May 17, 2020

GE's Innovative Natural Gas Turbines See Global Popularity

energy digital
GE
Natural Gas
Fracking
Admin
2 min
The power source of choice for 2014's Olympic Games
The world's largest collection of medical research institutions and hospitals, the Texas Medical Center, depends on GE's natural gas-fueled tu...

 

The world's largest collection of medical research institutions and hospitals, the Texas Medical Center, depends on GE's natural gas-fueled turbine unit to support its 280-building empire. That same technology was used to provide Japan with power after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011, and will be used to power next year's Winter Olympic Games in Russia.

Despite public concern over the industry's methods of tapping more natural gas reserves, via “fracking,” the source remains an important, inexpensive and cleaner fuel compared to its fossil fuel counterparts.

GE's unit that has supported the medical center since 2010 represents a type of system that has become increasingly popular around the world, playing up its reliability to deliver regular and backup power during outages or shortages. There are over 2,200 active turbines in 76 countries around the world, including remote areas in the Amazon.

Each turbine takes about ten minutes to turn on, can be shipped and set up within a matter of weeks and provides fast and lasting power to areas stricken with natural disasters. The units in the company's aeroderivative line have seen four years of double-digit growth in orders, with volume expected to increase another 25 percent this year.

Continuing to evolve to meet the changing needs of today's energy industry, GE has worked on improving the technology for decades. GE's 7E 3-series gas turbine, for instance, enables users to meet stringent air quality standards using its Dry Low NOx combustion technology. 

“Due to the simplicity of its durable architecture, the 7E 3-series gas turbine offers industry-leading starting reliability and can come to full speed in less than 10 minutes,” Paul Browning, president and CEO Thermal Products, GE Power & Water, said in a statement. “This allows the 7E 3-series to excel in peaking power applications, also making it an excellent fit for the quick addition of supplemental power to compensate for the intermittency of renewable energy."

Image via GE

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Jul 26, 2021

Ofwat allows retailers to raise prices from April

Ofwat
Utilities
water
prices
Dominic Ellis
3 min
Ofwat confirms levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue

Retailers can recover a portion of excess bad debt by temporarily increasing prices from April 2022, according to an Ofwat statement.

The regulator confirmed its view that levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue, thereby allowing "a temporary increase" in the maximum prices. Adjustments to price caps will apply for a minimum of two years to reduce the step changes in price that customers might experience.

Measures introduced since March 2020 to contain the spread of Covid-19 could lead to retailers facing higher levels of customer bad debt. Retailers’ abilities to respond to this are expected to be constrained by Ofwat strengthening protections for non-household customers during Covid-19 and the presence of price caps.  

In April last year, Ofwat committed to provide additional regulatory protection if bad debt costs across the market exceeded 2% of non-household revenue. 

Georgina Mills, Business Retail Market Director at Ofwat said: “These decisions aim to protect the interests of non-household customers in the short and longer term, including from the risk of systemic Retailer failure as the business retail market continues to feel the impacts of COVID-19. By implementing market-wide adjustments to price caps, we aim to minimise any additional costs for customers in the shorter term by promoting efficiency and supporting competition.”  

There are also three areas where Ofwat has not reached definitive conclusions and is seeking further evidence and views from stakeholders:   

  1. Pooling excess bad debt costs – Ofwat proposes that the recovery of excess bad debt costs is pooled across all non-household customers, via a uniform uplift to price caps. 
  2. Keeping open the option of not pursuing a true up – For example if outturn bad debt costs are not materially higher than the 2% threshold. 
  3. Undertaking the true up – If a 'true up' is required, Ofwat has set out how it expects this to work in practice. 

Further consultation on the proposed adjustments to REC price caps can be expected by December.

Anita Dougall, CEO and Founding Partner at Sagacity, said Ofwat’s decision comes hot on the heels of Ofgem’s price cap rise in April.

"While it’s great that regulators are helping the industry deal with bad debt in the wake of the pandemic, raising prices only treats the symptoms. Instead, water companies should head upstream, using customer data to identify and rectify the causes of bad debt, stop it at source and help prevent it from occurring in the first place," she said.

"While recouping costs is a must, water companies shouldn’t just rely on the regulator. Data can help companies segment customers, identify and assist customers that are struggling financially, avoiding penalising the entire customer in tackling the cause of the issue."

United Utilities picks up pipeline award

A race-against-time plumbing job to connect four huge water pipes into the large Haweswater Aqueduct in Cumbria saw United Utilities awarded Utility Project of the Year by Pipeline Industries Guild.

The Hallbank project, near Kendal, was completed within a tight eight-day deadline, in a storm and during the second COVID lockdown last November – and with three hours to spare. Principal construction manager John Dawson said the project helped boost the resilience of water supplies across the North West.

“I think what made us stand out was the scale, the use of future technology and the fact that we were really just one team, working collaboratively for a common goal," he said.

Camus Energy secures $16m funding

Camus Energy, which provides advanced grid management technology, has secured $16 million in a Series A round, led by Park West Asset Management and joined by Congruent VenturesWave Capital and other investors, including an investor-owned utility. Camus will leverage the operating capital to expand its grid management software platform to meet growing demand from utilities across North America.

As local utilities look to save money and increase their use of clean energy by tapping into low-cost and low-carbon local resources, Camus' grid management platform provides connectivity between the utility's operations team, its grid-connected equipment and customer devices.

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