Regulation & Policy

After months of bickering, the German ruling coalition came together on Friday and agreed to levy a fixed price of 10 Euros per tonne on emissions from transport and the buildings sector starting from 2021, and invest more than 54 billion Euros by 2023 to accelerate the energy transition.

New York-based Con Edison and eight other U.S. utilities have filed a legal challenge against the Trump administration’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule. The claimants say the rule undermines efforts to curb emissions by investing in renewables and energy efficiency.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s planned climate action measures could cost at least 40 billion Euros over the next four years. Protecting the climate is a “challenge for humanity” and needs “a real feat of strength" which will “of course cost money,” she said prior to the government’s launch of a climate package on September 20.

Germany’s nearly simultaneous coal and nuclear exit is jeopardizing the country’s current high power supply security. Unless new flexible gas generators and renewable power sources get built in time, along with sufficient grid infrastructure, Germany is set to miss several key energy transition targets for the year 2020, McKinsey finds.

U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is campaigning to launch a Green New Deal as a 10-year federal “mobilization” that would raise $16.3 million to allow the U.S. to generate 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2030.

The Indonesian President Joko Widodo is proposing to remove a freeze on fuel and power prices, with the 2020 budget proposing to halve diesel subsidies and allot less for LPG and electricity. Having won the general election, Widodo uses his reaffirmed position to partly reverse his earlier ruling to keep energy prices flat throughout this and last year.

Realism has set in as California regulators start watering down the state’s 100% renewables target by approving the repowering of the Grayson gas power plant. The nearby city of Glendale is at risk of blackouts and fast-ramp gas power units will help prevent this.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has thrown her political weight behind the introduction of a price on CO2 emissions in the transport and buildings sector, although her climate cabinet will have the last say on September 20. “I advocate such a price,” Merkel said, stressing new paths had to be tried to reach the country’s climate targets.

Germany’s Council of Economic Experts have urged the government to put a price on carbon emissions in the transport and heating sector as a quick and easy fix to help meet the country’s climate goals. This unilateral move would work as an interim solution before integrating the sectors into the European Emission Trading System (EU-ETS).

Transforming India to a “gas-based economy” has been President Narendra Modi’s vision for years but the country can ill afford subsidizing LNG imports to reduce fuel costs for power plants. Banks invested some Rs50,000 crores ($7.18bn) in these projects – many unable to repay their debt, leaving Indian public money at risk.

Trump-alley Andrew Wheeler, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has signed a final ruling that roles back Obama-era emission limits for thermal power plants. The new rule gives U.S. states wide discretion in deciding whether coal power plants need efficiency upgrades or retrofits, hence benefiting the local mining industry.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is calling on governments and businesses around the world to increase the use of clean hydrogen not only for power generation but also for transport and heating. There are currently around 11,200 hydrogen-fuelled cars on the road worldwide. Existing government targets call for that number to increase dramatically to 2.5 million by 2030.

Outgoing UK Prime Minister Theresa May has committed to a 2050 emissions target of reducing emissions by 80% to “almost zero”. Massive investment in clean energy generation – renewables, hydrogen, flexible gas power and energy storage – will be needed to achieve this goal, but funding is still uncertain.  

Burning wood pellets is deemed “carbon neutral” under new EU policy rules, and so-called “biomass energy” is also increasingly popular in Japan and Korea. But some scientists dismiss the policy as “shortsighted” or outright damaging, given that is leads to old forests being chopped down in rural parts of the U.S. and in Eastern Europe.

By mid-June, the German government will receive a comprehensive report on the effects of a carbon price compared with the option of allowing sectoral pathways to reduce emissions. “Transport, buildings and agriculture so far have no form of [carbon] pricing but just some more or less effective mix of measures,” Chancellor Angela Merkel remarked as her cabinet is divided on how to meet Germany’s 2030 climate targets.

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News in Brief

SPIG wins contract for Al Dur Phase II

Sept 23 – Italy-based SPIG, part of Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises, has won a contract to provide seawater cooling tower system to SEPCOIII for the Al Dur Phase II project in Bahrain. The Al Dur Phase II is a combined-cycle gas-turbine plant to generate 1,500 MW of electricity and approximately 50 million gallons fresh water per day.

MHI-MME to take over turbocharger production

Sept 20 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems will no longer produce MET turbochargers, the standard worldwide exhaust gas turbochargers used in stationary engines. Starting from January 1, 2020, these devises will be produced by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Marine Machinery & Equipment (MHI-MME) instead.

Japan starts electricity futures trading

Sept 19 – Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) has launched trading in electricity futures to advance price competition in Japan’s liberalized energy market. The East Area peakload electricity contract for October delivery first traded at 10.9 Yen per kWh, lower than the standard price of 11 Yen set by TOCOM in advance.

Duke to reduce rates in 2020

Sept 18 – Duke Energy Florida (DEF) customers will see lower bills in 2020. The utility filed a proposal with the Florida Public Service Commission to reduce rates for electricity and gas by more than 3% while adding more solar power and making grid improvements.

Myanmar approves three power projects

Sept 17 – Myanmar’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy has given the green light to plans for a 1,230 MW gas-fired power plant in Kanpauk, Taninthayi region, a 377 MW gas-fired unit in Ahlon, Yangon region and a 1,390 MW thermal plant in Milaunggyine in Ayeyawady region. The conflict-ridden country is currently producing electricity from 5,600 MW installed capacity, derived both from state- private-owned power stations.

Bonny Train-7 to cost $6.5bn

Sept 16 – Nigeria LNG is preparing to add a seventh processing train to Bonny LNG, bringing total capacity from 22 million tons per annum (mtpa) to 30 mtpa. Estimated to cost $6.5 billion, Bonny Train-6 will include a new liquefaction unit, a storage and a condensate tank as well as three gas turbine generators.

Schneider to complete L&T takeover by early 2020

Sept 13 – Venturing into India, Schneider Electric hopes to finalise the Rs 14,000 crore acquisition of Larsen & Toubro's electrical and automation business by early 2020. After the transaction is completed, Schneider will have a 65% stake in L&T, while the remainder will be held by Temasek.

MHI to advice China on energy conservation

Sept 12 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Thermal Systems, part of MHI, has set up a joint venture withan affiliate of State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) to perform technical consulting for energy conservation projects in China. The focus of SGCC lies on building new decentralized power stations, biomass-derived power gensets and energy saving solutions.

Tender extended

Sept 11 – Turkmengas has extended a tender for the overhaul of the gas turbine engines of the NK-12ST and NK-14ST brands. Bidders need to pay to receive the tender documents, and then submit a written application to Turkmenistan’s state gas company.

Gas power units to buffer Germany’s coal exit

Sept 10 – Electricity output of Germany’s fleet of gas-fired power plants has risen to a over 13,5 billion kilowatt-hours in the three months from June to August, Fraunhofer ISE figures show. These productivity gains put CCGTs in pole position to balance supply swings in connection with the German coal exit.

Power of Siberia gas flows to start on Dec 1

Sept 9 – Russian gas supplies to China via the eastern route are going to start on December 1, 2019, Gazprom chairman Alexey Miller told his counterpart at CNPC in Beijing. The huge Chayandinskoye field, containing some 1.2 trillion cbm of gas, had already been connected to the 38 Bcm per year ‘Power of Siberia’ gas pipeline in August.

Hurricane Dorian causes havoc in the Bahamas

Sept 6 – In the aftermath of Hurricane Doran, a Category 5 storm, Bahamas Power and Light has said there is a total blackout in New Providence, the most populous island of the archipelago. Dorian made landfall twice on Sunday, ripping off roofs and electricity lines. In most parts, electricity has not been restored.

LNG cargoes via Bab-el Mandeb decrease

Aug 30 – Northbound LNG shipments via Bab el-Mandeb, a sea route chokepoint between the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, have fallen over the past three years as Egypt imports less natural gas from the Persian Gulf. In 2015 and 2016, both Jordan and Egypt imported up to 1.4 Bcf/d of LNG into Red Sea ports but these shipments fell sharply following the development of large gas finds in the Mediterranean.

Hokuriku Electric buys LNG cargo

Aug 29 – Japanese utility Hokuriku Electric has purchased an LNG cargo for delivery in November as soaring temperatures drew down gas in storage for the autumn. The cargo is understood to be scheduled for delivery in the second half of November from Malaysia’s Petronas and may well be destined for Hokuriku Electric’s first LNG-fired power generation unit,  the Toyama Shinko plant.

Technip spins off LNG activities

Aug 28 – TechnipFMC, has decided to spin off its European-based engineering and construction operations into a separate business, leaving the American half of the firm as an equipment supplier to the oil and gas sector. The split is due to be completed in the first half of 2020.

FLNG power market to top $930m by 2023

Aug 27 – The global market for floating LNG power vessel is projected to reach $ 931.6 million by 2023, up from $ 860.1 million seen last year, according to ReportsnReports. Major vendors of FLNG power vessels are Siemens, MAN, Wärtsilä, Caterpilar and GE which are targeting to use the technology to supply decentralized power to island nations in Southeast Asia and along the coast of sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas.

EIA monitors grid hourly

Aug 26 – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has launched a beta release of its hourly electric grid monitor. The enhanced version analyses hourly generation by energy source and hourly sub-regional demand for certain balancing authorities in the Lower 48 states.