associated with renewable generation.

Eager to develop proprietary gas turbine technology, State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) of China has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Siemens to explore a technology cooperation. The aim of SPIC is to boost its heavy duty gas turbine programme.

Taking bold steps to curb air pollution, China’s State Council has extended the reach of the three-year 'blue sky defence' action plan to cities in Shanxi, Shaanxi and Henan provinces. The target area now includes ‘2+26’ cities and prioritizes switching from coal to gas for winter heating and power generation, as well as renewables. Accelerating air pollution now affects a region with 37% of China's population and contributes to 41% of the GDP.

Peak power demand in ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, can barely be met with installed capacity as reserve margins are less than 11%. This is not enough to meet peak summer demand, the North American Electric Reliability Corp (NERC) finds, considering that reserve margins in PJM Interconnection (PJM) are substantially higher at about 33%.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co (PG&E), together with Texas-based Vistra Energy, have sought regulatory approval to install a 300-MW/1,200-MWh battery storage facility at Moss Landing in California. The project is part of a wider PG&E venture, comprising four projects with a total capacity of 567.5 MW – all due for commissioning before end-2020.

Alan Finkel, Australia’s chief scientist, has highlighted the country’s potential to become a world leader in energy storage, including renewable hydrogen. Large-scale deployment of energy storage, however, requires a smarter electricity grid and mechanisms to empower consumers to manage their costs.

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has joined forces with Énergir, a Canadian gas utility, along with French utilities GRDF and GRTgaz, focusing on research into clean energy sources. Targeted innovations include renewable natural gas, solar-powered hydrogen generation, fuel cells, power-to-gas and energy storage.

Alleviating power shortages in Myanmar, the Finish technology group Wärtsilä will provide equipment for a new gas power plant. The 145 MW facility, to be driven by eight Wärtsilä 50SG engines, is under construction on a fast-track basis and scheduled to be operational in the first quarter of 2019.

Natural gas, coal and petroleum account for at least 80% of energy consumption in the United States, even though the share of fossil fuels has fallen to the lowest level since 1902. Fossil fuel consumption in the U.S. dropped for the third consecutive year, according to EIA data, driven by slight decreases in coal and gas use in the power sector.

EGEMAC, Egypt’s largest original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of medium-voltage equipment, has asked ABB to supply several thousand medium-voltage air insulated indoor switch-disconnectors. ABB’s devices will help improve grid performance and ensure stable supply to almost 50 million users of electricity.

July has started with early and intense heat in the United States, which coincides with a new high in natural gas production. However, consumption from the power sector is soaking up any additional supply, as cooling demand skyrockets and a slate of new combined-cycle generators (CCGTs) have begun operation. Cash prices at Henry Hub are nearing the critical $3/mmbtu price threshold.

Researchers from Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) and B&B Agema have been looking at a novel design approach – Nekomimi film cooling – to further increase temperatures at the combustor exit and high-pressure turbine stage inlet. The aim is to boost efficiency without putting too much strain on vanes and blades, considering that modern turbine stage inlet temperatures exceed the melting points of turbine blade materials.

Today’s start-up of Shah Deniz Phase Two is a milestone for Azerbaijan and the BP-led consortium: a complex megaproject delivered on schedule and under budget. Around $28 billion was spent to produce the gas and transport it to the Georgia-Turkey border for onward shipment to Europe via the Southern Gas Corridor. In WoodMackenzie's view, “Azerbaijan's offshore still has plenty of volume and value to offer to international investors, most notably BP.”

Urban agglomerations, often called mega-cities, will make up more than 90% of the growth in global gas consumption through 2040, according to research by Snam, the International Gas Union (IGU) and the Boston Consulting Group. This transition will require infrastructure investment of between $35-55 billion per year, as clean-air policies in Asia and beyond herald a steep rise of gas use for power generation.

News in Brief

Sparrow gets permit to work in Saudi Arabia

Aug 13 – Sparrows Group, a specialist equipment maker and integrated engineering services providers, has been granted commercial registration to operate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The commercial registration allows Sparrows Saudi Arabia LLC, a newly established entity in Dammam, to deliver services related to the extraction of oil and natural gas

Puerto Rico electricity sales almost back to normal

Aug 9 – Electricity sales on the island of Puerto Rico, part of U.S. territory, has returned to pre-hurricane levels as of April and May 2018 after the longest blackout in American history. However, residential electricity sales appear to continue to lag historical levels, reflecting some continued outages, EIA data shows. As of April 2018, around 95% of Puerto Rico’s electricity customers had restored power, while about 62,000 customers remained without power.

India’s solar PV market slumps

Aug 8 – India’s market for solar photovoltaic is forecast to experience negative growth this year after the Ministry of Finance imposed a safeguard duty on solar cells and modules for a period of two years, starting on 30th July 2018. The move exacerbates the effect of a slowdown in the China market, Wood Mackenzie commented.

Shell expects electricity to become “biggest game in town”

Aug 3 – By 2050, power consumption is expected to outstrip demand for Shell’s core business of oil and gas. The company’s most recent Future Energy scenarios foresees oil and gas demand to peak in the next 50 years, while reliance on electricity is expected grow from around 20% of energy consumption to closer to 50% by midcentury.

ADB funds power lines in Bangladesh

Aug 2 – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved an assistance package of more than $357 million for a project to develop two power lines in Bangladesh. The grid extension supports Bangladesh’s national target of reaching electricity for all citizens by 2021.

Tadmax to develop CCGT in Selangor

Aug 1 – Malaysia-based Tadmax Resources has signed an accord with Worldwide Holdings to develop a combined-cycle gas power plant with up to 1,200 MW in Pulau Indah, Selagor. The deal comes as Worldwide seeks to acquire a 30% stake in Tadmax. Technical partner for the CCGT project is Korean Electric Power Corp.

Renewables hit new record

July 31 – Germany's electricity supply from renewables reached a record high in the first half of 2018, catering for an unprecedented 41.5 % of the country's electricity supply. A total of 113 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity was generated by all renewable technologies, mainly consisting of biomass, wind and solar energy.

Dominion aims to add 3GW renewables by 2020

July 30 – Striving to add 3 GW of solar and wind capacity in the next two years, Dominion Energy has has filed its first set of the plans under Grid Transformation & Security Act (GTSA) to the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) for the approval. Dominion VP Ed Baine said the GTSA legislation, effective from 1 July, would provide a roadmap for Virginia’s energy future.

GE to develop critical infrastructure in Lagos

July 27 – GE and the Lagos State Government have agreed to pool their resources for the development of critical infrastructure in the state in the areas of Power, Healthcare and Skills Development. This was announced during the signing of a Support and Cooperation Agreement by both parties during the France-Nigeria Business Forum held in Lagos.

Orbital Insight teams up with Energy Aspects

July 26 –Orbital Insight and Energy Aspects have teamed up, striving to transform how energy data is used for investing. The two research firms will integrate geospatial analytics, based on artificial intelligence and machine learning, with energy analysis with a view to giving customers unprecedented global oil storage level data.

Cost for US wind generation down 33%

July 25 – Capacity-weighted cost of wind installations in the United States have declined by one-third thanks to improving technology and manufacturing capability and a concentration of new-builds in the best-suited regions. Installation costs fell from $2,361 per kilowatt (kW) in 2010 to currently less than $1,587/kW, based on analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy’s office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy(DOE/EERE).

Iran’s NISOC prepares tender

July 24 – National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC) has announced plans to hold an international tender to purchase parts for G.E.C gas turbine. NISOC seeks to buy parts of the turbine type Centaur.

Chart reports full-year sales at $1.2bn

July 23 – U.S. equipment manufacturer Chart Industries has reported a 34% rise second-quarter sales, with the order volumes amounting to $360.3 million. “Strength in Asian orders was driven by packaged gas applications as well as respiratory and cryobiological product lines,” Charts said when posting the results.

ABB spends $30m on transformer factory in Sweden

July 20 – ABB is investing more than $30 million in a new manufacturing unit, under construction in Ludvika, Sweden. The new unit will increase production, expanding the capacity and the range of its high-voltage dry bushings offering.

Wärtsilä’s order intake up 14%

July 19 – The Finish equipment manufacturer Wärtsilä has seen its order increase 15% to €1,553 million in the second quarter, while net sales fell 4% to €1,246 million. Looking at the full year 2018, Wärtsilä said its Services and Solutions business will “improve somewhat from the previous year.” Good demand prospects are on the cards for Energy Solutions, as the global shift towards renewables and rising electricity demand in the emerging markets support the need for distributed power capacity.

NRG abandons Dunkirk coal-to-gas conversion project

July 18 – Shying away from having to pay $114 million in re-interconnection costs, NRG Energy has shelved plans to repower and convert its mothballed Dunkirk power plant in western New York from coal to natural gas. The company said in a statement that it has withdrawn its request to have New York ISO interconnect the Chautauqua County generating facility with the power grid.

Akwa Ibom, BlackRhino sign $1.6bn power deal

July 17 – BlackRhino, operator of the Qua Iboe Power Plant (QIPP), has agreed with the Akwa Ibom State Government to build a power plant and electricity transmission lines in the state. QIPP’s management  committed an investment of $1.1 billion for the facility, with an additional $500 million for gas.