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Projects & Finance

The first unit of one of India's mega gas-fired power plant project has taken off in the north-eastern state of Tripura, adding 363.3MW of new capacity to the system. The operator ONGC is keen to swiftly start-up the second unit so that plant can produce at full capacity of 726.6 MW before the end of the year.

US nationwide power and gas utility Xcel Energy has officially opened its 170MW Siemens single-cycle gas-fired unit for the 850MW Jones Generating Station southeast of Lubbock, Texas. The new unit first began operations in May, a month ahead of schedule, and was installed at a cost of $82 million, way under the budgeted $103.7 million.

Dutch utility Nuon, part of Vattenfall, has laid the foundation for more district heating capacity and increasing efficiency by upgrading its 440-megawatt to a combined-cycle Hemweg 9 power plant unit in Amsterdam.

The Mexican Municipality of Celaya has contracted ENER-G to build and operate landfill gas generation project at its Tinajitas landfill in Celaya before the end of this year. Manchester-based ENER-G said it is ready to invest £1.5 million to realise the project.

Russia's gas export monopoly Gazprom has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Enel to buy the entire share of Marcinelle Energie, a 420MW combined cycle gas turbine power plant in Belgium, for 227 million euros on a cash and debt free basis. The asset, located in Wallonia, will be Gazprom's first power plant in Europe.

E.on, Europe's second largest power producer, has set up new venture-capital activities through co-investments in start-up companies like Munich-based Orcan Energy and California-based Bloom Energy with a view to exploring distributed and smart energy solutions.

Siemens has supplied four power 180 megawatt Siemens simple cycle SGT6-5000F gas turbine units to power American operator NRG Energy's gas-fired Marsh Landing Generating Station (720 MW), located in Antioch, California, 40 miles from San Francisco.

Long Island's gas-fired power plants and commercial gas consumers in New York are expected to receive much-needed shipments of natural gas if a new pipeline is approved from Port Ambrose – a deepwater LNG port import facility off New York's coast. New Long Island gas-fired projects "may be developed in the future," forecast project developer Liberty Natural Gas.

GE has been contracted to supply four LM2500+G4 aeroderivative gas turbine packages to Mitsui Ocean Development & Engineering Co. Ltd. to use on an FPSO destined for offshore Brazil.

Siemens has delivered and implemented an SGT5-PAC 2000E package for a 225-megawatt power plant unit and a SCC5-PAC 4000F/3000 package for the 385-MW combined-cycle unit of Bangladesh's second largest power station, operated by the Ashuganj Power Station Company Ltd. (APSCL).

Siemens Energy has completed the Knapsack II combined-cycle power plant (CCPP) with a capacity of 430-megawatt on behalf of Statkraft Markets six weeks ahead of schedule.

RWE has saved tens of millions by renegotiating gas turbine maintenance with OEMs, Bruno Schroeder, head of plant engineering and plant maintenance, fleet manager of gas turbines for RWE Group, said at the VGB Congress this week.  “We appointed fleet managers last year who do not have direct line responsibility for maintenance but who are in charge of identifying maintenance options and implementing  programmes,”  he said.

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News in Brief

Denmark paves the way for Nord Stream 2

July 7– Denmark on late Monday gave the Nord Stream 2 consortium permission to utilize pipe-laying vessels with anchors in Danish waters, paving the way for the Gazprom-led consortium to complete the interconnector. Construction of the 1,230-kilometre pipeline is nearly complete, except for a final stretch of about 120-kilometers in Danish waters. The project was halted in December when the Swiss-Dutch pipe-laying company Allseas suspended works over threats of U.S. sanctions.

EPRI tests early warning system

July 6– The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is conducting trial tests with multiple utilities across the United States of an early warning system. It can detect an off-gassing event as a precursor to thermal runaway up to 30 minutes prior to a cascading failure. This gives plant operators time to mitigate the problem or shut down the system.

KKR buys stake in First Gen

July 3 – Valorous Asia Holdings, owned by KKR investment funds, has bought a 11.9% stake in First Gen through a voluntary tender offer. First Gen, one of the Philippines’ largest independent power producers with 3,492 MW installed capacity, is owned by First Philippine Holdings which is controlled by the Lopez family. KKR’s acquisition of the First Gen stake is worth nearly $192.3 million.

Gazprom’s ‘BBB’ rating affirmed

July 2 – S&P Global Ratings, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings have affirmed Gazprom's long-term credit ratings as part of their annual reviews. The ‘BBB’ ratings for Gazprom from S&P and Fitch are in line with the sovereign credit rating of the Russian Federation, while Moody's ‘Baa2’ rating is a notch higher.

MHIEC to refurbish WtE plant in Kushiro

July 1 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Environmental & Chemical Engineering Co (MHIEC) has received an order from the Kushiro Wide-Area Federation to repair and improve the core equipment at the local Waste-to-Energy plant in Takayama. The WtE plant has a capacity of 240 tonnes per day (tpd). Renovation will increase the energy efficiency of the fluidized bed type gasification and ash melting furnace facility, reducing emissions by around 15% annually. Works are due completed in September 2023.

Nigeria: Only two of six power projects on target

June 30 – Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises has disclosed that only two out of six privatized power plants were delivered on target. Only Transcorp Power Ltd and Geregu Power Ltd out of the six privatised electricity generation companies (GENCOs) were said to have met their performance targets since taking over.

German investors prefer solar over wind

June 29 – Energy infrastructure investors are keen to build solar power projects in Germany, but shun wind parks. In the latest solar power auction, investors offered to build almost 450 MW of capacity – more than four times the 96 MW of volume on offer– with the average successful bid at 5.27 cents per kilowatt-hour (ct/kWh). The wind auction, in contrast, was undersubscribed: The German network agency  (BNetzA) tendered around 826 MW, but successful bids only totalled 464 MW, at an average price of 6.14 ct/KWh.

MAN ventures into synthetic fuels

June 26 – MAN Energy Solutions has entered the hydrogen economy with the recent pro rata acquisition of H-TEC SYSTEMS, an electrolysis tech firm. The German OEM also committed itself to upgrading its gas turbines to run on 100% hydrogen by 2030.

Varegro starts using Cummins gas genset

June 25 – Belgian-based horticultural company Varegro, has started to use a Cummins HSK78G gas generator to power its greenhouses in Oostrozebeke, West Flanders. Varegro said it selected the Cummins HSK78G genset to produce combined heat and power (CHP) on its premises at a competitive cost for use in energy-intensive greenhouse facilities.

GE names Deloitte as independent auditor

June 24 – GE’s audit committee has selected Deloitte as the company’s independent auditor for the 2021 fiscal year, replacing KPMG. The selection of Deloitte concludes GE’s latest audit tender process.

Northern German states push for hydrogen pilot cluster

June 23 – Northern German states are pushing for greater hydrogen use with a pilot project cluster. Some 12 large demonstration plants for the production and use of green hydrogen are meant to be realised in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The aim is to demonstrate how 75% of CO2 emissions can be saved in the region by 2035.

Wärtsilä to design and equip battery-powered ferries

June 22– The Finish engine maker Wärtsilä has been awarded a contract to design and equip two new zero-emissions ferries on behalf of the Norwegian operator Boreal Sjö. For each ferry Wärtsilä will supply the thruster motors, batteries, onboard and shore-based battery charging equipment, the back-up generators, and various electrical systems. The equipment is scheduled for delivery to the yard in early 2021 for the ships to start commercial operations in autumn 2021.

Subsidy cut slashes Chinese wind turbine margins

June 19 – China’s wind turbine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) could have their gross profit margins halved due to subsidy cuts, Wood Mackenzie forecasts. Commissioned onshore wind power capacity is expected to drop by more than 16% to 19 gigawatts (GW) from 2020 to 2021 as government subsidies were terminated. This could also lead to a 27% drop in turbine prices over the next five years, slashing OEMs’ gross profit margins by half.

PowerPHASE converts gas peakers into storage engine

June 18 – U.S. emergency power provider PowerPHASE has developed an upgrade to convert 7F gas turbine-based peaking plants (350 MW each) to a so-called Storage Engine (400 MW). The unit would be able to store 3500 MWh daily and discharge 4800 MWh daily. CEO Bob Kraft claims utility customers could dispatch the Storage Engine, despite its lower heat rate (4000), ahead of higher heat rate options (9000 for gas peakers) in a competitive market like ERCOT in Texas.

Cummins names Davis head of New Power unit

June 17 – Cummins has appointed Amy Davis as Vice President and President of the company’s New Power Segment, effective July 1. The new unit includes Cummins’ electrified powertrains, battery design and assembly, battery management, fuel cell and hydrogen generation.

GE powers USS Zumwalt

June 16 – The US Navy has taken delivery of the USS Zumwalt, its first full-electric power and propulsion ship, equipped by GE’s Power Conversion. The ship features a high-voltage system, propulsion drive trains with multi-phase VDM25000 power converters and advanced induction motors. Kevin Byrne, head of GE’s North America marine segment said “the full-electric power and propulsion ship has the flexibility to direct energy where it is needed on the platform.”

New England power prices down 40%

June 15 – Spot electricity prices in New England (NE) has fallen since winter 2019/20 when it stood at an average $28/MWh, down 40% from an average $47/MWh in the previous winter. Low natural gas prices, warmer-than-normal temperatures, lower loads, and reduced needs to run expensive peakload generators were the cause for the substantial drop in NE’s winter electricity prices, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) finds.