Regulation & Policy

New investments in gas-fired capacity in the UK are being put on hold until there is clarity surrounding the government's ongoing Energy Market Reform (EMR), George Grant, Director at Stag Energy told Gas to Power Journal at the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum keynote seminar in London. "The industry acknowledges that we are waiting for the EMR, part of which is the capacity mechanism that's being talked about [and] there isn't going to be any new investment in gas until that's clarified. So the phrase that's being thrown out about there being a dash for gas is just incorrect," he said.

The implementation of a capacity mechanism as part of the UK's Energy Market Reform (EMR) should be done "as soon as possible" in order to spur investment and prevent electricity shortfalls in the coming decade, Stephen Davies, Energy and Environmental Policy at E.on UK told Gas to Power Journal at the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum keynote seminar in London. "From our point of view a capacity mechanism is necessary. It's very difficult for any investor to build right now and looking at the spark spread, the market is very challenging for gas," he said.

The UK government is likely to oppose an EU renewables target for 2030 which is considered "inflexible and unnecessary", energy secretary Ed Davey said. He made the comment after the European Parliament on Monday extended a deadline for the submission of amendments to a proposal to intervene in the carbon market.

India's Central Electricity Authority (CEA), which oversees development of the national grid for the Indian Ministry of Power, has reduced its gas-fired generation target for the current year by almost 46 per cent amid gas supply shortages. Low natural gas production output last year is expected to continue through 2013, an official told The Economic Times, despite Reliance Industry's recent announcement of a "significant gas condensate discovery in deepwater KG D6 block".

RWE chief executive, Peter Terium, has voiced strong criticism against "one-off measures or action taken by individual [European] countries" both regarding capacity mechanisms or expansion targets for renewables. "[These] are of no use to us; we must find European solutions," he said.

Terium was one of eight CEOs of European energy companies who warned that Europe is currently facing "a perfect storm" which was endangering security of supply, undermining their ability to attract capital and hindering the EU's transformation to a low-carbon economy.

National leaders in the EU and the Commission are confronted with a trade-off between keeping energy prices high to encourage greater energy efficiency or taking measures to lower prices to help ease pressure on consumers and support Europe's energy intensive industries, the EU's Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger told the European Parliament during a debate in Strasburg on Tuesday.

US government approval for the Freeport LNG Terminal on Quintana Island, Texas to export LNG to countries with which the US does not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) have brought Japan a step closer to realising cheaper supplies of natural gas for power generation. Osaka Gas and Chubu Electric have already signed liquefaction tolling agreements with Freeport LNG, back in July 2012, to each acquire a 2.2mtpa production capacity of the first train at Freeport, potentially as early as in 2017.

The EU's Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard has called on the European Council and Parliament to approve the proposed back-loading of 900 billion carbon emission allowances (EUAs) in emissions trading scheme (EU ETS). Back-loading would reduce the surplus of emissions in the ETS, and the subsequent rise in carbon prices would encourage power producers to favour gas over coal.

The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) has called for fast tracking the adaptation of nine network codes as a way to improve the operation of Europe's interconnected transmission networks. The association earlier criticised national initiatives to implement capacity mechanisms, calling for an integrated European approach.

The Belgian energy regulator CREG has dismissed government plans to subsidise proposed new combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plants as "state aid", calling the move a "bad idea" that might lead to market distortions.

National Grid is tasked to provide analysis and modelling on the government's Electricity Market Reform (EMR) delivery plan, assess eligibility and the allocation of Contracts for Difference (CfD), and will run auctions for planned capacity mechanisms. In June, National Grid will deliver its final modelling report to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to be appended to DECC's July Delivery Plan, Mark Ripley, Project Director EMR at National Grid told Gas to Power Journal.

The Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) has gone on record as opposed to proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restrict greenhouse gas emissions for new power plants. In a letter to the EPA, the five members of the PSC called for a withdrawal of proposed rules for the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) which they said would be particularly harmful to coal-fired power generation.

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News in Brief

IEA stages Clean Energy Transitions Summit

July 14 – Ministers from dozens of countries, accounting for over 80% of the world economy, have participated in the first Clean Energy Transitions Summit organised by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, said there “clearly is momentum” behind a sustainable recovery from the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Participants agreed to reconvene in mid-2021.

Siemens Energy to exit coal

Jul 13 – Newly formed technology company Siemens Energy wants to phase-out any operations and technology to related to coal-fired power generation, CEO Joe Kaeser said, without giving a specific timeline. Siemens had been harshly criticised earlier this year for participating in the Adani coal mine project in Australia.

Statkraft, GE enhance GB grid stability

July 10 – Statkraft and GE Power Conversion are working together to stabilise Britain’s power grid. To that end, GE will manufacture and install two Rotating Stabiliser synchronous machines at Statkraft’s site in Keith, Moray. Statkraft was awarded four stability contracts (two at Keith and two at Lister Drive) by National Grid ESO (NGESO) earlier this year.

Siemens Energy spin-off approved

July 9 – A large majority of Siemens shareholders have voted to approve the spin-off of the company’s energy business. The spin-off was approved by 99.36 percent of capital stock represented at today’s extraordinary shareholders’ meeting.

Central Hudson links solar farms to VPP

July 9 – Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp has established its distributed generation program within the broader context of New York State’s energy plan. Together with Sensus and their Remote Telemetry Module (RTM-III), the Central Hudson will monitor decentralized solar PV backed up by flexible gas gensets.

Siemens and GREEN Solar turn German town CO2-free

July 8 – GREEN Solar and Siemens Energy are jointly developing a concept for making Herzogenrath CO2-free. The plan is to provide an energy-efficient and economical combination of solar power plants, wind turbines, batteries, CHP and combined cycle power plants, as well as heat and hydrogen storage. The hybrid system will be built on the grounds of Nivelsteiner Sandwerke and will be large enough to cover the city’s entire energy demand with zero CO2 emissions by 2030.

Denmark paves the way for Nord Stream 2

July 7– Denmark on late Monday gave the Nord Stream 2 consortium permission to utilize pipe-laying vessels with anchors in Danish waters, paving the way for the Gazprom-led consortium to complete the interconnector. Construction of the 1,230-kilometre pipeline is nearly complete, except for a final stretch of about 120-kilometers in Danish waters. The project was halted in December when the Swiss-Dutch pipe-laying company Allseas suspended works over threats of U.S. sanctions.

EPRI tests early warning system

July 6– The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is conducting trial tests with multiple utilities across the United States of an early warning system. It can detect an off-gassing event as a precursor to thermal runaway up to 30 minutes prior to a cascading failure. This gives plant operators time to mitigate the problem or shut down the system.

KKR buys stake in First Gen

July 3 – Valorous Asia Holdings, owned by KKR investment funds, has bought a 11.9% stake in First Gen through a voluntary tender offer. First Gen, one of the Philippines’ largest independent power producers with 3,492 MW installed capacity, is owned by First Philippine Holdings which is controlled by the Lopez family. KKR’s acquisition of the First Gen stake is worth nearly $192.3 million.

Gazprom’s ‘BBB’ rating affirmed

July 2 – S&P Global Ratings, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings have affirmed Gazprom's long-term credit ratings as part of their annual reviews. The ‘BBB’ ratings for Gazprom from S&P and Fitch are in line with the sovereign credit rating of the Russian Federation, while Moody's ‘Baa2’ rating is a notch higher.

MHIEC to refurbish WtE plant in Kushiro

July 1 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Environmental & Chemical Engineering Co (MHIEC) has received an order from the Kushiro Wide-Area Federation to repair and improve the core equipment at the local Waste-to-Energy plant in Takayama. The WtE plant has a capacity of 240 tonnes per day (tpd). Renovation will increase the energy efficiency of the fluidized bed type gasification and ash melting furnace facility, reducing emissions by around 15% annually. Works are due completed in September 2023.

Nigeria: Only two of six power projects on target

June 30 – Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises has disclosed that only two out of six privatized power plants were delivered on target. Only Transcorp Power Ltd and Geregu Power Ltd out of the six privatised electricity generation companies (GENCOs) were said to have met their performance targets since taking over.

German investors prefer solar over wind

June 29 – Energy infrastructure investors are keen to build solar power projects in Germany, but shun wind parks. In the latest solar power auction, investors offered to build almost 450 MW of capacity – more than four times the 96 MW of volume on offer– with the average successful bid at 5.27 cents per kilowatt-hour (ct/kWh). The wind auction, in contrast, was undersubscribed: The German network agency  (BNetzA) tendered around 826 MW, but successful bids only totalled 464 MW, at an average price of 6.14 ct/KWh.

MAN ventures into synthetic fuels

June 26 – MAN Energy Solutions has entered the hydrogen economy with the recent pro rata acquisition of H-TEC SYSTEMS, an electrolysis tech firm. The German OEM also committed itself to upgrading its gas turbines to run on 100% hydrogen by 2030.

Varegro starts using Cummins gas genset

June 25 – Belgian-based horticultural company Varegro, has started to use a Cummins HSK78G gas generator to power its greenhouses in Oostrozebeke, West Flanders. Varegro said it selected the Cummins HSK78G genset to produce combined heat and power (CHP) on its premises at a competitive cost for use in energy-intensive greenhouse facilities.

GE names Deloitte as independent auditor

June 24 – GE’s audit committee has selected Deloitte as the company’s independent auditor for the 2021 fiscal year, replacing KPMG. The selection of Deloitte concludes GE’s latest audit tender process.

Northern German states push for hydrogen pilot cluster

June 23 – Northern German states are pushing for greater hydrogen use with a pilot project cluster. Some 12 large demonstration plants for the production and use of green hydrogen are meant to be realised in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The aim is to demonstrate how 75% of CO2 emissions can be saved in the region by 2035.

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