Markets

Wärtsilä, the Finnish supplier of lifecycle power solutions, has won an order for a 184 MW gas peaking power plant in Arun, northern Indonesia. The plant will utilise 19 Wärtsilä 34SG engines running on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and is planned to start operations in the second quarter of 2015.

Peabody, the world's largest private coal producer, projects 2013 US coal demand to rebound 45 to 55 million tonnes over 2012 levels amid rising coal fleet utilization. Higher natural gas prices are cited as a reason for the uptick in coal with the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimating that US coal-fired electricity generation will rise by 6.1% this year while natural gas-fired generation will fall by 9.8%.

Stepping up efforts on energy efficiency may limit the need for new-build power generating capacity. "Simply put, the cleanest megawatt hour will be the one we never need (...). It is also often the cheapest, and the easiest to achieve in difficult conditions," says IEA executive director, Maria van der Hoeven.

British Gas will hit domestic customers in the UK with a 9.2% hike in electricity prices ahead of the winter season to compensate for its rising costs of gas imports, loss-making operations of gas power plants in the UK, and reduced profitability of gas storage due to narrowing seasonal gas price spreads. 

LNG buyers in power-hungry Asian countries seek more flexible terms and call for a Henry Hub price element in long-term import contracts in a bid to bring down costs of gas purchase. Almost 70% of global LNG supply is consumed in Asian countries but "it seems at times that we are paying more than we need to," Kogas CEO Jang Seok-hyo said at the World Energy Congress in Daegu, Korea.

Replacing coal-fired power with gas-fueled plants on a wide scale by 2030 would reduce carbon emissions in the power sector by five percent compared to today's levels, according to a Siemens study compiled under the lead of Professor Horst Wildemann at the Technical University of Munich. "Of course, it would be illusionary to replace all coal-fired power plants with gas-fueled units – but the potentials identified are really impressive," he admitted.

Uncompetitive gas markets in Europe could lead to the closure of up to 60% of Europe's gas-fired power plants by 2016, Cap Gemini has warned, causing regional price increases and making power shortages unavoidable. The predictions come as part of the consultancy's annual European Monitoring Centre for Energy Markets report and outline an uncertain future for the industry.

China will use fossil fuels in a low-carbon manner, engage in green growth and work towards energy security as rapid urbanisation continues, Wang Yumin, vice administrator of the National Energy Agency of China said in a keynote speech at the World Energy Congress this morning.

The European Commission has launched a €5.85 billion funding push to diversify gas and power infrastructure across the continent, as part of its long-term infrastructure vision. Financing will go to 248 projects, with approximately 140 aimed at "diversification of gas supplies...to significantly increase the gas system's flexibility and resilience in the short and medium term" according to a statement from the commission.

A risk analysis of gas-fired power generation versus nuclear suggests that the current low costs for gas power operators may disguise long-term risks, according to consultancy EnergyPath. A probabilistic comparison of the investment risks shows that "gas has shown great volatility in the past and this volatility must be recognized as part of investment strategies," Thomas Retson, analyst at EnergyPath, told Gas to Power Journal.

Investment in global energy infrastructure in Asia-Pacific is forecast to grow to $11.7 trillion by 2035, with the bulk spent on power and heat generation in China and India. Though there is no lack of local financing, but investors shy away from regulatory risk as power and gas prices are still regulated in many Asian markets, warns Seethapathy Chander, deputy director general of ADB

In the face of a rise in Korea's electricity consumption by a quarter by 2030, the power industry is forecast to reduce the share of coal from currently 40 percent to around 16 percent by 2030 in a bid to diversify energy sources and reduce carbon emission, a study carried out by Siemens shows.
If Korea were to dispense completely with coal-fired power plants in favour of modern gas-fuelled units by 2030, the sector's carbon emissions would drop by a further third, and the country could save 9 million tons of imported oil equivalent per year, the study finds.

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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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