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Demand from Chinese and US energy companies will spur an expansion of the global stream condenser market for thermal power plants to $3.3 billion by 2020.

Natural gas will ascent to become a leading power source in Texas, competing with and complementing the inherently intermittent renewable energy supply, a Brattle Group study shows.

The share of coal in Germany's power generation mix has risen to 52 percent in the first-half of this year amid a drop in output from gas-fired power plants and wind turbines, research organization Fraunhofer Institute (ISE) said.

Shale gas developments in the UK, given their projected timing and modest production volumes, "in no way changes the critical and pressing nature of UK energy policies" and won't affect gas pricing to help promote peak-load power plant projects, says Howard Rogers, Director of the Natural Gas Programme at the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies (OIES).

Reacting to a "rapid structural change in the energy sector", the German utility EnBW has decided to shut-down four fossil power plants with a combined capacity of 668MW. It will furthermore mothball steam plant RDK-4 as the plant is "hardly being utilised and is consequently unable to cover its full costs".

A bomb attack on the Sinai pipeline near the Egyptian city of El Arish has interrupted the flow of gas to the state-owned Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC), forcing it to switch from natural gas to heavy fuel oil for power generation. The pipeline blast affects gas supply to Egypt's power producers and industry, negatively impacting EEHC's profit margins, which in turn has the potential to impact export to Israel and Jordan. 

Four of Japan's 10 main regional utilities today applied for permission to restart 10 nuclear reactors in a move set to curtail LNG imports for gas-to-power generation and reduce electricity prices.

US coal receiving markets like the Netherlands and China are expected use more coal for power generation. Imports of US coal around the world increased 14 percent in the first quarter of 2013, driven by low global coal prices as US power producers prefer to utilise the abundant domestic shale gas production, data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows.

The second attempt to fix the European Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) proved successful, as Parliament on Wednesday voted in favour of the Commission's proposal to postpone, or "backload", the release of 900m allowances the third phase of the ETS (2013-2020).

Western European electricity producers will benefit from the unification of the European Electricity Market by 2020, a report by GBI Research has predicted. Expanding cross-border electricity trade has implications for renewables-dependancy, in countires like Germany, where it can help to backstop intermittent renewable power supply.

Nationwide investment in gas-fired capacity in Australia has surged 54 percent over the past decade, driven by an expanding upstream sector. Though coal still dominates the energy mix, gas is rapidly gaining market share and is forecast to account for 36 percent of power supply, up from currently 20 percent, according to projections of Australia's Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE).

Electricity generated from wind, solar, hydro and other renewable sources worldwide will surmount that from natural gas and be twice that from nuclear by 2016, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast its second annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report (MTRMR).

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News in Brief

BelGAS launches new pressure regulator

May 29 – BelGAS has introduced its new P1098 High-Capacity Pressure Reducing Regulator, a large-volume regulator for natural gas, propane and other fuels. The pilot-operated device has a large-area actuator diaphragm, allowing for fast and accurate response to modulating gas flow conditions. It is adaptable for low to extra-high pressure—up to 400 psi main valve inlet.

GE to sell lightning business

May 28 – GE has signed a definitive agreement to sell its lighting business to Savant Systems, a provider of smart homes. CEO H. Lawrence Culp called the divestment “an important step in the transformation of GE into a more focused industrial company.” The transaction is expected to close in mid-2020.

China’s fuel demand recovers

May 27 – The Chinese government has lifted restrictions on private travel since April which pushed up demand for transport fuels. Gasoline demand has recovered particularly fast and is expected to return to last year’s levels by June 2020. Wood Mackenzie estimates gasoline consumption to reach 3.4 million barrels per day (b/d) in the second quarter, down just a 0.8% year on year. Diesel or gasoil demand is expected to reach 3.4 million b/d in Q2 2020, a 3% decline year-on-year. Overall, China’s oil demand is seen rise a “modest” 13.6 million bpd, or 2.3%, in the second half of 2020.

Wärtsilä to retrofit CHP in Spain

May 26 – The Finish engine maker Wärtsilä has bagged an order to supply and install a 34SG gas-fuelled engine generating set for Rofeica Energia's combined heat and power plant in Barcelona, Spain. The installation of the gas engine will allow Rofeica to switch the CHP from heavy fuel oil to gas-fuelled operation, reducing emissions.

New York body rejects William’s plans for gas pipeline expansion

May 21 – New York’s and New Jersey’s state bodies for environmental conservation have rejected Williams’ plans for the Northeast Supply Enhancement project, designed to transport 400 million cubic feet per day of gas from Pennsylvania to New York. The state bodies had already denied wetland permits in 2019, but Williams pipeline subsidiary Transco filed another application with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), arguing firm services under the project were agreed with UK’s National Grid for customers in New York City districts of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island.

UK inflation at 4-year low amid falling energy costs

May 20 – The rate of inflation in the UK has fallen to a four-year low as the pandemic pushed down global oil and fuel prices which translate into lower wholesale power prices. The consumer price index fell to an annual rate of 0.8% in April, down from 1.5% in March, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Deficit grows in German green energy fund

May 19 – German regional grid operator TransnetBW has warned of a growing shortfall in the country’s fund for green energy sources, financed under the so-called renewable energy (EEG) levy. TransnetBW, the TSO in southwest Germany, said “due to the EEG cost allocations defined for 2020, we anticipate there will be a negative year end bank account balance in the high three-digit million euro range for 2020.”

Spanish gas companies ‘resilient’

May 18 – Spain’s regulated gas companies “should prove to be resilient” to external shocks arising from coronavirus containment measures, Standard & Poor’s analysis finds, calculating with an average drop in EBITBA at less than 3% in 2020. A new remuneration framework for 2021-2026, recently enacted by the Spanish government, provides enhanced visibility rated grid operators amid the pandemic.

German electricity prices second highest in EU

May 15 – Taxes and the renewable energy surcharge have pushed up Germany’s household electricity prices to the second highest level in Europe, topped only by prices in Denmark. While Danish households paid 29.2 Euros per 100 kWh on average in the second half of 2019, prices in Germany averaged 28.7 Euros, according to the EU statistics office Eurostat.

Calpine’s Q1 earnings fall

May 14 – Calpine, America’s largest generator of electricity from gas and geothermal, has reported a net income of $128 million for the first quarter of 2020, down from $175 million in the prior year period. Lower commodity margins and unfavourable change in income taxes were partially offset by earnings from hedge positions for the three month ending March 31.

Siemens to supply hybrid plant in the Philippines

May 13 – Berkley Energy has contracted Siemens Energy to build a hybrid power project on the island of Mindoro in the Philippines. The project links 16 MW wind power with battery storage, stabilizing energy supply in a remote location with a weak link to the grid and reducing its dependence on diesel.

U.S. energy emissions fall

May 12 – Energy-related carbon emissions in the United States have fallen more than energy consumption, down 2.8% over the course of last year to 5,130 million metric tons (MMmt). Power sector emissions were down 145 MMmt, due to a switch from coal to gas and renewables. In April 2020, emissions experienced another unprecedented fall in due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

MAN expands Omincare concept

March 11 – MAN Energy Solutions’ service brand has extended its ‘PrimeServ Omnicare’ concept from turbomachinery to the marine and power segments. The one-stop service solution is now also applicable for maintenance of third-party machinery, including engines, turbochargers and related auxiliaries.

MIVOLT launches cooling fluid

May 7 – MIVOLT, part of the British company M&I Materials, has launched two specialist fluids to improve cooling efficiency at data centres. The electricity demand of data centres is forecast to rise to 20% of global supply to accommodate lifestyle changes like 5G internet network, autonomous vehicles and bitcoin mining.

Germany adds 1,300 km to power grid

May 6 – Germany has made progress in expanding its strained power grid. According to the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), over 1,300 kilometres of new power transmission lines have been built and another 830km approved. A further 3,600km are planned to be built by 2030 to alleviate grid bottlenecks and allow transporting rising volumes of offshore wind southbound.

 

 

 

Oman nationalizes first IPP

May 5 – Manah Power, the first privately-run Independent Power Project (IPP) in Oman, has been transferred to state ownership, following the expiry of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between United Power Company and state-owned OPWP. Manah IPP was developed under Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) model, which stipulates an eventual nationalization of the assets – a feature absent in subsequent IPPs.

U.S inventories at record highs

May 4 – Inventories for crude oil and natural gas have reached a new record high in the United States, as fuel demand declines both for transport and the electric power sector. From March 13 – when a national emergency was declared due to the Covid-19 pandemic – to April 24, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories increased by 74 million barrels, or 16%, according to government figures. The acute scarcity of crude storage on April 20 led to a sell-off of future contracts at negative prices.