Markets

India’s indebted private utility Essar Power is stepping up efforts to get its plants back into operation and profitable. “We have no plans now to monetize any assets for now," a spokesman said, trying to tone down comments of the company’s CFO that the sell-off of two gas power assets in Gujarat in the making.

Regulatory dismissal of NextEra Energy’s takeover application of Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) will see the Juno Beach-based suitor pay $95 million in “break-up” fees and other costs, the companies stated. Part of these funds will go towards Hawaii's state policy objective to get off fossil fuels by 2045.

China Machinery Engineering Corp (CMEC) is evaluating a 500 MW LNG-fuelled power project in Hambantota, southern Sri Lanka, which is meant to expanded to 1,000 MW at a later stage. President Maithripala Sirisena pushes for another 500 MW LNG-to-power plant just north of Colombo as he seeks to scrap coal-fired projects, or have them converted to natural gas.

Power generation and transmission infrastructure upgrades are the key points of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Cuban’s state-owned utility Unión Eléctrica (UNE) and Siemens. Company heads discussed new energy projects when signing the deal in Havana, including supply of generating technology for plant upgrades and new-builds.

Cleaning up China’s power mix is becoming an increasingly tedious process as domestic shale gas production slows. Faced with a challenging geology and spiralling costs, the government cut 2020 targets by a third to around 30 Bcm, simultaneously to slashing subsidies – but analysts call even these reduced goals ‘unrealistic’.

With exports of pipeline gas to Mexico on the rise, and LNG exports from Louisiana ramping up, the United States is forecast to become a net exporter of natural gas by the second half of next year. "For the first time since 1957, the United States is on track to export more natural gas than it imports,” commented said EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski. Yet, the spread widens between Marcellus spot and Henry Hub gas prices.

Pollution control equipments have recently been installed at US fossil power plants in Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). The rule requires all coal generators with a nameplate capacity greater than 25 MW to comply with specific emission limits from April 2015, though some units received extensions – following adamant opposition from some operators.

German engineering conglomerate Siemens is hesitant to confirm whether it secured a €500 million gas turbine deal with Saudi Arabia. The global edition of Handelsblatt quoted the Saudi ambassador to Germany in saying the project had been approved and Siemens had won it.

In designing the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the US Environmental Protection Agency has provided states with implementation flexibility. Adopted differences in pollutant target types, emission trading markets such as RGGI and policy timeline will greatly alter the installed generating capacity and power mix at state level.

Committed to curb carbon emissions, the South Korean government is enforcing the shut-down of ten ageing coal-fired power plants by 2025 – flexible gas power plants and renewables are meant to fill the capacity gap. “The government will invest as much as 10 trillion won by 2030 to reduce carbon emissions,” said energy minister Joo Hyung-hwan.

Rwanda is now harnessing methane gas, trapped in Lake Kivu, to generate electricity in the 25 MW KivuWatt power plant for some two months. Tapping the gas safely helps avoid a lethal gas release. Contour Global holds a 25-year concession to produce 100 MW from the lake – and considers expanding KivuWatt’s generating capacity.

Ongoing reforms of Mexico’s electricity industry have been drawing attention from projects developers. The latest series of price spikes of intra-day wholesale power prices, and prospects of a gradual liberalisation of retail power prices, render fast-ramp gas power projects even more attractive.

Britain's grid operator expects a new ‘Dash for Gas’: Publishing its Future Energy Scenarios (FES) report today, National Grid stresed that up to 7 GW of new CCGT capacity is needed to ensure supply security by 2022. These projections were made under a No Progression Scenario whereby "affordability considerations" dominate over “green ambition”.

Over the summer months, EGAS is often forced to turn gas supplies away from industry to cover surging demand from electric power generators. A tender for a third FRSU was launched on Tuesday – additional supply will help meet next year’s peak summer demand before several domestic gas fields come onstream towards the end of 2017.

Summer blackouts may occur, customers in southern California are being told, as the grid operator puts power rationing measures in place. The state just decided to shut down its last nuclear power plant by 2025, while legislation is in place to build no new coal-fired plants. Replacing the Diablo Canyon nuke is deemed ambitious and ‘very expensive’ - new-build CCGTs and renewables need to fill the capacity gap rather swiftly.

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