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Latest Energy News From PEI

January 15, 2016

By Paul Homewood 



Latest energy news from PEI:






India’s environment ministry has given the go-ahead for a third unit at a coal-fired power plant in the city of Chennai.



The 800 MW unit is to be added to the existing 1830 MW North Chennai Thermal Power Station (pictured), operated by the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO).

The new unit represents the first 800 MW project in Tamil Nadu state.

A spokesman with the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) was quoted by The Times of India as saying: “The tenders for constructing boiler, turbine and generator as well as for civil works have been finalized and are ready to be awarded.”

TANGEDCO initially applied for permission to develop the third unit in 2012, with a proposed completion date of 2017.

The unit is now expected to come online in 2019 or 2020 “if the project gets underway this year,” according to the TNEB spokesman.






Germany is unlikely to switch emphasis from coal to gas-fired power generation in the immediate future.

Irsching gas-fired power plant

That’s the verdict recorded by ICIS website, after a survey by its analysts of energy supply firms and trading houses in the country.
gas-fired power plants have moved towards profitability this winter, but coal power facilities continue to have the upperhand.

There are increased subsidies for new, efficient gas-fired power plants but oversupply is keeping coal prices low and European emissions allowance prices are failing to encourage a switch to more environmentally friendly fuels.
Most authorities contacted in Germany say gas is unlikely to become consistently more profitable than coal in the foreseeable future, with one saying that it is “not even on the horizon.”
“There is a long way to go for that,” said another trader. “With power so weak there would have to be a lot of additional gas supply to accelerate the price drop compared to power.”
“Or we would need some big regulatory action,” he continued. “The CHP [combined heat and power] subsidies aren’t enough to incentivise gas-burning






China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN) announced this week that it has begun preliminary design work on a small modular reactor (SMR) offshore nuclear demonstration project.



CGN said construction work on its 60 MWe/200 MWth ACPR50S SMR (pictured, artist’s rendition) is expected to begin in 2017 and finish by 2020.

The firm also signed a strategic co-operation framework agreement this week with China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) to "promote the organic fusion of the offshore oil industry and the nuclear power industry", according to a statement released by CNOOC.

The SMR is expected to provide power and heat for offshore oil and gas exploration, as well as potentially for islands or coastal regions.

A land-based SMR model, the ACPR100, is also in the works according to CGN, and would produce around 140 MWe/450 MWth. It is intended for use on large industrial parks or in remote mountain regions.






Siemens has received an order to supply two SGT6-8000H gas turbines and two SGen6-2000H generators for the Empalme II combined cycle power plant in Sonora, Mexico.
The contract for the 791 MW
gas-fired power plant was awarded by a consortium of Duro Felguera, Elecnor and Elecnor Mexico.

The contract scope also includes technical assistance during construction and commissioning of the plant.

The power plant, which will be operated by state-owned power provider Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), is planned to be commissioned in April 2018.





State-owned Swedish utility Vattenfall says it will be producing subsidy-free offshore wind plants within a decade.


 Michael Simmelsgaard of Vattenfall

Michael Simmelsgaard, head of Vattenfall’s strategic projects in
wind, told a conference, "We should be able to build onshore wind power projects by 2020 without subsidy, and we also expect that we could build offshore wind power without subsidy by 2025, but that would depend on the projects."
The state-owned utility plans to boost its wind power portfolio in
Europe to 4 GW, equivalent to four nuclear reactors, by 2020 from the current installed 1.8 GW, and further to 7 GW by 2025, according to Reuters.
Wind power is expected to generate $1.1bn in Vattenfall’s core profit by 2020, Simmelsgaard said.
Last year, Vattenfall won a tender to build the 400-megawatt Horns Rev 3 wind park off Denmark, which is expected to produce the world’s cheapest offshore wind energy at an agreed price of 0.77 Danish crown ($0.11) per kilowatt-hour.

Offshore wind is one of the most expensive renewable energy technologies in Britain, because manufacturing and maintaining turbines strong enough to withstand marine environments is costly. The sector still relies heavily on government subsidies.




It seems that the long forecast demise of fossil fuels is still a long way off. Meanwhile, if Vattenfall really are right about their forecast, we should be putting an immediate embargo on all new wind projects, and wait for them to become competitive.

If we don’t, we will simply be lumbering ourselves with an out of date, inefficient and extremely costly set of assets, for which we will continue to pay for the next 15 years.

  1. January 15, 2016 7:07 pm

    Thanks, Paul. These are interesting news.
    Lets hope people will continue to do what they think is the best for them.
    People need affordable, continuously supplied energy, I don’t see how anything in need of government subsidies can fill that need.

  2. David Richardson permalink
    January 15, 2016 7:08 pm

    No Paul, I reckon Vattenfall are expecting us to line their pockets with heavily subsidised units in the next 10 years. It is just another “I will be virtuous – but not just yet” situation. Give me loads of money now and I will use that money to deliver in the future. It is another promise of in 10 years time – a bit like a ice free Arctic, you never quite get there.

  3. Ex-expat Colin permalink
    January 17, 2016 8:54 am

    What was the other piece of sh8te the other day..debtor countries can pay off their debt by committing to action on climate. Something like that?

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