Projects & Finance

Europes first GE 9EMax gas turbine upgrade has been completed at Sokolovska Uhelna's integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant in Vresova, Czech Republic. Following the upgrade, the plant “exceeded expectations on heat rate, power output and unit flexibility,” the operator said without specifying.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has won an order to supply a M501GAC gas turbine to a utility in the U.S. Midwest. With an enhance response rate, the 275 MW turbine can startup in ten minutes and has a 50 MW/min ramp rate.

Florida Siting Board, headed by Govenor Rick Scott, has approved an $888 million plan by Florida Power & Light (FLP) to tear down and rebuild its power plant near Port Everglades. The new 1,163-MW Dana Beach Clean Energy Center will reduce primary emissions of the oil plant by 70%, once operational in 2022.

Siemens has won an order from Lansing Board of Water & Light to supply three SGT-800 gas turbines and generators for their new power station in Lansing, Michigan. Two of the three turbines will operate in combined-cycle and one simple-cycle mode, providing both baseload power and operational flexibility. Start-up is scheduled for spring 2021.

Petra Nova, a 654 MW power station near Houston, is one of only two operating generators with carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the world. The other one is the 110 MW Boundary Dam plant in Saskatchewan, Canada. The CCS system deployed at Petra Nova captures about 90% of CO2 emitted from the flue gas slipstream, or about 33% of the total emissions from Unit 8.

Nunavut, one of the most remote northern territories of the Canadian Arctic, will get backup energy supply and reliable internet access powered by 23 MTU onsite energy diesel generator sets. Rolls-Royce will supply these gensets for the Canadian telcom Northwestel.

Arsenal football club will install a ground-breaking energy storage system at its Emirates Stadium in London by summer 2019. Developed by Pivot Power with funding from Downing investment house and facilitated by Octopus Energy, the energy storage will conserve enough electricity to run the Emirates for 90 minutes.

Nova Scotia-based Emera has agreed to divest its three gas-fired power plants in New England to an affiliate of The Carlyle Group for C$780 million, equalling US$590 million. The sale of a combined capacity of 1,100 MW helps increase Emera’s its free cash flow.

Brazil’s largest gas processing unit, build at a cost of $600 million in Itaboraí, near Rio de Janeiro, will include an e-house solution by GE Power. The so-called UPGN unit is part of the Rota 3 project, designed to transport and process natural gas feedstock from Petrobras’ Bacia de Santos pre-salt cluster.

Russia’s gas giant Gazprom has approved its 2019 financial plan, envisaging an overall investment volume of RUB 1,325.724 billion, equaling $20.15 billion. The lion’s share, or over RUB963 billion is intended for capital investments such gas production on the Yamal Peninsular and for three key gas export pipelines to Europe and Asia.

Rolls-Royce Power Systems has won an order from C-Energy to supply its new medium speed V-engine, B36:45, in order to add an extra 23 MW to a combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Bohemia, Czech Republic. The first units will start operating before the beginning of 2019.

Indebted Ohio-based utility FirstEnergy Generation has agreed to sell its 545 MW West Lorain Facility to Vermillion Power, part of Starwood, for $144 million in cash – if no higher bid comes forward. The sale of the CCGT will be accomplished through a court-supervised bankruptcy auction to maximize the value of the asset.

The offshore section of the TurkStream pipeline through the Black Sea is now complete after the Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Erdogan gave the command to weld the final joint of the pipeline’s second string. The entire pipeline will be commissioned in late 2019.

Seeking to cash in on the shift from coal to gas, Saudi Aramco has made plans to expand its multi-billion natural gas business at home and abroad. “Saudi Aramco is on the way to becoming a gas powerhouse in addition to its huge strength in oil,” the company stated, indicating it plans to boost production from 14 billion standard cubic feet per day (bscfd) to 23 bscfd of natural gas.

Seeking to strengthen ties with Europe, the Russian gas giant Gazprom is fast-tracking works on the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 project with the aim of starting first gas flows to northeast Germany in the autumn or early winter of 2019. Poland and the United States adamantly oppose the project.

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News in Brief

Blackout after fire at Madison substation

July 22 – Electricity is gradually being restored at Madison, Wisconsin, after 13,000 people experience a blackout following an explosion at a substation near Madison Gas & Electric’s 100 MW gas-fired Blount Generating Station. No injuries were reported.

Fuel switch could abate 1.2bn tons of CO2

July 19 – Some 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 could be abated by switching to gas using existing infrastructure, if prices and regulation are supportive. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), this would be enough to bring global CO2 emissions back down to where they were in 2013.

IEA launches methane tracker

July 18 – A new ‘methane tracker’, launched by the International Energy Agency (IEA), provides up-to-date estimates of current oil and gas methane emissions by drawing on the best available data. Analysts stressed methane emissions could be reduced by nearly half at no net cost.

Canada’s CO2 tax also affects gas power

July 17 – Change in Canada’s carbon tax regulation for new power plants has changed to also affect cleaner-burning, gas combined-cycle power stations starting from 2021. The move could cause SaskPower to reconsider its planned upcoming Moose Jaw gas power station.

MAN, Daewoo, HSD partner on engine digitalization

July 16 – MAN Energy Solutions, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and HSD Engine (HSD) have signed a strategic agreement to cooperate in the field of marine engine systems digitization. The three companies also work together on auxiliary systems and data analysis, aiming to apply part of their know-how to power generation and related sectors.

Canada launches first utility-scale smart microgid

July 15 – The Ontario-based municipal utility North Bay Hydro Services is cooperating with the smart grid solutions firm S&C Electric to launch Canada’s first utility-scale microgrid system. Among some solar power, the 789KW microgrid system will be powered by two 265kW natural gas generators.

Macquarie funds Mexican power plant

July 12 – Macquarie Capital has chosen Credit Agricole, Natixis and SMBC to co-finance a $380 million combined-cycle gas power plant. The 560 MW plant is designated to be built in San Louis Potosi, a city in central Mexico.

B&V launches distributed energy group

July 11 – Black & Veatch has launched a dedicated distributed energy group to place its conventional power business in the context of the global energy transition. The distribute energy group will look into new fuel sources such as hydrogen and aspires to “re-power the more-than-century-old power industry.”

Funding secured for Kazah CHP project

July 10 – Kazinform Erg has committed to spend $500 million on a gas cogeneration station that will provide heat and electricity to the south of Kazakhstan. Over 87% of Kazakhstan’s electricity is generated from fossil fuels, and in 2018 the country produced 107,060 billion kWh of electricity, a 3.8% increase over the previous year and enough to cover total power use of 103,228 kWh.

Bitcoin mining uses much energy

July 9 – Estimates of bitcoin’s electricity consumption are wide-ranging, on the order of 20‑80 TWh annually. According to George Kamiya, digital energy analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA), bitcoin mining consumed around 45 TWh in 2018 although this has risen significantly this year. Through the first six months of 2019, bitcoin mining has already consumed an estimated 29 TWh.

Coal exit doesn’t impact Germany's supply security

July 8 – Electricity supply security in Germany is set to stay “very high” even as the country begins to phase out coal-fired power generation, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) said in a monitoring report. “Energy supply is adequately ensured”, the ministry said, in all scenarios examined up to 2030. Thereafter, things are less clear but the German Coal Commission is adamant that its proposal to exit coal power by 2038 is feasible and won’t seriously impact reserve margins.

Hydrogen demo plant starts in Adelaide

July 5 – The Australian Gas Networks (AGN), part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG), has received A$4.9 million in government funding for an A$11.4m hydrogen electrolyser demonstration project at the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide. At the test site, AGN plans to blend 5% renewable hydrogen with natural gas for supply to customers using its existing gas distribution networks. The project is based on a Siemens proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser, running based on wind and solar power.

Wärtsilä forms biogas solution

July 4 – Wärtsilä Puregas Solutions, specialists in biogas upgrading technology, has merged with Wärtsilä’s biogas liquefaction team to create a one-stop-shop service for biofuel production. Having installed the world’s largest bioLNG facility in Skogn, Norway, Wärtsilä will deliver two more bio-LNG plants to customers in Scandinavia. The company’s Puregas CA process recovers more than 99.9% of the biomethane present in raw biogas.

PNM to close San Juan Generating Station

July 3 — New Mexico's largest energy holding, PNM Resources, has filed an application to the Public Regulation Commission to close the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station. For replacement power, PNM said the preferred option was a mix of gas power plants, solar and wind farms and new battery storage facilities. The utility strives to be ‘emissions-free’ by 2040.

ADB opens office in Singapore

July 2 — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has decided to open an office in Singapore. The lean office with twelve staff will focus on the expansion of its private sector operations, e.g. through Public-Private Partnerships. “We estimate that developing Asia will need $1.7 trillion per year in infrastructure investments until 2030 to maintain the region’s growth momentum,” commented Singapore’s finance minister Heng Swee Keat.

Testing starts at Haliade-X

July 1 – Technology testing has started at GE’s Haliade-X, the world’s biggest offshore wind turbine. The 12 MW nacelle and 107-metre long blade was shipped to the UK as part of an advanced technology testing program, focused on enhancing the platform before it enters into serial production in 2021.

Tata to build UK’s first CCUS plant

June 28 – Tata Chemicals has announced plans to build the UK’s first industrial-scale Carbon Capture, Usage and Demonstration plant at its Northwich industrial site. The CCUD unit will be built at an estimated cost of£16.7 million and is planned to start operation in 2021. It will make use of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel power plants and turn it into sodium bicarbonate, which can then be sold to pharmaceutical industries.