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The European Union‘s 2030 emissions target of a 55% reduction over 1990 levels has made it the undisputed global leader in climate ambition. But the bloc is falling short of its goal, Wood Mackenzie warns, unless the rollout of electric vehicles and renewable build-out gets accelerated along with coal power plants retirements.

Fitch Ratings has warned fossil fuel exporters face a growing risk of loss of GDP, government revenue and export receipts as more upstream assets are downgraded, or become stranded, as the energy transition progresses. Coal suffers a greater loss of market share than oil and natural gas.

Dallas-based Energy Transfer has agreed to acquire Enable Midstream Partners in an all-equity transaction valued at around $7.2 billion. The merger is expected to lead to $100 million operational cost savings and gives Energy Transfer access to gas gathering and processing assets in the Anadarko and Haynesville Shale, and pipelines to transport the gas to the US Gulf Coast.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has decided to raise energy prices after a winter storm left more than 4 million people without electricity in Texas. The grid operator was not able to cope with the sudden demand spike, while fuel shortages forced some utilities to implement rolling blackouts.

The Japanese ministry of the economy, trade and industry (METI) is working on a new natural gas supply framework in the wake of recent price spikes. “The tightening of power supply ... has made us strongly realize once again the importance of LNG as an adjusting electricity source,” said Ryo Minami, METI's director-general of oil, gas and mineral resources.

US oil and gas midstream company Energy Transfer has created a new business group, led by Tom Mason, to develop alternative energy projects. In focus will be solar and/or wind farms (either through PPAs or partnership with third party developers) and hydrogen gas opportunities – when they make economic sense.

It has become clear that the German government was ready to pay over €1 million to the Trump administration to avert US sanctions against Nord Stream 2. Finance minister Olaf Schulz offered the money to his US counterpart Steven Mnuchin, saying Germany would support the construction of LNG import terminals.

Japanese utility JERA and the Malaysian oil company Petronas have agreed to set up supply chains for ammonia and hydrogen fuels. Petronas has sold LNG to Japan for nearly 40 years and is one of Asia’s leading ammonia producers – now it seeks to produce green ammonia and hydrogen as well.

Japanese engineering firm Chiyoda, together with Mitsubishi and Mitsui and the shipping company NYK Line, has completed world’s first global hydrogen supply chain. A hydrogen cargo  in ISO containers is en route from Brunei to Japan, set to fuel a hybrid gas turbine generating electricity.

Installing a 3,200-kilometre network of overhead power lines for hybrid trucks would help Germany cut its road freight emissions by a fifth each year. Researchers reckon it would cost about €7 billion to add such overhead power lines on the busiest parts of Germany's autobahn, though the system could gradually become financially self-sustaining.

A distortion of the polar vortex has caused harsh winter weather across Europe, pushing up energy prices. Peakload power prices at the European Energy Exchange (EEX) intraday auction surged to €59.54 per MWh for Germany, and a record €65.39 per MWh for France.

Modelling how fast US energy demand will recover after the pandemic, analysts say the consumption of natural gas will increase faster than other fossil fuels. Electricity use is expected to largely return to 2019 levels by 2025, causing a slight uptick in gas-burn while the contribution of coal, oil and nuclear falls behind.

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News in Brief

Enel’s Q1 investment up 8.8%

May 7 – Italy’s state-dominated utility Enel has stepped up investment in renewables and power transmission grids in the first quarter by 8.8% to €2,035 million in a further shift to green energy. Revenues fell by -14.4% to €17,107 million over the same period, largely due to losses in thermal generation and trading activities in Italy and Spain as well as lower volumes of electricity sold into the Spanish end-user market.

Germany advances Net Zero target to 2045

May 6 – The German government has pulled forward the date for Net Zero emissions to 2045 in a move designed to accelerate and intensify efforts to reduce emissions from the transport and power sector. The new target is to curb emissions by 65% by 2030 (up from the previous 55% goal) and reach a 88% reduction by 2040, followed by Net Zero five years later.

Cummins Q1 revenues up 22%

May 5 – Cummins today posed a 22% rise in first quarter revenues to $6.1 billion. Sales in North America increased 7% while international revenues surged 45% largely due to strong new product sales in China and India.  Based on latest developments, Cummins raised its full year 2021 revenue guidance to 20-24%, a considerable rise from previous 8 - 12% forecasts.

Actis vows to help Egypt divest Siemens-built CCGT

May 4 – Egypt’s sovereign wealth fund is cooperating with the private equity firm Actis to sell a 25-year concession to operate three 4.8 GW combined-cycle power plants built by Siemens under a €6 billion contract. The three CCGTs are owned by the Egyptian Electricity Holding, and Actis CEO Ayman Soliman promised to help selling one of the three plants.

RIX launches mobile hydrogen system

April 30 – California-based RIX Industries has launched an industry-first mobile hydrogen generation unit, part of its M2H2-Series of scalable Methanol-to-Hydrogen systems. Able to generate hydrogen onboard and on demand, the system is applicable for ships and remote small-scale production of the green fuel with the aim of replacing diesel for power generation. The M2H2 systems, combined with fuel cells, can produce electricity without any NOx, SOx, or particulate matter and Net Zero CO2 emission with renewable methanol.

US gas future hit 7-year high

April 28 – US natural gas futures have increased over 2% to a seven-week high as LNG exports go from strength to strength, while domestic production eased off slightly. Moreover, a return of colder-than-average weather has pushed up gas demand for heating significantly so that utilities had to withdraw gas from storage, which is rather unusual in April.

Zhongyu Gas bucks the trend

April 27 – Zhongyu Gas, a pioneer in the Chinese gas industry, has achieved remarkable growth during the pandemic. The Hong-Kong headquartered TSO recorded a turnover of approximately HK $8,544 million in 2020, up 4.9% year-on year, while profit attributable to owners of the group was HK $1,057 million, a staggering 145.7%. At the end of 2020, the turnover of Zhongyu’s value-added gas services segment recorded HK $636 million, a year-on-year increase of 54.2%. To date, Zhongyu Gas has 18,777 industrial customers and 3.96 million residential users.

Germany agrees higher renewable goals for 2022

April 26 – The German parliament has voted in favour of higher tender volumes for next year’s wind and solar PV installations. However, parliamentarians did not yet agree on a new renewable target for 2030, even though this has become necessary after the EU raises its overall emission reduction target to 55%.

Rolls-Royce to deliver 16V 8000 engines to Taiwan

April 23 – British engineering giant Rolls-Royce has delivered the first 16-cylinder engines of the MTU Series 8000 to a customer in Taiwan. The shipyard CSBC will install the two engines, capable to deliver 7,280 kilowatts of power each, in new patrol vessels for the Taiwanese Coast Guard. The 16V engines‘ „big brother“ - 20V 8000 has been the best-selling engine in its power class since its introduction around 20 years ago, Rolls-Royce noted.

Rolls-Royce to deliver 16V 8000 engines to Taiwan

April 23 – British engineering giant Rolls-Royce has delivered the first 16-cylinder engines of the MTU Series 8000 to a customer in Taiwan. The shipyard CSBC will install the two engines, capable to deliver 7,280 kilowatts of power each, in new patrol vessels for the Taiwanese Coast Guard. The 16V engines‘ „big brother“ - 20V 8000 has been the best-selling engine in its power class since its introduction around 20 years ago, Rolls-Royce noted.

GE to equip Verbund’s pump storage power plant

April 22 – GE Power Conversion has been selected to equip Verbund’s new fully-fed pump storage power plant  Reißeck II+ in Kärnten, Austria. For the new 45 MW unit, GE will supply three MV7616 converters which are water cooled fully fed converters with an electrical voltage of 6.6kV each. In the wider Kärnten area, Verbund operates a total of 1,460 MW of hydropower plants that are often used for pump-water energy storage.

Fluxys takes stake in Brazilian TSO

April 21 – Belgian gas company Fluxyis, the operator of the Zeebrugge LNG import terminal and stakeholder in Dunkirk LNG and the TAP pipeline, has bought a minority stake in a Brazilian gas transmission system operator. The deal is for a stake in Transportadora Brasileira Gasoduto Bolívia-Brasil (TBG), the owner and operator of a 2,600-kilometres pipeline system that links the southern part of Brazil with neighbouring Bolivia. Fluxyis said the equity transfer was made via the US investment fund, EIG Global Energy Partners.

MHI launches 90MPa hydrogen booster pump

April 20 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has developed an ultra-high pressure liquid hydrogen booster pump for hydrogen fuelling stations. With 90 megapascal (MPa), the new unit achieves considerably higher pressure than the earlier 40 MPa unit. It is located at MHI’s research & innovation center in Nagasaki District, Japan.

New EU target may force Germany to achieve 68% emissions cut

April 19 – European Union leaders’ decision to raise the bloc’s 2030 target for cutting emissions by “at least 55%” means that Germany needs to step up its efforts and may have to cut emissions by 62% to 68% over 1990 levels, researchers say. Policymakers in Berlin initially aimed for a 55% reduction by 2030 but this is now no longer enough to comply with stricter rules.

Trafigura co-sponsors MAN’s ammonia engine

April 16 – Trafigura, a global commodity trading house, has agreed to co-sponsor the development of MAN Energy Solutions ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels. The ammonia engine is expected to be commercially available for large-scale ocean-going ships by 2024, followed by a retrofit package for existing maritime vessels by 2025. In the future, ammonia-fuelled engine are also meant to be used for power generation.

Tula dDSF helps curb NOx emissions by 74%

April 15 – Tula Technologies, a leader in propulsion technology, and Cummins have showcased the results of a study on the effectiveness of Tula’s diesel Dynamic Skip Fire (dDSF) in reducing nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 74% and carbon dioxide emissions by 5% on a Cummins X15 HD Efficiency Series diesel engine. In comparison with current engine technologies and modifications to the thermal management techniques, use of the dDSF system saved 20% in fuel and related costs.

Marubeni starts EPC works for Rabigh IPP

April 14 – Japan’s Marubeni Corp has been granted limited-recourse financing for the 300 MW Rabigh solar IPP project in Saudi Arabia’s Makkah Province. The loan was granted by Mizuho Bank, Al Rajhi Banking and Investment and Japan’s Bank for International Cooperation. EPC work on the project is scheduled to start in early May. All electricity from the Rabigh IPP will be sold to the Saudi Power Procurement Company (SPPC) for 25 years starting with the plant’s commissioning.

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