July’s top news stories

7 August 2019 (Last Updated July 30th, 2020 21:15)

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) signed an agreement to acquire a portfolio of three combined-cycle natural gas-fired plants from TransCanada Energy for $2.18bn and SSE Renewables officially opened the £2.5bn Beatrice offshore windfarm situated in the North Sea, in Scotland.

July’s top news stories
. Credit: EY.

OPG to acquire TC Energy’s natural gas-fired plants for $2.18bn

Government-owned electricity generation company Ontario Power Generation (OPG) signed an agreement to acquire a portfolio of three combined-cycle natural gas-fired plants from TC Energy’s wholly owned subsidiary TransCanada Energy for $2.18bn (C$2.87bn).

OPG will acquire full ownership of Napanee Generating Station (900MW), Halton Hills Generating Station (683MW) and TC Energy’s 50% stake in the 550MW Portlands Energy Centre.

OPG president and CEO Ken Hartwick said: “The role that natural gas plays in maintaining system reliability has become even more important with the addition of intermittent wind and solar generation in recent years.


SSE Renewables opens £2.5bn Beatrice offshore wind farm in Scotland

SSE Renewables officially opened the £2.5bn Beatrice offshore windfarm situated in the North Sea, 13km off the coast of Caithness in Scotland.

Beatrice is Scotland’s largest offshore windfarm, which features 84 turbines. It can generate 588MW clean electricity that is enough to power nearly 450,000 homes in the region.

It was developed by SSE (40%) in partnership with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (35%) and Red Rock Power (25%).


GE Power implements upgrades at 2,000MW CCGT power plant in Kuwait

GE Power and the Ministry of Electricity & Water (MEW) in Kuwait started the implementation of Total Plant Solution upgrades at the latter’s 2,000MW Sabiya West combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station.

Phase one of the upgrade project included installation of GE’s advanced gas path gas turbine upgrade solution, which was earlier deployed in Block 1 and has increased the output of two gas turbines by more than 6%.

Kuwait Minister of Oil and Minister of Electricity and Water Dr Khaled Ali Al-Fadhel said: “We have focused on identifying solutions to enhance the performance of the country’s power and water infrastructure as prioritised under the New Kuwait Vision 2035.


MHPS Europe to deliver gas-and-steam plant for Volkswagen

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Europe (MHPS Europe) won a turnkey contract from Volkswagen for a new gas-and-steam power plant in Wolfsburg, Germany.

The contract aims to modernise MHPS Europe’s cogeneration plant, Heizkraftwerk Wolfsburg West.

Under the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract, a gas-fired double block will replace the two coal-fired blocks currently operating at Heizkraftwerk West plant.


EY research: countdown to a ‘new energy world’ faster than expected

Research from London-based multinational Ernst & Young (EY), in collaboration with intelligence firm International Data Corporation (IDC), indicated that renewable energy technology advancements are accelerating the pace of the global energy transition.

EY has previously worked with IDC in 2018 to identify decarbonisation, digitisation and decentralisation as key driving forces behind three tipping points in global energy transition. According to this latest research, these ‘drivers’ are progressing faster than previously estimated, bringing the tipping points for the energy industry forward by as much as two years.

IDC Energy Insights associate research director Jean-Francois Segalotto said: “This research and analysis has resulted in a multi-regional cost parity model for the energy industry that takes into account both distributed generation and storage, as well as several other enabling technologies.


TRIG acquires onshore windfarms in France

UK-based The Renewables Infrastructure Group (TRIG) acquired stakes in French onshore windfarms, with a total capacity of 123.8MW.

Financial details of both acquisitions have not been disclosed by the company.

The acquisitions increase the company’s French wind portfolio proportion from 10% to 13% and bring TRIG’s net generating capacity to 1,509MW.


Siemens to provide key components for 840MW power plant in Iraq

Global technology company Siemens received a €280m ($313m) contract to deliver key components and long-term power generation services for the 840MW Maisan combined cycle power plant in Iraq.

The contract was awarded by the Chinese engineering procurement and construction firm CITIC Construction, which is constructing the plant, and Iraqi developer MPC that is part of Raban Al-Safina for Energy Projects (RASEP).

Siemens will supply two SGT5-4000F gas turbines, oneSST5-4000 steam turbine, three SGen5-2000H generators, along with the SPPA-T3000 control systems, transformers and related electrical equipment, and the fuel gas system.


E.ON switches UK customers to 100% renewable energy

German energy company E.ON is set to automatically switch its three million UK customers to energy from 100% renewable sources at no extra cost, in a move that has been described as ‘one of the UK’s biggest green energy switches to date’.

Previously, E.ON’s energy mix was 53.5% gas, 16.7% renewable, 16.2% nuclear, 10.1% coal and 3.5% from other sources. As one of the UK’s largest renewable energy generators, the company’s energy will now come from wind, solar and biomass.

E.ON will have to buy renewable energy certificates from the UK Government to guarantee that a group’s electricity comes from renewable energy. E.ON is also preparing to hand over its renewable energy portfolio to German company RWE by the end of the year, but has stated that UK customers will still receive renewable energy after this deal is completed.


UK utility industry improves gender balance at senior level

UK utility companies are in the top quartile for women on executive committees and executive directors and continue to improve, according to a report by gender diversity business The Pipeline.

According to the Women Count 2019 report on FTSE 350 companies, the top 350 companies registered on the London Stock Exchange, women hold 25% of the positions on executive committees, 9% of profit and loss roles on executive committees and 22% of executive director roles on utility company boards. Utility companies have improved in all three of these areas from 2018 when women formed 18% of executive committees, 5% of profit and loss roles and 13% of executive directors.

These results compare favourably with results from other companies in the FTSE 350, where The Pipeline says there has been no progress on gender diversity. Female CEOs have fallen from 4.6% to 3.7% in two years, whilst 85% of companies have no women executives on their boards. The Pipeline predicts that at the current rate of progress it will take until about 2090 before executive committees achieve gender balance.


Most electricity in Germany comes from renewable sources

Renewable sources of energy generated more electricity in Germany than coal and nuclear power combined for the first time, according to new figures.

Renewable sources generated 47.3% of Germany’s electricity in the first half of 2019, while 43.4% came from coal and nuclear energy in this period, according to a report published by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in July.

Solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric power surpassed coal-fired and nuclear plants for the first time with 127.4TWh of the country’s electricity coming from renewable sources, an increase of 6.7% from the first half of 2018.