Regulation & Policy

Two nuclear power projects in Turkey, once operational, are estimated to help the government save $7.2 billion by reducing gas imports by one-third in addition to generating 32% of the country's electricity. The government is keen to fast-track a Rosatom-led reactor in Akkuyu, Mersin province, and aims to realise a further reactor on the Black Sea cost through a Japanese-French consortium by 2023. 

Mounting pressure is placed on the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to enact reforms in East and Midwest power transmission areas to create stronger capacity markets to strengthen electric grid reliability. Industry has been pushing for regulatory changes ahead of the next base residual power auctions on May 12.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recognized the key role played by combined heat and power (CHP) in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from energy supply. Industry association COGEN Europe consequentially calls on EU member states to reconsider cuts in national support schemes for cogeneration.

Power producers in the United States like American Electic Power, Duke Energy and Southern Co. must abide by federal limits on mercury and other power plant plants, a U.S. appeals court ruled, upholding the EPA's Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS) regulation that was heavily criticized by the industry.

Dangerous levels of greenhouse gas emissions could be mitigated by replacing existing carbon-intensive coal plants with modern gas-fired combined cycle plants, according to new findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report shows that gas power generation without CCS acts as a bridge technology towards greater renewable energy use with the aim of achieving 450 ppm CO2eq concentrations by 2100.

Japanese ministers voted today to reinstate some of the country's nuclear power plants in a bid to reduce crippling gas import costs for power producers. The government made no comment on how many plants will be restarted, but the new plan is hoped to alleviate the estimated $50 billion losses incurred by nuclear operators as they have been forced to switch to costly fossil fuel imports.

The European Commission's new rule book on what constitutes state aid in the energy sector recognizes a potential need to support conventional capacity to balance intermittent power output from renewables in the EU energy mix.

Cogeneration in Spain could become a causality of current changes in electricity legislation, with an estimated 6 GW at risk of closure. Proposed reductions of the CHP tariff will immediately drive roughly half of the existing capacity into negative gross margins and force them to shut-down, industry association COGEN Spain warns.

The German government and the European Commission have ended a lengthy dispute over exemptions and rebates to industry from paying the full levy charged for subsidizing renewable energy. A compromise allows firms to pay less than the 20% share of the EGG levy which the EC had proposed, German media reported.

A proposed reform of Germany's renewable energy act (EEG) is set to hit manufacturers with substantial extra costs for energy which may lead to closures, the industry warns. The renewables levy will rise to €77/MWh in 2020 from currently €62.40/MWh and the extent of industry exceptions is still uncertain.

 

Reviewing the EU Energy Efficiency Directive by July, the Commission is likely to set more stringent targets after the European parliament voted for 40% improvements in efficiency by 2030. "The parliament is expecting an ambitious energy efficiency target from us," Mechthild Wörsdörfer, Director Energy Policy at DG Energy said in Brussels today.

Warning that the UK Energy Bill may not realise the full potential of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Generation, the British industry association CHPA is calling on policy makers to extend the small scale Feed-in Tariff capacity threshold in addition to the proposed Contracts for Difference (CfD).

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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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