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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.

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.”

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.

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.

Mexico, one of Latin America's leading energy producers, has officially become the 30th member country of the International Energy Agency (IEA). The Paris-based agency now helps formulate energy policies for its members with regards to supply security and investment – an attractive proposition as Mexico seeks to implement its energy reforms and develop a liquid natural gas market. An online gas trading platform is meant to be launched by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) in summer 2018.

Substitution of Australia’s ageing coal- with gas power plants would be ideal to comply with the National Emission Reduction target but gas prices are very high and availability is tight which leads to “constrained electricity generation,” according to the IEA's latest Australia 2018 Review.  "Relatively high-cost production from unconventional gas” impact on the expansion of LNG projects in Western Australia and the start of LNG exports from Queensland. At the same time, domestic gas consumption has surged 70% over the past decade, notably in power generation.

Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL), a subsidiary of TransCanada, has commissioned Siemens to supply a gas turbine-driven compressor train for the Winchell Lake Compressor Station in Alberta, Canada. The train will be a critical part for the US$1.5 billion expansion program on the NGTL system, responding to new contracted customer demand of 3 Bcf/d.

Turboden, part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), has signed an agreement with Kameyama Electric Co. to provide after-sales service for Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) power generators in the Japanese market.

Though Hawaii generally has a mild climate and high adoption levels of solar photovoltaic systems in the residential sector, the island has the highest electricity prices in the United States. Averaging 27.5 cents per kilowatthour (kWh), Hawaii power prices in 2016 were more than twice the national average, according to IEA figures.

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.

BP has just started producing natural gas from the Atoll Phase-1 offshore Egypt, fostering hopes of Egyptian policymakers that domestic gas supply can reduce, and ultimately end, the country’s dependence on importing LNG to meet seasonal demand swings.

Spending on infrastructure to deliver electricity to American homes and businesses has kept rising over the past 10 years. Utilities representing about 70% of total U.S. electric load spent about $21 billion on capital additions in 2016. The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) says investment in transmission infrastructure has kept rising in 2017 and will soon reach a peak at approximately $22.5 billion.

UK Power Reserve has secured 200 MW of gas-fired power capacity at the latest T-4 Capacity Market auction, for delivery by October 2021. With these contract wins, the flexible power provider now operates portfolio greater than 1 GW. The latest T4 auction awarded capacity agreements to a total of 50,410 MW and cleared at £8.40/kW – well below previous auctions.

Strong seasonal gas demand from the US power sector has pushed the country’s total consumption of natural gas by 13% this week, according to PointLogic Energy data. Exports to Mexico were rangebound, averaging 4.5 Bcf/d while six LNG vessels departed the Sabine Pass liquefaction facility from January 31 to February 7.

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