Daily News

Having agreed to contribute 20% of the equity capital for the St. Joseph Energy Center, Toyota Tsusho Corp of Japan will participate in its construction and operation. The combined-cycle power plant project, with a nameplate capacity of 675 MW, is realised by Development Partners Group in Indiana, US.

With prices for crude oil, thermal coal and European gas having fallen further over the summer, Societee Generale analysts do not anticipate any “meaningful recovery” for power prices. Unscheduled cross-border flows of excess low-cost wind power from Denmark and northern Germany add supply uncertainty.

China's National Energy Administration is targeting to produce 50 Bcm of gas from coal by 2020, enough to satisfy 10% of gas demand from industries and power producers. Turning to coal gasificiation would allow China to utilise a domestically abundant fossil resource in a cleaner way, while reducing dependence on Russian pipeline gas or LNG imports.

Fossil power plant operators have to decide by year-end on whether to keep their units in the EU’s limited life derogation (LLD) scheme or rather enlist them in a transitional national plan (TNP). The first option restricts run-time hours from January 1, 2016, while Britain’s TNP gives the operator until 2020 to invest in emission abatement. RWE, EDF and SSE already entered several plants into the LLD – but this decision is rescindable until December 31.

Though announced already in January 2013, plans to build an 800 MW gas power plant in Brownsvillle, Texas, have ground to a halt. According to a Fitch Rating report, Tenaska, one of the project partners, has not managed to sign up buyers for most of the electricity the CCGT would generate.

Tapping Australia’s coal seam gas (CSG) in Queensland, has brought about the need to deliver electricity in remote locations – way off the main power grid. Diesel used to be the prime fuel source for remote power, but with the abundance of CSG, it makes logical sense – not least for Clarke Energy – to provide electricity from this fuel source.

Expanding interconnection capacity is bound to further increase electricity trade between Canada and the US. Regulators recently gave the environmental nod to the Great Northern Transmission Line, allowing Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) to take a route permit decision in early 2016.

Russia’s energy ministry has declared a ‘state of emergency’ in Crimea after an explosion cut off all electricity supply to the peninsular from Ukraine. Repairs to the four destroyed power transmission lines in Kherson oblast will reportedly not be carried out until the activists, who claim responsibility for the attack, are released.

New research underway at the Colorado School of Mines promises to create breakthrough fuel cells that will produce electricity from natural gas at medium-temperature and low cost. The team uses Proton Ceramic Fuel Cells (PCFC), instead of the conventional Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology.

Bundling distributed energy systems into RWE’s Smartpool project, the German utility works together with Siemens to set up a ‘next-generation’ virtual power plant. The aim is to integrate renewables, decentralised fossil power plants and energy storage.

The lights went out in Crimea after pylons carrying power lines that link Ukraine with the Russia-annexed peninsular were reportedly “blown up overnight.” Four main transmission lines were damaged by the blast, so Crimea had to start relying on reserve power supply starting from Sunday morning.

Ali Rıza Alaboyun, the Turkish energy minister, announced plans to invest $125 billion to meet the country’s “tremendous” energy demand that is growing at a rate of 7% each year. The government seeks to almost double installed power generation capacity from currently 72 GW to over 130 GW by 2023.

News in Brief

Norway: Gassco, Statnet at odds over power cable

Nov 25 – Norway’s gas TSO Gassco and power grid manager Statnet are at loggerheads as to whether a $200 million power cable is needed to ensure supply power to a gas processing plant in Nyhamna. 
The disputed power transmission line would need to stretch across 75 miles of fjords and rugged mountains. The Nyhamna facility being expanded with a view to exporting 20% more natural gas to the U.K. from 2018.

RWE considers selling Npower

Nov 24 – Plunging profits at Npower following billing data problems and a flurry of customer losses have prompted RWE to consider divesting the unit altogether. RWE blamed the losses of its UK power supply arm as the key reason for the group’s double-digit drop in operation profits. The German group now needs to set out a plan by next March to fix the unit.

UGI seeks expedited Sunbury pipeline approval

Nov 24 – UGI director Anthony Cox has urged the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to fast-track the approval process of a $178 million gas pipeline through Pennsylvania. Delays would affect the 2017 tests of the 1,124 MW Panda Hummel Station in Snyder County, he told FERC.

India GMR Energy starts up 768 MW plant on Andhra coast

Nov 23 –GMR Energy has started commercial operation of the 384x2 MW Rajahmundry power plant, located on India’s Andhra coast, following the receipt of stable gas supplies under an e-bid RLNG scheme. The Centre in June this year launched an auction-based RLNG allocation scheme to enhance the utilisation rates for the many stranded power plants in India.

Ironbridge Power Station prepares to close

Nov 20 – Reacting to the new UK policy of ending all unabated coal generation by 2025, E.ON has decided to quickly turn off the former coal-fired Ironbridge A unit (200 MW). The operator dad previously converted the plant from coal to biomass fuel, but had opted out of the Large Combustion Plant Directive.
According to the plant manager, the unit is allowed to run another 70 hours. He expects, however, it will run down its allocated hours to about 50 and might well be turned off later today.

Drax CEO critical of government’s gas plans

Nov 19 – Dorothy Thompson, head of Drax Group, has warned that Government’s plans to phase out coal power by 2015 could lead to soaring electricity prices and would leave Britain over-reliant on imported gas. Shares in Drax shed over 4% on Wednesday after a key policy announcement by the energy secretary Amber Rudd. Coal-fired capacity currently accounts for just under a third of the UK power mix.

Dresser-Rand installs distributed liquefaction in New Jersey

Nov 19 - Dresser-Rand, part of Siemens Power and Gas, is carrying out an order to install and commission two distributed liquefaction systems on behalf of AGL Resources. LNGo systems contain four skids: a power module, a compressor, and modules for processing and conditioning. Once installed and commissioned at the Elizabethtown Gas site in New Jersey, the systems will produce 13,500 gallons of LNG per day.

PJC snaps up energy investment bank Simmons

Nov 18 – Piper Jaffray Companies (PJC) has agreed to acquire Simmons & Company International, an energy investment bank, for $91 million in cash and $48 in restricted stock. 
Founded in 1974, Simmons’ energy team offers M&A advisory, capital market execution and investment research. Headquartered in Houston, the specialist bank also manages two private equity funds in the UK that focus on energy.

New FGD tech launched that meets EPA requests

Nov 18 – GE has introduced a new evaporation/solidification technology for flue gas desulfurization (FGD) to meet the latest EPA guidelines on wastewater discharge from steam electric and coal-fired power plants. The US manufacturer is showcasing its technology at the International Water Conference that is currently underway in Orlando.

APR Energy extends 102 MW Myanmar project through 2016

Nov 17 – Fast-track power provider APR Energy has announced that its 102 MW Kyaukse project in Myanmar has been extended through 2016, with financial terms similar to those in the initial agreement.
After initially commissioning 82 MW of generating capacity in April 2014, APR Energy installed an additional 20 MW during the first quarter of 2015 to help offset the reduction of hydropower during the annual dry season in spring.

Panda advances 450 MW Sherman CCGT expansion

Nov 16 – Panda Power Funds aims to break ground on a 450 MW expansion to its Sherman CCGT in summer 2016 as it still awaits approval for an air permit with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The additional generating capacity will come from a third gas turbine that will be added to the existing 758 MW plant. Costs for the expansion works are anticipated at just under $300 million.


World Bank approves $117m for Bangladeshi CCGT

Nov 16 – In a bid to boost what it calls “reliable, low-cost electricity supply”, the World Bank has approved $177 million in financing to help complete construction works of a 335 MW combined-cycle gas power plant at Siddhirganj near Dhaka. Once fully operational, the CCGT is meant to produce at least 2.49 billion kWh annually, or up to 6% of total electricity delivered to Bangladesh’s national power grid.


Upgraded Peterhead CCGT returns to service

Nov 13 – SSE has returned its Peterhead gas power plant to full service following the completion of upgrade works. The CCGT is now able to operate at loads between 240 and 400 MW, according to the operator, and has been awarded a £15 million contract by National Grid to provide voltage support to the electricity grid from April 2016 to September 2017.


Excelon/Pepco merger would create largest US utility

Nov 13 – The merger of Exelon and Pepco would, if approved, create the largest electric utility holding company in the United States as measured by number of customers. The combined 8.5 million customers served by the new Exelon would surpass the number of customers served by the next-largest utility, Duke Energy, which merged with Progress Energy in 2012.

China 3rd shale gas auction just weeks away

Nov 12 – China’s Ministry of Land and Resources is likely to launch the third round of shale gas auctions within less than eight weeks. An announcement is expected by year-end, although the plunge in global oil and gas prices undermines the economics of tapping China’s geologically challenging shale formations.

Pakistan expects 3,600 MW of gas power by 2017

Nov 11 – Pakistani chief minister Shehbaz Sharif expects 3,600 MW of gas-based power projects to be online in the country by 2017.

He cited the successful progress of projects at Balloki, Neelum-Jhelum and Tarbela-4 as contributing factors for the growth in gas power capacity.

ABB wins $40m GIS order from PSE&G

Nov 11 - Swiss equipment manufacturer ABB has announced an order worth $40 million to supply Gas-Insulated Switchgear (GIS) to U.S. utility Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G).

The equipment will be used to help strengthen grid reliability and will be installed in two substations in New Jersey.