Projects & Finance

American Electric Power (AEP) has started commercial operation of the 580 MW combined-cycle gas power plant in Dresden, near Ohio, U.S. The operational start-up of the Dresden plant is "another step in the transformation of AEP's generating fleet", said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP president and CEO.

GE Energy plans to complete works to upgrade two 30-year-old 9B Gas Turbines at an Italian power plant in Trapani to GE 9E Gas Turbines in 2013, the company's Italian division told Gas-to-Power Journal today.

Utilities in Europe currently have access to a lot of natural gas, but it is cheaper for them to use their coal-fired plants for generating electricity, Albrecht Müller von Blumencron, director project finance Bayern LB said today. Nonetheless, he foresees a "brighter future" for the gas-to-power sector in Europe in the mid-term, provided utilities will have to more flexible gas supply.

The U.K. will face a capacity gap at the end of this decade. Investors in new flexible gas-fired power generation capacity will have to find a way to handle the risks posed by ambitious renewable targets and uncertainties surrounding the implications of the Energy Market Reform, Clare Duffy, General Manager, ESB International, said in London today.

Uncertainty about the liberalization process of the Turkish natural gas market may hamper investors to commit to realizing large gas-fired power plant projects in Turkey, Robert Selim Hill, researcher at Energy Brainpool said today. "For the near future it will especially be difficult to plan and realize large natural gas power plant projects," he told Gas-to-Power Journal.

TLT-Bancock India said today it will open a new manufacturing facility near Bangalore, in April 2012. The components produced at the facility will be sold to power producers in the growing Indian market. "When production begins in a few months, TLT-Babcock will have fully arrived in support of India's electric power expansion and general growth plans," David Klossner, President of TLT-Babcock said.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is supporting a 216 MW gas-fired power plant project in Cameroon with 29.5 million euro in long-term funding. Kribi will be the first gas-to-power plant in Cameroon.

Fortum, a Finland utility with power generation assets in the Nordic and Baltic countries, Poland and Russia, is at the brink of commissioning a biomass-fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant in Järvenpää in early 2013. The proposed 130 GWh plant will run on biomass as a replacement for natural gas.

Wartsila, the Finnish producer of lifecycle power solutions for the marine and energy markets, today posted a 15% decrease in net sales to EUR 1,238 million, down from EUR 1,462 in the previous quarter, mainly due to a backlog in power plant deliveries. "After a very strong fourth quarter, we managed to fulfill our order intake target and reached 11.1% profitability. Due mainly to delayed power plant deliveries, our net sales decreased slightly more than expected," Wartsila's president and CEO, Bjorn Rosengren said.

Australia's ERM Power confirmed it has received development approval to build and operate a 500MW gas-fired power plant at Braemar, around 240 kilometres west of Brisbane. "The next stage in the development of the Braemar 4 project is finalising fuel supply and electricity take-off agreements, which will allow us to make a final investment decision on this development," Philip Baker, managing director and CEO at ERM Power said.

In North-West Europe, investments in new gas-fired power plant projects will be in the money post 2018 at the earliest, Thomas Birr, VP corporate development & strategy at RWE Group forecast. "In Turkey and Eastern Europe, where power demand is rising, things are looking better," he said at the Gas-to-Power Europe Forum in Berlin.

If the spark spread stays below 10 Euro/MWh at times of peak electricity demand, building new gas-fired plants in Germany does not make economic sense, Torsten Amelung, senior vice president Trading and Origination at Statkraft Markets said today. "The only way out is ramping down capacity simply by shutting down power stations, until peak electricity prices are sufficiently high to sustain operations of the remaining gas-fired plants," he told Gas-to-Power Journal at the sidelines of a conference in Berlin.

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News in Brief

China seen overtake Japan as worlds’ largest LNG buyer by 2025

July 15 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects China to overtake Japan as the world’s biggest LNG buyer with imports of 128 Bcm a year by 2025, equivalent to around 174 million tonnes. However, IEA analysts cautioned this scenario is “highly dependent on China’s future policy direction” and whether that includes an ongoing push for coal-to-gas switching for industry, residential heating and power generation.

IEA stages Clean Energy Transitions Summit

July 14 – Ministers from dozens of countries, accounting for over 80% of the world economy, have participated in the first Clean Energy Transitions Summit organised by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, said there “clearly is momentum” behind a sustainable recovery from the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Participants agreed to reconvene in mid-2021.

Siemens Energy to exit coal

Jul 13 – Newly formed technology company Siemens Energy wants to phase-out any operations and technology to related to coal-fired power generation, CEO Joe Kaeser said, without giving a specific timeline. Siemens had been harshly criticised earlier this year for participating in the Adani coal mine project in Australia.

Statkraft, GE enhance GB grid stability

July 10 – Statkraft and GE Power Conversion are working together to stabilise Britain’s power grid. To that end, GE will manufacture and install two Rotating Stabiliser synchronous machines at Statkraft’s site in Keith, Moray. Statkraft was awarded four stability contracts (two at Keith and two at Lister Drive) by National Grid ESO (NGESO) earlier this year.

Siemens Energy spin-off approved

July 9 – A large majority of Siemens shareholders have voted to approve the spin-off of the company’s energy business. The spin-off was approved by 99.36 percent of capital stock represented at today’s extraordinary shareholders’ meeting.

Central Hudson links solar farms to VPP

July 9 – Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp has established its distributed generation program within the broader context of New York State’s energy plan. Together with Sensus and their Remote Telemetry Module (RTM-III), the Central Hudson will monitor decentralized solar PV backed up by flexible gas gensets.

Siemens and GREEN Solar turn German town CO2-free

July 8 – GREEN Solar and Siemens Energy are jointly developing a concept for making Herzogenrath CO2-free. The plan is to provide an energy-efficient and economical combination of solar power plants, wind turbines, batteries, CHP and combined cycle power plants, as well as heat and hydrogen storage. The hybrid system will be built on the grounds of Nivelsteiner Sandwerke and will be large enough to cover the city’s entire energy demand with zero CO2 emissions by 2030.

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.

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