Markets

Britain’s dominant energy supplier Centrica sees a “trend of less value being generated by centralized power,” meaning large combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) units, “so we have converted a number of these into more flexible open-cycle (OCGT) units,” says Merchant Power Director, Mark Futyan. In addition, Centrica is building 100-MW of decentralized capacity, based on Wartsila gas engines and 50-MW energy storage.

General Electric has committed $100 million investment to set up a multi-use gas turbine repair and service plant in Nigeria, its local CEO Lazarus Angbazo said. With this move, the U.S. engineering major is responding to a fast rise in demand for flexible gas-fired generating capacity in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy in terms of GDP.

For most days in 2017, the share of electricity generated from natural gas has been near or below previous five-year (2012–16) minimums in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) region. Rising hydro and solar power output lowered the overall contribution of gas, but there are fresh concerns over a repeat in gas shortfalls this summer, with operating restrictions on SoCalGas's Aliso Canyon field still in place.

UK Power Reserve (UKPR) has been named ‘Mid-Market Team of the Year in the Midlands’ in the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association Management Team Awards 2017. Backed by Equistone and Inflexion, UKPR operates a portfolio of 823MW flexible electricity assets, including fast-ramp gas power stations and battery storage.

Strong storage withdrawals, as well as the tightening spread at Appalachian gas pricing hubs Dominion South Point (Dom SP) and Columbia Gas (TCO) have not been weather-driven in winter 2016/17. The narrower Dom SP/TCO spread, according to PointLogic Energy, was rather caused by slower than expected production growth, coupled with a rise in take-away capacity from storage due to rising demand for natural gas in the Northeastern United States.

New utility-scale solar power installations increased in the United States in 2010-16 at a faster rate than any other electricity generating technology. Solar PV and thermal power facilities together grew 72% per annum on average to currently over 21.5 GW. But regardless of this rapid growth, solar's contribution to the overall US power mix remains fairly limited – the dominant fuel is natural gas.

The United States and China have reached a landmark agreement designed to reduce America’s growing trade deficit and promote LNG shipment to China. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross underlined the deal was part of a broader effort to remodel the relationship between the world’s two largest economies.

South Africa’s mining and manufacturing industry has been hit repeatedly by sharp increases in electricity tariffs. With President Zuma’s plans for new nuclear thwarted, South Africa’s future energy mix is seen shift towards renewables and flexible gas generation. An LNG-to-Power IPP Programme envisages some 1GW of new gas power capacity to be constructed at South Africa's Coega port, with another 2GW to be built at Richards Bay.

Engie of France and AES have entered into a joint venture to market and sell LNG to third parties in Central America. The JV will utilize the Costa Norte LNG regasification terminal, currently under construction with a capacity of 1.5 million tons per annum (mtpa). Approximately 25% of the Costa Norte LNG regas capacity will supply fuel to a 380MW combined-cycle gas power plant in the city of Colón, Panama.

Asian investors used to pour over $20 billion into US Lower 48 assets in the period 2010-13, mostly in shale plays – but this cashflow dried up some three years ago and has become “negligible,” particularly on the Permian tight oil play. Wood Mackenzie says this trend is about to change, anticipating some of Asia's largest upstream players “wish to diversify and grow production.”

Levelized cost of energy (LCOE), a common metric for project costs, measures a power plant’s lifetime and operation-cycle and amortizes these costs over an assumed lifetime. Yet, EIA analysts pointed out LCOEs do not include contractual terms on price, duration, or price inflators, hence “they should not be directly compared with other prices such as power purchase agreements.”

Indonesia consumes half as much electricity as Britain, despite being four times as populous. Eager to step up electrification, President Joko Widodo promotes private ventures that seek to add 35GW of new capacity within five years – a plan that comes at an estimated cost of up to $73 billion.

Shell, Total and others are advancing small-scale LNG-to-power projects across Southeast Asia. An ultra-shallow draft LNG carrier by Philippines-based Atlantic, Gulf & Pacific Co. (AG&P) will be a key driver for executing such projects.

Combustion-weighted carbon intensity of all fuels used to generate electricity in the United States is now lower than that of natural gas. After averaging near 60 kg CO2/MMBtu for decades, the carbon intensity in the electric power sector fell to 48 kg CO2/MMBtu in 2016 – slightly lower than that of natural gas, which produces 53 kg CO2/MMBtu.

The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is the most pressing challenge in the global energy industry, says Jantine Zwinkels, Consultant at Royal HaskoningDHV. Throwing in a word of caution, she added that “the challenge for our [renewable] industry is to stand truly on its own two feet and outcompete fossil fuels without public money.”

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