Daily News

Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables, has asked Wärtsilä to deliver 100 MW energy storage for projects in Oxford and Kent by the end of December 2020. The two lithium-ion batteries will be Pivot’s first units as it aims to own and operated up to 2 GW grid-connected energy storage in the UK.

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Tesla have been given regulatory approval to build a 182.5 MW/730 MWh clean energy storage system that could eventually be boosted to 1.1 GWh at Moss Landing, California. Construction of the facility, based on 268 Tesla Megapack lithium-ion batteries, is due for completion by the end of 2020.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has started to monitor the usage of peaking power plants and energy storage more closely. Capacity factors are in focus to measure how intensively a unit runs, dependent on electricity demand and fuel costs.

With U.S. election looming large in November, analysts say it is unlikely that President Trump will facilitate real breakthroughs on trade with China. Russia’s Gazprom might turn out to be the ‘laughing third’ as it ramps up deliveries to China through the 38 Bcm/y Power of Siberia pipeline.

The first battery-assisted black start of a GE 7F.03 gas turbine has been completed at Entergy’s Perryville Power Station in Louisiana. The battery was used to re-bout the idle 150 MW open-cycle power plant, without support from the grid.

The first LNG cargo from the Magnolia LNG project in Louisiana, U.S., is scheduled to arrive in May, or early June, at the $4 billion LNG-to-Power project in Bac Lieu in southern Vietnam. Singapore-based Delta Offshore Energy in late January was handed an investment permit to develop a 3,200 MW combined-cycle power plant with adjacent regas terminal.

Europe’s largest coal-fired power plant Drax has decided to stop burning coal at the Selby site as of March 2021, well in advance of the UK’s 2024 deadline. The operator said coal generation has been “challenging” amid falling power prices and rising fuel competition from cheap natural gas.

Developers of the Magnolia LNG project in Louisiana have contracted Siemens to add another mixed refrigeration compressor and associated Siemens SGT-750 gas turbine. The aim is to increase refrigeration power and boost liquefaction capability.

Summer spot gas prices at the Dutch TTF trading hub are likely to plunge towards €9/MWh as the coronavirus outbreak in China effectively keeps displacing LNG cargoes to Europe. At these record low fuel prices, gas power plants with just 57 percent efficiency would be “in the money” for peakload power generation in most of 2020.

The Russian gas giant Gazprom plans to order Russian-manufactured LNG-powered trucks to transport liquid helium from the Amur Gas Processing Plant, where Russian gas gets treated prior to being fed into the ‘Power of Siberia’ pipeline to China. The first 18 trucks will go on the road in 2021.

Falling technology costs, policy incentives and clean energy targets are poised to propel up energy storage deployment from currently about 4 GW annually to more than 15 GW in 2024, Wood Mackenzie forecasts. Manufacturers, developers and investors are consolidating as they compete for their slice of this burgeoning industry.

Terna, operator of Italy’s high-voltage power transmission grid, has awarded a 70 million Euros order to Ansaldo Energia and ABB to improve the quality of grid services. Ansaldo will design, supply and install three synchronous condensers, each rated 250 MVAR, in central and southern Italy in 2022.

News in Brief

Zhonghua’s profits halve

April 1 – Hong Kong-listed Zhonghua Gas Holdings has recorded a staggering 46.7% fall in profit, citing a lower margin for LNG supplies and reduced subsidies, although full-year revenue rose by 7.3%. In December, Zhonghua partnered with Shanghai Shenergy to supply LNG in the Yangtze River Delta region, and also has strong business relationships with Tractebel Engineering and Tianjin Jinre Heat-Supply Group.

Endesa donates $28m to fight coronavirus

March 31 – Endesa has created a 25 million euros ($27.8 million) fund to help fight the coronavirus pandemic in Spain. The Spanish utility, subsidiary of Enel, said the fund will be designated for purchases of protective equipment for health-care workers.

 

MAN develops liquid methane terminal in Swedish port

March 30 – OxGas has commissioned MAN Energy Solutions to act as ‘owners engineer’ to develop and build a liquefied methane-based fuels terminal in the Swedish Port of Oxelösund. The terminal will feed both LNG and green methane derived from bio gas to SSAB ’s local steel production, and to re-distribute it via train and trailers to other parts of Sweden for use in the steel industry and decentralized power generation.

American ISOs to delay grid investments

March 27 – North America’s independent system operators (ISO) are considering delaying investments in grid upgrades and enhancement as electricity demand weakens due to industry shutdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic. PJM Interconnection, the largest U.S. bulk power market which spans 13 Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states, revised its daily forecast of about 100,000 MW of load but actual demand came in at 95,500 MW.

Wärtsilä starts combustion trials using ammonia

March 26 – The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has initiated combustion trials using ammonia in an effort to reduce emissions. Based on initial results, the tests will be continued on both dual-fuel and spark-ignited gas engines, followed by field tests in collaboration with ship owners from 2022, and potentially also with energy customers.

Xodus sees growth in cable services

March 25 – Xodus Group has stepped up services related to subsea power cables over the last twelve months. The number of new consulting assignments grew by more than 50%, resulting in more than 70 active work streams that are handled by more 30 permanent staff.

Electricity “more indispensible than ever”

March 24 – Disruptions caused by the coronavirus crisis lay bare how much modern societies rely on electricity, according to the International Energy Agency (IAE). Millions of people are mandated to stay home, causing a surge in teleworking, e-commerce and video streaming which pushes up domestic electricity use.

U.S. frackers cut Capex

March 23 – Sharp cuts in capital spending among Appalachian gas producers are now being replicated in other U.S. basis, with Energy Aspects anticipating the deepest impact on production and earnings to take place starting from the second half of 2020. So far, E&P companies just hedged 52% of this year’s expected production even though some Appalachian producers are seen “lock in some pure gas volumes at prices above the curve.”

EV makers face bankrupcy

March 20 – Electric vehicles (EVs) remain particularly exposed to the corona effect of supply-side constraints and demand erosion. Gigafactory facilities are likely to be delayed and fledging EV manufacturers could face bankruptcy, Wood Mackenzie warns. On the flip side, declines in EV sector demand may be gains for the stationary energy storage segment.

Manufacturing rebounds in Asia

March 19 – Asian-dominant supply chains for solar and energy storage are gradually rebounding after contractions in February. Moving forward, Wood Mackenzie expects near-term development activity and local logistics in leading European and North American markets will outweigh lingering supply issues.

Italy’s gas demand plunges

March 18 – Corona-struck Italy has seen demand for natural gas plunge 8% from the previous week, with similar declines likely in other EU countries as national governments impose lockdowns to contain the virus. Industrial demand is “particularly volatile,” while gas generators will bear the brunt of demand loss, Wood Mackenzie says, as a carbon price decline is bolstering thermal coal.

Nexif raises funds for Rayong CHP

March 17 – Nexif Energy, a joint venture between Singapore-based Nexif and Denham Capital, has raised project financing for the Rayong gas-fired cogeneration project in Thailand. The 92 MW plant is being developed project with Ratch Group, based on 25-year power purchase agreement with Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).

ADB provides $10m loan for Afghan IPP

March 16 – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide $10 million in debt financing for a gas-fired power unit in Mazari Sharif with a capacity of nearly 60 MW. Phase-1 of the Independent Power Project (IPP) will get another $10 million loan from the Leading Asia's Private Sector Infrastructure Fund (LEAP).

IEA models 50% Carbon-Free Generation

March 13 – Analysts at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) have drawn up the 50% Carbon-Free Generation case - assuming a stark shift in state-level policies. In this event, the U.S. would have 19% more nuclear power generation, 10% more wind power and 17% more solar PV contribution than in its Annual Energy Outlook 2020 (AEO2020) reference case.

E-charging market to top $15bn by 2030

March 12 – By 2030, the U.S. market for energy-optimisation in support of charging electric-vehicles could be worth $15 billion per year, McKinsey finds. The consultancy expects high demand for home-charging appliances as residential power tariffs are comparatively cheap and most charging can happen overnight when off-peak electricity prices are lower.

Oversupply builds up

March 10 – Energy Aspects’ end-March forecast has added on another 100+ billion cubic feet of natural gas supply while demand remains subdued. In the U.S., the seasonal decline in heating degree days nearly halved the natural gas withdrawal rate. Gas-burn in the power sector and residential/commercial demand are forecast to fall by 1.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) and 4.0 bcf/d, respectively.

Small-scale LNG cuts cost for power plants

March 10 – Decentralized gas power plants in remote locations can source cheaper fuel from small-scale LNG regas terminals than from trucking the super-chilled gas across long distances. “Trucking LNG further inland would entail additional costs as well as logistical challenges,” IEA analysts noted. For example, a 100 MW baseload power plant would require, on average, around 20 daily deliveries from tanker trucks.