Regulation & Policy

The Germany regulator has turned down Gazprom’s application to exempt the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline (55 Bcm per year) from common EU market rules that stipulate the unbundling of gas producer and supplier. Under EU rules, Nord Stream-2 would also need to open up to third party suppliers.

German research minister Anja Karliczek has called on the government not to “waste any more time debating” and come to a prompt decision on a national hydrogen strategy. The latest draft focuses on green hydrogen from renewable energy, as well as blue hydrogen, produced via carbon capture storage (CCS).

Green stimulus packages, fiercely debated in Germany, could be instrumental to reset the economy on a more climate-friendly path as the country gradually phases out both nuclear and coal power. However, calls from the industry to loosen emission regulations to boost economic activity are growing louder.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended the nationwide lockdown until May 3 but allows some graded relaxations. The restart of selected manufacturing after April 20 is seen to be critical to the country’s economic stability and the shape of near-term energy demand.

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.

Page 6 of 75

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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