Regulation & Policy

District heating and cooling (DHC) cogeneration currently provides 1.6 million households in 26 South Korean areas – mostly in greater Seoul – with power and heat, after an array of new installations came online in the wake of the 1999 Integrated Energy Supply (IES) Act. The latest report of the International Energy Agency (IEA) on cogeneration and district energy highlights the Korean IES regulation as an example of CHP best practice.

Lord Deighton, the UK Olympics boss and former Goldman Sachs banker, has been appointed by the government to start negotiations with France's EDF Energy on bringing new nuclear power stations to the UK. Talks are held with the aim to swiftly increase power generation capacity to avoid a supply gap.

Stricter regulations from the US Environmental Protection Agency on SO2, particulate matter, NOx and mercury could make nearly two-thirds of the country's coal-fired power plants just as expensive to run as gas-fired plants. The cost of complying with these regulations will accelerate the trend of power producers shifting from burning natural gas instead of coal, a study from Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment finds.

Smaller combined heat and power (CHP) installations are experiencing growth in many EU member states but the sector is also under pressure from the effects of the economic crisis, electricity market issues and ongoing fluctuations in the price of fuel, according to COGEN Europe's 2013 Snapshot Survey of the Cogeneration sector in Europe.

Fuel prices will continue to favour baseload coal-fired power generation over gas-fired generation in the UK through the summer months and beyond, according to the National Grid's Summer Outlook Report. This is despite the application of a carbon price support (CPS) of £4.94/ton on April 1 for the 2013-2014 financial year.

UK Energy Intensive Industries have agreed to extending energy efficiency improvement targets to 2020 as part of the voluntary Climate Change Agreements scheme which provides an extension to the Climate Change Levy. These efficiency improvements are estimated to deliver an overall 11 percent energy efficiency improvement across all industry sectors.

Ofgem is to fine SSE £10.5 million for misselling electricity to consumers in breach of Standard Licence Conditions. The fine – the largest ever to be imposed on a UK energy supplier – relates to numerous breaches of SSE's obligations relating to telephone, in-store and doorstep sales activities. Ofgem says that SSE consistently failed to provide clear and accurate information on prices and potential savings to customers about whether or not to switch suppliers.

Japan has decided to revamp its electricity industry by obliging utilities to split their power generation and distribution segments into separate businesses. The move – approved on Tuesday by the Prime Minister's cabinet – is intended to help foster competitiveness, and encourage innovation and modernisation in the country's electricity sector. A bill based on the cabinet's decision is to be submitted to parliament "around 2015."

The gas market is not yet fully liberalized and things still needs time, but as the government we are committed to duplicating the efforts made when we liberalized the power market, Turkey's deputy minister for energy and natural resources, Hasan Murat Mercan, told a conference in Istanbul organized by Gas to Power Journal.

Keen to fast-track the liberalisation process of the Turkish energy market, the government has set a timeline for divestment of state-owned power generation assets.

"We hope to finish the privatization of Turkey's thermal power plants by 2015," Atif Kir, Head of Project Group, at the Turkish Ministry of Privatization Administration (OIB) told Gas to Power Journal in an interview.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has admitted that her Liberal party had made a "political decision" to cancel two under construction gas-fired power plants in Oakville and Mississauga before the 2011 provincial election. The Oakville and Mississauga plants were to have an installed capacity of 900MW and 280MW, respectively.

Minnesota Power, a subsidiary of ALLETE Inc., has released plans calling for a decrease in coal and an increase in natural gas and renewable energy sources in its future power plant portfolio. The company currently generates about 80 percent of its power from coal but envisions a long term target of one third coal, one third renewable, and one third natural gas and other power generating capacity.

Los Angeles will stop using electricity generated from coal-fired power plants by 2025, pledged Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "In a couple of weeks, I will be signing agreements to get completely out of coal by 2025," he said at an event sponsored by the UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.

A decrease in the use of coal and an increase in the use of gas for electric power generation due to cheaper natural gas prices has played a significant role in reducing US SO2 and NOx emissions in recent years, according to the US Energy Administration (EIA). Between 1990 and 2012, SO2 emissions from electrical power generation fell from over 15 million short tons to about 3 million short tons, while COx emissions dropped from about 6 million short tons to less than 2 million short tons.

The emergence of a harmonised pan-European capacity market design is "unlikely" and efforts may come "too late", says Håkan Feuk, Chairman of TF Market Design for Renewable Energy Integration at Eurelectric, adding that some common denominators for national CRM schemes need to be established to ensure a level playing field for investors and consistency with the integration process of European energy markets.

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News in Brief

SaskPower proceeds with Moose Jaw project

Nov 13 – Canadian utility SaskPower has taken a significant step towards realizing a 350 MW gas power plant at Moose Jaw. The project was first proposed in 2017, but in the Canadian federal government June last year introduced new regulations for gas generation coming online after January 1, 2021, which stalled the plans. Having completed its regulatory review, Sask Power was now granted permission to proceed from the municipality of Moose Jaw. Major Fraser Tolmie said “this $700-million investment into the city of Moose Jaw, will ensure we have base-load power in the province of Saskatchewan and to maintain our power independence.”

Sembcorp powers up first BESS unit in the UK

Nov 12 – Sembcorp Energy UK, part of Singapore-based Sempcorp Group, has started to operate the first 60 MW unit of its battery energy storage system (BESS) fleet, supplied by GE. Combined, the three storage units in Leicestershire and Cheshire will bring Sembcorp Energy UK’s total energy portfolio to 973 MW.

Global gas glut may clear in 2021

Nov 11 – Economics of exporting American liquefied natural gas to Europe no longer add up. With Henry Hub spot prices around $2.7/MMBtu, moving LNG cargoes from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Europe is “not workable,” BP analysts said, indicating that production shut-ins could help clear the massive supply overhang towards the end of 2021.

Gazprom reassures Germany of Ukraine gas transits

Nov 8 – Alexey Miller, chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, has been trying to reassure the German government commissioner Georg Graf Waldersee that Russia was ready to signing a new transit contract with Naftogaz if both companies mutually waive claims. Before gas flows can proceed, however, Ukraine will have to create an independent gas transmission operator by January 1, 2020.

GE makes gains in wind power

Nov 7 – GE Power is gradually turning away from its loss-making fossil power segment to focus on the fast-growing renewable business. This week, GE struck a deal for its new Haliade-X turbines to be used at Dogger Bank Wind Farms. The three 1.2 GW Dogger Bank projects, situated offshore the UK’s Yorkshire coast, are expected to trigger approximately £9 billion of capital investment between 2020 and 2026.

PetroVietnam eyes LNG-to-Power project

Nov 6 – PetroVietnam has signed an agreement with B.Grimm Power Public Company (BGRIM) to jointly study the development of an integrated LNG import and power generation project. The aim is to build a 3,000 MW gas-fuelled power plant and an adjacent LNG import terminal. The location of the project has not been disclosed.

ABB launches ‘Smart City’

Nov 5 – Electrification specialists of the Swiss manufacturer ABB have designed an interactive ‘Smart City’ that contains smart buildings, e-mobility, energy management and data centers. The use of smart technologies and digitalization are encouraged by the United Nations as a way to help decarbonize cities around the world.

Gazprom, BASF cooperate on sulfur separation

Nov 4 – The Russian major Gazprom and the German chemical company BASF have agreed to devise a comprehensive solution for separation of sulfur from natural gas. The aim is to  enhance eco-efficiency of the Astrakhan gas processing plant and improve operational efficiency of BASF’s amine gas treatment units at the Orenburg gas-fired power plant.

Germany’s emission fall ‘markedly’

Nov 1 – Germany is headed for second consecutive year of substantial reductions in carbon emissions, amid a sharp drop in coal-burn in the power sector and an overall decline in energy use in 2019. If this trend continues, the country could get much closer to its 2020 climate target than widely anticipated.

Exmar to refinance Tango FLNG

Oct 31 – Exmar, the Belgian shipping company, is trying to refinance the Tango FLNG vessel, moored offshore Argentina on behalf of YPF. The aim is to generate around $60 million in additional capital, Exmar said, suggesting a deal will likely be struck in the first months of 2020.

Petronet doubles net profit

Oct 30 – Indian LNG importer Petronet has nearly doubled its net profits in the third quarter although revenues fell by 13%. Net profits came in at 1,089 crore rupees ($153.6m), an increase of 90% on the same period in 2018 as the company benefited from India’s lower corporate tax rates. Third-quarter revenues, in contrast, fell to 9,449 crore rupees ($1.33 billion).

Wildfires spread around LA

Oct 29 – Thousands of Los Angeles residents have been evacuated as wildfires spread fast around the metropolis and power outages brought life close to a standstill. The risk of fires caused by overland transmission lines prompted Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to prolong precautionary blackouts that could last up to three days.

Dominion embraces solar & storage

Oct 28 – Dominion Energy South Carolina has signed contracts for more than 1,000 MW of solar capacity. About half of that capacity has entered service. To complement intermittent solar energy supply, Dominion earlier announced several energy storage projects.

Wärtsilä downgrades outlook for its energy business

Oct 25 – Wärtsilä has downgraded the outlook of its Energy Business from “soft” to “weak” amid low equipment demand, although the its services activity “remains sound.” The current order book for 2019 deliveries is 1,708 million Euros, comprised mainly of equipment deliveries, Wärtsilä stated today when posting mixed Q3 results. Looking ahead, the company said its operating result for full-year 2019 will be approximately 100 million Euros lower than in the 2018 result of 577 million Euros.

Siemens names new CIO

Oct 24 – Hanna Hennig will be appointed as new Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Siemens starting from January 2020. The change at Siemens’ IT organization supports the execution of the company’s Vision 2020+.

GE to service Austrian CHP

Oct 23 – Sappi Austria, provider of sustainable woodfibre products, has handed GE Power a multi-year service agreement to for its 42 MW onsite power plant.  GE will carry out a cross-fleet turbine and combustor upgrade to help Sappi reduce costs through a maintenance interval extension and better plant performance.

Brookfield invest $2bn in Cove Point LNG

Oct 22 – Brookfield Asset Management, an investor in energy infrastructure and power storage, has agreed to take a 25% stake in Cove Point LNG for just over $2 billion in cash. The alternative investor also owns assets in hydro (7.9 GW), wind (4.9 GW), solar (1.7 GW), distributed generation (400 MW) and energy storage (2.7 GW).