Markets

Though green hydrogen is still more costly to produce than conventional sources, Wood Mackenzie expects it could reach parity by 2030 in Australia, Germany and Japan based on $30 per MWh for renewables. While technology is advancing, analysts see “considerable uncertainty” around hydrogen investment in Asia-Pacific.

U.S. infrastructure firm AECOM has seen its full-year revenue rise to $20.2 billion, despite a 3% drop in earnings at its construction services segment. Completion of several combined-cycle power plants in the fourth quarter was not replaced by new orders, as AECOM said it “decided to extract itself from the fixed-priced power plant market.”

Deep disparities between well-supplied oil and gas markets, growing emissions and the insufficiency of stated policies to curb those emissions are the key theme of the 2019 World Energy Outlook (WEO), published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) today. However, critics the IEA is “underplaying the speed” at which the world could switch to green energy.

Japan’s machinery and electric equipment maker Toshiba is considering taking full control of two of its four listed subsidiaries, including Toshiba Plant Systems & Services and Nishishiba Electric. With Toshiba’s board is still discussing the matter, market observers expect a decision to be made in the coming weeks.

State-owned Saudi Aramco, the world’s most valuable oil company, has disclosed details on the initial public offering (IPO) of at least 0.5% of its shares in December. In its IPO prospectus, Aramco said it strives to remain the world’s leading crude oil producer by volume and low cost, while boosting investment in natural gas upstream, LNG trading and green energy.

Rolls-Royce’s power system unit and 2G Energy, German maker of gensets and cogeneration modules, have agreed to mutually supply gas-powered gensets. Under the deal, Rolls-Royce will buy 2G gensets in the 250-550 kilowatt range and re-sell them under its MTU brand, while 2G buys MTU Series 4000 generators in a range of 776 kW to 2,535 kW.

A flurry of pipeline projects has been proposed throughout the United States. The U.S. government counts 134 active projects but only 46 entered service this year, adding 16-17 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of gas transport capacity. More than 40% of this – or 7.2 Bcf/d – is situated in the South Central region.

The German government believes hydrogen is key for a successful energy transition. Even if costs for making renewable hydrogen in electrolysers are much higher in Europe than in Asia, the ship has not sailed yet for Germany,” economic minister Peter Altmaier said, suggesting German-made technologies could be exported to African countries instead.

American oil and gas producers are shying away from building major pipelines in the Appalachian Shale as production has slowed down in the current low-price environment. “No exit pipelines will come into service in 2020,” Energy Aspects says, pointing at scheduling delays and massive cost overruns at the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Mountain Valley Pipeline.

A new Storage and Flexibility Model (SFM), developed by Baringa for the British Energy Technology Institute (ETI) and now owned by Energy Systems Catapult, is said to give the “clearest ever picture” on balancing supply and demand. Storage technologies are vital to ensure grid operators can cope with fluctuating supply, and avoid buying energy at peak times.

Siemens today reported a rise in its fourth quarter earnings and net profits, exceeding analysts’ expectations, but warned of a subdued year ahead as the global economic slowdown hits demand for short-cycle products. In 2020, Siemens said its focus will be on the listing of Siemens Energy, with preparations “well on track.”

Runtime restrictions, imposed by the South Korean government on coal-fired power plants to limit fine dust, are expected to push up LNG demand. Energy Aspects cautioned, however, that the country’s natural gas imports requirements this winter will merely rise 0.47 million tons due to good nuclear power availability.

Analysts at the World Bank expect energy and metal prices will continue to decline in 2020, following sharp drops this year amid weaker global growth and consequent softer demand. Prices of oil, natural gas and coal are forecast almost 15% lower in 2019 than in the previous year, and to fall further in 2020.

By 2035, over half of the world’s energy will come from renewables while power consumption doubles due to fast-progressing electrification. By shaping energy ecosystem across buildings, industry and the grid, Siemens supports cities and businesses with their sustainability goals.

In its 2019 World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency (IEA) is looking beyond 2030 targets of achieving electricity and clean cooking facilities for all. Offshore wind, in particular, will lead sustainable energy production as the sector is forecast to become a $1 trillion industry.

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News in Brief

Norway’s oil fund starts investing in renewables

Dec 11 – The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), traditionally heavily exposed to the oil and gas industry, has been permitted to shift its strategy. Acknowledging heavy losses of the world’s largest pension fund, worth an estimated $1 trillion, the government in Oslo has allowed GPFG fund managers to also invest in unlisted infrastructure, notably renewable energy sources and alternative fuels, including hydrogen.

ENGIE invests in wind energy in Italy and France

Dec 10 – France’s largest energy company ENGIE has completed the acquisition of Renvico from Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and KRR. The move contributes to utility’s ambition of boosting its renewable energy assets to 3 GW in Europe and 9 GW worldwide by 2021. The Renvico takeover comprises 329 MW of operating wind farms of which 142 MW in Italy and 187 MW in France. It also includes a 300 MW greenfield portfolio of various fossil power assets.

Dominion issues Scammer Alert

Dec 9 – Dominion Energy Ohio has reminded customers they will begin receiving the next U.S tax credits automatically, beginning in April 2020, in their monthly bills. Customers were warned not to provide banking details to scammers who claim such data is required to receive the federal tax credits.

BOL finances entire 220 MW plant in Nassau

Dec 6 – Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) has agreed to cover the entire costs to build a 220 MW power plant at the Clifton Pier site in Nassau, and transfer the assets to Shell North America. BPL and Shell had agreed to jointly develop a 220 MW power plant plus LNG regas terminal, but the Bahamas state utility later signed a $95 million contract with Wärtsilä to install a 132 MW engine-driven power plant at the same site.

Kepco to operate CCGT in Uruguay

Dec 5 – Kepco KPS has been awarded a contract to operate and maintain the recently commissioned combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant in Punta del Tigre, Uruguay. Under the O&M contract, Kepco said it expects to earn 17 billion Won in sales every year, for a maximum eight years.

Siemens to create thermal twin for Bajaj Energy plant

Dec 4 – Lalitpur Power Generation Company Ltd (LPGCL), part of Bajaj Group, has contracted Siemens to create a complete twin for its fossil power plant in Uttar Pradesh, India. The thermal twin, powered by thermodynamic analysis and machine learning, allows power plant operators to diagnose performance gaps for every asset in the cycle in real time.

Talks between Gazprom and Naftogaz continue

Dec 3 – Russia’s Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy have continued difficult negotiations about an extension of Russian gas supplies and transit after the current contract expires on December 31, 2019. The two state-run companies are embroiled in a legal dispute that still needs resolving, however, they confirmed talks are underway and focus on the technical aspects of transiting Russian gas to Europe from 2020 onwards.

Asia seen add 400 GW by 2030

Dec 2 – Asian nations are expected to add more than 400 gigawatts (GW) of electrical capacity to the grid over the next decade — equaling about twice the installed capacity of Germany. Much of the new capacity will be renewables, backed up by some 140 GW of dependable gas-fired capacity, according to GE Energy findings. Hence, the U.S. turbine manufacturer decided to invest up to US$60 million to convert its Singapore repair center into a HA engineering and development center.

Total starts up hybrid plant with energy storage

Nov 29 – Total Quadran has started up the largest hybrid power plant combined with energy storage to harness the ample solar power potential of New Caledonia, a French overseas territory. With an installed capacity of 16 MW-peak, the plant also features a 10 MW lithium-ion energy storage system. Combining of hybrid solar PV units and possibly gas-powered generator sets with energy storage balance out supply swings and enhances the reliability of the electricity grid.

Rolls-Royce, AVK partner on standby gensets

Nov 28 – AVK, Britain’s largest supplier of critical power solutions for data centres and the financial sector, has partnered with Rolls-Royce’s MTU brand for standby gensets in UK and Ireland. The deal covers MTU Series 2000 and 4000 diesel systems in a range from 825 to 4,000 kVA. In the past 30 years, AVK has developed into the largest solutions provider in the UK’s critical power market and has to date supplied gensets equipped with MTU engines with a total capacity of more than 3.5 GW.

Golar suffers setback amid restructuring

Nov 27 – Golar LNG, owner of a fleet of 27 vessels, has seen operating revenues plunge 20% to $98.67 million, in the first nine month of this year, while net losses amounted to over $236 million. Bermuda-registered Golar in May 2019 announced plans to spin off its LNG carrier fleet with the aim of becoming a gas project developer. It recently won a contract for the Barcarena power project (605 MW) in northeastern Brazil.

Burckhardt buys remaining share of Arkos

Nov 26 – Burckhardt Compression’s subsidiary in North America has purchased the remaining 60% of Arkos Group. The US has the world’s largest installed base of reciprocating compressors, and the integration of Burckhardt and Arkos Field Services, will turn the company into the only independent one-stop provider for equipment and service in the upstream, midstream and downstream business.

Gazprom’s exports to Austria reach fresh record

Nov 25 – Supplies of Russian gas to Austria and transits to Western Europe have already exceeded record levels set last year. From January 1 through November 21, 2019, Gazprom delivered over 12.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas – 33.5% more than in the same period in 2018. Austria’s OMV imports Russian gas under a long-term contract that was recently extended until 2040.

OGUK responds to Labour Party Manifesto

Nov 21 – The UK North Sea industry association Oil & Gas UK (OGUK) has warned of an investment hiatus in reaction to Labour’s pledge to introduce a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, if it wins the General Election on December 12. Responding to this, OGUK said any increase in tax rates would drive investors away, damage the competitiveness of the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry, and could potentially increase the country’s reliance on imports. OGUK underlined it has put in place a ‘Roadmap 2035 a blueprint for net zero emission’ and is investing in technology to achieve this goal.

France, Germany and UK led on demand-side flexibility

Nov 21 – France, Germany and the UK are leading on demand-side flexibility (DSF) and grid-integration of decentralized energy sources while Sweden, Spain and Portugal are lagging behind the rest of Europe, the consultancy Delta-EE and SmartEN finds. Areas covered by their new DSF monitoring tool include availability and accessibility of demand-side response, and its monetization across the gas value chain.

AI predicts peak in power use

Nov 20 – ABB and Verdigris Technologies have developed machine-learning algorithms to predict unplanned peaks in electricity consumption and help avoid them. The Energy Forecasting app will enable users to reduce their electricity bills by reducing peak demand charges.

India’s first UHVDC link commissioned

Nov 19 – GE Grid Solutions has commissioned Pole-3 - the ultra high-voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission line in India, capable to transmit 4,500 MW of electricity. Once completed the Champa-Kurukshetra UHVDC project will be expanded to transmit 6,000 MW of electricity at 800 kV, serving customers in the areas of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh.