Regulation & Policy

Wholesale power prices in Germany have fallen to record lows in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. About 5,000 onshore wind turbines with 3.7 Gigawatt combined capacity are at risk of being taken offline next year when their support from Germany’s renewable surcharge (EEG levy) runs out, prompting calls to extend the scheme.

Though China’s economy gathers speed, the government has not decided if it wants to set specific targets for coal-to-gas switching this year. More coal-fired power plants are being approved, but LNG demand is still expected to grow by a “modest” 5 million tons in winter 2020/21.

Sharp decline of coal-burn in Germany, falling to less than 16% of the energy mix in April during the lockdown, shows that the country’s plan to exit coal by 2038 has been “overtaken by reality.” Environmentalists hence urge the Government to “prepare for a much earlier coal phase-out.”

Climate policy linked to the European Green Deal and the digital transformation will be “at the centre” of the German EU Council presidency in the second half of 2020, Chancellor Merkel told parliament. “Recovery after the crisis must be a ‘green recovery,’” a strategy paper by the foreign office reads.

Baltic Pipe, connecting the Polish gas grid with Norway, has secured construction permits through Sweden’s territorial waters - the final permits required before works can begin. The pipeline will have nearly 1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of capacity and is due on stream by October 2022.

Thailand’s energy regulator has approved Gulf Energy’s application to import 0.3 million tons of LNG for use in 19 small-scale power plants, operated by the state-owned utility EGAT. Hin Kong Power Holding, 49% owned by Gulf Energy, also won a license to import 1.4 mtpa of LNG, bringing the total to 1.7 mtpa.

Europe’s two largest economies, Germany and France, stand united in stressing the role of a sustainable stimulus package for the trade bloc’s recovery. The EU Green Deal accelerates a shift to green power sources and energy storage as both states aim for net-zero emissions by 2050.

The Germany regulator has turned down Gazprom’s application to exempt the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline (55 Bcm per year) from common EU market rules that stipulate the unbundling of gas producer and supplier. Under EU rules, Nord Stream-2 would also need to open up to third party suppliers.

German research minister Anja Karliczek has called on the government not to “waste any more time debating” and come to a prompt decision on a national hydrogen strategy. The latest draft focuses on green hydrogen from renewable energy, as well as blue hydrogen, produced via carbon capture storage (CCS).

Green stimulus packages, fiercely debated in Germany, could be instrumental to reset the economy on a more climate-friendly path as the country gradually phases out both nuclear and coal power. However, calls from the industry to loosen emission regulations to boost economic activity are growing louder.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended the nationwide lockdown until May 3 but allows some graded relaxations. The restart of selected manufacturing after April 20 is seen to be critical to the country’s economic stability and the shape of near-term energy demand.

Carmakers are calling for a two year delay of Germany's national CO2 price in the transport and heating sector to help businesses stay afloat. Covid-19 lockdowns greatly reduce emissions, so the industry claims this would "make further climate policy measures unnecessary for the time being."

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News in Brief

CCUS market to reach nearly $3bn in 2025

Oct 25 – The global carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) market will grow from $1.30 billion in 2020 to $1.46 billion in 2021, according to ResearchAndMarket estimates. The rebound comes as companies return to normal operations and sales, after a pandemic-related slowdown. Analysts expect the market will keep growing at a rate of nearly 20% annually to reach $2.97 billion by 2025.

SDG&E accelerates drive towards Net Zero by 2045

Oct 20 – San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) has set a new sustainability strategy, outlining new and accelerated goals to help meet its pledge to reach net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2045. SDG&E it now seeks to operate a 100% zero emissions vehicle fleet by 2035 – five years earlier than planned.

B&W develops biomass-to-hydrogen plant in Australia

Oct 19 – B&W's Renewable segment and Port Anthony Renewables Ltd have started to develop a biomass-to-hydrogen energy project in Victoria, Australia, based on B&W’s BrightLoop technology. When completed, the plant is expected to be part of the largest green hydrogen hub in south-eastern Australia.

LNG prices rise faster than oil

Oct 18 – Liquefied natural gas and pipeline supplies have experienced an even sharper increase in prices in 2021 than oil, driven by a combination of circumstances that included a strong recovery in demand in North Asia, southeast Asia and Europe, unseasonal weather and planned and unplanned capacity outages.

Wärtsilä shaft gensets to power two LNG carriers

Oct 14 – The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has been awarded a contract to supply four shaft generators to provide electricity take-off from the main engines of two LNG carriers. The ships are being built at the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyard in Korea on behalf of the Capital Gas Ship Management of Greece.

VoltH2 gets green light for large hydrogen plant

Oct 13 – Vision Hydrogen Corp has announced that its affiliate VoltHe has received building and environmental permits to realise its first large-scale hydrogen plant at the Dutch North Sea Port of Vlissingen. The 5 MW hydrogen plant is located near existing high voltage power and gas infrastructure as well as large wind power assets. Once operational, it will produce around 3,500 tons of green hydrogen per year and will be scalable to 100 MW or 14,000 tons.

Tesla overtakes German e-cars

Oct 12 – Sales of Tesla in Germany has overtaken that of leading German carmakers. In September, more electric Tesla Model 3s were registered in the country than leading domestic models, such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class combined.

EnerMech spends £500k on crane training tech

Oct 11 – EnerMech has invested £500,000 in new crane simulator training systems at its Luanda (Angola), Doha (Qatar) and Great Yarmouth (UK) facilities. The British company recently formed a joint venture with 3t Energy Group to bring the KraneSIM-6000 equipment to both Qatar and Angola and offer in-country training across client organisations globally.  

Germany finances green hydrogen projects abroad

Oct 8 – The German government has agreed to support green hydrogen projects in other countries with up to €350 million by 2024, the economy ministry said when publishing a directive with relevant guidelines. Moreover, financial support is given to projects that produce and process green hydrogen for storage, transport and use in countries outside the EU through investment grants worth up to €15 million each.

UK e-car sales surge 186%

Oct 6 – Sales electric cars in the UK have surged 186% to a total of 108,000 in 2020 during the pandemic, up from just 38,000 in the previous year. Latest statistics show there were nearly 300,000 pure-electric cars on UK roads at the end of August 2021, and more than 600,000 plug-in models if including plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).

FogHorn deploys AI software at Chugoku Electric Power in Japan

Oct 4 – FogHorn, developer of Edge AI software, has deployed its Internet of Things (IoT) software at the Chugoku Electric Power hydroelectric power plant. The AI solutions will make the power gen process more efficient and enhances workplace safety. Chugoku Electric Power employs nearly 9,200 workers across 114 power units in the western part of Honshū, the largest island of Japan.

Rolls-Royce supplies MTU engines for ferry propulsion

Oct 1 – Rolls-Royce's new MT engines, automation system, and MTU Go! tool for remote service have future-proofed the high-speed catamaran Avemar Dos, run by the Spanish operator Balearia. Four MTU 20V1163 M84 units replaced the previous 1163 units, taking the vessel to a "new level of ecological soundness," the manufacturer says.

GES appoints former Puma Energy Chairman as NED

Sept 30 – Global Energy Storage (GES) has appointed the former Puma Energy Chairman, Graham Sharp, as an NED. Graham will support GES on its ‘new energies’ strategy for the energy transition, focusing on hydrogen fuels and hydrogen carriers space.

Aggreko reaches 2 GW of live power gen capacity

Sept 29 – Aggreko has today announced it has reached 2GW of live global gas power capacity and growth in flare gas to power and stranded gas projects. This new record follows a milestone of exceeding 1GW of delivered flare gas power projects in 2020.

Wärtislä renews O&M agreement with Lafarge Africa

Sept 28 – The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has renewed a long-term Operation & Maintenance (O&M) agreement with Lafarge Africa, a large producer of building materials in Nigeria. The agreement covers the 100 MW Lafarge Ewekoro power plant, which provides a dedicated supply of electricity to the company’s concrete and cement manufacturing processes.

Rolls-Royce supplies MTU engines to Sanlorenzo

Sept 27 – Rolls-Royce business unit Power Systems will become one of the leading engine suppliers for Sanlorenzo, delivering MTU 10V, 12V and 16V 2000 yacht engines with a compact IMO 3 solution. A framework contract from 2022 through 2024 has been signed at the Monaco Yacht Show.

Shell exits Permian Basin

Sept 24 – Royal Dutch Shell has sold all its upstream interested in US Permian Basin to ConocoPhillips for $9.5 billion in cash. Shell’s assets in the Permian include around 225,000 net acres with a current production of around 175,000 barrels per day equivalent.

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