Regulation & Policy

Ireland’s ESB is helping to prop up UK power reserve margins this winter, having been awarded a strategic balancing reserve contract by National Grid for its 350 MW Corby gas-fired plant in Northamptonshire.
The reserve contract runs for one year until September 2016, whereby the operator gets remunerated for holding the plant on standby for emergency dispatch but it cannot sell into the regular GB wholesale electricity market. Corby had missed out in the first UK capacity auction.

Payments for power plants set to operate Germany’s new capacity reserve pool, due to start in 2017, have been increased by €2,000 to a maximum amount of 100,000 euros per megawatt and year, according to a ministerial decree adopted by the German cabinet.

Regulators in the European Union are making progress on a joint strategy to import LNG, while scrutinising more deliveries of Russian gas. A draft report critically refers to a shareholder’s agreement of Gazprom and five European companies to build the Nord Stream II pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany, bypassing Ukraine. The Commission said it would assess such plans "rigorously against the European regulatory framework.” 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published final guidelines for its Clean Power Plan in the Federal Register, outlining requirements for states to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and legislation for fossil fuel-fired plants.

After months of negotiations with regulators, U.S. conglomerate GE has announced the completion of its €9.7 billion acquisition of French turbine manufacturer Alstom. As a result of the deal GE Power & Water and Alstom Power have combined to form GE Power, creating one of the largest firms in the power generation sector with 65,000 employees in over 150 countries.

Regional grid operator New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) has recommended that the Tonawanda Huntley and Dunkirk coal-fired power plants can be safely retired without affecting grid reliability. 

 The World Energy Council (WEC) has expressed concern about the progress made in global climate talks calling for a ‘clear carbon pricing scheme’. The development of such a scheme is seen as a key step to improving profitability for combined cycle gas plants, particularly in Europe.

The Philippine Department of Energy is planning to boost the role of gas power in the country’s energy mix, according to Loreta G. Ayson, undersecretary for the Department of Energy. "Right now, we're heavily dependent on coal for power generation. If we continue (at current rates of coal power expansion), we will be 70% dependent on coal by 2040-2050,” she said. 

The UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd has responded to a petition against two proposed Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project and claimed the projects have the potential “to play an important role” in decarbonising power.

LNG buyers and sellers in Singapore will soon be able to trade gas domestically on a short-term basis at a secondary market that will allow power producers to hedge their gas imports and rely less on oil-indexed contracts.

Ambitions are riding high in Tanzania and the government said it is optimistic it can close the 1,290 MW power deficit and achieve its goal of generating close to 2,800 MW by the end of next year.

Exports of Iranian natural gas to Armenia are set to rise in 2017 and in return, Armenia agreed to increase exports of electricity to Iran – 3 kWh for 1 cubic metre of gas. To that end, a new, third power transmission line will be built at a cost of about $120 million.

National Grid has disclosed the register on the T-4 Capacity Auction for 2019-20, showing that all the 13 GW of capacity that had initially failed to pre-qualify has now been granted access on appeal. Analysts at Cornwall Energy warn this excess of auction supply to demand would lead to an anticipated clearing price of £14/kW-£16/kW - far too low to support new-build gas power projects.

A power plant reserve, instead of the initially proposed carbon levy on emissions from ageing plants, would prove to be “an expensive mistake”, the German Monopolies Commission said, dismissing plans to transfer lignite-fired power plants into this capacity reserve.

Retorting allegations that Chinese funding is vital to realise a mega gas-fired power project in Bhikki, the Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif stressed the regional government is building the 1,180 MW project “from its own resources” with a view to supplying supply electricity to the entire country.