EDP mulls closing Soto de Ribera coal plant by 2022

  • Spanish Market: Electricity
  • 20/05/20

Portuguese utility EDP has been considering plans to shut down its 346MW Soto de Ribera 3 coal-fired plant in Spain by 2022 and only keep the 562MW Abono 2 coal unit in the country after that date.

In a market presentation this week, the company mentioned that 0.7GW of its 1.25GW Spanish coal-fired capacity is "to be shut down by 2022", implying that just 0.55GW would remain operational.

Apart from Abono 2 and Soto de Ribera 3, the company owns the 342MW Abono 1 unit in Spain. All units are located in the northwestern region of Asturias.

EDP had already confirmed plans to reconvert Abono 1 into a 181MW gas-fired plant by 2022 and revealed that it was studying potential renewable projects to replace its entire 2.4GW coal-fired power fleet in Iberia, which also includes the 1.18MW Sines plant in Portugal. But it had not previously disclosed any estimated closure dates for its remaining coal-fired plants, only saying that the whole fleet should be permanently shut down "well before 2030".

The company concluded retrofitting works at both Abono 2 and Soto de Ribera 3 in recent years so that the units could continue operating after June this year, when a new EU-wide emissions directive comes into force.

Several Spanish coal-fired plants that did not go through retrofitting investments will shut down by the middle of the year.

Queried by Argus, EDP said no official decision has been taken yet about the closure of Soto de Ribera 3.

"Current market conditions do not allow this unit to operate, with some alternatives being analysed for the future of the plant," it said.

In case Soto de Ribera 3 was to be shut down by 2022, only one other coal-fired unit would remain operational in mainland Spain apart from Abono 2: Spanish utility Viesgo's 570MW Los Barrios, located in Cadiz province in the southern region of Andalucia. This means that mainland Spain would have only 1.1GW of coal-fired capacity after 2022, down sharply from 9.2GW currently.

A combination of low European gas hub prices, higher EU emissions trading system allowance costs and accelerated renewable additions have made Spanish coal-fired plants uncompetitive since the second quarter of last year.

Major Spanish utilities Naturgy and Iberdrola are completely withdrawing from coal generation in the middle of this year, while competitor Endesa plans to shut down its final coal-fired plants in mainland Spain by the end of 2021 while keeping its Es Murterar coal-fired plant in the Balearic islands until 2025.


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23/05/24

US poised to back New Jersey offshore wind farms

US poised to back New Jersey offshore wind farms

Houston, 23 May (Argus) — US regulators could soon approve two offshore wind projects near New Jersey, but with stipulations that would slightly reduce the number of turbines installed in the Atlantic Ocean. The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) favors a design for the Atlantic Shores South system that would result in up to 195 turbines, as many as 10 offshore substations and eight transmission cables to ferry electricity ashore to New Jersey, the agency said today in its final environmental impact statement for the project. Atlantic Shores South comprises two separate projects, Atlantic Shores 1 and Atlantic Shores 2, which are 50:50 partnerships between Shell and EDF Renewables. The pair's overall capacity is tentatively set at 2,837MW, with the first phase targeting 1,510MW and a size for the second to be determined. Atlantic Shores 1 has a contract to deliver up to 6.18mn offshore renewable energy certificates each year to New Jersey, with first power expected in 2027. The state selected the project through its second offshore wind solicitation, with the 20-year contract scheduled to begin in 2028. The developers had proposed installing up to 200 turbines, but BOEM decided to favor a modified plan, adopting alternatives put forward by the companies in the name of mitigating impacts on local habitats while limiting turbine height and their proximity to the shore to reduce the project's "visual impacts," a point of contention among New Jersey residents who fear damage to tourism in oceanside communities. The BOEM-endorsed design would have mostly "minor" to "moderate" effects on the surrounding environment, with exceptions including consequences for North Atlantic right whales, commercial and for-hire fisheries and local scenery, which could be "major." The areas potentially hit hardest by the projects would be open to "major" consequences regardless of the project design, according to BOEM's analysis. The preference is not BOEM's final ruling, but it does herald the path the agency is likely to take. Regulators will publish the review in a "coming" edition of the Federal Register, starting a mandatory 30-day waiting period before BOEM can publish its final decision on the project. By Patrick Zemanek Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Australia’s Origin to keep Eraring coal plant on line


23/05/24
23/05/24

Australia’s Origin to keep Eraring coal plant on line

Perth, 23 May (Argus) — Australian utility firm Origin Energy and the New South Wales (NSW) state's Labor government have agreed to keep the nation's largest single power facility open for at least two more years. The deal involves Origin shelving plans to close the 2,880MW Eraring coal-fired power plant near the NSW city of Newcastle next year, and operating the generator until 19 August 2027 and potentially until April 2029. A generator engagement project agreement has been signed, under which Origin will receive compensation covering the cost of running the 40-year old plant, while aiming for the plant to generate at least 6TWh for the two additional fiscal years it will run. Eraring produced 12.15TWh last year, Origin's 2023 annual report showed. The firm must decide by 31 March in 2025 and 2026 whether it will enter the underwriting arrangement for the following financial year. If Origin profits from its Eraring plant during these years it will pay NSW 20pc of the proceeds, capped at A$40mn/yr ($26.5mn/yr), but no compensation will be paid after 30 June 2027. Origin can claim no more than 80pc of Eraring's financial losses each year from NSW and the compensation is to be capped at A$225mn each year, if it does opt in. Origin spent A$147mn for generation maintenance and sustaining capital on Eraring in 2023, with A$69mn owing to costs associated with the facility's ash dam. Eraring provides around 20pc of NSW's delivered electricity and was scheduled to be replaced by the 2,200MW pumped hydro scheme known as Snowy 2.0 — which has experienced significant delays and will not be on line until 2029 — and the 750MW Kurri Kurri gas-fired power station also being developed by federal government-owned Snowy Hydro, which is to be commissioned later this year. Coal-fired power generation The viability of coal-fired generators has been declining for some time as Australia's renewable power generation grows to nearly 40pc of the total grid capacity. Widespread rooftop solar is driving electricity prices into negative territory during daylight hours and disrupting the profitability of large-scale generators. Origin has committed to a 460MW battery energy storage system (BESS) at the site of Eraring, which it says will provide two hours of firming capacity to the national electricity market. Australia's Clean Energy Council said the announcement must be backed by measures to integrate new renewable generation and storage into the NSW grid with "clear signals and support" to rapidly transition to renewables. Planning issues and rising costs have stymied the federal and state governments' plans to increase Australia's dependence on large-scale wind, solar, pumped hydro and BESS projects to replace coal generators. Canberra is aiming for an 82pc renewables share for Australia's electricity production by 2030. Coal-fired generation increased on the year for January-March because of a warmer-than-average summer and increased availability. By Tom Major Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

UK general election set for 4 July


22/05/24
22/05/24

UK general election set for 4 July

London, 22 May (Argus) — A general election will take place in the UK on 4 July, prime minister Rishi Sunak said today. The announcement coincides with official data showing that UK inflation has fallen to its lowest level in nearly three years. Labour, the country's main opposition party led by Keir Starmer, has held a substantial lead in polls in recent months and performed well in local elections earlier this month. It won nearly 200 seats on local councils, as well as several regional mayoral contests, while the ruling Conservative Party lost almost 500 council seats. The Conservatives have been in power since 2010 and have fielded five prime ministers during that time. The two main parties are likely to release more detailed manifestos once the election campaign begins, but their current respective energy policies have many similarities. Both back a windfall tax on oil and gas producers and support nuclear power. They both also support offshore wind and solar power, although Labour has incrementally more ambitious targets for those renewables and has plans for more onshore wind. Labour also wants a zero-carbon power grid by 2030 , while the Conservatives are aiming for that in 2035. The Conservatives have rolled back some climate policy since Sunak became prime minister, while Labour in February backed down on its pledge to spend £28bn/yr ($35.6bn/yr) on the country's energy transition, if it wins the election. For a general election to take place in the UK, the prime minister must request permission from the British monarch — King Charles III — who then dissolves parliament. A general election must take place at least once every five years in the UK, although a prime minister can call one at any point. The UK's last general election was held on 12 December 2019 and Boris Johnson was elected prime minister. There have since then been two prime ministers — Liz Truss in September-October 2022 — and Sunak. Truss was selected by Conservative Party members and Sunak became prime minister in October 2022 after the only other candidate withdrew from the leadership contest. The Conservatives hold 344 seats out of 650 in the House of Commons, the UK's lower house of parliament. But 105 members of parliament have said that they will not run at the next election, 66 of whom are Conservatives. By Georgia Gratton Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Japan’s FEPC calls for clearer nuclear policy stance


20/05/24
20/05/24

Japan’s FEPC calls for clearer nuclear policy stance

Osaka, 20 May (Argus) — Japan's Federation of Electric Power Companies (FEPC) has called for a clarification of the country's nuclear power policy, to ensure stable electricity supply and alignment with its net zero emissions goal. The call comes as the government reviews its basic energy policy , which was formulated in 2021 and calls for the reduction of dependence on nuclear reactors as much as possible. But Japan's guidelines for green transformation, which was agreed in February 2023, states that Japan should make the most of existing nuclear reactors. Tokyo should clearly state in its new energy policy that it is necessary to not only restart existing nuclear reactors, but also build new reactors, said FEPC chairman Kingo Hayashi on 17 May. Hayashi is also the president of utility Chubu Electric Power. Hayashi emphasised that to utilise reactors, it would be necessary to have discussions regarding financial support, policy measures that would help ensure cost recovery, address back-end issues in the nuclear fuel cycle and conduct a review of nuclear damage compensation law. Japan's current basic energy policy is targeted for the April 2030-March 2031 fiscal year, when the country's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is forecast to fall by 46pc from 2013-14 levels. To achieve this, the power mix in the policy set the nuclear ratio at 20-22pc, as well as 36-38pc from renewables, 41pc from thermal fuels and 1pc from hydrogen and ammonia. Japan typically reviews the country's basic energy policy every three years. Nuclear, as well as renewables, would be necessary to reduce Japan's GHG emissions, although thermal power units would still play a key role in addressing power shortages. But Japan has faced challenges in restarting the country's reactors following safety concerns after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, with only 12 reactors currently operational. Japan's nuclear generation in 2023 totalled 77TWh, which accounted for just 9pc of total power output. Tokyo has made efforts to promote the use of reactors, after the current basic energy policy was introduced in 2021. The trade and industry ministry (Meti) has updated its nuclear policy, by allowing nuclear power operators to continue using reactors beyond their maximum lifespan of 60 years by excluding a safety scrutiny period in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. This could advance the discussion on Japan's nuclear stance, especially if the new basic energy policy includes more supportive regulations. The trade and industry ministry started discussions to review the energy policy on 15 May, aiming to revise it by the end of this fiscal year. It is still unclear what year it is targeting and what ratio will be set for each power source in the new policy. But the deliberation would form a key part of efforts to update the GHG emissions reduction goal, ahead of the submission of the country's new nationally determined contribution in 2025, with a timeframe for implementation until 2035. By Motoko Hasegawa Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Japan’s Jera to handle 35mn t/yr LNG until FY2035-36


17/05/24
17/05/24

Japan’s Jera to handle 35mn t/yr LNG until FY2035-36

Osaka, 17 May (Argus) — Japan's largest LNG importer Jera plans to maintain its LNG handling volumes at no less than 35mn t/yr until the April 2035-March 2036 fiscal year. Rising renewable power supplies and the possible return of more nuclear reactors are likely to pressure LNG demand from Japan's power sector. Jera consumed 23mn t of LNG in 2023-24, down by 3pc on the year, although it handled 35mn t through its global operations during the same year. But Jera needs to secure sufficient LNG supplies to adjust for imbalances in electricity supplies and ensure power security, through more flexible operations. It is also looking to further promote LNG along with renewable electricity in Asian countries, while helping to reduce their dependence on coal- and oil-fired power generators. The 2035 target for LNG is part of Jera's three pillars of strategic focus, along with renewables as well as hydrogen and ammonia , which was announced on 16 May to spur decarbonisation towards its 2050 net zero emissions goal. The company plans to invest ¥5 trillion ($32bn) for these three areas over 2024-36. Jera also aims to retire all supercritical or less efficient coal-fired units by 2030-31 . This would help achieve the company's target of cutting CO2 emissions from its domestic business by at least 60pc against 2013-14 levels by 2035-36. By Motoko Hasegawa Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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