Regulation & Policy

E.ON, Germany's largest utility by market value, will take legal action before December 20 against Germany's energy regulator BNA over compensation levels for power plant re-dispatch, it confirmed today.

The launch of capacity markets may come too late, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has acknowledged, and decreasing generation margins are threatening Europe's energy trading market. "Decc may well find that once they intervene, find they have to intervene again which causes the risk that we will go back to a regulated energy market," says Jim Fitzgerald, associate partner at The Advisory House.

A 'dash for gas' scenario, unveiled by UK Chancellor George Osborne as part of the Gas Generation Strategy, may threaten the country's climate targets, critics warn. As one of three proposed scenarios, the 'dash for gas' case calls for 37 GW of new gas-fired power plant capacity, or up to 40 plants, by 2030 and implies a rewrite of a draft law that sets out Britain's carbon emissions reduction goals by the mid-2020s.

Prospects of a carbon floor price, introduced as part of the UK Electricity Market Reform (EMR), could render coal uneconomic compared with gas generation which may led to plant closures, says David Brewer, director general of the confederation of UK Coal Producers (CoalPro).

Up to 40 gas-fired power plants will have to be build across the UK by 2030, raising the need for new gas generation capacity to 37 GW - up from current estimates of 20 GW, according to the Gas Generation Strategy. 

Britain's Chancellor George Osborne has put his political weight behind realising new gas-fired capacity to provide baseload electricity beyond 2030, rather than using it merely as backup capacity for renewables. The Chancellor will use his Autumn Statement on December 5 to unveil the much-awaited Gas Generation Strategy.

The UK energy bill, unveiled today, does not specify details on 'strike prices' – the financial support levels to be available to low-carbon generation. Strike prices are of central importance under the planned contract for difference (CfD) regime, aimed at incentivising new-build capacity by guaranteeing operators a steady return of the plant's lifetime. 

The British government has published proposals to "dramatically reduce" electricity demand across the whole economy with a view to reducing the need for new power generation capacity.

The Beijing government has stepped back from interfering with pricing of coal as a fuel for power stations, adopting a hands-off approach following a 25 percent drop in the price of the fuel. This move may herald a liberalisation in the tight electricity tariff regime which would prompt investment in more gas generation for peak-load power demand.

A strike, called by the French union CGT for Wednesday, is meant to halt production at E.on's French coal- and gas-fired power plants with a combined output of 3,000 MW, according to union officials.

The British government has published details of its long-awaited Energy Bill, postponing setting a carbon target until 2016. Power producer were given the green light to charge household customers an extra £7.6 billion, to go towards low-carbon electricity infrastructure by 2020.

A strategic alliance aimed at creating a European energy market based on the complementary use of renewable energy and gas has been founded by GE and Dong Energy alongside with Alpine Energie, First Solar and Shell.

Angered by a delay in the UK energy bill amid rows within the coalition over policies on gas, wind and decarbonisation targets, Tim Yeo, the Tory chairman of the energy select committee, has called the conundrum which hampers investment and risks raising bills "a laughable plot".

German's largest utility Eon has confirmed it will shut-down 1,037 MW of gas-fired power generation capacity, mothballing both it the 622 MW Staudinger 4 plant unit and the 415 MW Irsching 3 unit by the end of this year. The plants will operate as winter reserve, once E.on has transferred responsibility to the regulator BNA.

Germany's federal energy network regulator (BNA) should urgently improve compensation for operators of flexible power plants that have to ramp up or down to maintain grid stability, the German energy industry association BDEW told Gas to Power Journal.

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News in Brief

SPIG wins contract for Al Dur Phase II

Sept 23 – Italy-based SPIG, part of Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises, has won a contract to provide seawater cooling tower system to SEPCOIII for the Al Dur Phase II project in Bahrain. The Al Dur Phase II is a combined-cycle gas-turbine plant to generate 1,500 MW of electricity and approximately 50 million gallons fresh water per day.

MHI-MME to take over turbocharger production

Sept 20 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems will no longer produce MET turbochargers, the standard worldwide exhaust gas turbochargers used in stationary engines. Starting from January 1, 2020, these devises will be produced by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Marine Machinery & Equipment (MHI-MME) instead.

Japan starts electricity futures trading

Sept 19 – Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) has launched trading in electricity futures to advance price competition in Japan’s liberalized energy market. The East Area peakload electricity contract for October delivery first traded at 10.9 Yen per kWh, lower than the standard price of 11 Yen set by TOCOM in advance.

Duke to reduce rates in 2020

Sept 18 – Duke Energy Florida (DEF) customers will see lower bills in 2020. The utility filed a proposal with the Florida Public Service Commission to reduce rates for electricity and gas by more than 3% while adding more solar power and making grid improvements.

Myanmar approves three power projects

Sept 17 – Myanmar’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy has given the green light to plans for a 1,230 MW gas-fired power plant in Kanpauk, Taninthayi region, a 377 MW gas-fired unit in Ahlon, Yangon region and a 1,390 MW thermal plant in Milaunggyine in Ayeyawady region. The conflict-ridden country is currently producing electricity from 5,600 MW installed capacity, derived both from state- private-owned power stations.

Bonny Train-7 to cost $6.5bn

Sept 16 – Nigeria LNG is preparing to add a seventh processing train to Bonny LNG, bringing total capacity from 22 million tons per annum (mtpa) to 30 mtpa. Estimated to cost $6.5 billion, Bonny Train-6 will include a new liquefaction unit, a storage and a condensate tank as well as three gas turbine generators.

Schneider to complete L&T takeover by early 2020

Sept 13 – Venturing into India, Schneider Electric hopes to finalise the Rs 14,000 crore acquisition of Larsen & Toubro's electrical and automation business by early 2020. After the transaction is completed, Schneider will have a 65% stake in L&T, while the remainder will be held by Temasek.

MHI to advice China on energy conservation

Sept 12 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Thermal Systems, part of MHI, has set up a joint venture withan affiliate of State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) to perform technical consulting for energy conservation projects in China. The focus of SGCC lies on building new decentralized power stations, biomass-derived power gensets and energy saving solutions.

Tender extended

Sept 11 – Turkmengas has extended a tender for the overhaul of the gas turbine engines of the NK-12ST and NK-14ST brands. Bidders need to pay to receive the tender documents, and then submit a written application to Turkmenistan’s state gas company.

Gas power units to buffer Germany’s coal exit

Sept 10 – Electricity output of Germany’s fleet of gas-fired power plants has risen to a over 13,5 billion kilowatt-hours in the three months from June to August, Fraunhofer ISE figures show. These productivity gains put CCGTs in pole position to balance supply swings in connection with the German coal exit.

Power of Siberia gas flows to start on Dec 1

Sept 9 – Russian gas supplies to China via the eastern route are going to start on December 1, 2019, Gazprom chairman Alexey Miller told his counterpart at CNPC in Beijing. The huge Chayandinskoye field, containing some 1.2 trillion cbm of gas, had already been connected to the 38 Bcm per year ‘Power of Siberia’ gas pipeline in August.

Hurricane Dorian causes havoc in the Bahamas

Sept 6 – In the aftermath of Hurricane Doran, a Category 5 storm, Bahamas Power and Light has said there is a total blackout in New Providence, the most populous island of the archipelago. Dorian made landfall twice on Sunday, ripping off roofs and electricity lines. In most parts, electricity has not been restored.

LNG cargoes via Bab-el Mandeb decrease

Aug 30 – Northbound LNG shipments via Bab el-Mandeb, a sea route chokepoint between the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, have fallen over the past three years as Egypt imports less natural gas from the Persian Gulf. In 2015 and 2016, both Jordan and Egypt imported up to 1.4 Bcf/d of LNG into Red Sea ports but these shipments fell sharply following the development of large gas finds in the Mediterranean.

Hokuriku Electric buys LNG cargo

Aug 29 – Japanese utility Hokuriku Electric has purchased an LNG cargo for delivery in November as soaring temperatures drew down gas in storage for the autumn. The cargo is understood to be scheduled for delivery in the second half of November from Malaysia’s Petronas and may well be destined for Hokuriku Electric’s first LNG-fired power generation unit,  the Toyama Shinko plant.

Technip spins off LNG activities

Aug 28 – TechnipFMC, has decided to spin off its European-based engineering and construction operations into a separate business, leaving the American half of the firm as an equipment supplier to the oil and gas sector. The split is due to be completed in the first half of 2020.

FLNG power market to top $930m by 2023

Aug 27 – The global market for floating LNG power vessel is projected to reach $ 931.6 million by 2023, up from $ 860.1 million seen last year, according to ReportsnReports. Major vendors of FLNG power vessels are Siemens, MAN, Wärtsilä, Caterpilar and GE which are targeting to use the technology to supply decentralized power to island nations in Southeast Asia and along the coast of sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas.

EIA monitors grid hourly

Aug 26 – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has launched a beta release of its hourly electric grid monitor. The enhanced version analyses hourly generation by energy source and hourly sub-regional demand for certain balancing authorities in the Lower 48 states.