The British government is in talks with the French energy giant EDF on value-for-money and affordability of the £20 billion Sizewell C nuclear power plant in Suffolk. Should the 3.2 GW project get approval, despite falling costs for offshore wind, it could substantially reduce dispatch of gas power units.

In California, gas peaking plants are vital to balance fluctuations in electricity demand with daily cycles in solar-powered generation. While output from solar PV tends to peak and then plateau from midday, electricity demand is often the highest in the early evening.

Nine shale gas producers in the US Appalachian Basin have spent half a billion dollars more during Q3-2020 on drilling and new projects than they earned. According to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), eight of these nine fracking companies cut Capex substantially but still incurred losses.

In a trading update today, Rolls-Royce said it will carry out at least £1 billion of cash cost mitigations before year-end and is on track to deliver its targeted £1.3 billion cost savings by 2022. The Power System end market is recovering from a drastic fall in demand, supported by China’s swift recovery.

DNV GL’s 2020 Energy Transition Outlook forecasts global electricity demand will more than double from 26 PWh/yr today to 56 PWh/yr in 2050. Progressive electrification will make industrial and transport sectors, that previously used various energy carriers, increasingly compete for the same sources of renewable energy.

Rapid renewables build-out makes California subject to rising volumes of intermittent electricity, hence peak demand is covered by thermal power from Arizona and Utah. California’s net imports were the largest in the U.S. last year at 70.8 million MWh, or 25% of the state’s total supply.

‘Dirty king coal’ is losing out on cost not only to natural gas but also increasingly to solar power. Based on solar PV’s “extremely competitive costs,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) expects solar-derived power will become the “new king” of world electricity markets, overtaking gas.

British utility ContourGlobal enters the US energy market by acquiring gas power plants in Texas and New Mexico as part of an $837 million deal. ContourGlobal said it was buying the assets, including a 1,502 MW combined-cycle plant in Trinidad, from Western Generation Partners on a debt and cash-free basis.

Electricity from gas-fired generation has increased throughout the United States over the past five years. Gas-burn surged 31% in the Northeast, by 20% in the Central region, and by 17% in the South but remained flat in California and the Northwest, where renewables gained ground.

Japanese and Korean investors need to reassess the financial risk of gas-fired power projects in the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland (PJM) system, where wind and solar gain competitiveness against natural gas. Analysts say Japan’s exposure to such projects in PJM amounts to several billion U.S. dollars, and several plants face delays.

The German government has set up an ‘International Power-to-X (PtX) Hub Berlin’ as a platform for dialogue between industrial companies and researchers. Hot and arid regions in Australia, Morocco and potentially Congo could be used by local partners to produce solar-based hydrogen for export.

South Africa’s state utility Eskom needs to reconfigure its fleet given that 10,000 MW of thermal capacity will retire by 2030. Bhavtik Vallabhjee, Head of Power Utilities at Absa Bank pointed out a renewables rollout would still be cheaper than retrofitting ageing coal power plants to clean coal units.

Page 14 of 240

News in Brief

Growth in turbine air filtration tops 3%

July 22 – The turbine air filtration market is expected to grow 3.27% annually from $1.92 billion in 2020 to reach $2.29 billion in 2026. Demand from the oil & gas industry and electric utilities had plunged during the corona crisis and subsequent economic downturn, but the latest trend towards clean energy is driving robust growth for turbine air filtration which can be widely and easily applied in the power sector.

US oil exports stay high

July 21 – Despite volatile prices, U.S. crude oil exports reached a record high in 2020 and remained strong this year, averaging 3.51 million barrels per day (b/d). Expanded ports at Houston and Corpus Christi allow for oil to be exported from the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Basin.

CVEC to be converted to hydrogen

July 20 – Cricket Valley Energy Center (CVEC) is taking steps to run the  combined-cycle plants on hydrogen. Works to convert the plant will be carried out by GE and are scheduled to start in late 2022. One of three GE 7F.05 gas turbines at CVEC will be introduced to a 5% hydrogen blend with natural gas.

MAN ETES labelled solar impulse efficient

July 16 – MAN Electro-Thermal Energy Storage (ETES) was attributed the “Solar Impulse Efficient Solution” label by independent auditors. In January, the German manufacturer supplied to ETES heat pumps to DIN Forsyning for a heat and power plant in the Danish port city Esbjerg.

Electricity sales to US industry rebounds

July 14 – Economic recovery has caused a 5.1% rise electricity sales to US industry this year, dwarfing 2.8% more retail sales and a 2.1% rise in the commercial sector as many office workers continue working from home. The US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) acting administrator, Steve Nalley, called the rebound in electricity sales to industry a “strong sign of rising levels of economic output as the Covid-19 pandemic recedes.”

Solar PV to triple in Asia by 2030

July 13 – Asia Pacific solar photovoltaic capacity could triple to 1,500 gigawatts (GW) by 2030. According to Wood Mackenzie estimates, China will add 619 GW of mainly utility-scale capacity while most other nations in Asia prefers distributed solar due to land constraints. Solar PV tends to be backed up by flexible gas gensets and energy storage, forming hybrid power units.

Kinder Morgan closes on Stagecoach assets

July 12 – US energy infrastructure major Kinder Morgan has closed its acquisition of Stagecoach Gas Services. The deal include 4 gas storage facilities with a 41 bcf working gas capacity and a transmission network with multiple interconnects to major interstate pipelines, including Tennessee Gas Pipeline. The Stagecoach assets add to Kinder Morgan’s approximately 83,000 miles of pipelines and 144 terminals.

Dortmund cancels electrotechnik fair

July 9 – The elektrotechnik fair, planned for 29 September to 1 October 2021, will now not be taking place in Dortmund due to requests from the industry. The next trade fair for building, industrial, energy and lighting technology will now open its doors again in spring 2023.

Hitachi to change name of ABB Power Grids

July 7 – Hitachi ABB Power Grids will become Hitachi Energy in October. The Japanese manufacturer bought a controlling stake in ABB’s grid business a year ago and is about to fully take the name of the merged company while expanding its direction towards e-mobility and data centres.

Tapping wind energy for hydrogen

July 6 – Spanish utility Naturgy and the gas grid operator Enagás are evaluating the use of 350 MW offshore and onshore wind capacity to produce green hydrogen. The fuel will be used to decarbonise the steel industry and shipyard in northwest Spain.

EU seeks to expand Green Deal to Africa

July 5 – The European Green Deal should be expanded to also include African states as partners, the German development minister Gerd Müller said. Green hydrogen production in Africa, in his view, should be a “cornerstone for economic cooperation with the Europe.”

Decom Engineering updates PCR

July 2 – Northern Ireland-based Decom Engineering has invested more than £700,000 to develop tools for repurposing and clean decommissioning of energy infrastructure. Through updated Pipe Coating Removal (PCR) equipment, decommissioned or surplus pipelines can be cleaned of multiple coatings, so they can be repurposed for used on other projects.

Cummins buys half of Momentum Fuels

July 1 – Cummins has signed a letter of intent to acquire a 50% equity interest in Momentum Fuel Technologies from Rush Enterprises. The transaction is expected to close before year-end, and the combined venture will produce Cummins-branded natural gas fuel delivery systems for the commercial vehicle market in North America.

Gazprom evaluates cost of grey hydrogen

June 30 – Scientific studies by Gazprom and the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) seek to solve technical challenges in producing grey hydrogen through steam reforming in the most cost-efficient way, as well as transporting the fuel to end-users. The findings of the studies will be factored into Gazprom's sustainable development scenarios up to 2050.

Redox about to overtake Li-ion batteries

June 28 – Li-ion batteries have dominated the energy storage field, but are expected to lose their leading role in stationary applications. According to IDTechEx findings, Redox flow batteries are gaining traction and are likely to overtake the installed Li-ion battery energy capacity before the end of 2030.

B&W proceeds with waste-to-energy projects

June 25 – Babcock & Wilcox’s (B&W) renewable segment has received limited notice to proceed for a waste-to-energy project in Europe as it finalizes terms for a $24 million contract with the customer. Ohio-based B&W said it looks to capitalize on an estimated addressable market of more than $7 billion in Europe over the next three years.

Japan’s gas-burn on the rise

June 24 – LNG imports for power generation in Japan have rebounded with steady volumes from the Middle East and Australia and higher cargo numbers from Russia and the US, though LNG deliveries were outpaced by thermal coal shipments. The May 2021 LNG shipments amounted to 4.95 million tonnes, or around 73 cargoes, a 8.2% rise on volumes received in May 2020, according to trade figures by the Japanese finance ministry.

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