Markets

Energy-related emissions in the United States are poised to fall as the country’s GDP growth is anticipated to slow from 2.9% in 2018 to 2.7% this year and down to 2.0% in 2020. According to EIA projections, industrial production will soon grow at a slower rate than overall GDP.

Strong order intake and some very large orders support Siemens’ overall business, although Q1 net profits plunged 49% and revenue growth is seen to stay moderate. “There is still much to do before we achieve industry-leading margins in all our businesses,” CEO Joe Kaeser said in an analyst call today.

Reacting to lower net earnings Wärtsilä will lay off 1,200 employees globally, the Finnish company said in connection to its annual report. The order intake of Wärtsilä Energy Solutions’ business fell, CEO Jaakko Eskola noted, mainly due to “slower decision-making among our customers.”

A new ‘Distributed Resource’ Desk, just launched by UK’s National Grid, allows for faster dispatch instructions to small gensets, battery storage and demand-side response. In the first 24 hours of operation, the number of bids and offers accepted from these aggregated providers was 87 MWh, up 113% on average.

California-based Sempra Energy has decided to sell its equity interests two utilities in Chile and Peru to focus on its LNG export ventures in North America. Sempra CEO Jeffrey W. Martin said “this planned sale allows us more focused capital investment in the U.S. and Mexico.”

Contrary to U.S. President Trump’s policies to strengthen the role of coal in America’s energy mix and support cash-strapped mining companies, the use of coal is falling faster than in the Obama-era. According to EIA estimates, the coal share of total power generation reached a new low of 28%, well below the 35% share of natural gas.

China’s state-owned CNOOC is making a concerted effort to meet, and even overshoot, its target on capital expenditure. The company’s revised strategy follows President Xi Jinping's call for greater self reliance in the face of a growing economic slowdown.

Russia’s Gazprom has decided to invest another RUB 17.7 billion ($266m) on top of an earlier RUB 120.9 billion ($1.8bn) spent on the Sakhalin-III project in Russia’s Far East. The Sakhalin project is at the heart of Gazprom’s Eastern Gas Program, designed to establish a new export route for Russian gas to Asia-Pacific.

Drinking water in the Middle East needs to be generated in a highly energy-intensive process. According to IEA projections, the production of desalinated seawater in the Middle East will rise almost fourteen-fold to 2040, and there is a shift towards membrane-based desalination and away from fossil fuel-based thermal desalination.

Critics have questioned the commercial viability of a new 300 MW ‘emergency reserve’ power plant at Irsching, Bavaria. Uniper is preparing to build an open-cycle gas power unit even though it is seeking to mothball two combined-cycle power units at the same site. Asked about this seemingly paradox situation, Uniper told Gas to Power Journal that the new OCGT project has, in fact, been stipulated by the German lawmaker.

Electricity produced from wind farm will be the fastest growing U.S. power source for at least the next two years. About 11 gigawatts (GW) of wind capacity is due to come online in 2019, pushing up the share of wind in the energy mix from 7% in 2018 to 9% in 2020, according to EIA figures, while the share of gas is set to rise from 25% to 27% over the same period.

Suspension of Hitachi’s 2.9 GW Wylfa nuclear power project and the phase-out of coal power by 2025 will greatly enhance the role of gas in the UK energy mix. To replace the lost capacity at Wylfa with combined-cycle gas power plants, operators would require close to 3.5 bcm of gas per year.

Though trade tensions with the U.S. affected China’s GDP figures in the fourth quarter, demand growth in China’s electricity sector is still “phenomenal,” Wood Mackenzie says. Total power demand in 2018 is estimated to have fallen by just 0.5%, or 32 TWh, based on tariffs on US$34 billion of goods with effect from July.

U.S. natural gas prices at Henry Hub have surged nearly 25% to top $3.60 per million British thermal units as a cold spell gripped the nation, pushing up domestic gas demand for power generation along with shale gas production. As a consequence, U.S. LNG exports were slightly lower this week.

VAKT, creator of a commodity post-trade processing system, has just won three new three new strategic investors: Chevron, Total and Reliance Industries. The oil majors will also become early users of VAKT’s blockchain-enabled platform.

Page 18 of 158

News in Brief

Slow start of STT pipeline

Oct 18 – U.S. gas exports to Mexico have not picked up substantially despite the start of the Sur de Texas-Tuxpan (STT) pipeline. Exports are still below 6.0 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), although there no current postings regarding maintenance on the Sistrangas pipeline that feeds from NET Mexico.

EIB defers ban on fossil projects

Oct 17 – Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank (EIB) has bowed to pressure from Germany and the European Commission and deferred its decision to ban loans to fossil-fuel projects until mid-November. Germany wants the bank to keep financing gas-fired power projects as it views the cleaner-burning fossil fuel as a vital backup for renewable energy sources.

Brexit will not impact UK gas supply

Oct 16 – Security of power and gas supply in the UK will not be jeopardized this winter by the country’s imminent departure from the European Union, even in the event of a hard Brexit, National Grid said. In its assessment, the TSO factored in a halt to flows via the Belgium and Dutch gas interconnectors “from EU exit day one”, but said ongoing deliveries from Norway, the UK Continental Shelf and storage will continue as usual.

Ferrybridge C gets demolished

Oct 15 – Four cooling towers at the Ferrybridge Power Station have been taken down as the coal-fired power station will make way to a new, high-efficiency gas power station. Operator SSE shut down the 500 MW Ferrybridge C unit in March 2016 and now started to tear it down.

Global energy storage tops 10 GW by 2025

Oct 14 – The global market for grid-connected energy storage will grow by 6,900 MW, or 16.6% to reach over 10,500 MW by the end of 2025, according to Reportlinker.com. Germany will add over 267 MW energy storage installations over the next five to six years, while 330 MW will come from other European markets. These numbers are dwarfed by China, where up to 1,200 MW energy storage units could be connected to the grid by 2025.

Wärtsilä services EDL plant

Oct 11 – Energy Developments Ltd (EDL) of Australia has awarded Wärtsilä a service contract for gas engine-based baseload power plant at the McArthur River zinc mine in Northern Territory. The maintenance approach for the 53 MW onsite power plant is no longer pre-planned and scheduled but has been changed to condition-based and predictive maintenance, with an advisory contract.

EPH buys CCGT in Galway

Oct 10 – The Czech energy company EPH has received regulatory approval to purchase an 80% stake in the 400 MW Tynagh Energy combined-cycle gas power plant in Galway, Ireland. Mountainside Partners will continue to own the remaining stake in the CCGT, which operates based on a security-of-supply contract from the Irish TSO based on guaranteed power prices.

ITM gets £38m boost from Linde

Oct 9 – Sheffield-based ITM Power, maker of electrolysers for hydrogen production, has been boosted by a £38 million cash injection, as Linde acquired a 20% stake in ITM at 40 pence per share. Looking ahead, ITM said it is seeking to raise £14 million from new and existing institutional investors.

Drax to convert two power units

Oct 8 – Drax Group has received government approval to convert up to two coal-fired generating units at its power station in North Yorkshire to run on natural gas. With this ruling, the UK regulator overturned objections by ClientEarth, stressing some fossil power is vital for the UK to backup intermittent renewable power source.

Storage use tops 80% in key U.S. regions

Oct 7 – Gas storage utilization in the United States is rising in the autumn, with net injections topping 112 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in the first week of October. According to EIA figures, underground storages are at least 80% full in the East, Midwest, and South Central non-salt regions, allowing for seasonal withdrawals to help meet peak-day gas demand throughout the upcoming winter.

Maine, NY aspire to 100% clean energy

Oct 4 – Three U.S. states—Maine, New York, and Ohio—have updated their renewable portfolio standards (RPS), since May 2019. As a result, Maine and New York joined California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia in requiring 100% clean electricity by 2050.

TransAlta to built CHP in Alberta

Oct 3 – Canada-based Transalta and SemCAMS Midstream have agreed to develop, construct and operate a new cogeneration facility at the Kaybob South No. 3 sour gas processing plant in Alberta. To be built at a cost of some 105 million, the CHP will have an installed capacity of 40 MW. Start of commercial operation is targeted for late 2021.

GE’s 100th HA turbine sold in Greece

Oct 2 – Greek industrial firm Mytilineos has ordered a GE 9HA.02 gas turbine to be the heart of the 826 MW Agios Nikolaos combined-cycle gas power plant. This deal also marks the 100th unit of GE’s HA gas turbine sold. Construction of the CCGT is due to start before the end of the year.

ABB launches M4M analyzer

Oct 1 – Swiss technology firm ABB has launches its first Bluetooth-equipped network analyzers, called M4M. The system gathers data from distribution grids and connects them to a cloud-based control system, allowing users to react on energy consumption and on-site power generation trends.

Microsoft invests in wind power

Sept 30 – Microsoft and ENGIE have entered a long-term solar and wind energy power purchase agreement (PPA) in the United States. The deal will see Microsoft purchase a total of 230 MW from two ENGIE projects in Texas, bringing Microsoft’s renewable energy portfolio to more than 1,900 MW.

Gazprom tackles issue of ownerless gas grid

Sept 27 – Gazprom, the main supplier of pipeline gas to Europe, is trying to settle the issue of ownerless gas pipelines – a relic of the former Soviet Union. Abandoned gas transmission pipeline spanned 6,651 kilometers as of March 1, with the issue seen as “especially acute” in the North Caucasus region where half of this infrastructure is located. If no owner registers these facilities within three months, Gazprom will take over to ensure reliability and safety.

Investors flock to Myanmar

Sept 26 – Fitch Ratings has singled out Myanmar’s power sector as one of the largest beneficiaries of foreign direct investments (FDI) worldwide. Nearly $21.2 billion was poured into power generation and energy infrastructure projects thus far in 2019, which is 27% of total FDI under the Myanmar Investment Law.