Regulation & Policy

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.

The oil and gas-fired Dhuvaran power station (534 MW) in the Indian state of Gujarat was shut down following a severe shortfall in gas requirements. Gas supply allocated by the central government covered only 46.71 percent of its total gas needs in 2011-12.

Unless Germany introduces measures to curb the costs of renewable feed-in-tariffs, the price tag for its energy transition policy (Energiewende) may amount to up to €1 trillion by the end of the 2030s , German environment minister Peter Altmaier warned.

The UK government will make best use of new powers in the Energy Bill to enforce energy regulator Ofgem's retail market reforms, Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday.

Though discarding today's warning of the UK energy regulator Ofgem's on tightening reserve margins as "alarmist", IHS energy analysts suggest the Government should provide greater clarity on regulatory incentives for new low-carbon generation capacity.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled that the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had acted lawfully when approving a capacity market rate structure for ISO New England.

The environment committee of the European Parliament has deferred a vote on backloading up to 900 million carbon emissions allowances by one week, prompting a plunge in carbon prices.

Spain's power producers are calling for new regulatory support mechanisms to help cover investment costs of existing fossil plants. "It is vital to establish a mechanism to reward the backup service of existing gas-fired plants, particularly because the current Spanish regulation does not allow the closure of loss-making units," says Carmen Vindel, Head of International Regulation, Gas Natural Fenosa.

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News in Brief

Italy’s power exports Montenegro surge

Jan 22 – Italian electric power exports increased by 28% in 2020, largely driven by flows to Montenegro which surged 26% to 8.6 TWh. In contrast, domestic power demand fell 6% last year to 271.6 TWh with electricity sales from conventional plants down nearly 9% to 140.5 TWh, figures by the Italian energy exchange GME show.

US considers new nuclear

Jan 21 – The new US President Joe Biden has said his country could construct new nuclear power plants and reiterated plans to “swiftly rejoin” the Paris Climate Agreement swiftly. Germany’s environment minister, Svenja Schulze, called it illusionary to believe that newer, smaller reactors will be a technology of the future.

Mitsubishi produces methanol in Trinidad

Jan 20 – Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company has launched commercial operations of a methanol and dimethyl ether plant in Trinidad and Tobago. The plant has an annual production capacity of one million tons of methanol and 20,000 tons of dimethyl ether, which can be used as an alternative fuel for cars and power generation.

First 8-cylinder B36:45 engine delivered

Jan 19 – Rolls-Royce has delivered the first 8-cylinder variant of its Bergen B36:45 gas engine to a tomato producer in Belgium. The medium speed genset is planned for delivery this spring and will drive an onsite power plant that generates 4700 kW electricity and 5520 kW heat. The new engine offers a 20% increase in power per cylinder and will replace an existing Bergen 12-cylinder B35:40 genset.

Moody’s upgrades Enel to Baa1

Jan 18 – Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Enel’s long-term rating to Baa1, with a stable outlook. The upgrade reflects Enel’s progress in reducing its risk profile, analysts said, pointing at the Italian utilities ongoing investment in networks and renewables, growing geographical diversification and focus on centralised financing.

GE sues Siemens Energy

Jan 15 – General Electric has sued its German rival Siemens Energy over the alleged use of stolen trade secrets to win gas turbine contracts worth several billion dollars. GE told the US district court in Virginia that Siemens received the secret information from a Dominion Energy employee.

Orbital Energy launches Eclipse

Jan 14 – Nasdaq-listed Orbital Energy Group has launched a new subsidiary, Eclipse Foundation, a drilled shaft construction company. The new company specialises in providing services for power transmission and substations, communication tower and a disaster restoration through emergency power.

S’Korean coal and LNG imports slide

Jan 13 – South Korea’s imports of thermal coal and LNG have fallen 12% and 11%, respectively, as the government cracks down on fossil fuel usage to curb air pollution. Customs data shows that coal imports amounted to 10.2 million tons in December, down 1.4 million tons from the same month last year but up from November’s imports of 9.5 million tons.

SMC builds 1.7 GW CCGT in Batangas

Jan 13 – Excellent Energy Resources, part of SMC Global Power Holdings, is building a 1,700 MW combined cycle gas power plant in Barangay Dela Paz and Ilijan in Batangas City with investments of about 67.863 billion Philippine Pesos ($1.41bn). The project is estimated to be completed in 36 to 40 months.

UK’s National Grid issues supply warning

Jan 12 – Natural gas prices in the UK surged as National Grid issued warnings on supply deficit as LNG cargoes are being diverted to North Asia. Prices at the British NBP gas trading hub soared to the equivalent of $8.95 per MMBtu, while the JKM price for North Asian spot LNG cargoes for February 2021 was last at $19.700 per MMBt.

Fortistar invests in hydrogen

Jan 11 – Fortistar, a privately-held fund, has joined an equity investment of up to $157 million in hydrogen producer BayoTech. Cottonwood Technology Funds and the New Mexico State Investment Council also participated in the latest financing round. BayoTech’s systems produce local hydrogen close to the application, serving end users in the industrial gas and petrochemical segment as well as those who use of hydrogen to power fuel cells.

Ashtead appoints new CFO

Jan 5 - Ashtead Technology has appointed a chief financial officer (CFO) and five managers for newly created roles across its international team. The appointments are meant to cement the company’s position in the offshore energy market, including offshore wind and decommissioning of thermal power plants

NFE secures LNG for Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua

Dec 23 – New Fortress Energy (NFE) has agreed to purchase Henry-Hub-indexed LNG for its integrated gas and power businesses in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua. The New York-based project developer said it now has covered 80% of its expected needs throughout Latin America, thus reducing its need for spot purchases and its exposure to changes in the market price for LNG.

China and Korea mandate coal-to-gas switch

Dec 22 – The Chinese government has launched a coal-to-gas boiler switching programme, targeting 7.1 million homes, which makes gas demand more weather-sensitive this winter. Similarly, South Korea mandated the closure of 15 coal-fired plants since the start of December in an effort to reduce air pollution. Analysts expect this will accelerate the drawdown of LNG terminal inventories going into Q1-2021.

GE repowers oil field in Brazil

Dec 21 – GE Power Conversion has been awarded a contract by Sulzer Pumps UK to supply motors for four water injection pumps of a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. The 8,000 kW, two pole motors will run at 3,600 rpm with a limitation of the starting current at 300%, enabling the oil and gas field operator to optimise the generator which supplies electricity on the FPSO.

VELO distributes Sapphire Metal 3D-Printers in the US

Dec 18 – California-based VELO3D has formed a distribution partnership with GoEngineer for Flow pre-print software, Sapphire metal AM printer, and Assure quality assurance and controls. GoEngineer will be VELO’s only distributor in the United States.

Indian electric boats to achieve zero emissions

Dec 17 – Cochin Shipyard, India’s largest shipbuilder, has asked Siemens Energy to equip India’s first fleet of 23 boats with electric propulsion drive train, integrated with batteries and vessel automation. Combining the electric propulsion drive trains, energy storage, and automation systems is expected to significantly reduce fuel consumption.

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