Regulation & Policy

Carmakers are calling for a two year delay of Germany's national CO2 price in the transport and heating sector to help businesses stay afloat. Covid-19 lockdowns greatly reduce emissions, so the industry claims this would "make further climate policy measures unnecessary for the time being."

More and more investor-owned utility companies in the United States have conceded to suspend disconnections of customers who do not pay their bills during the coronavirus pandemic. American Electric Power, Dominion, Duke Energy and PG&E are among twelve utilities who agreed relief measures for homeowners and businesses to help avert bankruptcies.

Far-reaching measures taken in Germany and across Europe to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus do not compromise the security of energy supply. The German association of local utilities (VKU) stressed that „energy supply currently is neither in danger nor impaired.”

Contingency measures to contain the coronavirus have slowed industrial output and transport throughout Europe and might help Germany reach its 40% emission reduction targets. Power sector emissions fell substantially as cheap gas accelerated fuel switching, but critics warned the “corona effect could obscure the need for change,” notably for road traffic.

German research minister Anja Karliczek is calling for a “clear schedule and a clear target” for a transition to green hydrogen, made with renewable energy. The minister dismissed blue hydrogen, made with natural gas using carbon capture and storage (CCS), as “a distraction.” Berlin will decide on a hydrogen strategy on March 18.

Germany's policy push to reach 2030 climate targets is “insufficient,” two government-commissioned studies find. Despite the agreement on a coal phase-out, the introduction of a CO2 price and several other measures, emissions will likely exceed the target by around 70 million tonnes in a decade, mainly due to shortcomings in transport and the heating sector.

The European Commission has allocated 877 million Euros of its ‘Just Transition Fund’ to support structural change in German coal mining regions that are hardest hit by an coal exit by 2035. Germany receives the second largest handout, after Poland, from the 7.5 billion Euros fund.

The California Energy Commission has withdrawn the license for the Palmdale Energy Project, just north of Los Angeles, after the developer Palmdale Energy signaled it was unable to secure a customer for the gas-fired plant. Attitudes in California have changed as consumers favour carbon-neutral power generation over fossil fuels.

Vietnam’s vibrant economy is facing severe energy shortages from 2021 as construction of new power plants cannot keep up with rising electricity demand. The government in Hanoi hence set out guidelines to boost generating capacity from currently 54 GW to 125 GW by 2030.

Germany must exit coal-fired power generation much faster than planned to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement, the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) finds. To meet climate goals, a coal phase-out would have to be completed by 2030, or better before.

Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, has singled out natural gas as the “only credible route for pursuing an energy transition.” To enact his gas-led energy policies, the PM seeks to double gas production in New South Wales which hinges on Santos going ahead with the Narrabri gas project.

As Germany exits both nuclear and coal generation simultaneously over the next few years, more flexible gas-fired generating capacity and energy storage will be required to balance the grid. The gas industry hence urges the Government to introduce regulation to launch capacity markets to incentivize enough new-build gas power units by 2030.

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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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