Regulation & Policy

U.S. power provider Invenergy is in talks with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to get a waiver approved for its 600MW gas-fired Nelson Energy Center in Illinois. The waiver, if grantedwill allow the facility to sell some of its capacity outside of the Base Residual Auction (BRA) of PJM Interconnection's Reliability Pricing Model (RPM).

Faced with high costs for retrofitting coal-fired power plants to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), operators are keen on developing cost-effective measures to curb emissions, acid gas, toxic metals and mercury.

In a bid to increase the reliability of the U.S. power sector the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has ordered gas and electric providers to create closer ties to improve shipping and dispatch timetables. Providers must “better coordinate the scheduling of natural gas and electricity markets in light of increased reliance on natural gas for electric generation,” according to a FERC statement.

The chief executive of UK energy firm Centrica has stated the company has ‘concerns’ over the recently announced Competition and Markets Commission (CMA) inquiry into the UK energy market and suggested the company may hold off on any  investments in new gas power plants in the short term.

Any delay to the UK’s proposed capacity market mechanism could result in power brownouts and hold ups for power plant construction, according to the chief of National Grid's Electricity Market Reform team. “The risk has clearly increased and we are close to being in the position of experiencing brown outs". Mark Ripley, project director at National Grid said at the Future of Utilities conference in London.

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved plans to ship natural gas from Texas to Mexico via a border-crossing interconnector. FERC noted that the project was needed to “meet [Mexico’s] expanding fuel demand for power generation and industrial activity.”

Gas-fired power plants in Spain may be in line for government subsidy to prevent further closure of facilities. The government is understood to be in private negotiation with power providers in a bid to reduce the countries €30 billion electricity deficit.

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has disclosed final aspects of the much discussed Capacity Market design ahead of the first auction being held in December this year, subject to state aid clearance. Capacity should then be in place by the winter of 2018.

UK chancellor George Osborne today announced that he would abandon any further increases in the Carbon Price Floor (CPF) in a bid to help reduce costs for fossil fuel based power producers. As part of his 2014 budget the chancellor announced a freeze at £18 per tonne from 2016 for the rest of the decade, up from currently around £16/t, and highlighted the need for lower energy prices to make British manufacturing more competitive globally.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ruled this week that it was not feasible to replace output from the retired San Onofre nuclear plant without including new natural gas-fired plants as part of the plan. Opponents had been pushing for a renewable-only option but this latest ruling will ensure that gas-fired power is included in the mix.

Keen to block tough new regulation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on new coal-fired power generating capacity Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have voted through a bill aimed at thwarting the rules. The vote in the Republican-controlled House passed by 229 to 183 but commentators are sceptical it will make it past the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Security at power plants in the United States is under threat from cyber-attacks, according to a recent report from the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC). “Evidence collected by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suggests that cyber-attacks on key energy infrastructure—and on the electricity system in particular—are increasing, both in frequency and sophistication,” said Margot Anderson, lead author of the report and director at the BPC.

Page 55 of 76

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.

Sponsored Video

IRIDIUM GLOBAL MARITIME DISTRESS AND SAFETY SYSTEM.

House ad Jul2020