Saturday, July 20, 2019

Electricity Markets News

Ofgem Grants Offshore Wind Licence to Dudgeon OFTO

Image: Ørsted

The government regulator for gas and electricity markets in Great Britain Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) has granted TC Dudgeon OFTO plc a licence for the link to the Dudgeon offshore wind farm.The licence allows Dudgeon to own and operate the GBP297.9 million (USD 391 mln) high-voltage transmission link to the Dudgeon offshore wind farm for the next 20 years.Transmission Capital Partners, a consortium comprising International Public Partnerships Limited, Amber Infrastructure Group and Transmission Investment, was selected by Ofgem…

RWE Seeks Bigger Market Share in Croatia

© Kagenmi / Adobe Stock

German energy group RWE aims to lift its market share in Croatia to 10 percent, the head of the company's Croatia business said on Friday, adding that the country's energy authorities need to do more to encourage sector investment. State power company HEP dominates Croatia's electricity sector with 85 percent of the market, while RWE commands a 7 percent share of the electricity market and 5 percent in gas. "We aim to reach 10 percent in both gas and electricity markets in the mid-term, but more importantly we want to bring innovative energy infrastructure and enable households to earn money when selling energy from (their) own photovoltaic production…

QOS Energy Management System Delivered to SunHydrO

Photo courtesy of QOS Energy

QOS Energy completed the delivery of an innovative Energy Management System to SunHydrO, a combined renewable energy and storage R&D project led by French aggregator Sun’R Smart Energy. The SunHydrO project aims to foster the grid integration of variable renewable energy sources with the added flexibility offered by pumped hydro storage units. The increased penetration of renewable energy in the electricity network impacts grid balancing capabilities, and requires the introduction of additional flexibility to the energy system. Renewable energy, variable by nature, must also mitigate its exposition to electricity market prices and their associated risks.

U.S. Top Court Rules Against Maryland Over Power Plant Subsidies

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled against Maryland in its bid to revive a program to subsidize natural gas-fired electricity plant construction to serve the power needs of its residents in a case weighing state versus federal authority. Writing on behalf of the court in the 8-0 ruling, liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the Maryland program infringed upon the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) authority to regulate interstate wholesale electricity rates. The case focused on whether Maryland's actions to encourage power generation through subsidies and incentives ran afoul of the federal government's energy regulatory authority.

U.S. Top Court Upholds Electricity Markets Rule

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld a major Obama administration electricity markets regulation aimed at encouraging efficiency in the market by having grid operators pay large users to reduce consumption at peak times. The court ruled 6-2, with Justice Samuel Alito not taking part in the case, to reverse a May 2014 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to strike down the 2011 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulation. The regulation concerns what FERC calls "demand response," which is when, in an attempt to manage demand for electricity…

Top Court to Hear MD Bid to Reinstate Gas-Plants

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday agreed to hear appeals seeking to reinstate a program in Maryland aimed at subsidizing construction of new natural gas-fired electricity plants. The court agreed to review an appeals court ruling that said the state's program was blocked by federal law. The court did not act on related petitions concerning a similar program in New Jersey, meaning that case will likely be held for the ruling in the Maryland case. The Maryland and New Jersey programs were challenged by power company PPL Corp and other generators. The states were backed by companies that wanted to build new plants, including CPV Holdings.

U.S. Nuclear Operators Look to Save Plants

The U.S. nuclear industry has made a last-minute push to urge the Obama administration to protect the country's 100 nuclear units in its forthcoming carbon rule and prevent the early retirement of several plants. Representatives of the Nuclear Energy Institute met on July 21 with White House officials who are currently reviewing the final version of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan. The industry contends the original version of the plan, released in mid-2014, fails to encourage states to keep some "at risk" plants from closing.

Investing in Australia’s Battery Storage Market

Australian Renewable Energy Agency

A new player is entering the Australian battery storage market with the help of a $6.3 million investment by the Southern Cross Renewable Energy Fund, supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the investment would enable Brisbane based Octillion Power Systems Australia (Octillion) to further develop advanced lithiumion battery storage solutions for Australian and global markets. “Reliable, cost effective energy storage will allow more renewable energy to enter Australia’s electricity markets,” Mr Frischknecht said.

SunEdison Appoints SVP and Chief Strategy Officer

Julie Blunden (Photo: SunEdison)

Renewable energy development company SunEdison, Inc. announced that Julie Blunden has been appointed senior vice president and chief strategy officer of SunEdison, including responsibility for marketing, communications, investor relations and public policy. "Julie brings a rare depth of industry experience from the early days of competitive power generation through the development of global wholesale and retail electricity markets and has been instrumental over the last decade in leading solar into mainstream power and consumer markets," said Ahmad Chatila, SunEdison’s president and chief executive officer.

Norway, Britain to Build World's Longest Subsea Power Cable

The world's longest subsea electricity transmission cable is to be laid between Norway and Britain by 2021, Norway's Statnett said on Thursday. The 730km 1.4 gigawatt (GW) power cable will connect the two electricity markets directly for the first time and will be able to power nearly three quarters of a million British homes. The estimated cost of the project is between 1.5 billion euros and 2 billion euros ($1.65 billion-$2.2 billion), shared jointly by Statnett and Britain's National Grid. "Britain will benefit from Norwegian green hydropower…

Regulator Approves Franco-Italian Power Market Coupling

France and Italy will become the latest countries in Europe to link up their day-ahead electricity markets in February, French regulator CRE said on Tuesday, in a move aimed at better pricing electricity across Europe and reducing supply risks. It is estiamted that the Franco-Italian coupling will cut the two countries' overall supply costs by 30 million euros ($34 million) a year, CRE said in a statement. The power coupling mechanism at the border of the two countries will take effect on Feb. 24, a spokeswoman said, which means transmission capacity is allocated by calculating power flows and prices at the same time, replacing the current auction system.

Romania to Postpone October Household Gas Price Rise

Romania will not enforce a planned hike in gas prices for households due in October because of a dispute over gas exports with the European Commission, Energy Minister Razvan Nicolescu said on Tuesday. In a bid to limit price increases, Romania's energy regulator requires local gas producers to channel supplies to domestic households. However, the Commission would like Romania, one of the EU's least import-dependent states with regards to energy, to eliminate that requirement. Nicolescu said the country would postpone its deregulation of the market until the dispute was resolved. "We intend not to enforce the domestic gas price hike agreed ... for Oct.

US Court Upholds FERC Rules on Electric Grid Planning

A U.S. court on Friday upheld rules from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission calling on utilities to take various actions, including increased planning of large transmission projects. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed FERC's "Order 1000," a series of measures from 2011 that requires large-scale regional planning of the nation's electric grid designed in part to create greater access to renewable energy. The case addressed whether states could be forced to coordinate on transmission planning, carbon standards and paying for actions to create new transmission capacity.

EU Watchdog Warns on Resale Restrictions

Regulator says contract clauses may hinder competition; Power company could be fined up to 10 pct of turnover. The EU antitrust watchdog told Bulgaria's state-run power firm that restrictions on where the electricity it supplies is resold could amount to anti-competitive behaviour and lead to a fine. The European Commission said many contracts between Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) and other companies included clauses restricting where the firms could sell the electricity supplied by BEH. For example, the regulator said some clauses stipulated the power could only be sold in Bulgaria while others required it to be exported.

UK Energy Market Abuse to Include Jail Terms

Energy market riggers could face up to 2 years in prison. New criminal sanctions should come into force next spring. Utilities under pressure to improve transparency. The British government has proposed penalties including potential prison terms for people who manipulate the gas and electricity markets. Energy regulators can currently investigate and fine people found breaching rules on energy market abuse but cannot send them to prison or impose a criminal record. The government wants to widen those powers to safeguard consumers from unfair practices, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said on Wednesday.

CFTC Shows US Commodity Manipulation Laws Have Teeth

By extracting a $13 million penalty and imposing tough restrictions on future oil trading by Arcadia and others, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) this week sent a powerful signal that laws against market manipulation still have teeth. The case challenges a now famous view expressed in 1991 by commodities lawyer Jerry Markham that manipulation of commodity futures prices had become an unprosecutable crime. "Under present law the crime of manipulation is virtually unprosecutable, and remedies for those injured by price manipulation are difficult to obtain," Markham wrote in an article published in the Yale Journal of Regulation.

Europe Gas, Coal Prices Jump on Ukraine Crash

European gas and coal prices jumped on Thursday after a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet crashed over eastern Ukraine, as traders feared a sharper deterioration of relations with major energy producer Russia. "The whole energy complex just went. There's a general fear of a massive escalation," said one trader. Wholesale gas prices in Britain, Europe's largest market, leapt nearly five percent. Gas for delivery on Friday and this coming winter both closed 4.9 percent higher to 38.70 and 59.50 pence per therm respectively. "The market may be speculating on an escalation of Ukrainian-Russian tensions…

World Energy Needs Require $48 Trillion Investment by 2035

Meeting the world's growing need for energy will require more than $48 trillion in investment over the period to 2035, according to a report on investment released today by the International Energy Agency (IEA) as part of the World Energy Outlook series. Today's annual investment in energy supply of $1.6 trillion needs to rise steadily over the coming decades towards $2 trillion. Annual spending on energy efficiency, measured against a 2012 baseline, needs to rise from $130 billion today to more than $550 billion by 2035. "The reliability and sustainability of our future energy system depends on investment," said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven.

Britain installs first grid-scale battery: Kemp

Britain's most ambitious smart grid project is being built on a housing estate in Leighton Buzzard, a rapidly growing commuter town north of London. UK Power Networks (UKPN), which owns and operates electricity cables and lines across southeast England, is installing a giant battery farm that will supply electricity to local users at peak times. Around 240 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries are being installed in a specially designed building raised 2 metres above the ground to protect it from flooding by the nearby river. And the battery room will be air-conditioned to keep the batteries comfortable at a steady 23 degrees Celsius to extend their working life.

IEA Pushes for Renewables and Nuclear Power

In a review of Finnish energy policies launched, the International Energy Agency praised Finland for its commitment to a sustainable energy future. With its energy-intensive industries and its cold climate, Finland’s energy consumption per capita is the highest in the IEA. Yet the IEA noted that Finland’s energy policy framework was broad and coherent, covering all sectors and paving the way for a more sustainable energy system in the longer term. “Finland is highly dependent on imported fossil fuels, making security of supply a priority,” IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said as she presented the report in Helsinki.