Markets

Germany’s largest utility Uniper strives to fast-track permitting and construction of a floating storage and regas unit (FSRU) in Brunsbüttel to importLNG from Australia, among others.To that end, Uniper agreed with Woodside Energy Trading Singapore to import 0.5 mtpa initially from 2023, which will be increased to 1 mtpa by 2025.

Germany's expansion of renewable energy sources will be unable to keep up with future demand growth, leading the country to miss its renewable targets in its 2030 power generation mix, say researchers from the Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne (EWI).

Keen to maximize China’s domestic oil and gas production and streamline imports, the government in Beijing’s is taking steps to bundle all onshore trunk pipelines owned by PetroChina, Sinopec Group and CNOOC into one single transmission system operator (TSO). Wood Mackenzie reckons China’s new state TSO could be worth up to $105 billion and is likely to lead to higher end-user energy prices.

Strong economic growth in Asia and other non-OECD countries is forecast to push up the world’s energy consumption by nearly 50 percent over the next three decades. According to the U.S. government projections, industry accounts for most of the energy demand growth and is expected to reach about 315 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) globally by 2050.

Engas, the Spanish gas transmission system operator, has recorded an 80 percent rise in gas demand in the year just past, reaching 111 TWh. Coal-to-gas fuel switch in the power sector was the main cause of the “extraordinarily high demand,” along with higher industrial consumption, Enagas said, pushing up Spain's total 2019 gas demand to 398 TWh.

Smart electrically-driven heating is a “valuable field in which to invest”, Delta-ee says with reference to over 30 million units of electrically-driven heating units across Europe. In the UK, new business models provide heat-as-a-service, helping the customer avoid buying natural gas or wood pallets to fuel heating appliances by simply purchasing the heat, and comfort that comes with it.

Four of Japan’s nine currently operational nuclear power plants face shutdowns in 2020 as the country’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) is enforcing stricter anti-terrorism measures at nuclear facilities. Analysts expect this will trigger a rise LNG or thermal coal imports.

Heads of state in Russia and Germany have reacted angrily to sanctions imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump against building Nord Stream 2, the second 55 Bcm/year pipeline leg of the Baltic Sea interconnector. The sanctions target in particular the Swiss-Dutch pipe-laying firm AllSeas, which suspended works in anticipation.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has made it easier to access and use information by launching a State Energy Portal. When visualizing data for one state, users can add other states, regional, or weather data to make quick comparisons. They can also filter by data frequency, time period, geographic location, energy source, and sector.

For new gas pipelines, timing is everything. This especially applies to the new 38 Bcm/y ‘Power of Siberia (PoS)’ link that will elevate China to become Gazprom’s second largest export market. However, analysts say  considering the cost of transporting Russian pipeline gas over thousands of miles towards Beijing and Shanghai, it is unlikely that CNPC will want to quickly ramp up PoS gas supply at the expense of imported LNG.

Sales of electric vehicles in Germany have jumped 49 percent, with over 97,000 electric cars sold in the months up to December. Consumers increasingly embrace e-cars – not least as a means to shield against Berlin’s latest hike of the entry-level price for CO2 emissions in the transport sector, which has just been raised to 25 Euros per tonne from 2021.

Southern California Gas Company’s (SoCalGas) has managed to improve its gas supply flexibility going into December, just before demand will peak in the latter half of the month. Working gas inventory currently stands at 74.4 billion cubic feet (Bcf), and though that’s similar to last winter SoCalGas stressed it enhanced withdrawal volumes and speed from its large Aliso Canyon storage.

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News in Brief

Statkraft, GE enhance GB grid stability

July 10 – Statkraft and GE Power Conversion are working together to stabilise Britain’s power grid. To that end, GE will manufacture and install two Rotating Stabiliser synchronous machines at Statkraft’s site in Keith, Moray. Statkraft was awarded four stability contracts (two at Keith and two at Lister Drive) by National Grid ESO (NGESO) earlier this year.

Siemens Energy spin-off approved

July 9 – A large majority of Siemens shareholders have voted to approve the spin-off of the company’s energy business. The spin-off was approved by 99.36 percent of capital stock represented at today’s extraordinary shareholders’ meeting.

Central Hudson links solar farms to VPP

July 9 – Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp has established its distributed generation program within the broader context of New York State’s energy plan. Together with Sensus and their Remote Telemetry Module (RTM-III), the Central Hudson will monitor decentralized solar PV backed up by flexible gas gensets.

Siemens and GREEN Solar turn German town CO2-free

July 8 – GREEN Solar and Siemens Energy are jointly developing a concept for making Herzogenrath CO2-free. The plan is to provide an energy-efficient and economical combination of solar power plants, wind turbines, batteries, CHP and combined cycle power plants, as well as heat and hydrogen storage. The hybrid system will be built on the grounds of Nivelsteiner Sandwerke and will be large enough to cover the city’s entire energy demand with zero CO2 emissions by 2030.

Denmark paves the way for Nord Stream 2

July 7– Denmark on late Monday gave the Nord Stream 2 consortium permission to utilize pipe-laying vessels with anchors in Danish waters, paving the way for the Gazprom-led consortium to complete the interconnector. Construction of the 1,230-kilometre pipeline is nearly complete, except for a final stretch of about 120-kilometers in Danish waters. The project was halted in December when the Swiss-Dutch pipe-laying company Allseas suspended works over threats of U.S. sanctions.

EPRI tests early warning system

July 6– The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is conducting trial tests with multiple utilities across the United States of an early warning system. It can detect an off-gassing event as a precursor to thermal runaway up to 30 minutes prior to a cascading failure. This gives plant operators time to mitigate the problem or shut down the system.

KKR buys stake in First Gen

July 3 – Valorous Asia Holdings, owned by KKR investment funds, has bought a 11.9% stake in First Gen through a voluntary tender offer. First Gen, one of the Philippines’ largest independent power producers with 3,492 MW installed capacity, is owned by First Philippine Holdings which is controlled by the Lopez family. KKR’s acquisition of the First Gen stake is worth nearly $192.3 million.

Gazprom’s ‘BBB’ rating affirmed

July 2 – S&P Global Ratings, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings have affirmed Gazprom's long-term credit ratings as part of their annual reviews. The ‘BBB’ ratings for Gazprom from S&P and Fitch are in line with the sovereign credit rating of the Russian Federation, while Moody's ‘Baa2’ rating is a notch higher.

MHIEC to refurbish WtE plant in Kushiro

July 1 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Environmental & Chemical Engineering Co (MHIEC) has received an order from the Kushiro Wide-Area Federation to repair and improve the core equipment at the local Waste-to-Energy plant in Takayama. The WtE plant has a capacity of 240 tonnes per day (tpd). Renovation will increase the energy efficiency of the fluidized bed type gasification and ash melting furnace facility, reducing emissions by around 15% annually. Works are due completed in September 2023.

Nigeria: Only two of six power projects on target

June 30 – Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises has disclosed that only two out of six privatized power plants were delivered on target. Only Transcorp Power Ltd and Geregu Power Ltd out of the six privatised electricity generation companies (GENCOs) were said to have met their performance targets since taking over.

German investors prefer solar over wind

June 29 – Energy infrastructure investors are keen to build solar power projects in Germany, but shun wind parks. In the latest solar power auction, investors offered to build almost 450 MW of capacity – more than four times the 96 MW of volume on offer– with the average successful bid at 5.27 cents per kilowatt-hour (ct/kWh). The wind auction, in contrast, was undersubscribed: The German network agency  (BNetzA) tendered around 826 MW, but successful bids only totalled 464 MW, at an average price of 6.14 ct/KWh.

MAN ventures into synthetic fuels

June 26 – MAN Energy Solutions has entered the hydrogen economy with the recent pro rata acquisition of H-TEC SYSTEMS, an electrolysis tech firm. The German OEM also committed itself to upgrading its gas turbines to run on 100% hydrogen by 2030.

Varegro starts using Cummins gas genset

June 25 – Belgian-based horticultural company Varegro, has started to use a Cummins HSK78G gas generator to power its greenhouses in Oostrozebeke, West Flanders. Varegro said it selected the Cummins HSK78G genset to produce combined heat and power (CHP) on its premises at a competitive cost for use in energy-intensive greenhouse facilities.

GE names Deloitte as independent auditor

June 24 – GE’s audit committee has selected Deloitte as the company’s independent auditor for the 2021 fiscal year, replacing KPMG. The selection of Deloitte concludes GE’s latest audit tender process.

Northern German states push for hydrogen pilot cluster

June 23 – Northern German states are pushing for greater hydrogen use with a pilot project cluster. Some 12 large demonstration plants for the production and use of green hydrogen are meant to be realised in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The aim is to demonstrate how 75% of CO2 emissions can be saved in the region by 2035.

Wärtsilä to design and equip battery-powered ferries

June 22– The Finish engine maker Wärtsilä has been awarded a contract to design and equip two new zero-emissions ferries on behalf of the Norwegian operator Boreal Sjö. For each ferry Wärtsilä will supply the thruster motors, batteries, onboard and shore-based battery charging equipment, the back-up generators, and various electrical systems. The equipment is scheduled for delivery to the yard in early 2021 for the ships to start commercial operations in autumn 2021.

Subsidy cut slashes Chinese wind turbine margins

June 19 – China’s wind turbine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) could have their gross profit margins halved due to subsidy cuts, Wood Mackenzie forecasts. Commissioned onshore wind power capacity is expected to drop by more than 16% to 19 gigawatts (GW) from 2020 to 2021 as government subsidies were terminated. This could also lead to a 27% drop in turbine prices over the next five years, slashing OEMs’ gross profit margins by half.

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