Proposals for a $24/tonne levy on emissions divides Australia

Australia’s prime minister Julia Gillard has announced details of a controversial proposed carbon tax that would impose a A$23 ($24) levy on each tonne of carbon emitted by the country’s 500 biggest polluters from July 2012.

A planned fixed rate would increase by 2.5 per cent per year until a market-based emissions trading system is launched in 2015. Top polluting companies would initially receive carbon credits for 94.5 per cent of their carbon emissions and would receive subsidies over the first few years. Households will also be compensated for higher fuel bills.

As Australia depends on coal fired generation for 80 per cent of its electricity it has the highest per capita carbon emissions of any developed nation.

Supporters of the proposals point out that Peabody Energy of the US launched a A$4.7bn bid for Australia’s Macarthur Coal after the carbon tax announcement, showing its confidence in the sector. But the Australian Coal Association warned that 4700 coal industry jobs would be at risk, and 18 coal mines could be closed prematurely.

Japan’s Chugoku restarts 1000 MW coal fired unit

Chugoku Electric Power has resumed power generation from its 1000 MW Misumi 1 coal fired plant, following unplanned repair work necessitated by boiler problems.

The restart will help Chugoku meet peak summer electricity demand. Chugoku now expects to have capacity of 13 350 MW in August, a 14.6 per cent margin over expected peak demand.

Chugoku said it plans to provide up to 720 MW to assist Kansai Electric, which is struggling to meet peak summer demand, as only 4 of its 11 nuclear reactors are operating.

China’s first fast reactor comes online

An experimental 65 MW fast-neutron reactor has been linked to China’s grid at 40 per cent capacity, said a scientist at the China Institute of Atomic Energy.

Fast-neutron reactors – part of the Generation VI nuclear technology – could reduce nuclear waste by raising the utilization rate of uranium to 60 per cent, up from 1 per cent with a traditional pressurized water reactor. China has announced plans for a 1 GW fast reactor at Sanming city by 2018.

Bangladesh invites bids for 300–450 MW gas fired plant

Bangladesh is inviting bids to build a 300–450 MW gas fired power plant, said a senior official.

“This is a new project by the government. The selected bidder will have to build the plant in two and a half years and then hand over to the authority,” said an official of the Bangladesh Power Development Board, according to Reuters.

The tender for the gas fired combined-cycle power plant, to be built in Bibiyana in the country’s northeast, will open on 18 October.

Bangladesh aims to triple its power generation to 15 GW by 2016. Government plans involve constructing up to 89 power plants – 32 in the public sector and 57 in the private sector, as well as importing 1 GW of power from India, Nepal and Bhutan. A planned nuclear plant would provide 2 GW.

In the meantime, costly rental power plants that mainly run on fuel oil are helping to tackle a severe power shortage. A recent deal with ConocoPhilips is intended to add about 28 million m3 of natural gas per day to its grid by the end of 2012.

Pakistan allocates $10m to coal gasification

Pakistan’s Ministry of Finance will provide $10m to the Thar coal gasification project, a pilot project to generate 100 MW from gasifying underground coal in the Thar desert, said Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Pakistan’s finance minister.

Tenders for the project will be floated by December 2011, unless the disbursement of the funds is delayed, and the plant is expected to be fully operational by July 2013.

Firms from Australia and the UK are likely to invest in the project, said Dr Samar Mubarakmand, a Science and Technology Planning Commission member.

Kan says Japan should become nuclear free

Japan should aim to break its dependence on nuclear power, said the country’s prime minister Naoto Kan.

But he ruled out calling a general election over energy. While calling for more conservation efforts and greater use of renewables, he also gave no indication of when and how Japan could achieve this goal.

“I have come to realize that Japan should aim for a society that does not depend on nuclear power generation by phasing out such energy systematically and in stages,” said Kan.


Australia: Australia’s federal government has pledged $70m to fund research into building the 150 MW Moree Solar Farm, Australia’s first utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) project.

Australia: The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has recommended the budget for rolling out smart meters in Victoria be slashed by 39 per cent to $760m, down from the $1.2bn proposed by the operators of the state’s distribution network.

China: Siemens Energy has received an order from China to deliver eight 500 MW coal gasifiers for a plant in Yili City in Xinjiang province that converts locally mined sub-bituminous coal into syngas.

India: The India Smart Grid Task Force (ISGTF) has recommended that eight pilot projects be taken up across the country over the next 18 months.

Malaysia: A 275 kV transmission line currently being built to link the Murum dam to the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) may be re-routed to facilitate construction of a 110 MW hydro plant in Balepeh.

Philippines: Taiwan Cogeneration Corporation (TCC) and Philippine firms Meralco Power Generation Corporation (MPGC) and Therma Power Inc (TPI) are to jointly invest $1bn in constructing a power plant in Subic Bay.

South Korea: IBM will collaborate with Kepco on building the Total Operations Centre at the Jeju Smart Grid Test-Bed Demonstration Complex to serve 160 firms and 11 consortia members of the Global Intelligent Utility Network Coalition (GIUNC).

Sri Lanka: Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has been hit by falling reservoir water levels, which have cut its output to just 25 per cent of nominal hydropower capacity. The closure of the 165 MW AES Kelanitissa combined cycle plant for repairs has aggravated the supply shortage.

Thailand: GE has signed a $40m, 13-year contractual service agreement (CSA) with Thailand’s PTT Utility for eight GE Frame 6B gas turbines at its power generation plants in Rayong.

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