Daily News

Burning wood pellets is deemed “carbon neutral” under new EU policy rules, and so-called “biomass energy” is also increasingly popular in Japan and Korea. But some scientists dismiss the policy as “shortsighted” or outright damaging, given that is leads to old forests being chopped down in rural parts of the U.S. and in Eastern Europe.

By mid-June, the German government will receive a comprehensive report on the effects of a carbon price compared with the option of allowing sectoral pathways to reduce emissions. “Transport, buildings and agriculture so far have no form of [carbon] pricing but just some more or less effective mix of measures,” Chancellor Angela Merkel remarked as her cabinet is divided on how to meet Germany’s 2030 climate targets.

Mission Rock Energy Center, part of Calpine Corp, has withdrawn its application to build a new gas-fired power plant in Ventura Country, California. Developers claim the project is no longer economic after a change in state regulations, restricting the use of ocean water for cooling.

Researchers at MIT have developed a new type of battery, based on electrodes made of sodium and nickel chloride and using a new type of metal mesh membrane. Costs of the battery are significantly lower than traditional lithium-ion counterparts, researchers say, pointing out the stronger and more flexible material can better withstand the rigors of use in industrial-scale energy storage systems.

Lansing Board of Water and Light (BWL) broke ground on a new $500 million power plant in Delta Township, Michigan, this week. The utility has vowed to complete the 250 MW unit by June 2021.

Construction has commenced at the £350 million Keadby-2 combined-cycle gas power project, build by Siemens as a full turnkey solution on behalf of SSE. The CCGT will be one of Britain’s most efficient power units (63%) and is slated to start operations in 2022.

Unit-2 of the Mankato Energy Center has been completed and is now ready for start up, operator Southern Power announced. With a capacity of 345 MW, the second unit brings the plants’ overall capacity to 760 MW. Southern Power is selling the Mankato CCGT to Xcel Energy for $650 million.

Events, particularly major sporting shows, require fast-track power solutions that can maintain a stable, continuous energy supply. RnRMarketResearch sees the market expand at over 8% per annum, and forecasts it will be worth nearly $20.7 billion by 2022.

Eager to reduce fuel costs, Saudi Arabia has reigned it the use of crude oil in the electric power sector to an average 0.4 million barrels per day (b/d), mainly by burning associated gas or fuel oil instead. A steady population growth keeps driving electricity consumption, although the government seeks to dedicate most crude oil production for export and incentivises solar power.

General Electric has vowed to find ways to keep open its Belfort manufacturing site despite plans for downsizing and job cuts. Hugh Bailey, general manager of GE in France said the company is looking for alternatives such as building aeronautical parts at Belfort - instead of large turbines. “I want to be clear, Belfort will not close. It will remain GE Power’s number one industrial site in Europe,” he told French media.

Cyprus has been racking up a string of giant gas discoveries, notably ExxonMobil’s Glaucus and Eni’s Calypso find. In total Wood Mackenzie estimates 11 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of recoverable gas resource was recently discovered in Cypriot waters but analysts question whether all discoveries can be commercialized. Building a pipeline to Egypt, or an FLNG plant off Cyprus, are the most viable options.

Flywheels – fast-acting frequency response systems – combined with energy storage, are being installed at two sites in England and Ireland as part of a £3.5 million project. Stage 1, piloted by Schwungrad Energie Ltd, is seeing the construction of a flywheel demo plant for the Irish TSO EirGrid. The hybrid system will generate a peak power supply of 500kW and capable to store 10kWh of energy.

Brazil, second-largest producer of hydropower in the world after China, is implementing policy measures to add more solar PV capacity to the country’s energy mix, backed up by flexible gas gensets and energy storage. As part of the government’s 10-year energy expansion plan, nonhydro renewables is intended to grow 3% per year and reach up to 28% of Brazil’s domestic energy mix by 2027.

BP, one of the world's seven oil and gas supermajors, is understood to have agreed to pay around $10 billion to the private firm of the Romanian businessman Frank Timis after having purchased his stake in a gas field off the coast of Senegal for $250 million in 2017. BBC reporters uncovered this suspicious deal, but both BP and Mr. Timis deny any wrong doing.

Oman-based Shinas Generating Company (SGC) has announced the completion of commissioning and the start of test operations and at the 1,710-MW Sohar Power Phase-3 unit. The CCGT unit had been built based on an investment of $ 1 billion (384bn Omani Rial) by a consortium of Japan’s Mitsui, Saudi Arabia's Acwa Power, and Oman’s Dhofar International Development & Investment Holding (Didic).

News in Brief

APR helps power Libya’s recovery

June 24 – Libya’s state-owned GECOL has asked APR Energy to bring in temporary generators to provide a rapid 450 MW boost. Under the latest contracts, APR provided mobile gas turbines at four key sites in Libya (250 MW) as well as 200 MW of diesel generators at two sites.

GE supplies SCADA to New Zealand

June 21 – GE’s Renewable Energy Grid Solution’s business has won an order from two New Zealand utilities to upgrade their traditional Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems with GE’s Advanced Distribution Management Solutions (ADMS). The orders were placed by Top Energy Ltd with some 31,000 customers and Northpower serving over 60,000 customers, though the contract values were not disclosed.

Top 5 OEMs to rule two thirds of global wind market

June 20 – After a decade of fragmentation, the top 5 turbine OEMs are consolidating again and Wood Mackenzie anticipates key players will surpass a combined market share of 68% by 2020, up from 47% five years ago. Vestas, SGRE and GE remain the top 3 wind turbine producers wwhile the Chinese leaders, Goldwind and Envision, are becoming increasingly popular due to their product reliability and track record.

Keane to merge with C&J Energy

June 19 – Oil- and gasfield service providers C&J Energy Services and Keane Group have agreed a merger-of-equals in a $746 deal that will give the two companies the necessary uplift in an industry burdened by budget cuts of hydrocarbon producers. The 50:50 merger will create a company will create a company with a combined enterprise value of $1.8 billion, including $255 million in debt. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

Evol LNG helps power Australian gold mine

June 18 – Kirkalocka Gold Mine in Western Australia will use Evol LNG to fuel Zenith Energy’s 14.5 MW power station with regasified natural gas starting from September 2019. The mine is run by Adaman Resources and had been relying on diesel to cover its energy needs. Based on the current diesel price, Adaman Resources expects to reduce fuel costs by more than A$13 million (US$9 million) during the first six years of operation of the new onsite LNG-to-Power plant.

Shell Energy ordered to refund overcharged UK customers

June 17 – UK energy regulator Ofgem has ordered Shell Energy Retail to refund around 12000 customers who were overcharged after the Government’s cap on gas and electricity prices came into force in January. Shell Energy Retail s agreed to refund these customers by paying £29,000 in compensation (£5 per fuel), and also pay an additional £200,000 into Ofgem’s voluntary redress fund.

BASF enters battery market

June 14 – German chemical company BASF is using NGK Insulators’ sodium sulfur batteries as its entry point into the energy market. The Japanese manufacturer NGK is currently the only maker of the large-scale sodium sulfur (NAS) batteries, capable to store several hours of energy. A joint project in northern Germany uses NAS batteries that store energy for five hours, while a recently completed project in Abu Dhabi using 108MW / 648MWh of the systems with a full six hours storage duration.

CNPC boosts domestic gas production

June 13 – China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the largest Chinese oil and gas company, has announced plans for domestic natural gas output to reach 55% of overall domestic supply by 2025. Last year, CNPC managed to boost production by 5.9% to reach 138.02 billion cubic metres, while also increasing imports of pipeline gas and LNG.

Gazprom taps new gas deposits for Nord Stream 2

June 12 – Gazprom is fast-tracking hydrocarbon production in northwest Russia to boost reserves for export through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline (55 Bcm/y), currently being built through the Baltic Sea. At a meeting with Nord Stream shareholders, Gazprom noted that its Yuzhno-Russkoye field has yielded about 276 Bcm of natural gas, including 0.9 Bcm of hard-to-recover Turonian gas, since the start of operations. Turonian gas reserves, consisting of about 99% methane with no heavy residues, lie at a depth of 800–850 meters in reservoirs with low permeability. Commercial production at the Turonian deposit is scheduled to start in late 2019.

PG&E turns off electricity to avoid wild fires

June 11 – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has turned off electricity for some Californian communities at risk of a wildfire during the lastest heat wave. The authorized blackout started on Saturday in Napa, Solano and Yolo counties, with electricity being gradually restored over the course of Monday. Approximately 16,000 customers have been affected.

Gazprom to build power plants in Serbia

June 10 – Gazprom Energoholding has signed an Agreement of Intent (AoI) to build an upgrade several gas-fired power plants in Serbia. Together with Novi Sad, Gazprom Energoholding is already building a CCGT with some 200 MW capacity near a refinery in the Serbian town of Pancevo.

U.S. fund splashes out $4bn to buy El Paso Electric

June 7 – Infrastructure Investment Fund (IIF), a private investment vehicle within J.P. Morgan Inc., has agreed to acquire the U.S. utility El Paso Electric Co for $68.25 per share in a cash transaction. The enterprise value on the transaction is estimated at $4.3 billion. El Paso Electric customers will receive a total $21 million in bill credits over three years.

Caterpillar gensets back up Finnish data center

June 6 – The Swedish telecom giant Telia has ordered 12 Caterpillar gensets to provide standby emergency power to back up operations at its new data center in Helsinki. The Cat dealer Witraktor figured a system which includes eight Cat 3516B and four 3516E generator sets. The Telia Helsinki Data Center is the largest such facility in Finland, and its primary electric power supply comes from a combination of wind, hydroelectric and biomass.

Capstone wins orders in Iraq

June 5 – Micro-turbine producer Capstone has secured an order for two C600 Signature Series microturbines to provide 1.2 MW of energy to power a triethylene glycol (TEG) dehydration facility near Basra, in southern Iraq. The contract also includes Capstone’s new self-cleaning pulse filtration system, allowing the turbines to better withstand hot and sandy conditions with minimal maintenance.

Gas to supply record 43% of US power needs

June 4 – This summer, natural gas is forecast to cover between 40% and 43% of 2019 peak electricity demand in all U.S. states except Texas, according to projections by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Gas demand soared to nearly 10,700 billion cubic feet (Bcf) last summer, a 16% rise from 2017 levels. Should there be another heat wave this year, that record may well be broken. Capacity wise, natural gas is on course to top its 45% share in the U.S. power mix.

Lukoil to upgrade CHP at Krasnodar

June 3 – Russia’s oil and gas company Lukoil has received government approval to modernize and expand three combined heat and power units in Krasnodar. The gas-fired CHP units have more than 400,000 hours and ran an average 74% utilization rate, the operator said. The upgrade will add 150 MW of power generation capacity and Lukoil said it expects the revamped power plant to be ready for commissioning as early as 2022.

GE commissions Al-Qudus CCGT in Iraq

May 31 – GE Power has installed and commissioned a new 9E gas turbine at the Al-Qudus combined-cycle gas power plant, run by the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity’s (MoE). The CCGT was previously capable of generating up to 1,125 MW and the turbine upgrade adds another 125 MW of capacity.