Daily News

Injections of biomethane into the national gas grid rose 162% year on year in 2016 in France, standing at 215 GWh.

It emerged from a report published by grid operators Tigf, GrDF and GRTGaz, together with renewable and gas associations Ser and Spegnn.

Economic growth and an expanding population are going to pose a challenge for New Zealand from an energy perspective, requiring increased efforts in terms of both technology and policy, the International Energy Agency said.

In its latest New Zealand 2017 review of energy policies in the country, IEA stressed that despite New Zealand having long been “a global leader in developing effective energy markets, renewable energy and establishing robust policies for electricity security”, over the past decade its growing energy needs have “outpaced improvements in energy efficiency, mainly because of the country’s expanding economy and growing population.”

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is to provide financial support to help Latvian energy service companies (ESCOs) obtain long-term financing for energy efficiency upgrades.

ABB, through its venture capital unit ABB Technology Ventures, is investing in Canada-based Enbala Power Networks, a developer of software for managing power distribution networks.

GE is to supply a Jenbacher J316 gas engine for to Agrocam, a poultry hatchery in Douala, Cameroon.

The technology is to help the company address challenges related to long-term power outages, GE said, noting the “severe shortage of essential electrical infrastructure” being experienced in sub-Saharan Africa.

Siemens has received a $400 million order for five F-class gas turbines for a combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Saudi Arabia.

With a generating capacity of about 1,500 MW, the plant will supply about 400 MW of electricity and process steam to a new natural gas extraction plant in Fadhili, 100 km northwest of Dammam in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom, Siemens said.

A rebound in CO2 emission allowance prices in Europe in the second part of 2016 was among the factors contributing to the increase in competitiveness and output for gas-fired generation, according to Italy's Gestore Servizi Energetici (GSE).

Implementation of gas network codes by European countries as part of the gas regional initiative (GRI) showed a disconnect between progress in the south region and the south-southeast region, with the latter showing a somewhat slower progress in 2016.

It emerged from the Gas regional initiative status review report 2016 published in February by the Agency for the cooperation of energy regulators (ACER).

Siemens has completed the commissioning of a cogeneration plant in Loudon, Tennessee.

Gas-fired generation in France increased by 60.8% year on year in 2016, reaching 35.5 TWh and accounting for 6.6% of power generation in the country, according to grid operator Rte.

Russian gas supplies to Austria have spiked up in 2016, rising by 37.9% year on year to 6.1 billion cubic meters, Gazprom said.

Canada-based power producer Capital Power has signed an agreement to acquire two gas-fired generation facilities and two waste heat assets in Canada from energy infrastructure company Veresen for $225 million.

Italy's power grid operator Terna, through its subsidiary Terna Plus has signed an agreement with Brazil's civil and infrastructural works company Planova for the acquisition of two concessions to create and operate some 500 km of power grid infrastructures in the country.

EU member states have agreed February 17 on the Commission's proposal to invest some Eur444 million in key European energy infrastructure projects.

Gross inland energy consumption in the European Union accounted for 1,626 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2015, 2.5% below 1990 levels and 11.6% below its peak of almost 1,840 Mtoe in 2006, according to Eurostat.

News in Brief

Tap “strategic” for Italy's energy system: industry ministry

Feb 27 - The Trans Adriatic Pipeline project and the partnership with Azerbaijan are “strategic” for Italy's energy system, the Italian energy ministry reiterated February 27.

The statement came after a meeting in Baku between Italy's industry minister, Carlo Calenda and the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.

The ministry said once completed, Tap will strengthen the energy collaboration between the two countries. It added Italy was also evaluating business opportunities for Italian companies in the country, as some twenty major Italian companies accompanied the minister in its visit to Azerbaijan, including Telecom Italia Sparkle, Danieli, Ferrero, CNH and Enerco.

IEA, Australia discuss energy security

Feb 24 - IEA's executive director Fatih Birol and Australia's prime minister Malcolm Turnbull have met in Sidney on February 24 as part of an official visit to Australia.

They discussed Australia's domestic energy situation and its options to ensure affordable, reliable and secure energy as it works towards its commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions under the Paris climate change treaty.

Their talks also covered prospects for carbon capture and storage and the role Australia is playing as a major energy exporter, particularly in Asia, IEA said.

Southern gas corridor advisory council meets in Baku

Feb 23 - Energy ministers of countries involved in the Southern Gas Corridor initiative and representatives of EU institution have started the third ministerial meeting of the Southern gas corridor advisory council on February 22 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The meeting was also attended by EU Commission vice-president for energy union, Maros Sefcovic.

The event was expected to focus on the financing of the project, among other things, with the participation of representatives of the World Bank and European bank for reconstruction and development (EBRD), according to a statement from the Azeri energy ministry.

Gazprom inks contract for construction of TurkStream second string

Feb 22 - South Stream Transport and construction company Allseas Group have signed a contract to build the second string of the TurkStream gas pipeline’s offshore section.

South Stream, which is responsible for the construction of TurkStream’s offshore section, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gazprom.

TurkStream is the project for the construction of a transit-free export gas pipeline stretching across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey and further to Turkey’s border with neighbouring countries.

The first string of the gas pipeline is intended for Turkish consumers, while the second string will deliver gas to southern and southeastern Europe. Both will have a throughput capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

In October 2016, Russia and Turkey signed the Intergovernmental Agreement on the TurkStream project.

World's first purpose-built LNG bunkering vessel delivered

Feb 21 - Engie, Fluxys, Mitsubishi Corporation, and NYK have taken delivery of the world’s first purpose built liquefied natural gas bunkering vessel (LBV) from Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction at the Yeongdo shipyard in Busan, Korea.

Zeebrugge in Belgium will be the home port of the vessel.

From there, the 5,000 m3 LNG capacity LBV will supply LNG as a marine fuel to ships operating in Northern Europe, Engie said.

BNetzA consults on underground power cabling

Feb 20 - Germany's regulator Bundesnetzagentur has launched a public consultation, which closed on February 13, on documentation requirements for TSOs in order to install new direct current (DC) power lines underground. 

According to recent legislation in Germany, underground cabling should have priority for new projects.

BNetzA said “the aim is to increase public acceptance and, consequently, speed up grid expansion' adding that the use of overhead lines will be considered “only in exceptional cases.”

ABB delivers substation at Dubai solar park

Feb 17 - ABB has successfully energised a substation in Dubai that will help distribute power from the Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MBR) Solar Park.

The 400/132 kilovolt (kV) gas-insulated switchgear substation has been built for Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) to connect the second phase of the MBR Solar Park and integrate 200 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the transmission grid.

Further expansions are planned at the facility, which, when completed by 2030, will be “the largest single-site solar project in the world with a capacity of 5,000 MW” ABB said.

OPEC agreed cuts achieve “record compliance rate”: IEA

Feb 16 - Oil production cuts agreed by members of OPEC and eleven non-OPEC countries have “achieved a record initial compliance rate” of 90%, with some producers, notably Saudi Arabia “appearing to cut by more than required” the International Energy Agency (IEA) said.

The IEA estimates that OPEC production in January was 32.1 mb/d.

OPEC “appears to have made a solid start to what is a six-month process” the IEA said, adding “this first cut is certainly one of the deepest in the history of OPEC output cut initiatives.”

EBRD, Moldova hold talks on energy and transport projects

Feb 15 - A delegation from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) met Moldova's PM Pavel Filip, minister of economy Octavian Calmic, minister of finance Octavian Armasu, and governor of the National Bank Sergiu Cioclea on February 13-14.

The two sides discussed the implementation of large transport, energy and municipal infrastructure projects, including those co-funded by the European Union.

The EBRD is working with the authorities to promote key reforms in these sectors, it said.

Eni sells 10% stake in Egypt's Shorouk concession to BP

Feb 14 - Eni’s CEO, Claudio Descalzi, Bob Dudley, CEO of BP, and   the Egyptian minister of petroleum, Tarek El Molla signed a deed completing the sale to BP of a 10% stake in the Shorouk concession, offshore Egypt.

Eni and BP first agreed on the sale of the concession stake, where the super-giant Zohr gas field is located, in November 2016, Eni said.

Eni, through its subsidiary IEOC, now holds a 90% stake in the license, while Rosneft has agreed to acquire a 30% stake, subject to the Egyptian governmental approval.

Vattenfall to supply Chinese high-tech datacenter in northern Sweden

Feb 13 - Chinese tech company Canaan Creative is to open a new 10 MW data center in northern Sweden, which will rely on smart energy supplies from Vattenfall.

Canaan is a “world-leading producer of blockchain solutions and ASIC microprocessors and the first Chinese company within the sector to open a data center in Europe” Vattenfall said, adding that the chosen location was due to “technological development, climate smart energy in abundance and the lowered tax rates."

In autumn 2016, Vattenfall and Skelleftea Kraft acquired The Node Pole Alliance, which is dedicated to supporting data centers and high tech industry establishment in the north of Sweden.

Greece, IEA discuss energy strategy

Feb 10 - The executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Fatih Birol has met with the Greek minister for environment and energy, George Stathakis, to discuss the energy sector transition and the outlook of global energy markets.

Stathakis shared “the good progress Greece has made in increasing the share of renewables in the power sector and highlighted the importance accorded to energy efficiency and the positive impact it can have on overall economic development” the IEA said in a statement.

The IEA is to conduct its 5-year review of energy policies of Greece in 2017, “including those that are relevant for energy security of the country, and its ambition to reduce the carbon footprint of its energy sector” it said.

EBRD to support Egypt's green economy transition

Feb 9 - The Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has approved its first country strategy for Egypt.

EBRD said Egypt's green economy transition is among the key priorities identified by the strategy.

Specifically, the EBRD will “support Egypt’s efforts in diversifying its energy mix by financing renewable energy projects and energy efficiency investments across sectors, including energy efficiency credit lines for SMEs,” it said.

Enel expands electricity storage portfolio

Feb 8 - Italy's Enel has partnered with storage systems provider Aton Storage in order to expand its portfolio in the sector.

The deal follows agreements reached by Enel in recent months with Tesla, BYD and LG Chem.

Enel has also incorporated the Aton storage system in its commercial offering of photovoltaic panels combined with energy storage systems “which will launch shortly” it said.

Engie to build its first geothermal power plant in Indonesia

Feb 7 – France's Engie, as part of PT Supreme Energy Muara Laboh consortium, has reached the financial closing for phase I of the Muara Laboh geothermal project in Indonesia, the company's first high temperature geothermal power generation plant in the world.

With commissioning planned in 2019, this first phase will generate 80 MW of emission-free electricity, the equivalent of the energy consumption of around 120,000 households, Engie said.

Enel brings online two new PV plants in South Africa

Feb 6 - Italy's Enel, through its renewable energy subsidiary Enel Green Power RSA, has brought the 82.5 MW Adams and Pulida solar PV plants, located in South Africa’s Northern Cape and Free State provinces, into commercial operation. 
 
The two solar plants are supported by a 20-year power supply agreement with South African power utility Eskom, which Enel was awarded in 2014 following the third round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) tender promoted by the South African government, Enel said.

ABB wins $75 mil power link order in Brazil

Feb 3 - ABB has won a $75 million order to supply advanced converter transformers for the Belo Monte 800 kV ultra-high-voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission link.

The 2,518 km link will transmit clean power generated in the north of Brazil, from the Xingu substation to the Rio Substation in the southeast. It will transport up to 4000 MW of electricity, enough to meet the needs of around ten million people, ABB said.