Regulation & Policy

Germany’s nearly simultaneous coal and nuclear exit is jeopardizing the country’s current high power supply security. Unless new flexible gas generators and renewable power sources get built in time, along with sufficient grid infrastructure, Germany is set to miss several key energy transition targets for the year 2020, McKinsey finds.

U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is campaigning to launch a Green New Deal as a 10-year federal “mobilization” that would raise $16.3 million to allow the U.S. to generate 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2030.

The Indonesian President Joko Widodo is proposing to remove a freeze on fuel and power prices, with the 2020 budget proposing to halve diesel subsidies and allot less for LPG and electricity. Having won the general election, Widodo uses his reaffirmed position to partly reverse his earlier ruling to keep energy prices flat throughout this and last year.

Realism has set in as California regulators start watering down the state’s 100% renewables target by approving the repowering of the Grayson gas power plant. The nearby city of Glendale is at risk of blackouts and fast-ramp gas power units will help prevent this.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has thrown her political weight behind the introduction of a price on CO2 emissions in the transport and buildings sector, although her climate cabinet will have the last say on September 20. “I advocate such a price,” Merkel said, stressing new paths had to be tried to reach the country’s climate targets.

Germany’s Council of Economic Experts have urged the government to put a price on carbon emissions in the transport and heating sector as a quick and easy fix to help meet the country’s climate goals. This unilateral move would work as an interim solution before integrating the sectors into the European Emission Trading System (EU-ETS).

Transforming India to a “gas-based economy” has been President Narendra Modi’s vision for years but the country can ill afford subsidizing LNG imports to reduce fuel costs for power plants. Banks invested some Rs50,000 crores ($7.18bn) in these projects – many unable to repay their debt, leaving Indian public money at risk.

Trump-alley Andrew Wheeler, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has signed a final ruling that roles back Obama-era emission limits for thermal power plants. The new rule gives U.S. states wide discretion in deciding whether coal power plants need efficiency upgrades or retrofits, hence benefiting the local mining industry.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is calling on governments and businesses around the world to increase the use of clean hydrogen not only for power generation but also for transport and heating. There are currently around 11,200 hydrogen-fuelled cars on the road worldwide. Existing government targets call for that number to increase dramatically to 2.5 million by 2030.

Outgoing UK Prime Minister Theresa May has committed to a 2050 emissions target of reducing emissions by 80% to “almost zero”. Massive investment in clean energy generation – renewables, hydrogen, flexible gas power and energy storage – will be needed to achieve this goal, but funding is still uncertain.  

Burning wood pellets is deemed “carbon neutral” under new EU policy rules, and so-called “biomass energy” is also increasingly popular in Japan and Korea. But some scientists dismiss the policy as “shortsighted” or outright damaging, given that is leads to old forests being chopped down in rural parts of the U.S. and in Eastern Europe.

By mid-June, the German government will receive a comprehensive report on the effects of a carbon price compared with the option of allowing sectoral pathways to reduce emissions. “Transport, buildings and agriculture so far have no form of [carbon] pricing but just some more or less effective mix of measures,” Chancellor Angela Merkel remarked as her cabinet is divided on how to meet Germany’s 2030 climate targets.

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News in Brief

Barclays may help fund Rolls-Royce

Sept 30 – UK’s prime engine maker Rolls-Royce is understood to be close to getting fresh financing from Barclays Bank. The Derby-based company, however, insists no final decision has been taken on the precise amount that may be raised or any allotment of shares to any investor.

Petronas to truck LNG to off-grid users

Sept 29 – Petronas Dagangan Group is gearing up to build a LNG truck delivery service for off-grid customers in Peninsular Malaysia. Trucks fitted with cryogenic tanks will bring the super-chilled fuel to remote industries and small-scale power generators with no access to the natural gas grid. Malaysia’s Peninsular Gas Utilisation (PGU) pipeline is only 2,500 kilometers in length and was initially built to export gas to Singapore.

Siemens to reduce emissions at NLNG

Sept 28 – Nigeria LNG has contracted Siemens Energy to provide a cryogenic boil-off gas (BOG) compression train for its liquefaction plant on Bonny Island. The new BOG train will be driven by an high-efficiency electric motor and includes two compressors. Manufactured in Duisburg, Germany, the equipment will be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Supercapcitors to replace batteries

Sept 25 – The global market for supercapacitors was valued at over $487 million last year and is forecast to top $1,570 millio by 2025, growing at an annual rate of 21.8%. Supercapacitor, an emerging technology for energy storage systems, can offer higher power density than batteries was may soon replace the latter.

Atos, Siemens expand digital partnership

Sept 24 – Atos, a global leader in digital transformation, has expanded its strategic partnership with Siemens AG for five years, helping the latter with data driven digital, cloud transformation and cybersecurity. The extension comes in the context of 5-year total €3 billion agreements which were separately signed with Siemens AG, Siemens Energy and Siemens Healthineers.

Rotterdam Port to store CO2 beneath the North Sea

Sept 23 – The Porthos project, a joint venture between the Port of Rotterdam Authority, Gasunie and EBN, seeks to transport CO2 from industry in the port to empty gas fields beneath the North Sea. In its early years, the Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) will be able to store approximately 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year with plans to be operational by 2024.

German power sector to reach net zero in 2040s

Sept 22 – Revisions to Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG) stipulate the power sector should become greenhouse-gas neutral in the early 2040s. Despite the gradual electrification of heating and transport, the German energy ministry is so far sticking to its estimate of 580 terawatt-hours (TWh) of power consumption in 2030 – close to current levels.

B&W to supply superheaters to Lumiant

Sept 21 – Babcock & Wilcox’s thermal segment has been contracted to design, manufacture and supply new superheater components for a high-efficiency boiler at Luminant’s Oak Grove Power Plant near Franklin, Texas. Material delivery to Oak Grove is scheduled for February 2021.

EC targets 55% emission cut by 2030

Sept 17 – The European Commission’s latest 2030 Target Plan stipulates a 55% cut in emissions by 2030, compared to 1990-levels. The lobby group COGEN Europe stressed the importance of combined heat and power generation (CHP) to reach that goal, calling for more stable policies and supportive regulation.

Rolls-Royce may sell ITP Areo

Sept 17 – Britain’s prime manufacturer Rolls-Royce confirmed it is looking to strengthen its balance sheet, possibly by disposing of ITP Aero which his hoped to generate proceeds of more than £2bn over the next 18 months. Further cost cutting is meant to deliver £1 billion and revamping of the company’s Civil Areospace business should save another £1.3 billion.

China’s GDP may grow 1.8%

Sept 16 – China’s GDP is forecast to grow 1.8% this year as the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. The government slashed electricity tariffs to support manufacturing but the Asian Development Bank (ADB) warns of mounting credit risk for banks. Fiscal revenue pressure also intensifies as 1.5% of China’s GDP growth in the first half of 2020 was based on bond-funded investment by local governments.

Zeebrugge goes for green hydrogen

Sept 15 – Colruyt Group (Eoly), Parkwind and Fluxys aim to spend up to 35 million Euros to develop a green hydrogen plant in Zeebrugge, Belgium, by 2023. The plan is to convert off-shore wind energy into green hydrogen which can then be injected in the high-pressure natural gas transmission grid.

Shale gas market to top $41bn

Sept 14 – Global markets for unconventional gas, mostly developed by shale fracking, is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 7% to reach $ 41.76 billion by 2024. According to Technavio, the Americas region will remain dominant with an 87% market share as hydraulic fracturing technologies evolve. Top players in the market are BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, PetroChina, Gazprom, Shell, Santos, Saudi Arabian Oil Co., and YPF.

SNAM, Saipem join forces on hydrogen

Sept 11 – Two Italian energy companies, SNAM and Saipem, have agreed to develop initiatives for green hydrogen production and transport, as well as for carbon dioxide capture, transport and reuse or storage (CCRS). The move supports the European Commission’s Hydrogen Strategy to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

MAN, Wasco to drive Power-to-Gas Tech in Asia

Sept 10 – MAN Energy Solutions and Wasco have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote and commercialize Power-to-X (PtX) projects in South-East Asia. The technology in question converts electricity into carbon-neutral synthetic fuels, gas or liquid, for use as a clean, carbon-neutral energy source.

Romgaz, GSP to realise 200 MW gas and solar project

Sept 9 – Romania’s state gas company Romgaz has agreed to build 200 MW power generation capacity with the privately-owned Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP) which is controlled by the local businessman Gabriel Comanescu. The project entails a 150 MW gas-fired power plant and a 50 MW solar photovoltaic park, to be built on the site of a disused coal power plant in southern Romania.

Alaska uses twice as much energy for transport as NY

Sept 8 – More energy is used per person for transportation in U.S. states with low population density. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA), people in geographically large states with small populations, such as Alaska, Wyoming and North Dakota, are useing twice as much energy for transportation than the U.S. average on a per capita basis. That’s in stark contrast to states with higher population density, such as Rhode Island and New York.

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