Daily News

Dirty king coal is no longer vital for Germany’s security of power supply. In fact, about half of the country’s coal-fired power generation capacity could be shut down over the coming years if planned grid extension and the additional gas-fired plants start operating according to schedule, said Jochen Homann, head of the German energy regulator.

Bonaire in the Caribbean and the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic: these two self-sustaining islands are setting standards in integrating renewable energy sources, supported by MAN Diesel & Turbo gensets. On the Faroe Island, four MAN 9L51/60 four-stroke engines are being installed to expand the existing Sund power plant near the capital Tórshavn.

Deployment of electric vehicles so far has fallen short of expectations hence penalizing policy measures, like London’s new Emissions Surcharge, or T-Charge, have been introduced to spur growth. Penalising offending vehicles is one part of the solution, finds Jacob Klimstra, Senior Energy Consultant and Member of the Advisory Board for Electrify Europe. He highlighted plans by the Dutch government for all new cars to be zero-emissions vehicles by 2030 – others, including Paris, are already following suit.

The hype about electric car is not really translating into sales. Hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and battery electric vehicles have been sold in the United States as alternatives to conventional gasoline vehicles for a number of years, but their market share from 2012 through 2017 remained below 4% of total light-duty vehicle sales, even as the number of available models increased from 58 to nearly a hundred.

U.S. oil major ExxonMobil has set its first company-wide targets to reduce emission from operations across the gas value chain. The aims is to reduce methane leaks by 15% and gas flaring by 25% by 2020, and Exxon said it has started to deploy new equipment at it upstream and midstream operations to reach these goals.

Siemens has opened a new competence center for digital precision in industrial 3D printing, the Additive Manufacturing Experience Center (Amec), on its campus in Erlangen, Germany. Amec targets machine builders, power plant operators and companies who use additive manufacturing to design and construct workpieces. Digitalization hereby plays a central role.

Technology of battery-based energy storage has matured and industry stakeholders in some regions of the United States have gained experience financing, procuring, and operating power storage installations. Lithium-ion chemistries batteries currently make up 80% of large-scale U.S. power storage, and most of the capacity is being installed in California followed by the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Interconnection (PJM).

Just days after NTE Energy inaugurated its $645 million Middletown Energy Center in Ohio, the utility confirmed it will invest more than $1 billion to develop the 1,000-MW Anderson County Energy Center in South Carolina. Florida-based NTE hailed the 525-MW Middletown combined cycle facility as among the most efficient gas-fired power plants in the United States. The plant’s operation commenced on May 21, some 31 months after construction began.

Mexico, the largest buyer of US pipeline gas and LNG, is preparing a tender for strategic storage at depleted oil and gas reservoirs. Cenagas, the Mexican National Natural Gas Control Centre, has already selected four underground sites – Acuyo, Brasil, Jaf and Saramako – from a list of 15 proposed sites. Registering strong bidding interest from foreign players, the Mexican Energy Secretariat (Sener) will hold the tender in September 2018.

The United States has remained the world's top producer of petroleum and natural gas, reaching a record high output in 2017. Petroleum production surged by 745,000 barrels per day (b/d), driven by a 21% increase in oil prices to approximately $65 per barrel by the end of last year, and as of late oil prices keep rising.

Though the Pakistani government hailed the sudden surge in power production and supply, load-shedding still persists and cripples the local industry. Electric power supply jumped 48% to over 10,135 GWh in April, a substantial rise compared with 6,879 GWh in April last year, flowing the startup of three RLNG-fuelled power plants in Punjab province.

Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Power Private Ltd (QATPL), owned by the government of Punjab, has announced the completion of commissioning and start of full commercial operations at the Bhikki Power plant. Start of full-fledged commercial operations was on May 20 at midnight hours, supported by Harbin Electric International (HEI) and GE Power. Dispatch of the Bhikki combined-cycle plant now adds up to 1,180 MW of power to the national grid, enough to supply 2.4 million Pakistani homes.

Price-sensitive Japanese utilities prefer thermal coal over regasified LNG as they seek to minimize fuel costs for power generation. Consequently, Japan’s LNG imports fell 14.5% during the month of April to 5.60 million tonnes while import of thermal coal for power generation increased by 6.7% during April to 8.74 million tonnes, according to preliminary trade figures from the Japanese finance ministry.

Florida-based NextEra Energy has finalized a deal with Southern Company to acquire Gulf Power, Florida City Gas and its stakes in the Oleander and Stanton gas-fired power plants in Florida in transactions valued at approximately $6.475 billion, including $1.4 billion of Gulf Power debt. Post-closing NextEra expects it will still have substantial free cash flow.

Drax Group, together with C-Capture, has announced plans to pilot the first bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BCCS) project in Europe. The demonstration project will see Drax invest £400,000 in what it says “could be the first of several pilot projects” to deliver a rapid, lower cost demonstration of BECCS that could accelerate the commercialization of carbon capture in the UK.

News in Brief

UK remains net electricity importer

May 25 – Great Britain remains a net importer of electricity via interconnectors at peak times in all of National Grid’s 2018 Future Energy Scenarios (FES). The UK grid operator consequently assumes and supports an expansion of the island’s interconnector capacity to reach up to 20 GW by 2050.

German economy minister defends Nord Stream-2

May 24 – Peter Altmaier, the Germany economy minister, has defended construction of the Nord Stream-2 pipeline, which Washington and many eastern European countries, would like to block. Altmaier attributed the U.S. opposition to its aspiration to boost its own shale gas exports. "They are looking for markets [for LNG], which we can understand, and they can land it here easily," he told German media, "But it is much more expensive than pipeline gas, so blocking Nord Stream-2 on its own won't guarantee exports."

NY Governor proposes coal exit by 2020

May 23 – Andrew M. Cuomo, the Governor of New York, has proposed new regulation that would establish emission limits strict enough to effectively end the use of coal for power generation by 2020. The proposal is now up for public comment, with three hearings on the matter scheduled in July.

Middletown Energy Center onstream

May 22 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) Americas has helped NTE Energy with the commissioning and start-up of Middletown Energy Center which has been running successfully for 24 hours. With an installed capacity of 525 MW, the plant is being powered by MHPS M501GAC gas turbine equipment in a combine-cycle alignment. First fire of the turbine was in January 2018.

Dominion invests in development of new SMR design

May 22 – Dominion Energy has agreed to provide funding to help progress the BWRX-300, a 300 MWe small modular reactor design under development by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH). Dominion’s funding of the BWRX-300 provides “seed money” to advance work that could lead to commercializing this technology, although the utility said it currently has no plan to build a commercial nuclear power station.

Entergy to buy peaking unit near Washington

May 21 – Louisiana regulators have approved plans by Entergy to buy a 361-MW gas peaking power unit to be built in Washington Parish. The Washington Parish Entergy Center will be constructed by a Calpine subsidiary on a brownfield site. Entergy said it anticipates the for $261 million transaction will close in Q2-2021.

Ivory Coast nears CCGT finance deal

May 18 – The government of the Ivory Coast is reported to be close to completing a $530 million project finance deal with Eranove of France that will allow for construction start at a thermal power plant project. Though the concrete project has not been named yet, Siemens confirmed it is in negotiations about about combined-cycle power projects in Ivory Coast.

Delta-ee summit returns to Berlin

May 17 – Delta-ee’s European Heat Summit 2018 will return to Berlin this June. The event will begin with two concurrent roundtables, focussing on Electrification of Heat or Micro-CHP and High Efficiency Gas Heating.

Turboden ORC technology stands out in waste heat recovery

May 16 – Innovative solutions at Turboden’s Organic Racine Cycle (ORC) systems boost the energy efficiency such as the direct heat exchange system and the heat recovery through pressurized water circuit. In waterless conditions, ORC is said to be more efficient and cost-competitive than to steam technology. Large cement groups as well as power generators have recently chosen Turboden ORC technology such as Turkey’s CTP Team, the Swiss Lafarge Holcim group or Cementi Rossi in Italy.

Chile: AES to sell four gas plants to EDF

May 15 – AES Gener has announced the sale of four of its operating power plants, with a total capacity of 750MW, in Chile to Generadora Metropolitana, a joint venture between EDF Energy and Andes Mining & Energy (AME) for $300 million. The four power plants that are part of the sale are the 379MW Nueva Renca CCGT and the three peaking power plants – 132MW Los Vientos, 139MW Santa Lidia and 100MW Renca.

Florida PSC approves 1.7GW of gas power capacity

May 14 – The Florida Public Service Commission has given the green light for the development of two gas plants, totalling nearly 1.7 GW combined. The first is Seminole Electric’s 1,122 MW facility in Putnam County, due operational in December 2022; a second 573 MW project in Paso County will be realized by Seminole Electric together with Shady Hills Energy Center by December 2021.

FirstEnergy completes 138-kV line across Ohio in May

May 11 – A subsidiary of FirstEnergy is gearing up to energize a new 138-kilovolt transmission line and substation later this month to enhance service reliability for Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison customers across northern Ohio. Line construction began late last year and FirstEnergy said the new facilities are “on schedule to be energized ahead of a May 31 in-service deadline.”

Marubeni, BMCE Bank to jointly develop project in Morocco

May 10 – Japan’s Marubeni Corp has signed a memorandum of understanding with BMCE Bank for Africa to jointly develop new business opportunities in Morocco. Marubeni has designated its Casablanca office as a regional strategic base for West Africa and since achieved CFC status, a special legal status designed to support the development of the Casablanca city as a financial hub.

Capstone wins 9-year FPP service contract

May 9 – A New York-based food retailer has handed a nine-year Factory Protection Plan (FPP) service contract for a 650,000 square foot warehouse and shipping centre to Capstone Turbine Corp. Located in the Bronx, the warehouse is powered by a C1000 microturbine installed in a combined heat and power (CHP) configuration that provides baseload power and hot water for the facility 8,760 hours per year. Additionally, the microturbine can also provide about 700 kW of backup power in the event of a utility outage.

Loan for CHP in Argentina

May 8 – Albanesi Energía and its subsidiary Generación Centro have secured a $395 million loan for the construction of de la Arroyo Seco cogeneration power plant and to refinance the development of Timbúes’ project. UBS, BACS, Banco Hipotecario, Banco de Inversión y Comercio Exterior and Credit Suisse acted as lenders. In Argentina, Albanesi Group operates power plants with an installed capacity of approximately 887 MW.

California abandons hybrid power project

May 4 – After a decade of trying to realise a hybrid power plant that would bring together natural gas and solar energy, the California Energy Commission has abandoned attempts to build the Victorville-2 Hybrid Power Project (563 MW). No development partner had been found, and the city lost $50 million after failing to make timely payment to GE for the plant’s gas turbines.

TVA’s Allen CCGT ready to run

May 3 – Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) new 1,000 MW Allen combined-cycle gas power plant in Memphis has been completed and is ready to operate. The CCGT came at a cost of $900 million and replaces a 58-year old coal-fired power unit.