Daily News

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.

Striving to achieve its goals for carbon-free power, Xcel Energy’s resource plan finds that it will need more “dispatchable” generating capacity by 2030. Up to three fast-ramp gas power stations have to be added to balance Xcel’s plans of tripling its solar power production.

Volkswagen AG has tasked Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Europe (MHPS Europe) to replace two coal-fired blocks at its ‘Heizkraftwerk West’ CHP plant, with a gas-fired double power block. The new units will be built on a turnkey basis on VW’s automotive factory grounds in Wolfsburg, northern Germany.

ExxonMobil and Global Thermostat, an R&D firm, are testing an agile solution of soaking up carbon dioxide emissions from the air – notably from industrial facilities and power stations – at a pilot plant in California. Once economically viable, the solution could help meet the world’s climate goals.

Fossil fuel consumption keeps rising in the United States, largely due to higher natural gas use in the power sector and petroleum consumption for transport. According to EIA figures, gas demand rose in 8 of the past 10 years, surging by 37% since 2005. Thermal coal, in contrast, keeps losing market share and fell by 4.3% in 2018, the fifth consecutive annual decline.

GE Power was awarded the tender for supplying a variable speed drive system to Oman LNG as part of its debottlenecking project. Installation of new 18 MW two-pole motors and variable speed drives is set to increase Oman LNG’s overall production at project completion across three liquefaction trains.

J-Power USA Development has ordered two M501JAC power trains from Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) for the 1,298 MW Jackson Generation Project in Elwood, Illinois. The new combined-cycle gas power plant will also feature MHPS-TOMONI Very Low Load (VLL) technology which helps to balance intermittent renewable generation.

Economic recession and rising inflation has seen electricity demand in Argentina fall for nine consecutive months, down 2.1 % in June year-on-year, while gas demand for power generation stalls. Vaca Muerta, Argentina’s vast shale formation in the Nequina Basin, still attracts interest — but mostly for unconventional oil production.

Turbine inlet temperatures already exceed the melting points of turbine blade materials in modern facilities but researchers have come up with a novel approach to turn the heat even higher. Nekomimi film cooling, developed by Kawasaki and B&B Agema, allows to further increase temperatures at the combustor exit and high-pressure turbine stage inlet.

MAN Energy Solutions has commissioned three 14V51/60 gas and another three dual-fuel engines in a newly-built power plant on the North Mole in Gibraltar Harbor. Part of the waste heat from the engines will be used for regasifying liquified natural gas in the connected LNG terminal.

Too little available electricity supply strained the German power grid at several moments in June. Severe shortages in Germany on June 25 caused a drop in grid frequency throughout the European integrated grid. According to four German transmission system operators (TSOs), “the situation was very tense and could only be managed with the support of European partners.“

InterGen has started full commercial operations at its 300 MW Spalding extension gas power plant, situated next to the existing 880 MW Spalding power plant in the northeast of England. Built at a cost of £100 million ($126m), the open-cycle unit is backed by a 15-year capacity market contract.

Irish state-owned ESB has accumulated a pre-tax loss of £13 million in the past financial year on operating the 455 MW Coolkeeragh combined-cycle gas power station in Londonderry. Operating profits plunged 82% over the past three years to £4.4 million, with ESB blaming "significant increases in cost of sales for gas and carbon."

In early December, Gazprom will start supplying Russian gas to China via the ‘Power of Siberia’ pipeline. Pursuant to the $400 billion contract with CNPC, more than 1 trillion cubic meters (Tcf) of gas will be supplied over 30 year, Gazprom said, adding the aim is to build more interconnectors to China.

Pouakai NZ, part of the US infrastructure investor 8 Rivers Capital, is developing a clean hydrogen, fertiliser and power generation facility at a cost of up to $4 billion. The plant, designed to produce clean hydrogen for use in power generation and supercritical CO2 for enhanced oil recovery, is expected start operations by 2024.

News in Brief

Tohoku Electric tenders for LNG cargo

Aug 19 – Tohoku Electric Power, the fourth-largest electric utility in Japan in terms of revenue behind Tepco, Kepco and Chubu, is understood to be seeking an LNG cargo for delivery in September. A tender process is ongoing.

Cost for decarbonizing industry tops $21tr

Aug 16 – Total costs to fully decarbonize the four most polluting industries – cement, steel, ammonia and ethylene – are estimated to amount to $21 trillion between today and 2050. McKinsey said this could be lowered to about $11 trillion if zero-carbon electricity prices come down further compared to fossil fuel prices. In this event, industry could switch to using electricity for heating processes.

Co-firing Braskem plant with hydrogen

Aug 15 – Siemens is making fossil energy greener at the Braskem onsite power plant in Brazil. In this modernization project two SGT-600 gas turbines are co-fired up to 60% with hydrogen, enhancing efficiency for the production process of the adjacent the petrochemical complex.

Canada's CO2 tax to hit CCGTs

Aug 5 – Change in Canada’s carbon emissions tax regulation for new power plants has changed to also affect cleaner-burning, gas combined-cycle power stations starting from 2021. The move could significantly lower the profitability of gas generation and could prompt SaskPower reconsider its planned Moose Jaw gas power station.

GE CFO steps down

Aug 2 – Jamie S. Miller, General Electric’s chief financial officer, has decided to quit after two years in the job and 11 years with the company. Having overseen GE’s fiscal activities during a period of intense restructuring, Miller will remain in office while the GE board is looking for a successor.

Siemens HR boss quits

Aug 1 – Janina Kugel, Siemens chief HR officer, is leaving the company amid an apparently scattered working relationship and stark personal differences with CEO Joe Kaeser. Her contract will expire by mutual agreement on January 31, 2020.

ABB standardizes eBus chargers

July 31 – Zurich-based ABB, a member of the ASSURED consortium, is working on standardizing the specifications for automatic charging of heavy vehicles. The aim is to drive down the total cost of ownership for electric fleet operators, helping increase adoption of eBuses and eTrucks. Conformance and interoperability tests will be carried out in Q4-2019.

U.S. Senate helps fund EV charging stations

July 30 – The need for expanded electric vehicle charging infrastructure is greater than expected given that there had been over 1.75 million electric vehicles (EV) in North America at the end of 2018, a nearly 60% increase from the previous year. To help fund additional charging stations, among other things, the U.S. Senate approved the $287 billion America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA).

PNOC, Lloyds to develop merchant LNG-to-Power projects

July 29 – Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lloyds Energy to develop a 1,200 MW LNG-fuelled power plant in partnership with Mitsubishi. Dubai-based Lloyds Energy is looking at ways to develop integrated LNG import facilities and gas power plants on a merchant basis in Bataan and Batangas provinces.

Macquarie finances CCGT in Mexico

July 26 – Macquarie Capital has chosen Credit Agricole, Natixis and SMBC to co-finance a $380 million combined-cycle gas power plant. The 560 MW plant is designated to be built in San Louis Potosi, a city in central Mexico.

Naturgy cashes in on gas network

July 25 – Spanish gas utility Naturgy has posted a 7% rise in core earnings for the first half of the year due to strong gains from its gas network business that helped offset falling revenues from power generation and slimmer LNG margins.

French court rejects appeal against Total CCGT

July 24 – Judges at an appeal court in Nantes have thrown out an appeal by environmentalist against Total’s planned Landivisiau combined-cycle gas power plant in Brittany. The 440 MW project, initiated by Direct Energy which was since acquired by Total, is over two years behind schedule. The French grid operator RTE has singled out the Landivisiau CCGT as “critical” in guaranteeing supply security in winter 2020/21 due to the planned shutdown of four coal power plants.

U.S. gas production falls in wake of ‘Barry’

July 23 – Shut-ins related to Hurricane Barry have scaled back U.S. gas production by 1.6 billion cubic feet per day, compared to last week, while power sector gas demand rose by just over 2.0 bcf/d. Consequently, there is significantly less gas available for storage so the injection rate has halved, according to Energy Aspects figures.

Blackout after fire at Madison substation

July 22 – Electricity is gradually being restored at Madison, Wisconsin, after 13,000 people experience a blackout following an explosion at a substation near Madison Gas & Electric’s 100 MW gas-fired Blount Generating Station. No injuries were reported.

Fuel switch could abate 1.2bn tons of CO2

July 19 – Some 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 could be abated by switching to gas using existing infrastructure, if prices and regulation are supportive. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), this would be enough to bring global CO2 emissions back down to where they were in 2013.

IEA launches methane tracker

July 18 – A new ‘methane tracker’, launched by the International Energy Agency (IEA), provides up-to-date estimates of current oil and gas methane emissions by drawing on the best available data. Analysts stressed methane emissions could be reduced by nearly half at no net cost.

Canada’s CO2 tax also affects gas power

July 17 – Change in Canada’s carbon tax regulation for new power plants has changed to also affect cleaner-burning, gas combined-cycle power stations starting from 2021. The move could cause SaskPower to reconsider its planned upcoming Moose Jaw gas power station.