Daily News

Competition amongst battery producers is heating up: they have to shorten their time to market, improve their flexibility, quality and efficiency. To help boost the efficiency of large-scale battery production, Siemens has launched portfolio of cloud-based software solutions that help optimize every step of battery production and thus improve the competitiveness of battery manufacturers.

Perth-based Global Energy Ventures (GEV) is seeking to step up shipments of compressed natural gas (CNG) to the Indian subcontinent. “They’ve got major issues in terms of fuel supply,” GEV chief executive Maurice Brand said but cautioned “it's easier to just supply the fuel than build a power plant.

Sagamu Independent Power Plant (SIPP) has handed out an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to China Energy Engineering to build a 400 MW combined-cycle gas power plant in Nigeria. The new CCGT will be situated in Sagamu in Ogun state, and will be built at a cost of around $550 million.

The New Northern Policy, launched by the South Korean president Moon Jae-in, is seeking new growth drivers in Russia and Northeast Asia. The Korean energy ministry announced Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) will sign a memorandum of understanding with Russia's energy firm Rosseti later this year. The aim is to create a multinational power grid interconnection in the Northeast Asia region that also includes China and Japan.

The full impact of China’s latest price cap on thermal coal prices will be truly felt only after the Lunar New Year, according to Wood Mackenzie’s Northeast Asia senior consultant, Zhai Yu. “Spot coal purchases are currently limited,” Zhai Yu said. “However, once the ‘Golden Week’ holiday period is over [on February 22], thermal coal demand will rapidly return to normal, especially since gencos have very low inventories.”

Awash with cheap shale gas production, Pennsylvania’s energy mix has reached a tipping point: Five new, highly efficient combined-cycle gas power plants, with 5,420 MW of capacity, are scheduled to open over the course of 2018, followed by three more new CCGT plants by 2020 with 2,478 MW combined capacity.

Seeking to grid-integrate more renewable energy, the grid operator of the Belgian region of Wallonia, ORES, has selected GE Power to install an integrated software solution. Following the implementation, GE’s Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS) will manage 80% of all electrical connections in Belgium.

Acceleration of Europe’s announced gas-fired power projects is likely after 2020, as many EU countries step up efforts to retire nuclear, lignite and hard coal-fired generation. According to Energy Aspects, there are 17 GW of proposed projects in the UK alone while across Europe that figure is 51 GW.

More rigs have been drilled for natural gas than for oil in Saudi Arabia for the first time in seven years, marking a quiet but swift shift to gas and renewables in power generation. The Saudi Kingdom is accelerating its drive to reduce dependence on crude oil exports, while direct burning of heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the power sector has reached multi-year lows.

Saudi Arabia-based Najran Cement Company has renewed the three-year asset management agreement with Wärtsilä for Najran’s two captive power plants in Sultana and Akfah. Under the deal, Wärtsilä will ensure day-to-day operation of the two baseload plants, and carry out preventive and predictive maintenance.

Lacking access to financing is a key hurdle for clean power generation across Africa, Asia and Latin America. To overcome such challenges, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has raised over $1.2 billion in private financing to build, install and operate 701 MW of clean energy projects – notably biogas power plants, solar and wind farms and decentralized mini-grids for underserved areas.

West-to-east power flows on the ERCOT transmission system are bound to rise substantially, following a surge in wind capacity addition in the Panhandle northwestern Texas, and new solar PV resources in far southwest Texas. Rising supply of inherently intermittent renewable energy is proving difficult to integrate; hence transmission line upgrades need to be fast-tracked to allow the grid operator ERCOT balance wind energy in the Northwest with flexible gas-fired generation in the eastern part of the state.

Funding of about $44 million has been freed up by the US Department of Energy (DOE) for design and testing of advanced carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies. Selected projects include engineering-scale testing of transformational solvent- or membrane-based CO2-capture, and the design of a commercial-scale, post-combustion CCS system at an existing coal power unit.

Noble Energy and Delek Drilling and Noble Energy, partners in developing Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan gas fields, confirmed they signed a $15 billion deal to export up to 64 billion cubic meters (Bcm) of natural gas over 10 years to Egypt’s Dolphinus Holding. Hurdles of how to export the gas to Egypt have not been solved yet, but the Arab nation urgently needs the more gas supply to fuel three 4.8 gigawatt combined-cycle power plants, currently under construction.

Construction of the Afghan section of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline is scheduled to start on Friday, February 23. Through long in the making, the TAPI interconnector is envisaged to transport Turkmen gas to countries in Asia, notably energy-hungry India.

News in Brief

BHEL sets up captive power plant in India

Feb 23 – India’s state-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) said it has won a contract worth Rs 1,034 core, for setting up a gas turbine-based, captive power plant. Under the lump sum turnkey contract, BHEL helps carry out the Visakh Refinery expansion project on behalf of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL).

Cables market to $158bn by 2022

Feb 22 – The global market for power cables and accessories market is projected to reach $158.25 billion by 2022, growing at an annual rate 5.40% up from $121.63 billion in 2017. Growth drivers are increasing urbanization, industrialization, and rising demand for electricity from the industrial, commercial, and residential sector.

Most CCGTs built in gas-rich countries

Feb 21 – Persistently low gas prices in North America keep pushing coal out of the power generation mix. Shale gas across North America or new developments of conventional gas fields in countries like Egypt have sparked new developments of combined-cycle gas turbine power plants. “In terms of underlying gas demand, a big chunck of the new gas capacity is going into countries where gas is a local resource. So, the North American plants are all likely to be fed by domestic pipeline gas and so will the Egyptian ones,” Energy Aspects commented. “It is really only in some isolated pockets in some countries - such as Brazil - and in the Asian projects where gas demand from the power sector is likely to be met by LNG.”

US coal production, exports, and prices on the up

Feb 20 – Coal production throughout the United States in 2017 has come in 773 million short tons (MMst), 45 MMst higher compared with the previous year, according to US Energy Information Agency (EIA) estimates. If forecasts prove correct, this would be the “largest year-over-year tonnage increase since 2001” in terms of American coal output. Prices have risen as well, especially for Central Appalachian coal, as rising demand for US coal exports more than offset a slight decline in consumption.

FirstEnergy to retire 1.3GW

Feb 19 – Allegheny Energy Supply, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy, has notified PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission organization, of its plan to deactivate the coal-fired Pleasants Power Station in Willow Island, West Virginia.  The 1,300-megawatt (MW) plant will be sold or closed on January 1, 2019.

German coal plants “worthless” at CO2 of €45/t

Feb 16 – Coal power plants in Germany would have to be almost completely eliminated by 2030 in a scenario with a carbon price of €45/t, a study of Barclays bank finds. A total of 46,000-MW of black and brown coal-fired generation is currently in service in Germany.

Iran plans to add 40 decentralized gas gensets

Feb 15 – Off-grid, decentralized power supply will help avert electricity shortages in Iran’s northern provinces of Mazandaran and Golestan. To that end, the Iranian energy ministry launched a plan to build 40 small-scale power plants across with a combined capacity of 1,000 MW over the two provinces over the coming six years.

National Grid makes £1m for top projects

Feb 14 – The UK’s National Grid System Operator is reaching out to industry and academia to open up a discussion on priority investments across the GB gas and electricity systems. Up to £1 million is available for the top projects, National Grid said when opening the funding application process which closes on 28 February.

Wärtsilä renews O&M accord for Saudi power plant

Feb 13 –Saudi Arabia-based Hail Cement Company hasrenewing the three-year asset management agreement with Wärtsilä and for a power plant in Turbah, Saudi Arabia. Under the agreement, Wärtsilä provides guarantees for the performance of the 53 MW base load plant, equipped with seven Wärtsilä 32 gas engines.

Black & Veatch eyed as EPC contractor for £500m Wyre plant

Feb 12 – Wrye Power, a subsidiary of NPL Group, and China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) have hired Black & Veatch as EPC contractor for the £500 million Wyre power project. Black & Veatch will provide engineering and planning consultancy services to develop the 900 MW combined cycle gas turbine plant, which will be built at Fleetwood in Lancashire.

Lockyer Valley Energy Project gets environmental nod

Feb 9 – The Lockyer Valley Energy Project, a 1,000-MW gas-fired power plant formerly known as the Westlink Project, has received environmental approval from the US Federal Government. As part of the approval, Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, the developer of the plant, has been ordered to commit up to $800,000 for an environmental offset plan.

GIP buys NRG Yield

Feb 8 – Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), an independent infrastructure investor, has agreed to acquire NRG Energy’s US renewable energy platform for $1.375 billion in cash and provide backstop support for NRG Yield agreed purchase of the Carlsbad Energy Center project. NYLD is the second largest US power company by enterprise value and market capitalization, operating a total capacity of 5.1 GW, diversified across wind, solar, and natural gas technologies.

Rolls-Royce tests lean-burn combustion system

Feb 7 – Rolls-Royce has run a demonstrator engine featuring ALECSys (Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System) for the first time on a testbed in Derby, UK. Designed for future jet engine programmes, ALECSys may be adapted for the power generation segment at a later stage.

Just Energy takes over EdgePower

Feb 6 – US retail energy provider Just Energy Group announced today it has agreed to acquire all shares or EdgePower, a privately-held energy monitoring company. Based in Aspen, Colorado, EdgePower provides lighting and HVAC controls, as well as enterprise monitoring in hundreds of commercial buildings across North America

Pöyry to carry out EPC for cogen project in Finland

Feb 6 – The Finnish utility Pori Energia has selected Pöyry to carry out project management, basic and detail engineering and procurement services for 90-MW Aittaluoto combined heat and power (CHP) plant project. The construction of the new cogeneration power plant will be completed by mid-2020, and once operational Pöyry will replace some of the boiler capacity at Aittaluoto.

Kosmos advances FLNG offshore Senegal

Feb 5 – Kosmos Energy has completed drilling the Requin Tigre-1 exploration well in Senegal’s Saint Louis Offshore Profond block. Exploration of the deepwater Cretaceous petroleum systems offshore Mauritania and Senegal are part of Kosmos’ efforts to source more feedgas for a FLNG project, though some of the gas find will be reserved by local governments for power generation.

Eland gets involved in Innovate UK project

Feb 2 – Participating in a £1 million Innovate UK grant-funded project, Eland Cables will install its new long linear capacitor cable technology, dubbed the Capacitive Transfer System (CTS) to help reduce power loss in the national grid. The UK currently loses around 7.6% of the power it generates during transmission and distribution, which equates to an estimated £1.1 billion spent annually.