Regulation & Policy

Spain's National Energy Commission (CNE) is calling for an increase in electricity prices paid by consumers to curtail Government debts worth €24 billion. The so-called 'tariff-deficit' piled up over the past 10 years as utilities had to sell electricity to end-customers at regulated rates below nominal generation and distribution costs.

German E.ON, Italian Enel, Swedish Vattenfall and Swiss Alpig have launched Afiegm, an energy lobby group, urging the French governments to open France's power generation market and to curtail the dominance of EDF. "The question of competition concerns not only supply but also equally production," Afiegm chairwoman Fleur Thesmar said.

Investment in new gas-fired and nuclear plants, rather than wind power, could save the U.K. £45 billion in meeting its 2050 carbon reduction, AF Consult, a Sweden-headquartered technical consultancy, said in a recent report sponsored by the global accountancy firm KPMG.

The U.S. Clean Heat & Power Association (USCHPA) is backing the Smart Energy Act that set a national goal to double the amount of power generated by combined heat and power systems to 170 GW by 2020. The technical potential for additional Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants at existing sites in the U.S. is between 130 and 170 GW, plus an additional 10 GW of waste heat recovery, according to USCHPA estimates.

In an effort to end shortages of gas supply to power plants, Nigeria's Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has called on energy companies to comply with the country's new gas price regime. The Government is concerned that gas companies are not implementing the new, higher price regime that had been designed to attract investment to Nigeria's domestic gas-to-power sector.

Pöyry Energy Consulting calls for a marked-based alternative to introducing formal capacity payments under the UK Electricity Market Reform (EMR). "Market-traded reserve products combined with imbalance prices could deliver a better outcome to support flexible power generation capacity," James Cox, Principal Consultant at Pöyry Energy Consulting told 'Gas-to-Power Journal'.

The new UK energy minister, Charles Hendry, has criticised proposals and time-schedules of the European Commission's (EC) energy infrastructure plan as "overly prescriptive".

A rise in gas-to-power generation would be a bet on the failure of U.K. energy policies under the Electricity Market Reform that favour renewables and nuclear energy, Pierre Noel, senior researcher at the Energy Policy Forum at the University of Cambridge said today. Calling for a level playing field for all power generation technologies, Noel opposed the introduction of subsidies for capital-intensive technologies that infringe on the role of gas in the European energy mix.

Investments in energy is "a high priority" for the Singapore government, Stephen Hill, senior trade & investment officer at the British High Commission told Gas-to-Power Journal today. Singapore's power stations mainly use imported natural gas, as "the city-state has no domestic oil and gas resources and limited opportunities for renewable energy generation in comparison to other countries," he said.

Enel, Italy's largest utility by market share, said today it will profit from the new Italian rate system for electricity distribution and metering services. "The new regulatory framework will generate a slight increase in 2012 rate revenues compared with 2011 levels," Enel said referring to preliminary earnings estimates.

Nuon has started to disclose details the availability of capacities of Vattenfall's power plants in the Netherlands and the Epe gas storage facility at the Dutch-German border on its website in order to comply with REMIT requirements.

Privatisation of 25 Iranian state-run power plants is planned to be carried out by March 21 – the end of the current Iranian year - Iran's deputy energy minister, Ali Zabihi, said today. The privatisation is part of efforts to liberalise the Iranian power generation market.

EU Commissioner Gunther Oettinger has advised RWE and E.ON to join forces and consider merging their businesses in order to become a truly competitive German player on international energy markets.

Denmark's DONG Energy has implemented the REMIT regulation and will publish production data from its power plants on its website "very soon", the Danish utility confirmed to Gas-to-Power Journal today.

UK energy regulator Ofgem will foster the transparency between retail and wholesale energy prices by disclosing price reports more frequently than in the current 3-4 month timescale. "Ofgem is to move towards updating the report on a weekly basis in the New Year," it said in a statement today.

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News in Brief

Wärtsilä wins contract in Barbados

Jan 23 – Barbados Light & Power Company Ltd (BLPC) has contracted Wärtsilä to fast-track the supply of a 33 MW flexible power plant, as an EPC project. The plant, set to run on four Wärtsilä-32 engines, will be built at a site adjacent to BLPC’s 10 MW solar photovoltaic plant at Trents, St. Lucy, located on the northwestern coast of Barbados.

Azito power plant takes FID

Jan 23 – Globeleq and IPS have reached financial close on a 253 MW expansion of the Azito gas-fired power plant near Abidjan. An MXL3 upgrade will boost the capacity of the combined-cycle plant from 460 MW currently to 713 MW, equaling about 30 percent Ivory Coast’s total capacity installed.

Climate risks become urgent

Jan 22 – Adaptation to climate change is now “urgent,” McKinsey claims, suggesting there would be “many adaptation opportunities.” Climate science shows that the risk from further warming can only be stopped by achieving zero net greenhouse gas emissions through renewable built-out and energy storage.

India’s electricity demand may triple, IEA finds

Jan 21 – Energy demand in India is set to double by 2040, and its electricity demand may triple, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Oil consumption in India is seen grow faster than that of any other major economy, making energy security a key priority, the IEA said in its first in-depth review of India’s energy policies. Amid strong growth, renewables now account for almost 23 percent of India’s installed capacity, while energy efficiency improvements helped avoid 15 percent of India’s additional energy demand, oil and gas imports, and air pollution.

Regulators approve CCGT in Wisconsin

Jan 20 – State regulators have approved a permit for Dairyland Power Cooperative to build a $700 million combined-cycle gas power plant in northwestern Wisconsin. The Nemadji Trail Energy Center will produce 625 MW and is scheduled to begin operations by 2025.

ExxonMobil enhances turbine oils

Jan 17 – New high performance turbine oils, developed by ExxonMobil Lubricants, are  entering the market which are formulated to prevent build-up of lacquer, varnish and deposits. The oils are designed to protect against thermal and oxidative degradation, one of the root causes of deposit build-up.

Wärtsilä signs O&M deals in the Bahamas

Jan 16 – Following the commissioning of a Wärtsilä-built 132 MW power plant in Bahamas in December, the Finish manufacturer now signed a two-year operation and maintenance (O&M) accord with the plant owner, the Bahamas Power and Light Company (BPL). Wärtsilä will transition, train, and develop the owner’s Bahamian work force and provide key performance guarantees.

China, S'Korea curtail coal to tackle air pollution

Jan 15 – Beijing city government’s aggressive approach to tackling air pollution is working and South Korea’s spring coal-fired curtailments show some success in cutting seasonal emissions. According to Wood Mackenzie, this should benefit LNG, particularly while spot prices remain low.

Sri Lanka at brink of power shortages

Jan 14 – Sri Lanka could face power cuts by March, after plans for a large-scale coal power plant were been cancelled just prior to start of construction, and a tender for a 300 MW diesel plants ended up in court. On the demand side, pressure is building up as the region is moving into the dry season in February and March. Weather warnings say the island is likely to receive lower than average rainfall in the first quarter of 2020.

Caterpillar’s new genset comply with UK & German grid codes

Jan 13 – Caterpillar Inc. has launched a series of new generator sets that comply with the new G99 United Kingdom, VDE-AR-N 4110 German and Belgium C10/C11 grid codes. The following gensets – G3500H, CG132B, CG170, and CG260 (rated from 280-4,500kVA) – have been verified to be able to accommodate different reactive power modes, active power functions, and connection conditions for normal operation or reconnection after mains decoupling.

Transneft launches battery-based power supply for ILI tools

Jan 10 – Transneft Diascan, the largest Russian inspection service provider for pipelines, has developed and put into operation a power supply system for in-line inspection (ILI) tools based on rechargeable batteries. Flaw detectors performing inspections of trunk oil pipelines, gas pipelines and oil product pipelines can now use the energy from rechargeable batteries, which helps save time and reduces the cost of in-line inspection.

Pavilion starts trading LNG out of Madrid

Jan 9 – Singapore-based Pavilion Energy has completed the acquisition of all gas and LNG assets of the Spanish utility Iberdrola. From its new European headquarters in Madrid, Pavilion said has launched 2020 LNG trading operations with supplies focusing on Spain and the UK market.

Gazprom extends gas transits via Belarus until 2021

Jan 8 – Gazprom and Gazprom Transgaz Belarus have sealed additional agreements to extend the contracts for gas supplies to and gas transportation across Belarus until 2021. According to the newly-signed documents, the contractual supply and transit volumes in 2020 will remain at the level of 2019.

EastMed pipeline to take FID by 2022

Jan 7 – Greece, Cyprus and Israel have signed an agreement to build the 1,900-kilometre EastMed pipeline at an estimated cost of 6 billion Euros. The subsea pipeline, spanning over 1,900-kilometres would initially carry 10 Bcm of gas per annum from Israeli and Cypriot waters to Crete and then on to the Greek mainland and into the European gas network via Italy. A final investment decision (FID) is meant to be reached in 2022, given that the pipeline is scheduled for completion by 2025.

U.S. energy-related emissions drop over 2%

Jan 6 – Fewer emissions from coal consumption, combined with lower energy demand, have helped to significantly reduce the overall energy-related carbon emissions in the United States. According to government statistics, energy-related CO2 emissions fell 2.2 percent last year, and the downward trend is forecast to continue into 2020.

Brent crude prices surge

Jan 3 – North Sea Brent crude prices have risen to their highest level since September 2019, up nearly $3 per barrel because of Middle East tensions coupled with improved Chinese economic forecasts. Brent crude futures for March 2020 delivery were last seen trading at 69.21 per barrel the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). This bullish price sentiment will feed through to oil-indexed natural gas contracts and LNG deliveries, linked to the Japanese crude cocktail (JCC) basket price.

IEA says coal’s fate tied to Asia

Dec 23 – Rapid rise of wind and solar power in many parts of the world has pushed coal-fired power generation into steep decline in most developed countries. "But this is not the end of coal, since demand continues to expand in Asia," analysts at the International Energy Agency commented: "The region’s share of global coal power generation has climbed from just over 20 percent in 1990 to almost 80 percent in 2019, meaning coal’s fate is increasingly tied to decisions made in Asian capitals."