Markets

Global energy majors should take action to help governments promote the use of LNG and clean energy sources to meet national carbon emission targets, says Woodside Petroleum CEO Peter Coleman. Implementing carbon pricing internationally, in his view, would be “the most effective mechanism” to reduce emissions.

China’s powerful National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has decided to reduce city-gate natural gas prices and trans-provincial gas pipeline tariffs starting from April. Electricity tariffs for industrial and commercial users are also being slashed, said the state-planner who just cut VAT rates for several key industries.

Utilities in the United States implement more and more demand-side management programs to help customers save energy and reduce peak power demand. The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) allows demand-response aggregators to participate in reserve markets, which reduces close to 4% of annual peak energy demand.

New-built gas power stations and weather-related factors have led to 3.8 Bcf/d increase in domestic natural gas demand in the United States, pushing up the country’s total gas use by 10% to total of 82.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2018, according to EIA’s recently released Natural Gas Monthly.

Florida Power & Light (FLP), a principal subsidiary of NextEra Energy, is advancing plans to build the world’s largest solar-powered battery energy storage system that will replace two fossil power units due for retirement. The future FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center will have 409 MW of capacity when it begins serving customers in late 2021.

Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the Mexican oil and gas company, says its 2% month-on-month rise in its natural gas production is aimed at reducing the country’s dependency on pipeline gas and LNG imports from the United States. It consequently strives to intensify fracking at its new Ixachi find in the state of Veracruz.

Growth in global energy demand picks up speed, up 2.3% last year, its fastest pace this decade. Demand for all fuel types grew but fossil fuels still cover about 70% of incremental growth. According to IEA data, natural gas “emerges as the fuel of choice” accounting for 45% of the rise in energy consumption amid strong demand in the U.S. and China.

IGas Energy, an independent UK shale oil and gas exploration company, expects “extremely positive prospects” for developing the country’s shale resources as a preferred alternative to importing pipeline gas or LNG. Demand for natural gas is bound to rise, IGas CEO Stephen Bowler said, suggesting “gas will be the transition fuel in Britain as we move to a cleaner energy future.”

Despite closures, electricity supply from U.S. nuclear power plants has hit a record high in 2018, surpassing its previous peak. By 2025, however, the EIA expects U.S. nuclear capacity to fall by 10.5 GW due to the closing of twelve reactors. Much of this lost capacity will be replaced with flexible gas power plants and renewable energy.

MAN Energy Solutions has agreed to buy a 40% stake in the Lübeck-based electrolysis technology and hydrogen specialist H-TEC SYSTEMS for an undisclosed price. The contact also makes provisions for a complete takeover of H-TEC SYSTEMS at a later date.

Security of European natural gas supply is coming under threat as around 100 billion cubic metres (bcm) of long-term contracts expire by 2025, domestic production declines and consumption increases as coal and nuclear power plants are being retired. IEA analysts say the EU needs to secure additional imports – either pipeline gas or LNG – to meet up to one-third of its consumption.

Ansaldo Energia and China United Gas Turbine Company (UGTC) have signed technology collaboration agreement in the field of heavy duty gas turbines. The cooperation is meant to help UGTC to complete its goal of developing China’s proprietary technology to manufacture gas turbines independently.

Seeking to streamline Siemens AG, chief executive Joe Kaeser is actively considering various options including the sale of the company’s large gas turbine business. Talks are being held with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) about a partial sale of the division or a joint venture, but no final decision has been taken.

Seeking to secure attractively-priced LNG for its power plant fleet, Thailand’s state-run Electricity Generating Authority (EGAT) has announced it will hold a bidding round in May and June. To qualify, interested bidders need to register by April 18. EGAT will then shortlist participants for the first auction in early May.

Renewable generation in the United States has nearly doubled over the past ten years, reaching a new record of 742 million MWh of electricity, or 17.9% of the total U.S. power supply. Amid a steep drop in construction costs, the contribution of wind and solar surged to nearly 90% installed renewable capacity, and the IEA anticipates more capacity additions in the near-term future.

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News in Brief

Smart grid market to top $70bn by 2027

April 24 – The global Smart Grid Market is expected to reach around $70 billion, growing at an annual rate of 15.56% in the coming years through to 2027.North America is forecast to see the largest revenue growth, according to ResearchNester, while Europe also shows promising growth in smart grids due to high awareness for decentralized power generation, battery storage and conserving energy.

China eases ban on coal power

April 23 – The Chinese National Energy Administration (NEA) has allowed 11 provinces to resume building coal power plants in a move that lies bare the country’s dependency on thermal coal even after several hundred billion dollars were invested cleaner energy sources, notable wind, solar and natural gas. Areas earmarked by NEA for new coal power plants include Qinghai, Chongqing, Guangxi, Guangdong, Yunnan, Guizhou and Henan.

$500m Birdsboro plant gets powered up

April 17 – Birdsboro Power, a subsidiary of EmberClear of Canada, is in the process of commissioning the $500 million Birdsboro open-cycle gas power plant. Built on a site of the former Amourcast steel foundry, and driven by a GE 7H02 turbine, the new power unit will generate about $500,000 in revenue for the Reading Area Water Authority and another $125,000 city of Reading, Pennsylvania. All electricity will be supplied into PJM Interconnection, the power grid operator in the U.S. Northeast.

Gas now dominant fossil fuel in Europe

April 17 – Rising cost of carbon emissions and closures of coal power stations throughout Europe have led to gas-fired generation overtaking the output of other fossil fuels for the first time. According to EnAppSys figures, gas power plants in the EU produced 117 TWh of electricity in the first quarter of 2019, compared with a combined 110.9 TWh from coal, lignite and gas-to-coal plants.

ABB, Porsche co-develop electric vehicle chargers

April 16 – ABB and Porsche have agreed to develop electric vehicle chargers for Porsche Japan’s new electric vehicles, including Tayan – the carmakers’ first fully electric car due to be launched in 2020. Under the deal, Porsche will install ABB chargers at its public facilities across Japan, creating a network of fast-charging stations for its electric vehicles. The first installation is set to go live in mid-2020.

Power gen from biomass flatlines

April 15 – Increases of U.S. electricity generation from biomass have stopped after a decade of growth. Power produced from biomass totaled 70.6 million megawatthours (MWh) in 2018, or about 2% of total U.S. electricity generation, according to EIA figures. Having grown from 2004 through 2014, and the 2018 output was 2% below its peak generation of 71.7 million MWh.

Aeroderivative GT market to top $3.5bn by 2024

April 12 – The global market for aeroderivative gas turbines is seen grow at a 7% rate to surpass $3.5 billion by 2024. A main growth driver, according to Global Markets Insight, will be the rising adoption of small-scale turbine-driven cogeneration plant and the trend towards decentralized energy supply.

Lumenaza creates regional green power grids

April 11 – Utility-in-a-box software, developed by Lumenaza, creates a regional green power grid by connecting producers and consumers of locally produced wind and solar energy. The system monitors renewable power output, balances supply and demand, and can help organize the billing process. Pilot projects have been implemented with two of Germany’s big utilities, E.ON and EnBW as well as with various smaller players.

MHPS licenses H-25 turbine production to Chinese manufacturer

April 10 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has agreed to license production technology for its H-25 series gas turbines to the Chinese manufacturer CSIC Longjiang GH Gas Turbine Co. The agreement will establish a small local supply chain which helps expands MHPS’ share in the Chinese market, the Japan-based company stated. So far, MHPS received five orders for H-25 Series gas turbines, or nine units in total, from Chinese power plant developers.

SIEW 2019 to focus on energy transformation

April 9 – “Accelerating Energy Transformation” will be the theme for the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) 2019. This theme has been chosen by the Energy Market Authority (EMA) of Singapore to address mounting challenges in Asia over meeting climate change commitments against a backdrop of continuously rising energy demand.

ENGIE launches 1st mini-grid in Zambia

April 8 – The French utility ENGIE has inaugurated its first PowerCorner – an off-grid renewable energy solution – in the Zambian village of Chitandika. Located in the East of Zambia, Chitandika counts 1500 inhabitants who previously had no access to electricity.

Global gas engine market to reach $4.4 billion by 2020

April 5 – Over the next five years, the global gas turbine market is forecast to grow 11.1% annually in terms of revenue, reaching a market size of $24,100 million by 2024, up from $14,300 million in 2019. Market-leading companies include: GE, Siemens, Ansaldo Energia, MAN Energy Solutions, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems and Shanghai Electric Group.

EDAC, Siemens seek ‘industrial app’ for 3D-printing

April 4 – Siemens is intensifying its cooperation with the EDAG Group, an independent engineering company for the automotive industry, to promote industrial applications of additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing. The companies’ joint "NextGenerationSpaceframe 2.0" project is on show at the Hannover Messe this week.

ABB electrifies Lodi campus of Milan University

April 3 – The Swiss manufacturer ABB will ensure smarter, safer and more reliable electricity supply for students at the Milan University’s new campus in Lodi. Covering an area of 20,000 square meters, the campus has installed ABB’s UniSec switchgear and main distribution switchboard solution, System pro E power.

Chevron launches $90m Fund VII

April 2 – Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV) has set up Fund VII, a new $90 million fund focused on venture capital investment across the energy industry. Investments target early- to mid-stage companies as well as limited partnership funds with the aim of supporting breakthrough technologies that have the potential to improve Chevron’s oil and gas business performance.

Siemens to implement VW Industrial Cloud

April 1 – The German carmaker Volkswagen has chosen Siemens as integration partner for the VW Industrial Cloud. Based on Siemens’ MindSphere system, the VW Industrial Cloud will link production systems, machinery and equipment of various manufacturers at the 122 Volkswagen manufacturing plants worldwide. The resulting data transparency and analysis is meant to enhance productivity at the sites.

Marubeni, 4R Energy to deploy large refurbished batteries

March 29 – Marubeni Corp and 4R Energy, along with SIGNET EV have achieved a Proof of Concept (PoC) using 4RE’slarge refurbished batteries for the development of the world’s first mass-productional EV charger in Namie-machi, Fukushima-Prefecture. The installation, with an output of more than 50kW, helps the community reduce electricity demand from the central power grid, which saves costs.