Regulation & Policy

Corporate power purchase agreements (CPPAs) are on the rise in Taiwan, underlined by the world’s largest CPPA deal over 920 MW between Ørsted and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Energy-intensive industries prefer CPPA as it allows them buying electricity in bulk for cheap, rather than from the state supplier.

The German parliament has voted in favour of increasing the starting price of one tonne of CO2 to 25 Euros as of January 1, 2021. Vendors of petrol, diesel, heating oil and natural gas will have to buy emissions allowances, whose price will rise to 55 Euros by 2025.

Wholesale power prices will increasingly hinge on zero marginal cost generators, such as variable renewables, which undermine the profitability of thermal power units. Cornwall Insight proposes to guarantee each generator at least their floor price for each MWh produced. The value would be determined in a competitive tender.

US oil and gas major ExxonMobil has been given regulatory approval to build a LNG import terminal and power project at the northern Vietnamese port city of Haiphong. The project is meant to start generating electricity by 2026, though ExxonMobil has yet to confirm it is going ahead.

Thailand’s B.Grimm Power gained approval from the Provincial Electricity Authority to service more industrial customers near the Map Ta Phut LNG regas terminal. The Thai IPP is building 700 MW of gas-fired capacity, and arranged two LNG licences with a view to start importing as early as 2022.

The latest round of Germany's green energy tenders has spurred a run on combined solar and storage, while onshore wind energy tenders were undersubscribed yet again. The German regulator initiated an ‘innovation auction’ for 650 MW projects that combine fluctuating onshore wind or solar PV with biomass and energy storage.

President Xi Jinping has told the UN General Assembly that China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, will reach peak emissions before 2030 and aspires to become carbon-neutral by 2060. President Xi called on all countries to “stop only pursuing development rather than environment protection.”

Striving to jump-start Australia’s economy, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has tabled a National Gas Development Plan, promising over $28 million to develop five gas basins and another $10.9 million on priority pipelines. Subsidies for gas-fired power are also on the cards as the PM aims for a “gas-led manufacturing recovery.”

Angela Merkel is under growing pressure to end her support for the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline project. Leading CDU party members and the Green party want the German Chancellor to halt construction after the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, especially because economists say the pipeline is “unnecessary” for ensuring supply security.

Germany’s federal and state governments have sealed a deal to make official the 40 billion Euros in state support for mining regions. The funding is dedicated to companies and regions worst affected by the landmark plan to exit coal-fired power generation by 2038 at the latest.

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.”

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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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