Markets

Investment in Europe's power plant sector is flat-lining in contrast to the US where the shale gas revolution has sparked an array of coal-to-gas switching projects but underpinned little new-build gas generation capacity, said Philippe Cochet, President of Alstom Thermal Power.

Throwing his political weight behind the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP) as the preferred export route of gas from the Caspian region to Europe, Hassan Murat Mercan, Turkey's Deputy Minister of Energy & Natural Resources today singled out the project as a way to enhance Turkey's role as a regional player and gas transit hub within an increasingly integrated global energy markets.

The power sector in Pakistan has seen nationwide load-shedding in the last week of May, leaving electricity production in an estimated 4,000MW shortfall, after the closure of the partially state-owned Qadirpur gas field for annual maintenance contributed to a gas shortage of reportedly 1.2 billion cubic feet a day (Bcf/d).

Discoveries of offshore gas field in Tanzania are expected to prompt the government to help expand the market share of gas-fired power generation with a view to decreasing dependence on hydropower to reduce risk exposure to drought, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects the extension of the renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC), which Congress extended on 1 January as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), will result in the addition of significant wind capacity in the US over the next three years. A higher share of intermittent wind energy will require flexible fossil backup capacity.

E.on has chosen the right time to enter the European market for small gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) systems under 1MWe, according to Michael Brown, Director at consultancy Delta Energy & Environment (Delta-ee) and former Executive Director at COGEN Europe. Delta-ee's projections see annual deployment of around 1.5 – 2.0 GWe for CHP projects in the 0.4 – 5.0 MWe size, and up to 1.5 GWe for projects in the 10 – 400kWe size by 2020.

Rather than sourcing flexibility from part-loaded conventional generation, Wärtsilä Power Plants believes that electricity markets should embrace high efficiency peaking and load-following power that can rapidly ramp up from standstill to provide the super-fast flexibility needed to balance large fluctuations of wind and solar power, says Melle Kruisdijk, Wärtsilä's Market Development Director for Europe.

SSE has called gas-fired generation in the UK "barely profitable, if at all" in its annual report for the 2012/13 fiscal year, due to spark spreads throughout the year being "stubbornly low, if not negative." The company said that a combination of minimal economic growth, a sustained fall in underlying energy demand and high wholesale prices were largely to blame for the difficult environment facing gas-fired power generation.

Toshiba Infrastructure South America Ltd (TIC-SA) has expanded production of electricity transformers in Brazil, "Renewable energy sources need transformers to connect with existing grid [and] this need will show a solid rise in emerging nations [such as Brazil] with its high growth rates," Atsushi Ido, Toshiba representative told Gas to Power Journal.

The impact of the US shale gas revolution – though positive for coal-to-gas switching in US power generation, will keep a lid on oil prices. The price of crude was "more likely to go down than up" over the next two to five years, said Paolo Scaroni, chief executive of Italy's incumbent energy company Eni.

A leading driver behind Mexico's rising natural gas consumption in recent years has been the substantial rise in the use of gas in the power sector, country analysis undertaken by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) finds.

Industry in southern Germany could curb their electricity consumption at times of peak demand by up to 480MW in the course of an hour if Demand-Side Management (DSM) mechanisms were to be widely implanted, according to study presented by energy think thank Agora in Berlin this week.

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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.