Phase II of Hillabee Expansion Goes Live, M-U Gas to Florida

Last week MDN told you that the second phase of Sabal Trail, a $3.2 billion, 515-mile interstate natural gas pipeline in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama to deliver (in part) Marcellus gas to the southeast was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and is coming online now (see FERC OKs Extra Compression on Sabal Trail Pipe, M-U Gas to FL). Sabal Trail connects to Williams’ Hillabee Expansion Project, which is a pipeline spur built off the huge Transco pipeline system.
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PA Gas-Fired Power Plant Hedges NatGas Prices with Ethane Use

CPV Fairview Energy Center

Competitive Power Ventures’ (CPV) Fairview Energy Center, a 1,050-megawatt natural gas AND ethane-fueled combined-cycle electric generating plant in Cambria County, PA, went online ahead of schedule back in December using Marcellus methane (see CPV Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant in Cambria Goes Online Early). However, the plant is designed to mix ethane in with methane and burn the mix. The new plant completed tests and began blending in Marcellus ethane in March (see ‘First of Its Kind’ Methane/Ethane PA Power Plant Now Online). Why blend? To keep costs down.
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DTE Energy Restarts Construction at Michigan Gas-Fired Plant May 4

click for larger version

In August 2018 DTE Energy broke ground on a new state-of-the-art natural gas-fired power plant in St. Clair County, Michigan (see DTE Energy’s Michigan Gas-Fired Plant Breaks Ground Today). The gas-fired Blue Water Energy Center will produce 1,150 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 850,000 homes, helping to offset three coal-fired plants set to retire by 2023. Construction on the project, due to go online in spring 2022, was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. Construction is set to resume on May 4.
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Bechtel Completes Gas-Fired Cricket Valley Energy Center in NY

The Cricket Valley Energy Center team celebrates project completion while complying with COVID-19 social distancing requirements

Even while maintaining social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bechtel has managed to complete a 1,100-megawatt (MW) combined-cycle natural gas-fired power plant in Dover (Dutchess County), New York. The new Cricket Valley Energy Center will generate enough electricity to power one million New York homes.
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Antis Worried Pandemic Means They Can’t Stop Va. Pipeline Project

Virginia Natural Gas (VNG), a company that serves customers in northeastern Virginia, wants to build new natural gas infrastructure in Prince William and Fauquier counties. VNG is seeking state approval to build 24 miles of new pipeline and two new compressor stations (expanding a third compressor), connecting to the mighty Transco pipeline system to flow Marcellus/Utica gas to the region. The Header Improvement Project, as it’s called, will help service VNG’s 300,000 natural gas customers and is needed to deliver natural gas to two proposed new gas-fired power plants.
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Natural Gas Clear Winner in Electric Generation 2010-2019 – EIA

The number crunchers at our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), have analyzed recent additions to the national electric grid–the new power generating plants that have been added. As you know, electricity can be generated by coal, natural gas, water (hydro), nuclear and yes, so-called renewables. At first blush, the report issued by EIA yesterday looks to be a win for renewables. In 2019 onshore wind added 9,100 megawatts of new electricity and solar added 5,300 MW of new electricity (combined total of 14,400). In 2019 natural gas added 8,300 MW of new electricity to the grid. Yet when you look at the bigger picture, how much electricity is generated by any given single source, natgas produces far more electricity than any other source.
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Another 200 Workers Returning to Work at Shell Cracker Site

As cases of COVID-19 coronavirus began to climb in relatively rural Beaver County, PA, local politicians pressured Shell to stop work on the mighty ethane cracker plant facility they are building in Monaca. Shell quickly complied, sending nearly 8,000 workers home in mid-March for what was thought to be “a few days to a few weeks” (see Shell Shuts Down SWPA Cracker Plant Construction re COVID-19). The company kept about 300 workers active at the site “to disinfect common areas and perform emergency repairs.”
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Report: Dramatic Impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. Energy Industry

Economists at consulting powerhouse The Brattle Group have released an assessment/report on the impacts through early April 2020 of COVID-19 on the electric and natural gas industries. The report (full copy below) summarizes recent developments in energy commodity spot and forward pricing, electricity demand, and financial markets, and speculates on what will happen if the pandemic persists. One of the surprising findings (for us) is that weather is having far more effect on keeping natgas prices low than COVID-19. There’s plenty of charts and analysis–really good stuff to ponder. Battle Group has a lot of smart people thinking about this stuff.
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WV Gas-Fired Elec Plant Gets Approved, Parent Files for Bankruptcy

Longview Energy Center concept (click for larger version)

Last September Longview Power filed an application with the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) to build and operate a Marcellus gas-fired electric generating facility in Monongalia County, WV, near Morgantown (see 1200 MW Gas-Fired Power Plant Files to Build in Mon County, WV). The Longview Power Clean Energy Center will include a 1,200 megawatt combined cycle power plant AND a 70 megawatt solar farm–both built next to Longview’s existing state-of-the-art 710 megawatt coal-fired power plant. The PSC approved and issued permits for the project in early April. A week later Longview (the parent, not the gas-fired plant subsidiary project) filed for a “prepackaged” Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
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Rep. Metcalfe Tells PA DEP Stick to Knitting During COVID-19

A lot of things have changed over the past month since COVID-19 coronavirus lockdowns were instituted in many states, including New York and Pennsylvania. Some sleazy politicians, like Andrew Cuomo and the far-left Democrats in the New York State legislature, took advantage of the crisis to pass damaging legislation while no one paid attention (see Cuomo PERMANENTLY Bans NY Fracking in Now-Adopted Budget). NY is not the only state to make mischief during the crisis. It seems the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) is also making mischief, trying to advance Gov. Wolf’s illegal attempt to force the state to join the so-called Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a carbon tax on gas-fired power plants.
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Dominion’s Net-Zero Emissions in Va. Does NOT Mean Fossil-Free

A recent column appearing in a Virginia newspaper shares what it believes is a revelation: When big energy/utility companies like Dominion Energy say they will achieve “net-zero carbon emissions,” they don’t mean they will stop using fossil fuels to create energy. Not by a long-shot. What “zero carbon” or “net-zero carbon” means is that all carbon dioxide (generated when burning natural gas to generate electricity, for example) is captured and used for something else. CO2 is not released into the atmosphere. Even though companies like Dominion are able to capture and reuse CO2, and prevent methane from leaking, it’s STILL not good enough for those who irrationally hate fossil fuels.
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‘First of Its Kind’ Methane/Ethane PA Power Plant Now Online

CPV Fairview Energy Center (click for larger version)

Competitive Power Ventures’ (CPV) Fairview Energy Center, a 1,050-megawatt natural gas AND ethane-fueled combined-cycle electric generating plant in Cambria County, PA, went online ahead of schedule back in December (see CPV Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant in Cambria Goes Online Early). The plant went online using Marcellus gas (methane). However, the plant is designed to mix ethane in with methane and burn the mix. CPV announced yesterday tests for blending in ethane are now complete and the plant is operating at a 75/25 ratio of methane to ethane. According to CPV, Fairview Energy Center is “the first and only facility of its scale in the world to possess high content ethane blending with natural gas capabilities.”
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OH Town Building Reservoir to Feed NatGas-Powered Electric Plant

Advanced Power Services is building a 1,100-megawatt natural gas-fired electric generation facility in Wellsville, Columbiana County. Dominion Energy is building 5 miles of new pipeline, called the West Loop Project, from western PA into Ohio to feed the Wellsville plant (see Dominion Pipeline to Feed Western PA NatGas to OH Power Plant). The new electric plant will need a lot of water. The Buckeye Water District in Wellsville voted last Thursday to move forward with bids to construct an 18-million gallon reservoir to supply water for the electric plant.
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Uneconomic PA Nuke Plant Staying Open Thx to Illegal Wolf Plan

Electric power generator FirstEnergy (now called Energy Harbor Corp.) pulled off what we consider the biggest case of deception in the history of Ohio by pressuring Ohio legislators and a RINO governor to sign into law a bill to force Ohio residents to pay the company $1 billion so it can keep open two uneconomic/failing nuclear power plants (see Legal Effort to Overturn FirstEnergy $1B Ohio Nuke Bailout Dead). FirstEnergy/Energy Harbor also operates an economically failing nuke plant in Beaver County, PA. The company had planned to close it, but now says the power plant will remain open because PA Gov. Tom Wolf is attempting to illegally force the state to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative–a group that slaps high carbon taxes on coal and gas-fired electric plants.

3/18/20 UPDATE: We’ve included a statement by the group Citizens Against Nuclear Bailouts in response to FirstEnergy’s deception.
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List of 10 Large Gas-Fired Power Plants Built or Coming in Ohio

One of our favorite Energy in Depth writers, Nicole Jacobs, has just published a great post that outlines the huge impact new natural gas-fired (mostly Utica Shale gas) power plants have had and will have in Ohio. She includes a list of 10 projects either already built and running, under construction, or on the books to get built. When you add up the total capacity for all 10 plants, they will generate an amazing 9,215 megawatts of electricity, enough to power upward of 9 million homes! The companies building those 10 plants are investing $15.9 billion. This is huge for Ohio’s economy.
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