Markets

Germany's third largest utility EnBW today reported a 26.3% drop in revenue 1.97 billion euros for its power generation and trading segment in the first half of 2010. EnBW was hit by the forced shut-down of two nuclear reactors last year as part of the German nuclear phase out.

Electricity consumption in Germany has dropped 1.4% to 261.5 TWh in the first half of 2012, mainly due to reduced demand from power-intensive industries such as steel production, preliminary data published by energy industry association BDEW shows.

Electricity generated from UK gas-fired plants has plunged to its lowest level in 15 years in April as a result of high gas prices, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) said on Thursday. Gas demand for power generation decreased by 16.7 percent, reducing the share of gas in the UK's energy mix to 40 percent, down from 46 percent last year.

The European Commission today revealed further detail on three options for a set-aside of carbon allowances, which could lift the price of carbon by up to €6/ton, according to estimates of Thomson Reuters Point Carbon. Higher carbon prices would help lift the profit margin (spark spread) of gas-fired power plants.

The spot price of natural gas at the Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) Zone 4 Marcellus trading point has fallen below the spot price at Henry Hub in Louisiana. TGP Zone 4 is currently the least expensive gas traded in North America, according to EIA figures.

Electricity produced from nuclear and fossil fuels in the U.S. will start to decline between 2020 and 2025, due to an expansion in renewable generation. "Natural gas represents the largest source of displaced generation," the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts.

Spanish utilizes have spoken out against a proposed 4 per cent tax levy on most energy sources, claiming the taxes would erase profits.

E.on UK has refuted claims made in a parliamentary report on Monday that the introduction of Contract for Differences (CfDs) will reduce competition amongst British energy companies.

"Contrary to the Committee's view, we believe that the introduction of CfD's and a Capacity Mechanism will reduce vertical integration and increase competition in both generation and retailing," E.on UK's chief executive, Tony Cocker, said today.

The price of carbon emissions allowances is set to recover this week, Société Générale forecast, suggesting the Dec 12 EUA  contract is "very close to being oversold". As for gas, the bank sees more downside for prices all along the future curve.

Turkey's electricity consumption saw an 11.3% year-on-year increase to 20.0 terrawatt hours (TWh) in June, data released by the Turkish statistical institute shows. The county's energy consumption almost doubled over the past ten years.

French investment bank Societe Generale has revised down its 2013 gas price estimate as it expects a rising supply of already contracted Russian gas volumes amid tepid demand in Europe to weigh on gas prices. The bank recommends selling the NBP Summer 13 contract.

Gas generating capacity in the U.S. has surged by 96% over the past twelve years period starting from 2000, as historically low gas prices increase the utilization rates of combined cycle plants at the expense of coal-fired units.

EPEX SPOT and EEX, the French and German partner bourses, are calling for a Europe-wide instead of a national design of future power markets with a view to incentivise investment and accommodate the growing share of renewable.

Centrica's North American subsidiary, Direct Energy, has agreed to buy two New York-based power retailer Energetix and NYSEG Solutions for US$110 million (£71 million) in cash, plus additional working capital.

French investment bank Société Générale has revised down its gas and electricity forecast for the financial year 2012, prompted by a 2.7% year-on-year drop in gas demand in the first half of this year.

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News in Brief

Blackout after Didcot demolition

Aug 21 – Yet another blackout hit thousands of British households early Sunday after the demolition of cooling towers at the disused Didcot-A power station in Oxfordshire. Moments after the explosion at 7am to bring down the cooling towers some nearby electricity poles and overhead transmission lines caught fire, causing a sudden loss of electricity that lasted for one hour and twenty minutes.

Fuel cell vehicle market gathers speed

Aug 20 – Sales revenue from fuel cell vehicles will soar to $255.2 billion in 2032, up from just $400 million last year, driven by fast growth in China and wider Asia. Hydrogen fuel cells achieve an energy conversion efficiency of 50% to 60% amid zero emissions and a low maintenance cost thanks to the engine’s modular design.

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.