Regulation & Policy

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

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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