Daily News

Prices for Australian thermal coal remain on a downward trajectory amid oversupplied global markets and tepid demand – not least due to Europe’s rapidly falling coal-fired power production. In Asian markets, lower coal imports from South Korea and Taiwan adds further to the supply overhang, Morgan Stanley Research finds.

Three days ahead of the UK General Election on December 12, the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has pledged the Labour Party would kick-start the process of re-nationalizing Britain’s power and water companies within the first 100 days upon assuming office. Several UK utilities have already moved part of their ownership offshore to protect their assets.

Göteborg Energi and Siemens will jointly test new turbines that enables the use of renewables fuels at the Rya combined heat and power (CHP) plant, which is currently powered by natural gas. As a first step, an SGT-800 test turbine was installed at the plant to validate 3D-printed burners that can run on various fossil-free fuels.

Temperatures fell below freezing in 75 percent of the United States during a record cold-snap in early November, propelling up prices for both natural gas and electricity. In northeast Pennsylvania, gas prices at the Tetco M3 hub in surged from less than $2.00/MMBtu to $5.11/MMBtu while prices at Chicago Citygate hub in the MISO market zone reached $3.00/MMBtu.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has completed a shipment of J-Series Air Cooled (JAC) gas turbines to Thailand where they will be used in two combined-cycle gas power stations on the outskirts of Bangkok. The two CCGTs, with a combined output of 5,300 MW, are being developed by Thailand’s largest IPP Gulf Energy Development and Mitsui & Co.

Electricity prices have fallen in the course of Germany's Energiewende while taxes and levies increased substantially. Cheap renewable electricity floods the market, benefiting mainly large and energy-intensive industrial companies because many can source their electricity at wholesale prices.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is urging national governments to impose more stringent policies to raise energy efficiency. The rate of improvement slowed for the third year in a row, leaving it well below the 3% minimum that the IEA deems vital to global energy and climate goals.

MAN Energy Solutions and Orcan Energy agreed to collaborate on waste heat recovery. PACK technology, developed by Oran, uses waste heat from the engine to increase efficiency and reduce emissions. The solution is now available to all of MAN’s customers for retrofitting their engines.

Virginia-based AES Corporation has completed the steam purity run – one of the final commission phases of its Huntington Beach Energy Project (HBEP). With the initial turbine run well underway, AES said it plans to fully start up the unit in late January, or early February 2020.

Canada’s natural gas production is forecast to surge 30% through 2040, allowing for gas and renewables to displace coal in the power sector in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. In its long-term energy outlook, the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) also sees the energy use per capita fall over 15% by 2040, limiting growth in fossil fuel use to less than 1%.

Bayat Power-1 – Afghanistan’s first gas power project in four decades – has been commissioned, with the first of three Siemens SGT-A45 turbines now fully operational. Once all three turbines are up and running, the plant will generate more than 200 MW of electricity.

Analysts at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) see an ongoing rush among utilities to retire coal power units, particularly those with high running costs and low operating flexibility. By the end of the next decade, the EIA projects almost 90 Gigawatt (GW) of coal-fired capacity will be shut down before the end of their lifetime.

ExxonMobil and Global Thermostat have developped an agile solution of soaking up carbon dioxide emissions from the air – notably from industrial facilities and power stations. Test runs are currently underway at a pilot plant at SRI International, an R&D facility in California. The data collected there will help ExxonMobil evaluate possibilities to scale up the application.

Rolls-Royce and Lab1886, an innovation lab within the Mercedes-Benz group, have joint forces to test the use of vehicle fuel cells for stationary power supply. The aim is to develop an MTU solution for sustainable off-grid generation.

French network operator GTRgaz says it sees “no supply problems” for the upcoming winter thanks to high storage levels and better ways to balance France’s new single market place, called Trading Region France (TRF). As of early November 2019, the volume of natural gas in storage stood at a record 129 terawatt hours (TWh).

News in Brief

Wärtsilä wins contract in Barbados

Jan 24 – Barbados Light & Power Company Ltd (BLPC) has contracted Wärtsilä to fast-track the supply of a 33 MW flexible power plant, as an EPC project. The plant, set to run on four Wärtsilä-32 engines, will be built at a site adjacent to BLPC’s 10 MW solar photovoltaic plant at Trents, St. Lucy, located on the northwestern coast of Barbados.

Azito power plant takes FID

Jan 23 – Globeleq and IPS have reached financial close on a 253 MW expansion of the Azito gas-fired power plant near Abidjan. An MXL3 upgrade will boost the capacity of the combined-cycle plant from 460 MW currently to 713 MW, equaling about 30 percent Ivory Coast’s total capacity installed.

Climate risks become urgent

Jan 22 – Adaptation to climate change is now “urgent,” McKinsey claims, suggesting there would be “many adaptation opportunities.” Climate science shows that the risk from further warming can only be stopped by achieving zero net greenhouse gas emissions through renewable built-out and energy storage.

India’s electricity demand may triple, IEA finds

Jan 21 – Energy demand in India is set to double by 2040, and its electricity demand may triple, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Oil consumption in India is seen grow faster than that of any other major economy, making energy security a key priority, the IEA said in its first in-depth review of India’s energy policies. Amid strong growth, renewables now account for almost 23 percent of India’s installed capacity, while energy efficiency improvements helped avoid 15 percent of India’s additional energy demand, oil and gas imports, and air pollution.

Regulators approve CCGT in Wisconsin

Jan 20 – State regulators have approved a permit for Dairyland Power Cooperative to build a $700 million combined-cycle gas power plant in northwestern Wisconsin. The Nemadji Trail Energy Center will produce 625 MW and is scheduled to begin operations by 2025.

ExxonMobil enhances turbine oils

Jan 17 – New high performance turbine oils, developed by ExxonMobil Lubricants, are  entering the market which are formulated to prevent build-up of lacquer, varnish and deposits. The oils are designed to protect against thermal and oxidative degradation, one of the root causes of deposit build-up.

Wärtsilä signs O&M deals in the Bahamas

Jan 16 – Following the commissioning of a Wärtsilä-built 132 MW power plant in Bahamas in December, the Finish manufacturer now signed a two-year operation and maintenance (O&M) accord with the plant owner, the Bahamas Power and Light Company (BPL). Wärtsilä will transition, train, and develop the owner’s Bahamian work force and provide key performance guarantees.

China, S'Korea curtail coal to tackle air pollution

Jan 15 – Beijing city government’s aggressive approach to tackling air pollution is working and South Korea’s spring coal-fired curtailments show some success in cutting seasonal emissions. According to Wood Mackenzie, this should benefit LNG, particularly while spot prices remain low.

Sri Lanka at brink of power shortages

Jan 14 – Sri Lanka could face power cuts by March, after plans for a large-scale coal power plant were been cancelled just prior to start of construction, and a tender for a 300 MW diesel plants ended up in court. On the demand side, pressure is building up as the region is moving into the dry season in February and March. Weather warnings say the island is likely to receive lower than average rainfall in the first quarter of 2020.

Caterpillar’s new genset comply with UK & German grid codes

Jan 13 – Caterpillar Inc. has launched a series of new generator sets that comply with the new G99 United Kingdom, VDE-AR-N 4110 German and Belgium C10/C11 grid codes. The following gensets – G3500H, CG132B, CG170, and CG260 (rated from 280-4,500kVA) – have been verified to be able to accommodate different reactive power modes, active power functions, and connection conditions for normal operation or reconnection after mains decoupling.

Transneft launches battery-based power supply for ILI tools

Jan 10 – Transneft Diascan, the largest Russian inspection service provider for pipelines, has developed and put into operation a power supply system for in-line inspection (ILI) tools based on rechargeable batteries. Flaw detectors performing inspections of trunk oil pipelines, gas pipelines and oil product pipelines can now use the energy from rechargeable batteries, which helps save time and reduces the cost of in-line inspection.

Pavilion starts trading LNG out of Madrid

Jan 9 – Singapore-based Pavilion Energy has completed the acquisition of all gas and LNG assets of the Spanish utility Iberdrola. From its new European headquarters in Madrid, Pavilion said has launched 2020 LNG trading operations with supplies focusing on Spain and the UK market.

Gazprom extends gas transits via Belarus until 2021

Jan 8 – Gazprom and Gazprom Transgaz Belarus have sealed additional agreements to extend the contracts for gas supplies to and gas transportation across Belarus until 2021. According to the newly-signed documents, the contractual supply and transit volumes in 2020 will remain at the level of 2019.

EastMed pipeline to take FID by 2022

Jan 7 – Greece, Cyprus and Israel have signed an agreement to build the 1,900-kilometre EastMed pipeline at an estimated cost of 6 billion Euros. The subsea pipeline, spanning over 1,900-kilometres would initially carry 10 Bcm of gas per annum from Israeli and Cypriot waters to Crete and then on to the Greek mainland and into the European gas network via Italy. A final investment decision (FID) is meant to be reached in 2022, given that the pipeline is scheduled for completion by 2025.

U.S. energy-related emissions drop over 2%

Jan 6 – Fewer emissions from coal consumption, combined with lower energy demand, have helped to significantly reduce the overall energy-related carbon emissions in the United States. According to government statistics, energy-related CO2 emissions fell 2.2 percent last year, and the downward trend is forecast to continue into 2020.

Brent crude prices surge

Jan 3 – North Sea Brent crude prices have risen to their highest level since September 2019, up nearly $3 per barrel because of Middle East tensions coupled with improved Chinese economic forecasts. Brent crude futures for March 2020 delivery were last seen trading at 69.21 per barrel the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). This bullish price sentiment will feed through to oil-indexed natural gas contracts and LNG deliveries, linked to the Japanese crude cocktail (JCC) basket price.

IEA says coal’s fate tied to Asia

Dec 23 – Rapid rise of wind and solar power in many parts of the world has pushed coal-fired power generation into steep decline in most developed countries. "But this is not the end of coal, since demand continues to expand in Asia," analysts at the International Energy Agency commented: "The region’s share of global coal power generation has climbed from just over 20 percent in 1990 to almost 80 percent in 2019, meaning coal’s fate is increasingly tied to decisions made in Asian capitals."