Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions has set out an internal business re-design project to accelerate a digital transformation. Eager to simplify its set-up, Toshiba ESS will consolidate its nuclear, thermal, hydro and services units into a new Power System Division, while transformation, distribution and energy aggregation will be folded into a Grid Aggregation Division as of April 1.
Britain is strong market for sellers looking to home excess gas supply this winter, National Grid said when announcing a record send-out of its Grain LNG import terminal. A robust NBP price and anticipated lower variable costs for gas processing are likely to keep attracting spot cargoes to the UK.
Demand for LNG in Japan is anticipated to fall for the third year in a row as the renewable energy build-out accelerates and nuclear reactors restart gradually. According to the Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEE Japan) LNG supplies will ease from 82.3 mt in fiscal 2018, down 0.3% to 82 million ton in fiscal 2019, which starts on April 1.
Natural gas and wind will form the basis of 80% of new-build power plants in the United States this year. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest inventory of electric generators, 23.7 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity additions and 8.3 GW of capacity retirements are expected to occur in the course of 2019.
Texas’ electric power grid operator ERCOT is heading into spring and summer 2019 with lowest ever supply of back-up power. The actual reserve margins fell from 8.1% in December to 7.4% in January – just half of ERCOT's 13.75% reserve margin goal.
Gassco, the Norwegian natural gas pipeline operator, transported 114.2 billion cubic metres of gas during 2018 from the Norwegian Continental Shelf to mainland Europe and the UK. That is nine times Norway’s annual hydropower output and the second-highest exports ever.
The first Power-to-Gas (P2G) pilot project in South Korea is about to be built under a government scheme, funded by 49 billion Korean won (US$44 million). The P2G project will convert surplus electricity supply from wind or solar power sources into hydrogen or methane gas. It is scheduled to start operating in 2023.
Growth prospects for gas-distribution utilities are at risk in several American states, as decarbonization policies on state level and rising cost-competitiveness of renewables undermine the role of gas. According to McKinsey analysis, this could pose a challenge to gas distributors in some states as early as 2026, and in most of them by 2030.
Development banks of Brazil and Germany, BNDES and KfW Ipex-Bank, have agreed a corporate financing deal worth R$1.76 billion ($471m) for an LNG-fuelled power project at the port of Açu, Brazil. The financing covers 39% of the total project costs of R$4.5 billion, with the 1.3 GW plant to be built by Prumo Logística and Siemens.
In a surprise move, Uniper has announced it will build a 300 MW gas-fired power plant in Irsching, Bavaria – the first such project in Germany in a decade. The new fast-ramp unit will act as a “safety cushion,” set to be dispatched only if grid stability is at risk. Start-up is scheduled for October 1, 2022.
Coal is likely to be the largest application of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), expects Laszlo Varro, chief economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA). Around 85% of the reduction in coal plant emissions came from efficiency and renewables, leading to fewer coal plants running less hours and only a minority from capturing the emissions from continuous operation.
For January, another 250 billion cubic feet (bcf) is likely to be lost in gas demand amid unseasonably warm weather, erasing fears about a storage deficit. On the contrary, if the mild weather continues Energy Aspects expects end-March inventories to remain north of 1.55 trillion cubic feet (tcf).
Power producers in Europe, as well as parts of the U.S. and Australia, have been feeling the pinch due to a decline in wholesale energy prices brought about by stagnant demand, low gas prices and higher output of generation with low marginal costs, notably renewables. New-builds are no longer profitable which puts reserve margins at risk, hence the International Energy Agency (IEA) calls for a re-design of competitive power markets.
Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) chief executive Kenji Ando has used his New Year address to warn of a difficult business environment in 2019, with “turbid conditions” in the thermal power generation sector. “Our competitors are also seeing sharp declines in business results,” he said, stressing MHPS will forge ahead with business restructuring.
Wärtsilä has stared site work for a 378 MW power plant being supplied under an EPC contract in El Salvador. Ordered by Energía del Pacífico, the facility will be one of Central America’s first LNG-fuelled power plants, with a floating regas terminal being built nearby.