Daily News

Importers of LNG to India strive to lower the per-unit-costs of natural gas to unlock the huge demand potential from fuel switching in the power sector. In eastern India, however, a severe lack of pipeline capacity hampers the distribution of regasified LNG, though works on the 2,655km Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga (PMGU) pipeline are due completed by year-end.

Transforming India to a “gas-based economy” has been President Narendra Modi’s vision for years but the country can ill afford subsidizing LNG imports to reduce fuel costs for power plants. Banks invested some Rs50,000 crores ($7.18bn) in these projects – many unable to repay their debt, leaving Indian public money at risk.

The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has signed an EPC contract for a new 100 MW/100 MWh energy storage project in South East Asia. The facility, including GEMS and the GridSolv solution, will be used for grid balancing purposes. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) committed to meeting 23 percent of its energy needs from renewables by 2025.

Singapore-based Delta Offshore Energy has been handed an investment permit to develop a $4 billion LNG-to-Power project in Vietnam’s southern province of Bac Lieu. Fuel for the 3,200 MW combined-cycle power plant will be shipped from the Magnolia LNG export plant in Louisiana, U.S.

The Argentine President Alberto Fernandez is preparing a bill to encourage more hydraulic fracking in the Vaca Muerta shale with a view to boosting domestic gas production for the power sector. Excess supply is sold via YPF’s small-scale liquefaction plant ‘Tango FLNG’ and plans for a larger, onshore LNG export plants are already in the making.

China’s hunger for gas surpasses initial estimates, hence Gazprom is evaluating a second interconnector in the Far East. With the launch of the landmark ‘Power of Siberia’ pipeline, Gazprom’s focus shifted to its Chinese offtaker CNPC who agreed to import 38 Bcm annually over the next 30 years, under a deal worth some $400 billion.

The German renewables energy surcharge (EEG) has swept a record payout into the coffers of wind, solar, biomass and hydropower producers. Proceeds totaled 27.5 billion Euros 2019, triple the amount paid in the previous year which sparked anger amongst end-users who have to pay the EEG surcharge with their electricity bills.

The Japanese trading house Marubeni has agreed to help transform the United Arab Emirates (UAE) into a “hydrogen-based society.” The aim is to use green hydrogen, produced from renewable energy, to help dent Abu Dhabi’s growing energy needs in a sustainable way.

Scaling up battery storage significantly to solely balance renewable power supply is not feasible, the London-based flexible power provider Statera said. Though Britain aspires to become carbon-neutral by 2050, the industry cautions this will prove impossible without gas gensets as backup.

In the first seven weeks of operation, Stadtwerke Kiel’s new gas-fuelled combined heat and power plant (CHP) has set “new standards in terms of flexibility, efficiency and sustainability,” the operator said. Powered by 20 Jenbacher J920 FleXtra gas engines, Kiel’s new coastal power plant provides 190 MW electricity and 192 MW thermal energy.

On-site power provider Cummins and researchers at the University of California (UC) San Diego are reusing and repurposing electric vehicle (EV) batteries for energy storage. The focus lies on lithium-ion batteries, which are currently recycled at a rate of less than 5% in the American market.

With plentiful supplies of cheap pipeline gas and LNG available, Europe in 2020 will once again become the ‘market of last resort.’ Record low prices at the Dutch TTF gas trading hub, last seen at $3.55 per MMBtu, incentivizes a significant step-up in coal-to-gas switching across northern Europe.

Utilities, particularly in China and Europe, are retrofitting their gas turbine with combustor enhancements to make assets more cost-effective. To support this market, Ansaldo Energia affiliate PSM developed a Low Emission Combustor (LEC-III) and new FlameSheet combustor retrofit for B, E and F-class gas turbines.

Energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States are forecast to continue falling year-on-year through 2021. Coal-to-gas switching in the power sector led to a 10.8 percent fall in emissions in 2020, after plunging 12.7 percent in 2019 due to record-low gas prices. However, EIA analysts say this rate will be less this year and in 2021, at 2.7 percent.

Utilities, trade unions and Germany’s federal and regional policy makers have agreed a landmark €40 billion deal to phase out all coal-fired power plants by 2038. The latest coal exit adds to the earlier agreed nuclear exit, under a scheme to compensate electric utilities, workers and coal-mining regions.

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.”