Though imported cost of coal and LNG has declined, power prices in Japan keep rising. According to data from Japan's 10 major utilities, the average retail electricity price rose for four consecutive fiscal years (2011–14). LNG prices fell by 37% and coal prices fell by 19% in fiscal 2015 but Japan's retail electricity price eased of by merely 2%.
Doreen Power, a privately-run utility in Bangladesh, has contracted MAN Diesel & Turbo to supply three 18V 48/60TS engines for a 56.7 MW baseload power plant near Dhaka. “48/60’s can be retrofitted to 51/60s without any major effort,” a MAN spokesman said, but cautioned about Bangladesh’s current gas supply constraints.
Shale oil and gas production from the Appalachian Basin's Utica play has hit 3.5 Bcf/d this June, jumping from very low levels of 0.1 Bcf/d in December 2012. The surge in output from the vast Utica play keeps a lid on US natural gas prices and incentivise more power station operators to shift from coal to gas. The capacity factor for CCGTs has risen to 56% and is expected to increase further.
Even though thermal coal prices increased by nearly 50% this year, the effect on fuel switching is not enough to make the use of LNG economically viable for power generators. For coal-to-gas switching in Asia, analysts say that LNG would have to fall by another third from its recent lows around $6/mmBtu.
In the face of gas supply shortages following a major and prolonged leak at SoCalGas’ Aliso Canyon storage facility, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) now provides timely updates in its ‘Southern California Daily Energy Report’. Withdrawal rates at Aliso Canyon have fallen sharply below the usual 1.9 Bcf/d – causing regulators to place a cap on gas-burn and spurring electricity imports from neighbouring states.
Sluggish growth in the oil and gas segment saw 2015 global energy spending fall to $1.83 trillion, an 8% drop year-on-year, according to IEA’s latest report. Participants in a survey agreed that China has become “more attractive”, with foreign investors being particularly drawn to “ample opportunities in the electricity sector.”
German grid operator 50Hertz is installing phase shifters to raise electrical resistance that stops excess renewable power supply from spilling over into Poland’s PSE grid zone – causing diplomatic spats. Electrical current normally takes the path of least resistance, but if Germany’s north-south routes are congested e.g. by ample wind power supply – this excess supply sometime takes a detour through neighbouring countries.
California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the entity responsible for maintaining the balance between supply and demand for electricity throughout most of the state, had to resort to more power imports this summer as flexible gas generators could not fully balance the system amid fuel constraints.
Caps on California’s gas-burn this summer, imposed due to a month-long leak at SoCalGas’ main storage, have significantly shifted the state’s energy mix this summer. Renewables and imported electricity offset the nearly 20% plunge in output from gas-fired power stations in June, July and August in the CASIO grid area.
Nine gas-fired power plants in southern India – currently stranded for lack of fuel – have been allocated approximately 10 million cubic meters a day of natural gas at auction. With a combined capacity of 5 GW, these plants are now contracted to supply electricity at a price below Rs 4.7 per unit and will be restarted between October 1, 2016 and late March 2017.
As part of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller has signalled interest in investing in the conversion of power plants to run on natural gas, or building new gas-fired power units. Russia pushes for Turkey to give the necessary permits to implement the strategic gas interconnector in the coming months.