Daily News

Radical change in Britain’s power mix is driven by the fast fall in technology costs of renewables. By 2030, a system with wind and solar supplying 50% of the country’s electricity needs would be comparable in cost to one dominated by combined-cycle gas power station, according to New Resource Partners.

Spark Energy has become the seventh and biggest UK provider to go bankrupt this year, following the market exit of Extra Energy on Wednesday last week. Spark blamed “increasingly tough trading conditions” when the company’s debts were uncovered after it missed a deadline to make a £14 million ‘renewables obligation’ payment to Ofgem.

Russia’s gas giant Gazprom has approved its 2019 financial plan, envisaging an overall investment volume of RUB 1,325.724 billion, equaling $20.15 billion. The lion’s share, or over RUB963 billion is intended for capital investments such gas production on the Yamal Peninsular and for three key gas export pipelines to Europe and Asia.

Rolls-Royce Power Systems has won an order from C-Energy to supply its new medium speed V-engine, B36:45, in order to add an extra 23 MW to a combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Bohemia, Czech Republic. The first units will start operating before the beginning of 2019.

Hourly electricity usage on Thanksgiving and the following day – Black Friday – tend to have different demand patterns from other weekdays. Instead of a morning and an evening peak, the electricity demand on a Black Friday rather resembles that of weekends.

Indebted Ohio-based utility FirstEnergy Generation has agreed to sell its 545 MW West Lorain Facility to Vermillion Power, part of Starwood, for $144 million in cash – if no higher bid comes forward. The sale of the CCGT will be accomplished through a court-supervised bankruptcy auction to maximize the value of the asset.

Developed economies like Japan, Denmark and the United States have achieved a high economic growth with fairly constant energy consumption. If all cost-effective efficiency measures were deployed, the global economy could double by 2040 with only a marginal rise in energy demand, the International Energy Agency (IEA) finds.

ABB Ability Ellipse solution will support Ameren Illinois’ multi-million dollar modernization of their power grid in Illinois. The asset performance management software has a “prescriptive approach”, which will allow Ameren to better predict and prevent the failure of mission-critical equipment that delivers electricity to 1.2 million customers.

More than half of India’s installed 25 GW of gas-fired power generation lies idle, with the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) identifying  about 14 GW capacity as ‘stranded,’ of unutilized. These plants had been built based on government assurances of regasified LNG supply, which did not materialize.

India's Prime Minister Narenda Modi has voiced concerns over excessive delays in joint venture projects with Sri Lanka. The neigbouring island nation is expected to fast-track a LNG-fuelled power plant after a coal power project was halted, just when the Indian JV was about to start construction. Despite approval for a $250 million LNG import terminal near Colombo, the Indian-Japanese JV has followed through with the project.

Energy storage will play a growing role in the British power mix as the Brexit process is at a critical stage and the country seeks to reduce reliance on importing electricity through from mainland Europe. “Interconnectors are direct competitors in the flexibility marketplace,“ Wood Mackenzie said, suggesting Brexit could be good news for the UK storage market.

Vowing to avoid shortages and price spikes, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is pushing through measures to expand both pipeline gas and LNG imports. Taking early action is meant to improve China’s gas reserve and helps to make pre-arrangements for peak demand. CNNOC just issued a tender for a strip of cargoes to be delivered between November 2018 and 2022.

With the advent of utility-scale energy storage and hybrid power systems, traditional power producers are turning to system integrators to balance multiple generation assets and optimize the energy produced. Wärtsilä’s GEMS software helped ALTEO Group optimise an engine power plant with energy storage in Hungary, and on the Azores the software used a mircogrid form of AI to control and balance wind, solar and diesel gensets.

Shaking up its indebted GE Power unit, the new General Electric CEO Larry Culp has reinstated John Rice – a retired GE veteran who once led its energy unit – as chairman of the Gas Power segment. “GE is desperate for leadership,” analysts commented, but it is deemed unlikely that there will be any quick fix.

Swift and efficient completion of drilling at the Wolfcamp play has been driving up the overall hydrocarbon production in the Permian Basin. The Wolfcamp accounted for 1 million barrels of crude oil per day (b/d) and 4 Bcf/d of natural gas. Productivity gains were caused by drilling longer horizontal laterals and optimizing completions.

News in Brief

PG&E nears bankruptcy

Jan 18 – Northern California’s utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has informed federal regulators that it expects to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by January. The San Francisco-based utility is under investigation for its shortcomings in the deadly 2018 wildfires. S&P this week downgraded PG&E’s gas and electric unit to ‘D’ to ‘CC’ after the utility failed to make a $21.6 million interest payment

Hitachi suspends work on Wales nuclear project

Jan 17 – Japan’s Hitachi is close to suspending construction works at its Horizon division’s Wylfa nuclear power plant in Wales. If the project gets shelved, EDF Energy's Hinkely Point-C will be the only nuclear project remaining hence flexible gas power will have to fill the capacity gap.

PG&E files for bankruptcy by Jan 29

Jan 16 – Northern California’s utility Pacific Gas & Electric has informed federal regulators that it expects to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by end of this month. The San Francisco-based utility is under investigation for its shortcomings in the deadly 2018 wildfires.

Gas engine market to top $4.4bn by 2020

Jan 15 – Global demand for natural gas engines is forecast to expand with the market set to exceed $4.4 billion in value by 2022, according to Zion Market Research. Key manufacturers include, GE, Rolls-Royce, Cummins, Caterpillar, Wärtsilä, Kawasaki, MAN, Deutz, Doosan and Yanmar.

Encana selects Siemens rotating equipment

Jan 14 – Siemens has been selected to provide one feed and sales gas train and one refrigeration compression train for Encana’s Pipestone Processing Facility in Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada. The new unit, due to operational in 2021, will provide Encana with 19,000 barrels per day of net raw condensate processing capacity plus 170 million cubic feet per day of net inlet gas processing capacity.

Cheap U.S. LNG underpins power project in Panama

Jan 11 – AES Colón expects the entry of low-cost US LNG will transform the Central American energy sector, much as it has in the Panama. The utility in September started up an $1.15 billion LNG import terminal and adjacent combined-cycle power plant.

Rolls-Royce joins forces with OT industries

Jan 10 – Britain’s bellwether manufacturer Rolls-Royce has signed an accord with OT Industries to explore areas of joint work for the provision of Emergency Diesel Generators (EDGs) and Instrumentation and Control (I&C) systems for new units at the Paks nuclear power plant in Hungary. OT industries is majority owned by the MOL Group.

State-run utilities dominate energy spending

Jan 9 – Future investments in global energy supply largely rest in the hands of governments. In the power sector, a striking 95% of monies are spent by regulated utilities under schemes to minimize risk associated with variable prices on competitive markets. However, once China will have completed its power sector reform the share of countries that rely on competitive markets will rise from 54% to almost 80%.

Floating power market to top $1.4bn by 2022

Jan 8 – The market for floating power plants (<250MW capacity) is expected to grow at an annual rate of 10.11%, expanding from currently $889.6 million to reach $1,440 million by 2022. Main growth drivers, according to MarketsandMarkets, are cost advantages of floating over land-based power plants, particularly in regions with a lack of power infrastructure.

Energean to supply gas to Israel

Jan 7 – Energean Oil and Gas has agreed to supply 5.5 Bcm of natural gas Karish and Tanin fields over 19 years to the Israeli power producer I.P.M. Beer Tuvia. The deal is expected to $900 million in revenue for Energean over the contract duration.

Eranove builds 390 MW plant in Ivory Coast

Jan 4 – Ciprel, a subsidiary of Eranove Group of France, is preparing to construct a 390 MW power plant in Jacqueville near Abidjan, the capital of the Ivory Coast. Driven by one of GE’s F-class turbine the combined-cycle power plant will be similar to one that Ciprel already has in operation.

Works advance on Jawa-1 CCGT

Jan 3 – Construction works are forging ahead for Jawa-1, a 1,760 MW combined-cycle gas-fired power plant. Built at cost of $1.8 billion the facility will be built by PT Jawa Satu Power (JSP) and PT Jawa Satu Regas (JSR) in Karawang, West Java.

Grozny TPP due onstream in 2019

Jan 2 – Construction of Unit 2 of the Grozny Thermal Power Plant (TPP) is advancing fast with a view having the entire plant operational in mid-2019. The first 180 MW unit has been running uninterruptedly for a fortnight and once the second unit will start up, Grozny TPP will reach its design value of approximately 360 MW.

E&P profitable at $50/bbl

Dec 21 – Globally, Wood Mackenzie expects exploration budgets to remain steady in 2019. But with stronger prices, lower costs and a greater focus on commerciality, the exploration sector is now seen to be more resilient than ever, and “well positioned to generate positive full-cycle returns at oil prices of US$50/barrel or even lower.”

GE upgrades substation in Germany

Dec 20 – TransnetBW has asked GE Power to upgrade one of the substations in so-called ‘Badische Rheinschiene’, a highly loaded link in the transmission grid of southwest Germany. The project will deliver 22 bays of 400 kV GIS to reduce the substation’s footprint while increasing its capacity.

Burckhardt opens service centre for Central Europe

Dec 19 – Swiss-based Burckhard Compressions has opened a new service centre for Central Europe in Slovakia. Reciprocating compressors of any brand are serviced there for operators in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

Global CCS growth nears 10% per year

Jan 19 – A report from analysts Research and Markets says the global Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) market will grow 9.18% per year between 2017 and 2021, with Babcock & Wilcox, ENGIE, GE Power, Linde and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries dominating developments.