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Wartsila to supply two gas power plants to Iran

July 10th, 2017

Finnish technology group Wartsila is to supply engineering and equipment deliveries for two baseload power plants to Iranian energy companies Baran Niroo Beshel Co. and Tamin Niroo Saam Co.

This is a breakthrough project as Wärtsilä is supplying the first decentralised power plants of its kind to Iran, showing results from the company's efforts to support the Iranian power generation market in its transition towards more flexible and smarter technologies.

The larger plant with Baran Niroo Beshel Co. will be located in the city of Savadkoh in the Mazandaran province, and it will consist of three Wärtsilä 34SG engines with a combined output of 29 MW. The other power plant, located in the city of Tabriz, will consist of two Wärtsilä 34SG engines with a total output of 19 MW. Both plants together will serve approximately 100,000 households and other small industries in the area.
Wartsila 34SG engine
The orders are booked in the second quarter of 2017, and the gensets are expected to be delivered during the third quarter of 2017.

"Iran has been experiencing shortages of electricity and Wärtsilä is very actively working on distributed generation power plants in the country. These latest development are a significant proof of confidence for Wärtsilä in the country", says Tord Johnsson, Business Development Manager, Wärtsilä Energy Solutions.

"Wärtsilä's technology, capability to deliver efficient and flexible power solutions, as well as their reputation for quality were definitely the main reasons why we signed this agreement. In addition, using gas as fuel will have an important impact towards the preservation of our environment", adds Mr. Semih Uysal, General Manager, Tamin Niroo Saam Co.

Both Baran Niroo Beshel Co. and Tamin Niroo Saam Co are operating under an IPP scheme where Iran Power Generation and Transmission Company (TAVANIR) is the off taker.

Wärtsilä's total installed capacity in the Middle East is approximately 7GW. Globally, Wärtsilä's installed base is over 63 GW in 176 countries.

Australian grid scale battery a defining test for Tesla

July 10th, 2017

Elon Musk’s Tesla is installing the world’s largest grid scale battery in South Australia, and the company’s CEO is fully aware of how much the project’s success means in terms of the technology’s credibility.

The battery is to be paired with a wind farm provided by France's Neoen, in a major test of the reliability of large-scale renewable energy use.
Elon Musk
The Australian state has faced a lot of problems, as a result of its decision to fully embrace wind power, while failing to maintain a coal power back-up. The result has been outages, but Tesla’s technology could store the energy required to prevent such blackouts recurring.

The project is designed to have a storage capacity of 129 megawatt-hours, which is enough to light up 30,000 homes, a Tesla spokesman told Reuters.

Under the terms of the agreement, Tesla must deliver the 100-MW battery within 100 days of a contract being signed or it's free, matching a commitment made by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a Twitter post in March.

"There will be a lot of people that will look at this, 'did they get it done within 100 days? Did it work?'" Mr Musk told reporters in South Australia's capital city of Adelaide. “We are going to make sure it does.”

The 100-day deadline will begin within a few weeks, a political source said, after a connectivity agreement is reached between South Australia, Telsa, Neoen and the Australian Energy Market Operator.

Mr Musk said a failure to deliver the project in time would cost his company “$50m or more”, without elaborating.

The battery, designed to provide emergency back-up power if a shortfall in energy is predicted, will be built on site in South Australia, a spokesman for the state government said.

Dutch gas power plant to undergo hydrogen power conversion

July 10th, 2017

Statoil, Vattenfall and Gasunie have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the conversion of Magnum gas-fired power plant in the Netherlands into a hydrogen-powered plant.

Under the MoU, the three companies will convert Vattenfall’s plant into hydrogen-powered plant that could potentially reduce 4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

Irene Rummelhoff of StatoilStatoil New Energy Solutions executive vice president Irene Rummelhoff said: “We are still in an early phase and like all pioneer projects there are uncertainties that need to be addressed. But the potential CO2 emission reduction is significant.”

The Magnum gas power plant consists of three combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT) with a capacity of 440 MW each. The companies will carry out feasibility studies for the conversion of one of the three Magnum units of Vattenfall Nuon in Eemshaven.

Rummelhoff said: “Designing a large-scale value chain where production of hydrogen from natural gas is combined with CO2 capture, transport and storage can open up new business opportunities.”

In 2016, the Norwegian government launched a new national CO2 capture, transport and storage project.  The realization of the carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration project is expected to create opportunities or future CO2 storage from other projects, including the joint Vattenfall, Gasunie and Statoil project.  

UK power market sees increased frequency of extremes

July 10th, 2017

With the significant growth in levels of renewable energy installed capacity in recent years, the UK power market has started to see an increased frequency of 'extreme' events. This is indicated when prices move outside of their normal operating ranges to be particularly negative or positive.

That’s an emerging trend in the UK power generation market, according to energy data analyst EnAppSys.   

In the thirteen-year period spanning from 2002 through to the end of 2014, the minimum daily clearing price (system price) – at which parties generating or sourcing too much power could sell power to the system – breached minus £40/MWh on only five occasions. This means that on these five days, market parties were charged more than £40/MWh for delivering too much power to the system (with this charge coming on top of any generating costs).

However, these levels were breached three times in June 2017 alone.

By contrast, the two-and-a-half-year period from the start of 2015 has seen these levels breached on 28 separate occasions – an increase of almost 3,000 per cent.
Wind energy
According to Rob Lalor, senior analyst at EnAppSys, “This shows that levels of extreme oversupply in the system are becoming increasingly common. This has occurred primarily due to the increased supply of power on windy nights, with it commonly being the case that large volumes of this renewable power go to waste.”

“At the other end of the scale, maximum daily clearing prices (system prices) – at which parties generating or sourcing too little power could buy power off the system – climbed above £500/MWh 1.4 times per year on average until 2016. There were ten occasions when this happened last year and just one occasion so far in 2017.”

However, 2016 was an exceptional year in which supply margins were tightened as numerous plants were placed into reserve services where they could not participate in the main market. Whilst the Capacity Mechanism will offer relief with respect to periods of under-supply, periods of over-supply are only expected to become more frequent going forwards (at least until levels of storage operating in the market starts to absorb these excesses and then feed the volumes back into the market).

“So far, levels of demand have remained largely immovable in the face of plentiful overnight power supply,” Lalor told Power Engineering International. “But this might also start to change if the connection between how demand is used and how demand is supplied by renewables can be strengthened going forwards, particularly if suppliers can move to reduce the cost to customers during high renewable conditions.”

Work commences at new Centrica gas-fired power plant

July 10th, 2017

Construction starts this week on Centrica’s new back-up power plant at Peterborough power station.

The 50 MW gas-fired plant will play a key role in supporting local peaks in demand, producing enough energy to meet the needs of around 50,000 homes.
Centrica jacket
The new plant will be made up of five small reciprocating engines that will typically be used on weekdays to meet periods of high demand or to provide back-up power when it’s needed.

David Theakstone, Generation Manager at Peterborough power station said: “Preparation works at the Peterborough plant have been exciting for us. We’re now ready for construction to get underway. This fast response plant will help to meet local energy demand, while supporting the changing way electricity is generated.”

A team of up to 95 people will be on site during construction, which is expected to take around 15 months. The plant will be operational in Q4 2018. 

This project forms part of a £180m investment programme into new flexible power facilities across the country. It will operate as a ‘peaking plant’, able to go from a cold start to full power in less than two minutes.

Innogy enters Californian EV charging market

July 7th, 2017

Innogy has set up a subsidiary in California offering charging points for electric vehicles in competition with the top network ChargePoint.

The move comes the same week as research released by Bloomberg pointed to an accelerated evolution to electric vehicle ownership inside the next two decades.
The subsidiary, called Innogy E-Mobility US LLC, will make, market and operate the charge points, the German company, which was spun off from RWE last year, said in a statement.

Innogy has been doing research into electric vehicles with the University of California in San Diego since 2015 and last month announced a project combining charging points made by U.S.-based BTCpower with its own software.

Innogy, the largest Germany energy firm by market value, has about 5,700 electric vehicle charging points and says it is one of the leading operators of car charging infrastructure in Europe.

ChargePoint, the world's largest network of electric vehicle charging systems with more than 34,500 points in the United States and Mexico, has also been pushing into Europe. Last month, it secured $43 million in financing led by Siemens, which will collaborate with it on the development of charging stations in Europe

Meanwhile Bloomberg New Energy Finance has published analysis, which concludes that electric vehicles will accelerate to 54 per cent of new car sales by 2040.

The forecast, put together by the advanced transport team at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, draws on detailed analysis of likely future reductions in price for lithium-ion batteries and of prospects for the other cost components in EVs and internal combustion engine, or ICE, vehicles. It also factors in the rising EV commitments from automakers and the number of new EV models they plan to launch.

Colin McKerracher, lead advanced transport analyst at BNEF, said: “We see a momentous inflection point for the global auto industry in the second half of the 2020s. Consumers will find that upfront selling prices for EVs are comparable or lower than those for average ICE vehicles in almost all big markets by 2029.”

The forecast shows EV sales worldwide growing steadily in the next few years, from the record 700,000 seen in 2016 to 3 million by 2021. At that point, they will account for nearly 5 per cent of light-duty vehicle sales in Europe, up from a little over 1 per cent now, and for around 4 per cent in both the US and China.

However, the real take-off for EVs will happen from the second half of the 2020s when, first, electric cars become cheaper to own on a lifetime-cost basis than ICE models; and, second – arguably an even more important moment psychologically for buyers – when their upfront costs fall below those of conventional vehicles.

The key component of an EV – the battery – is set to plunge in price, building on recent, remarkable cost declines. Since 2010, lithium-ion battery prices have fallen 73% per kWh. Manufacturing improvements and more than a doubling in battery energy density are set to cause a further fall of more than 70% by 2030.

An executive summary of BNEF’s 2017 electric vehicle forecast can be downloaded from the micro-site via this link.

Innogy chief Terium enjoying challenge ‘out of the comfort zone’
Electric vehicles still in the foothills

Siemens investigates ‘rumours’ of gas turbine delivery contravening sanctions

July 7th, 2017

Siemens says it has not delivered turbines to Russia for use at a power plant in Crimea, despite reports that the company’s equipment has been sent to backbone a gas-fired power project in the region.

Crimea is currently subject to European Union sanctions barring EU firms from supplying it with energy technology, three sources with knowledge of the delivery told Reuters.

The news agency reports that the company may have not taken sufficient safeguards to ensure its equipment does not end up on territory most countries view as illegally annexed, say legal experts, however Reuters firmly denied any knowledge of such a delivery taking place, referring to the news as ‘rumours’.

"Siemens has not delivered turbines to Crimea and complies with all export control restrictions," said Wolfram Trost, a spokesman for Siemens in Munich, when asked to confirm the turbine transfer to Crimea.
SGT5-2000E  gas turbine
"We have no credible evidence about actual deliveries of our turbines to Crimea. However, we are taking these rumours seriously and have put in place a task force team to investigate the matter that is working diligently to clarify the facts.”

“If there were any re-routings of recently purchased turbines to Crimea, it would constitute a clear violation of contractual agreements. Siemens has repeatedly alerted its customer that Siemens complies with all export control restrictions. Siemens has taken all possible legal and will take operational measures to prevent the equipment from being used in an unlawful way, e.g. it will not provide any deliveries or services for installation, commissioning support or warranty. We will continue to fully cooperate with all stakeholders."

Russia needs the turbines for two Crimean power plants the Kremlin wants to get up and running to fulfil a promise, made by President Vladimir Putin, to ensure a stable power supply for the region's residents after it was annexed by Moscow from Ukraine in 2014.

Delivery of the turbines, intended for the two new power stations under construction, had been delayed for over a year because the firms involved feared violating EU sanctions, people involved in the project have told Reuters.

Russia's Energy Ministry, which oversees the Crimea power plants project, declined to comment.

The turbines were SGT5-2000E gas turbines, an unnamed source told Reuters.

Russian sanctions and the power sector

Uniper ‘optimistic’ 18 months on from formation

July 7th, 2017

On 1st January 2016, Germany’s E.ON split its assets, and formed Uniper to take responsibility for conventional power and energy trading. Over 18 months on, its executives are bullish about the company’s prospects, particularly the potential of its power services unit.

Speaking at the fringes of POWER-GEN Europe (now Electrify Europe) in Cologne last week, Marketing Executive Jan Boers told Power Engineering International, “The reason we are here is to promote our energy services that we are selling alongside our gas and power. It’s a new development for our business and we are quite optimistic about it. There is a lot of knowledge within our organisation that can facilitate services for our clients with regards to the life cycle of any power station be that planning, construction, maintenance, even decommissioning.”
Uniper signage
This emphasis on services, and the strength of Uniper in that particular niche is also advanced by Sabine Meixner, Uniper’s External Communications Spokesperson who said its customer proposition is based on very comprehensive engineering, asset management and operational expertise, as well as commercial and trading skills. She was keen to assert the company’s strong track record in power plant technology, and the implications of that, at a service level.

“Uniper is independent from any OEM and have no conflict of interests when consulting a customer in finding optimal solutions. We are more than a consultant, since our operational background and own assets mean our solutions have been tried, tested and work and we incorporate learnings from over 100 years’ operational experience.”

“Another key point about our offering is that we can act as a one-stop-shop provider, integrating technical consultancy and engineering with asset management & operations competences as well as the actual supply of commodities or energy marketing.”

“What is comparatively new, is that we are developing the energy services business proactively and consistently. Whilst the engineering and project management offering was always on the market, the additional focus on operations and maintenance contracts and the bundling with fuel and commodities supply is a new aspect we want to strengthen.”

“Uniper sees the service business as one important building block of the companies’ future in- and outside Europe. Especially outside Europe our first-hand experience with a changing energy industry, due to liberalization, decentralization and the rise of renewables, makes us an attractive partner for our customers.”

The company has suffered due to the challenges of the global energy transition, with some well publicized financial reports demonstrating the difficult terrain utilities are having to navigate. However, there is some evidence of a return to health.

Recent contract wins include:  

Full operation and maintenance contract for power stations in India, with Uniper’s JV partner India Power.

Several outage management contracts for UK power stations.

Major overhaul Turbine / Generator for Waste to Energy plant in Denmark.

EPCM for a gas compressor station in Southern Germany, for a gas transmission network.

Conceptual design for a new CCGT plant in Germany, for an industrial customer.

Decommissioning of a German nuclear power station (with a consortium partner).

Confidence in Uniper was indicated last month by a growing interest from investors, with the company citing a 74 per cent rise in shares since it was listed in September last year.

US power plants subject to hacking

July 7th, 2017

Cybersecurity specialists are investigating an attempt to hack multiple power plants on American soil in recent weeks, but have so far failed to identify the perpetrators.

US President Donald Trump is expected to broach the subject of hacking with Russian leader Vladimir Putin today when the two meet for the first time at the G20 summit in Germany. It comes as news emerged that at least 12plants in the US were hacked recently, with Russian involvement high on the list of security officials’ concerns.
Cyberattack imagery
The Independent online reports that hackers working for a foreign government recently breached at least a dozen US power plants, including the Wolf Creek nuclear facility in Kansas, according to current and former US officials, sparking concerns the attackers were searching for vulnerabilities in the electrical grid.

The rivals could be positioning themselves to eventually disrupt the nation’s power supply, warned the officials, who noted that a general alert was distributed to utilities a week ago. Adding to those concerns, hackers recently infiltrated an unidentified company that makes control systems for equipment used in the power industry, an attack that officials believe may be related.

The chief suspect is Russia, according to three people familiar with the continuing effort to eject the hackers from the computer networks.

“We don’t pay attention to such anonymous fakes,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, in response to a request to comment on alleged Russian involvement.

In an earlier speech in Warsaw, Trump called out Russia’s “destabilising activities” and urged the country to join “the community of responsible nations.”

The Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation said they are aware of a potential intrusion in the energy sector. The alert issued to utilities cited activities by hackers since May.

 “There is no indication of a threat to public safety, as any potential impact appears to be limited to administrative and business networks,” the government agencies said in a joint statement.

The Department of Energy also said the impact appears limited to administrative and business networks and said it was working with utilities and grid operators to enhance security and resilience.

Government officials look at the sophistication of the tools, among other key markers, when gauging whether a foreign government is sponsoring cyber activities.

 “We don’t tie this to any known group at this point,” said Sean McBride, a lead analyst for FireEye Inc, a global cybersecurity firm. “It’s not to say it’s not related, but we don’t have the evidence at this point.”

EU commission questions details behind GE-LM Wind deal

July 7th, 2017

GE is in discussions with EU antitrust regulators after the latter alleged that the company provided incomplete information in its deal to takeover LM Wind.

The company is consultation with Brussels on the charge of providing misleading research and development information related to its takeover of the Danish rotor blade maker, approved by the EU in March.
EU flag
GE's research involved an offshore turbine that generates more than 10 MW, larger than the 6-MW offshore wind version that GE currently sells and that it acquired in its purchase of power assets from Alstom.

The research was deemed relevant to both GE's purchase of LM Wind and Siemen's purchase of wind turbine maker Gamesa. The commission and GE are discussing the objections and potential fine, a process expected to last until September or October, according to people familiar with the case.

GE spokesman Jim Healy declined to comment on details of the information GE did not put in its initial application, but said the company "responded forthrightly" to the EU's concern and that GE is "having constructive cooperation" with the commission. "We expect that to continue."

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