Regulation & Policy

Northern Powergrid has become the UK’s first distribution network operator to release a strategy paper on how it can contribute to the country’s ‘green recovery’. The TSO, serving 8 million customers in the North East and Yorkshire, submitted its 2023-28 business plan in line with Ofgem’s ED2 price control regulatory period.

Utilities’ rising use of artificial intelligence (AI) accelerates Europe’s green energy transition. The greatest potential, according to Germany's energy agency (dena) lies in forecasting as well as optimising operations and inventories. dena CEO Andreas Kuhlmann said AI can “drive new business models, accelerate innovation and increase efficiency.”

The German government prepares to launch green ‘twin bonds’ with a volume of eleven billion Euros in a bid to attract investors to sustainable finance and raise funds for emissions reduction projects. From September, investors can swap government bonds with the new green bonds.

High costs of renewable electricity in Germany prevent the realisation of green hydrogen projects, says Nils Aldag, CCO of the Dresden-based startup Sunfire. In Norway, one of Sunfire’s electrolysis plant pays less than a quarter of German prices for using renewable energy as the basis of hydrogen production.

Latest ‘Future Energy Scenarios’ (FES 2020), published by UK’s National Grid strike a more confident tone that enough fossil and new technologies can be deployed to achieve the Government’s Net Zero by 2050 targets. At least two of four scenarios show pathways to accomplish this.

Exelon Corp has accused ISO New England of putting Boston’s power supply security at risk by “hastily” eliminating the out-of-market retention of Mystic Generating Station. Exelon filed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to bar ISO NE from making these changes.

Williams has received approval from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to move forward with the Leidy South Project. The pipeline expansion will allow for further supplies, produced by Cabot Oil & Gas and Seneca Resources in Marcellus and Utica Shale, to be transported to the Mid-Atlantic region by winter 2021/22.

German Energy Agency dena has advised the Government to support households by lowering the renewable surcharge they pay with their power bills, also known as the EEG levy, to zero by 2021. The resulting lower electricity prices would help stimulate private consumption.

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has launched a 90-day public comment period for its 2020 Oil and Gas Sector Standard as momentum to replace fossil fuels is gaining traction. GRI standards focus on sustainability, widely seen as the industry’s “single biggest challenge”.

The German Parliament has adopted a law that ensures the phase-out of coal power by no later than 2038. Several reviews throughout the 2020s will assess progress on the build-out of wind and solar power as the end date for burning lignite could be brought forward to 2035.

Thailand’s oldest industrial conglomerate, the B.Grimm Group, has filed an application for a second LNG import license to the Thai Energy Regulatory Commission. The aim is to increase fuel supplies for the utility's proposed new gas-fired power plants.

German government advisors say a market-driven and quicker than planned coal exit is “necessary” to accelerate the energy transition. Taxes and levies need to be reformed, with industry calling for a steep cut in the renewable energy surcharge in line with the European Green Deal.

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News in Brief

Energy storage for LNG-powered vessels

Oct 21 – Louisiana-based Harvey Gulf has asked Wärtsilä to retrofit its energy storage system (ESS) on four LNG-fuelled platform support vessels. Once upgraded in early 2022, all vessels will be of full tri-fuel operation.

Mott McDonald starts construction on ALCP6

Oct 20 – US construction firm Mott McDonald has started building the ALCP6 waste to energy project in Krabi province, southern Thailand. The plant will incinerate 144,000 tonnes per year of municipal solid waste, and the heat obtained will be converted into 6 MW of electricity to be exported to the Thai national grid.

Brace for EU sustainable finance rules

Oct 19 – Sustainable finance practices, drawn up by the European Commission, could create a "bureaucratic monster" that smaller companies and energy investors would find overbearing, the Munich-based Institute for Economic Research (ifo) warned. The regulation should hence prioritise closer scrutiny of large and listed companies.

UK could become net power exporter

Oct 16 – Increased interconnection could provide a route for excess offshore wind power in Britain to be consumed elsewhere in Europe. National Grid Interconnector Register shows up to 16 GW of interconnection could be operational by 2025 and up to 25.4 GW by 2030.

Wärtsilä to deploy GridSolv in US city

Oct 15 – AEP OnSite Partners has contracted Wärtsilä to deploy its GridSolv Quantum energy storage in the city of Martinsville, Virginia. The system includes an UL9540A limiting 2-hour battery firewall and will help lower the city’s energy costs.

Rolls-Royce spends $13.9m in Mankato

Oct 14 – Britain’s engine maker Rolls-Royce has decided to invest nearly $14 million in its Power System business to build a new R&D centre at its MTU manufacturing plant in Mankato, Minnesota, US. The expansion will see 28,000 square foot added to the facility’s existing hall, making room for the production of high-power MTU gas gensets, enhanced product testing and the creation of 20 new manufacturing positions.

Clarke commissions Vitalait power unit in Tunisia

Oct 13 – Clarke Energy and INNIO Jenbacher have completed the commissioning of an onsite power plant of a milk producer in Tunisia. The installation of another Jenbacher gas engine has increased the plant’s output to 4 MW of electricity as well as 1,100 kW of hot water and 800 kW of steam.

Secondary battery market to top $55bn

Oct 12 – Technavio expects the secondary battery market to grow by $55.62 billion through 2024, rising at an 11% rate over the forecast period. Falling costs for lithium-ion batteries as well as growing demand in Asia Pacific allowed the market to grow 2.01% this year, despite adverse effects of the pandemic. Top battery suppliers are Tesla, Clarious, Exide, LG Chem, GS Yuasa and Samsung.

Shift to sustainable tech

Oct 9 – Three quarters of utilities, surveyed by EIT InnoEnergy, are considering adopting sustainable technology over the next 12-18 months. However, over one third of the respondents found it hard to recruit the skills they need.

Generator rentals slow

Oct 8 – The rental market for power generators has slowed down due to the pandemic, with genset rentals from the oil and gas industry forecast to grow by just $153.87 million this year. However, Technavio expects the market will return to a 3% annual growth rate by 2024.

GE upgrades Italian CHP

Oct 7 – GE has completed an axial fuel staging upgrade on its 9E gas turbine at an onsite combined heat and power (CHP) plant at the Milazzo refinery in Sicily. The entire electricity needs of the refinery, over 780 GWh in 2019, will soon be supplied by the upgraded and more flexible gas turbine.

Operating assets ‘from anywhere’

Oct 6 – GE Digital’s latest software gives electric utilities remote and mobile control over their power stations for remote start-up, external monitoring and operational fine-tuning. The goal is to safe cost through autonomous operation from any location.

Chart wins order from New Fortress Energy

Oct 5 – Chart Industries has secured a second leasing order, worth $7.7 million, for ISO containers for LNG applications from New Fortress Energy for a project in the Caribbean. The US equipment maker sees double digit near-term growth in its repair, service and leasing business, notably from growing demand for LNG equipment for infrastructure.

Siemens energises Togo

Oct 2 – Siemens Energy has delivered a SGT-800 gas turbine and other components for the Kékéli Efficient Power plant project. Located in the Togolese capital Lomé, the 65 MW plant will cover almost 40% of country’s expected electricity demand.

Batteries get cheaper

Oct 1 – Cost for battery production is falling rapidly as manufacturers bring large Gigafactories on-line. By 2030, Bloomberg New Energy Finance anticipates battery pack prices to drop to $73 per kilowatt-hour, down from a current volume-weighted average of below $270/kWh.

Barclays may help fund Rolls-Royce

Sept 30 – UK’s prime engine maker Rolls-Royce is understood to be close to getting fresh financing from Barclays Bank. The Derby-based company, however, insists no final decision has been taken on the precise amount that may be raised or any allotment of shares to any investor.

Petronas to truck LNG to off-grid users

Sept 29 – Petronas Dagangan Group is gearing up to build a LNG truck delivery service for off-grid customers in Peninsular Malaysia. Trucks fitted with cryogenic tanks will bring the super-chilled fuel to remote industries and small-scale power generators with no access to the natural gas grid. Malaysia’s Peninsular Gas Utilisation (PGU) pipeline is only 2,500 kilometers in length and was initially built to export gas to Singapore.

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