Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula will see diesel- and fuel-oil power plants converted to run on natural gas after state-owned utility CFE has secured over 300 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) in additional gas supply from Pemex by 2014.

The market for small scale generation in Asia Pacific is set to grow by 48% between 2013 and 2016 as increasing pressure on electricity grids spurs investment in localised gas and diesel-fired power solutions, according to Himoinsa, a Spanish manufacturer of reciprocating engines. "China, South Korea, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia are posting the highest demand for gas generators due to a huge lack of energy and rising per capita costs," Manuel Aguilera, sales support engineer for Himoinsa, told Gas to Power Journal.

Labour and the Green Party have criticised the central role of senior UK energy industry executives in shaping capacity mechanisms due to be launched as part of the Electricity Market Reform (EMR) but the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) described the knowledge and expertise of such secondees as "vital" to the policy making process.

Natural gas is the cheapest and most widely used fuel in Russia, exceeding 70% of the of fuel balance of thermal power producers in Russia. However, regulated prices distort the generating mix, GCE-Group president and CEO Aleksander Moskalenko warned regulated prices distort the market and pose a risk to security of energy supply.

Struggling to reign in losses in its Spanish home market Gas Natural Fenosa (GNF) has set out a strategy for post-2015 growth, focussing on midstream LNG, downstream gas distribution, and international electricity generation mainly in South America.

Unable to capitalize on a high level of coal-fired power plant outages, the utilisation of gas power plant assets in the U.S. fell 14% in October compared to last year due to lower electricity demand and higher supply of nuclear and renewable energy, a Genscape study finds.

Up to 30 gigawatts of Japan’s mothballed nuclear power plants are expected to restart in 2014, displacing demand for natural gas power. “The power companies have actually already applied to restart 12 reactors with a total capacity of 11.2 GW, and others will come up over the next year or two no doubt,“ says Niall Trimble, managing director of the Energy Contract Company.

A staggering 96% of 22-gigawatt (GW) of planned combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) projects in the UK have been cancelled or postponed as owners wait to see whether the economic and policy environment become "more favourable", according to Ernst & Young's 'Powering the UK 2013' report. The majority of gas-fired power in the country is deemed "increasingly un-economic to build and operate."

Turkey's current-account deficit is forecast to exceed $60 billion by year-end, propelled up by rising cost for energy imports. Keen to curb oil-indexed gas imports and reacting to a lack of spare capacity in import pipelines, the Turkish government is backing new nuclear power and incentivises the use of domestic lignite, instead of gas, as the fuel of choice for new power projects.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced plans to integrate a concentrating solar power (CSP) plant at the existing 500-megawatt (MW) Cosumnes gas-fired power plant in California with the aim to expand output by 10 MW. The project will be led by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and is part of the DOE's strategy to build a diverse range of hybrid energy systems.

A greater reliance on gas instead of coal as a fuel for power generation has helped to slowdown the increase in global carbon emissions to just 1.1% in 2012, a new report from the Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) shows. The findings, published as part of the organisation's "2013 Trends In Global CO2 Emissions" report, call the slowdown "remarkable" and singled out the changing energy mix in China and the U.S. are key factors for declining emission levels.

The case for state-level capacity regulation in the U.S was weakened this week following a ruling by the U.S. District Court of Maryland, as it rejected previous legislation that would have subsidised the construction of new natural gas-fired power plants.

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News in Brief

Orbital signs MSA with Midwestern utility

Dec 3 – Orbital Energy has signed a master service agreement (MSA) with a US Midwestern investor-owned utility. The accord is expected to generate monthly revenues from the fourth quarter and increase revenues by 30% on an annualised basis.

Wärtsilä to use Shell engine oils

Dec 2 – The Finish engine maker Wärsilä has selected Shell as its test oil partner for engines during stress tests and fine-tuning at engine manufacturing sites. Shell’s Mysella, Argina and Gadinia range of engine oils have been developed to provide top class engine cleanliness, enhanced wear protection, long oil life, and high system efficiency.

Hamburg CHP runs fully on hydrogen

Dec 1 – Field testing has started for HanseWerk’s combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Hamburg to run fully on hydrogen. The converted 1 MW pilot plant, powered by Jenbacher engines, provides district heating equal to 13,000 MWh/year to 30 residential buildings, a sports facility, a daycare center, and the Othmarschen Park leisure centre.

Oil majors in the red

Nov 30 – For most oil majors worldwide, higher prices are needed to get their business out of the red. Breakeven prices for Saudi Arabia are $85 per barrel, around $64/bbl for Iraq, $49/bbl for Kuwait and as little as $40/bbl for Russia. As business confidence plummets, major oil companies have already slashed planned CAPEX spending by almost $89 billion in first quarter of 2020, with further cuts being made throughout the summer and autumn.

EU invests into battery cells

Nov 27 – Germany's EU Council Presidency has pledged Europe should develop an integrated value creation chain for battery cells, starting with the processing of raw materials over battery cell production to recycling. Germany is investing 3 billion Euros into the two projects that foster novel methods of battery production.

Rolls-Royce wins order from Hinkley Point C

Nov 26 – Rolls-Royce has been awarded an order from Hinkley Point C to deliver 140 Bibloc pressure transmitters for the two EPR nuclear reactors currently under construction in Somerset, UK. The transmitters will measure the flow, level and pressure of the Nuclear Steam Supply System (NSSS).

CHP industry to grow 14.4% through 2025

Nov 25 – The combined heat and power (CHP) market, evaluated at $12.152 billion, is expected to expand nearly 14.4% per year to reach $27.196 million by 2025. Growth is primarily driven by government funding and subsidy schemes. According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, the country aims to install 40 GW of new, cost-effective CHP to save $10 billion per year, compared to current energy use.

Rolls-Royce opens US customer center

Nov 24 – Rolls-Royce has opened its latest US customer support center in Savannah, Gerogia. The 62,000 square feet facility houses a power plant completion center, a wing services repair unit and a warehouse, all under one roof.

Lithium Werks grows manufacturing

Nov 23 – US-Dutch manufacturer Lithium Werks is growing the output and sales fuel cells and battery modules for use as power, pulse, and stand-by applications. The company’s 26650 Nanophosphate cells are used as single cells, as well as to build cell-packs and modules like Lithium Werks P40-24 battery modules. The Austin and Enschede-based company said it can “produce millions of 18650 and 26650 cells a month in China.”

AGL plans 1,000 MWh battery

Nov 20 – Australian power producer and retailer ALG wants to realise a large grid-connected battery storage unit of up to 250 MW rated output and four hours’ duration of storage, equalling 1,000 MWh. The battery will be built in stages on the site of Torrens Island Power Station in South Australia. AGL vowed to reach net zero emissions by 2050, but is currently still operating some 40 GW of coal-fired generation.

Fusion demo plant to be designed in Canada

Nov 19 – Vancouver-based General Fusion has entered a partnership with the architecture firm AL_A to design a demonstration plant, based on magnetized target fusion (MTF). Once operational, the demo plant will showcase MTF technology under power plant-relevant conditions.

Toshiba opens H2One fuelling station

Nov 18 – Toshiba has opened the first ‘H2OneMulti Station’ which fills fuel cell vehicles with green hydrogen and supplies for green electricity at Tsuruga City in Fukui prefecture. The station consists of H2One ST Unit and H2One, using hydrogen produced from wind and solar power sources.

Shale gas market grows at 7% rate

Nov 17 – Unconventional gas markets are poised to grow by $41.76 billion through 2024, rising at a rate of almost 7%. According to Technavio, about 87% of the supply growth this year is coming from the Americas.

Agua Blanca pipeline expanded

Nov 16 – Austin-based WhiteWater Midstream and MPLX have completed a 1.8 billion cubic-feet-per-day (Bcf/d) expansion of their joint venture Agua Blanca pipeline system. Christer Rundlof, CEO of WhiteWater CEO, said the expansion will be brought into service ahead of schedule. Testing and commissioning will begin this month, for the new pipeline stretch to be brought into full service in early 2021.

Wärtsilä integrates clean energy

Nov 13 – Finish technology group Wärtsilä strives to integrate variable clean power sources to achieve a 100% renewable energy future. The necessary operational flexibility will come from gas generation assets running on synthetic renewable fuels and by the extended use of energy storage.

First German-Belgium power link to start operation

Nov 12 – The two TSOs Amprion and Elia are preparing to launch the first electric interconnector between Germany and Belgium. The 1,000 MW interconnector stretches between Aachen and Lüttich, from where it links to the Rhineland region and Wallonia. It will go into operation as of 18 November, with intraday capacities to begin trading on 8 December.

Sachsen Energie takes on E.ON and RWE

Nov 11 – A small regional energy provider in Saxony seeks to counter the dominance of E.ON and RWE. Sachsen Energie, set up in a merger between two local utilities, claims it will become "the largest municipal utility in eastern Germany," catering to about one million customers, when it begins operation in 2021.

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