Markets

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

MHPS expands Browning’s role to Americas CEO

June 5 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas has appointed Paul F. Browning t to an expanded role as Chief Regional Officer of the Americas and co-Chief Regional Officer of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). As CEO of the Americas, Browning will lead two global businesses headquartered in the United States and three regional businesses in North and South America.

Siemens to service Kalamkas gas turbines

June 4 – JSC Mangistaumunaigaz, one of Kazakhstan’s largest oil and gas producers, has contracted Siemens to service two STG-800 gas turbines at a power plant, designed to meet the entire energy needs of the nearby Kalamkas oil and gas field. The nine-year contract covers turbine maintenance and eventual upgrades as well as remote monitoring of operations.

NamPower to invest $575m on grid expansion

June 3 – Namibia’s state-owned utility NamPower is planning to spend $575 million over the next three years in upgrading and extending its power transmission infrastructure. Namibia imports 60% of its total electrical energy requirement, primarily through bilateral contracts from South Africa’s Eskom and to a lesser extent, the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP).

UK TSOs call for £900m green gas investment

June 2 – Britain’s five gas network companies – Cadent, National Grid, NGN, SGN and Wales & West Utilities – have urged the Government to unlock over £900 million (€1bn) for new green gas infrastructure. Research by the Energy Networks Association (ENA) shows that if investment into zero-carbon hydrogen infrastructure started today, the UK could save energy bill payers £89 billion (€99.2bn) by 2044 – five years prior to its 2050 net-zero targets.

Exxon, INNIO about to launch gas engine oil

June 1 – ExxonMobil and INNIO have announced the imminent launch of their first co-engineered and co-branded natural gas engine oil. The U.S. oil major and the Austrian engine maker have just extended their global lubricant collaboration agreement for INNIO’s Jenbacher Type 2, 3, 4, 6 and 9 natural gas engines.

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.