Regulation & Policy

Japan’s largest LNG importer and power producer JERA has submitted the environmental impact assessment and scoping document for Units 7&8 at its Chita Thermal Power Station. The plan involves the decommissioning of the ageing coal-fired Units 1 through 5, and replacing them with two LNG-fuelled combined-cycle power units with 63.2% thermal efficiency.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged industry and private households to do more to expand the renewable energy rollout, especially in the heating sector where most energy is still produced from fossil fuels. Speaking at a VKU event, she called the 46% renewables share in the power sector “remarkable” but looking at 2030 this was “not yet enough.”

In today’s budget, the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to commit £27 million for the Aberdeen Energy Transition Zone, designed to turn the area into a renewable energy hub. The UK oil and gas industry also welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement that Scottish businesses will receive a boost of over £57 million to create local jobs in key sectors.

Rishi Sunak, the UK Chancellor is expected to set out new mechanisms to reach the 2050 Net Zero emission target in the Government’s 2021 budget on March 3. With November’s Climate Change Conference in mind, the Government is looking at novel ways to tax carbon emissions.

Germany’s investments under the European recovery programme are below the required minimum share. The government proposed a €130 billion recovery package in 2020 and promised to add another €300 billion to the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility, but green energy spending is still significantly below the 37% benchmark set by the European Commission.

Australia-listed Energy World Corp has received a favourable ruling from the Indonesian regulator that reverses a zoning error, allowing EWC to proceed with its Sengkang LNG plant in South Sulawesia and an adjacent 315 MW power project. The site had been classified as ‘forestry land’ but is now ‘industrial land’.

President Joe Biden has moved swiftly to reconfigure US energy policy, cancelling the Keystone XL oil pipeline and signalling to factor in emissions costs into project reviews. Analysts warn this could put key gas interconnectors at risk, notably the 2.0 Bcf per day Mountain Valley Pipeline meant to alleviate take-away constraints from the Appalachian.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is about to launch the world’s first roadmap to net-zero emissions by 2050. The UK and the Netherlands already set binding CO2 reduction goals and if US President Biden follows through on his pledges, countries accounting for over 60% of global emissions will have net-zero ambitions.

The United States has informed German officials its plans to levy sanctions on the Russian pipe-laying vessel ‘Fortuna’ and its owner, KVT-RUS, effective today. ‘Fortuna’ is building the Gazprom-led Nord Stream 2 pipeline, opposed by Washington as it raises Germany’s reliance on Russian gas.

The US Department of Energy’s Office, staffed by the outgoing President Trump, has launched a report on impacts of the so-called “ill-conceived ban on hydraulic fracturing,” proposed by the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden. The ban will allegedly cost millions of jobs and make gas and power prices surge.

Striving to get Nord Stream 2 finalised, Germany’s north-eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania plans to carry out a bulk purchase of construction materials and machinery. These would be made available to companies involved in the project, in an effort to circumvent US sanctions.

Britain’s energy regulator Ofgem has told EDF Energy to pay £6 million for breach of energy market rules. From September 2017 to March 2020, EDF frequently inflated the minimum amount of power it said its West Burton B plant could supply, making National Grid buy more electricity than needed.

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News in Brief

Growth in turbine air filtration tops 3%

July 22 – The turbine air filtration market is expected to grow 3.27% annually from $1.92 billion in 2020 to reach $2.29 billion in 2026. Demand from the oil & gas industry and electric utilities had plunged during the corona crisis and subsequent economic downturn, but the latest trend towards clean energy is driving robust growth for turbine air filtration which can be widely and easily applied in the power sector.

US oil exports stay high

July 21 – Despite volatile prices, U.S. crude oil exports reached a record high in 2020 and remained strong this year, averaging 3.51 million barrels per day (b/d). Expanded ports at Houston and Corpus Christi allow for oil to be exported from the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Basin.

CVEC to be converted to hydrogen

July 20 – Cricket Valley Energy Center (CVEC) is taking steps to run the  combined-cycle plants on hydrogen. Works to convert the plant will be carried out by GE and are scheduled to start in late 2022. One of three GE 7F.05 gas turbines at CVEC will be introduced to a 5% hydrogen blend with natural gas.

MAN ETES labelled solar impulse efficient

July 16 – MAN Electro-Thermal Energy Storage (ETES) was attributed the “Solar Impulse Efficient Solution” label by independent auditors. In January, the German manufacturer supplied to ETES heat pumps to DIN Forsyning for a heat and power plant in the Danish port city Esbjerg.

Electricity sales to US industry rebounds

July 14 – Economic recovery has caused a 5.1% rise electricity sales to US industry this year, dwarfing 2.8% more retail sales and a 2.1% rise in the commercial sector as many office workers continue working from home. The US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) acting administrator, Steve Nalley, called the rebound in electricity sales to industry a “strong sign of rising levels of economic output as the Covid-19 pandemic recedes.”

Solar PV to triple in Asia by 2030

July 13 – Asia Pacific solar photovoltaic capacity could triple to 1,500 gigawatts (GW) by 2030. According to Wood Mackenzie estimates, China will add 619 GW of mainly utility-scale capacity while most other nations in Asia prefers distributed solar due to land constraints. Solar PV tends to be backed up by flexible gas gensets and energy storage, forming hybrid power units.

Kinder Morgan closes on Stagecoach assets

July 12 – US energy infrastructure major Kinder Morgan has closed its acquisition of Stagecoach Gas Services. The deal include 4 gas storage facilities with a 41 bcf working gas capacity and a transmission network with multiple interconnects to major interstate pipelines, including Tennessee Gas Pipeline. The Stagecoach assets add to Kinder Morgan’s approximately 83,000 miles of pipelines and 144 terminals.

Dortmund cancels electrotechnik fair

July 9 – The elektrotechnik fair, planned for 29 September to 1 October 2021, will now not be taking place in Dortmund due to requests from the industry. The next trade fair for building, industrial, energy and lighting technology will now open its doors again in spring 2023.

Hitachi to change name of ABB Power Grids

July 7 – Hitachi ABB Power Grids will become Hitachi Energy in October. The Japanese manufacturer bought a controlling stake in ABB’s grid business a year ago and is about to fully take the name of the merged company while expanding its direction towards e-mobility and data centres.

Tapping wind energy for hydrogen

July 6 – Spanish utility Naturgy and the gas grid operator Enagás are evaluating the use of 350 MW offshore and onshore wind capacity to produce green hydrogen. The fuel will be used to decarbonise the steel industry and shipyard in northwest Spain.

EU seeks to expand Green Deal to Africa

July 5 – The European Green Deal should be expanded to also include African states as partners, the German development minister Gerd Müller said. Green hydrogen production in Africa, in his view, should be a “cornerstone for economic cooperation with the Europe.”

Decom Engineering updates PCR

July 2 – Northern Ireland-based Decom Engineering has invested more than £700,000 to develop tools for repurposing and clean decommissioning of energy infrastructure. Through updated Pipe Coating Removal (PCR) equipment, decommissioned or surplus pipelines can be cleaned of multiple coatings, so they can be repurposed for used on other projects.

Cummins buys half of Momentum Fuels

July 1 – Cummins has signed a letter of intent to acquire a 50% equity interest in Momentum Fuel Technologies from Rush Enterprises. The transaction is expected to close before year-end, and the combined venture will produce Cummins-branded natural gas fuel delivery systems for the commercial vehicle market in North America.

Gazprom evaluates cost of grey hydrogen

June 30 – Scientific studies by Gazprom and the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) seek to solve technical challenges in producing grey hydrogen through steam reforming in the most cost-efficient way, as well as transporting the fuel to end-users. The findings of the studies will be factored into Gazprom's sustainable development scenarios up to 2050.

Redox about to overtake Li-ion batteries

June 28 – Li-ion batteries have dominated the energy storage field, but are expected to lose their leading role in stationary applications. According to IDTechEx findings, Redox flow batteries are gaining traction and are likely to overtake the installed Li-ion battery energy capacity before the end of 2030.

B&W proceeds with waste-to-energy projects

June 25 – Babcock & Wilcox’s (B&W) renewable segment has received limited notice to proceed for a waste-to-energy project in Europe as it finalizes terms for a $24 million contract with the customer. Ohio-based B&W said it looks to capitalize on an estimated addressable market of more than $7 billion in Europe over the next three years.

Japan’s gas-burn on the rise

June 24 – LNG imports for power generation in Japan have rebounded with steady volumes from the Middle East and Australia and higher cargo numbers from Russia and the US, though LNG deliveries were outpaced by thermal coal shipments. The May 2021 LNG shipments amounted to 4.95 million tonnes, or around 73 cargoes, a 8.2% rise on volumes received in May 2020, according to trade figures by the Japanese finance ministry.

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