Regulation & Policy

Proposing the biggest ever cuts in U.S. carbon emissions, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Gina McCarthy on Monday unveiled a draft rule that mandates power plant operators to reduce their carbon emissions by 30% by 2030 from levels seen in 2005. 

UK energy regulator has revised legislation governing the use of biogas in non-domestic power generation. The UK’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) published the changes which increase biogas capacity limits for on-site combustion at scales above 200 kW, large biomass projects and biomass combined-heat-and-power (CHP).

U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday will unveil his plans to cut carbon emission by up to 25% over the next six years, using its executive authority and regulation written by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to impose a stringent Carbon Rule he could not get through Congress.

Policy makers in the European Union are drawing up more stringent energy efficiency targets for 2030 to achieve a reduction in energy use between 30 and 35%, measured against 1990 levels, as part of a new energy security strategy.

The federal government of Nigeria has set up an emergency committee tasked with ensuring the country receives 6,000 MW of power supply by December. Nigeria has a total nameplate capacity of over 13,000 MW, of which 70% is gas-fired, however, supply shortages mean that actual power output in 2013 was only 3,563 MW.

The German government will debate the terms for a future capacity market after implementing a reform of its Renewable Energy Act (EEG) this summer. By August 1, flexible caps on clean power investment will be introduced while renewable operators need to directly market their green energy.

New emission rules for existing power plants in the U.S. are set to be issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the start of next month. The rules, written as part of the Clean Air Act, should be "ready by June 2", the agency's head Gina McCarthy said.

A new report from the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies (OIES) suggests that Mexico’s energy reforms are overly optimistic in the short term and proposes an alternative commercialisation path for the Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE). The report suggests CFE should be retained as a state-owned enterprise but limited to serving household customers below a certain annual demand at regulated prices.

Within weeks, U.S. President Barack Obama's administration is set to unveil emission limits for operational fossil power plants, in a move that might hurt fellow Democrats who are running for election in energy-producing states. But Obama can't hold off as he wants to get the cornerstones of his policy to curb climate change enshrined in law before he leaves office.

As gas-fired plants are hit by shrinking spark spreads and decreasing load factors, industry association Eurelectric warns that widespread shutdown may lead to a lack of sufficient gas back-up capacity. Steve Rose, Chairman of Eurelectic's working group 'Gas to Power' called on policy makers to put "the right conditions in place to ensure that gas can support the further growth of variable renewables."

A day after the U.S. Supreme Court voted in new regulation to limit pollution crossing state borders, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has moved to close a contentious coal-fired power plant. The San Juan Generating Station in New Mexico is located in the Four Corners region at the juncture of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah.

As the June deadline for the transposition of the Energy Efficiency Directive approaches, industry association COGEN Europe calls on EU member states to harness the full potential of micro-CHP with a view to achieving Europe's 20% energy savings target for 2020.

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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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