A foundation stone for the 1075 MW Kozienice 11 coal power plant was laid on 21 November.

Hitachi Power Europe is erecting the power plant together with parent Hitachi, Babcock Hitachi and consortium partner Polimex Mostatal in an order totalling €1.5bn ($2bn).

Klaus Dieter Rennert, chairman HPE, said the plant, on completion in 2017, will rank among “the most efficient and high-tech bituminous coal fired plants in the world”.

Construction is due to take 58 months. Work on the project site began in October. The new unit will start commercial operation at the existing power plant site in 2017.

EDF secures UK nuclear site licence

Hinkley Point
Hinkley Point, where EDF plans to build two reactors

EDF and its partner Centrica have secured the first UK site licence for a new nuclear plant in 25 years, paving the way for the country’s first new nuclear station since 1995.

EDF was granted the Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) licence on 26 November for Hinkley Point in Somerset, in southwest England, where it aims to build two of the four nuclear reactors it plans to construct in the UK.

Before it can start building, EDF and Centrica’s NNB GenCo joint venture must also gain approval for Areva’s EPR reactor, as well as Environment Agency permits and government planning consent.

EDF and engineering partner Areva are expected to receive a green light for using Areva’s EPR nuclear reactor in the UK by year-end.

The Hinkley Point project was expected to start operating in 2018, but is now unlikely to fire up before 2020, due to post-Fukushima authorisation delays.

In related news, Hitachi announced on the same day that it has completed the acquisition of the UK’s Horizon nuclear project from German utilities RWE and E.ON. Hitachi owns two sites at Wylfa and Oldbury, at each of which it plans to build two to three 1300 MW nuclear power plants.

Gamesa sells 8 MW French wind project

Gamesa
Gamesa has agreed to sell one of its French projects

Gamesa has sold an 8 MW wind project in France to Impax New Energy Investors II LP (NEF II), an investment fund managed by London-based Impax Asset Management Ltd, via its portfolio company, Epuron France.

La Souterraine wind project in the Limousin region of France will be equipped with four Gamesa G97, 2 MW turbines.

Construction of the project, which was developed and will be built by Gamesa, is set to start by year-end.

Joe Berry, investment director in Impax’s Private Equity Infrastructure team, described the purchase as ‘another milestone’ in his company’s ‘buy and build’ strategy.

Impax’s second private equity infrastructure fund, NEF II, has €330m ($430m) of capital committed to the renewable energy sector. Its growing portfolio includes more than 200 MW of wind power projects in construction and operation in France, Germany and Poland, as well as solar photovoltaic investments in Italy.

Gamesa has had a presence in France since 2000. It has brought 126 MW of capacity online in the country and has a project portfolio of more than 570 MW at varying stages of development.

Metso to supply CHP plant in Sweden

Metso is to supply Värnamo Energi AB with a biomass power plant for combined heat and power (CHP) production in Värnamo in Sweden, the Finland-based firm announced on 23 November.

The plant will have a 13.4 MWth thermal output for district heating and an electrical output of 3.6 MWe. It will be fuelled with local forest residue such as bark and wood chips.

Start-up is scheduled for autumn 2014. In a €17m ($22m) order, Metso will supply a complete power plant, including installation, training and commissioning.

Värnamo Energi will now deliver all its district heating through biomass. The project is also expected to double the firm’s annual output to 20 GWh.

Croatia 570 MW gas plant planned

Crodux Plin, Croatia’s closely-held gas retailer, plans to build a 570 MW gas fired plant near Slavonski Brod in eastern Croatia, according to Zagreb-based newspaper Vecernji List.

Work on the €500m ($652m) plant will probably start by 2015, according to the report.

Australian 420 MW wind farm on track

AGL Energy expects its 420 MW Macarthur wind farm to be fully operational from next February.

Managing Director Michael Fraser said the A$1bn ($1bn) project in Victoria state may even be completed “a little ahead of schedule” in an interview on 21 November.

Myanmar signs for 120 MW plant

Myanmar’s Ministry of Electric Power signed an agreement with Toyo-Thai Company to build a 120 MW power plant in Yangon’s Ahlone township on 16 November, state-run media reported.

Speaking at the signing, Minister for Electric Power U Khin Maung Soe said the project is to be implemented as quickly as possible in order to provide electricity to Yangon in the coming summer months. He added that the plant will be expected to follow “non-environmental degradation policies” and that the ministry will co-operate with local and foreign investors to meet the state’s power needs.

Sumitomo, Hitachi Zosen to build 10 MW solar farm

Sumitomo Corp, Hitachi Zosen Corp and five other companies will build a 10 MW solar power station in Osaka.

The plant, for a waste landfill site, is set to operate from autumn 2013, said the companies. Electricity from the facility will be sold to Kansai Electric Power Co. and will be enough to supply about 3200 homes, according to the statement.

Jupiter Telecommunications Co., Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd., Daihen Corp., Rengo Co., and NTT Facilities Inc. will also participate in the project.

Metso to supply 270 MWe in boilers in Indonesia

Metso will supply PT Cikarang Listrindo in Babelan outside Jakarta in Indonesia with two power boilers totalling 270 MWe.

Also included in the €100m ($130m) order is a Metso DNA control system. The investment will raise PT Cikarang Listrindo’s electricity production by about 30 per cent. The plant will be commissioned in 2016.

Cikarang and surrounding estates form an industrial area with many factories that require stable power supply.

PT Cikarang Listrindo engages in electricity generation and distribution to industrial estates. The company started their operations in 1992 with a capacity of 76 MWe and has since grown to 755 MWe.

Azerbaijan to invest $2.8bn in power and industry

Azerbaijan plans to spend $2.8bn on industrial and power generation projects in the next four years, Interfax-Azerbaydzhan has reported.

The projects include building and modernising power, waste- recycling, fertiliser and chemical plants, said the agency. Spending is set to rise fast in 2014 and peak the following year.

MHI wins Chile coal fired plant order

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has clinched a full-turnkey order from Empresa Eléctrica Guacolda for a 154 MW coal-fired power plant in Huasco in Chile’s Atacama region.

The project is the fifth unit ordered from MHI by Guacolda. It follows orders for the 150 MW No.1 and No.2 units and for the 152 MW No.3 and No.4 units.

No.5 unit, due online in September 2015, will consist of a boiler, steam turbine, generator, steam condenser, and removal systems for sulphur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulates.

Rising international copper prices have helped Chile’s real gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 6.1 per cent in 2010 and 6.0 per cent in 2011. Steady expansion is expected to continue in 2012.

Court blocks 7.8 GW Brazilian hydro plant

The Brazilian federal court has declined to approve the 7.8 GW São Luiz do Tapajós hydroelectric plant.

Planned for the Amazon region, the plant failed to secure an environmental licence over its potential impact on more than 10,000 indigenous people. São Luiz do Tapajós, owned jointly by Eletrobras, Eletronorte, EDF and builder Camargo Corrêa, was scheduled to operate from December 2017.

Joint venture targets new nuclear build for Brazil

Brazil
Brazil could soon be expanding its nuclear power capacity

A joint venture between Areva and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries called ATMEA is to introduce the ATMEA1 nuclear reactor design for construction in Brazil.

The 50/50 partnership plans to support Brazil’s nuclear new-builds programme and involve the local industry through its localisation strategy.

The ATMEA1 reactor is a Generation III+ medium-sized pressurised water reactor that could provide high-level safety as well economical and operational performance.

ATMEA describes the reactor as adaptable to Brazil’s grid requirements and able to provide local utilities with advanced operational flexibility. Brazil currently two nuclear reactors that generate 3.2 per cent of its electricity.

Korean consortium to build 1.2 GW plant in Algeria

A South Korean consortium has clinched a $1.06bn deal to build a 1.2 GW combined-cycle power plant in Algeria, said consortium member Daewoo International.

Under a turnkey contract with the state-run Algerian Society of Electricity Production, the consortium consisting of Daewoo International, Hyundai Engineering and Hyundai Engineering & Construction will construct the plant in Algeria’s northeastern town of Ain Arnat, said the Daewoo statement.

The power station will rise over a period of 39 months, it added.

South Korean builders are competing with firms from China and Brazil for construction contracts in fast-growing Africa.

Qatar to issue 1800 MW solar tender

Qatar will issue a tender in early 2014 for the construction of an 1800 MW solar power plant that is set to cost $10–20m.

“We need to diversify our energy mix,” said Fahad Bin Mohammed al-Attiya, chairman of the Qatari organisers of climate talks in Doha

Reuters reports that Qatar is the world’s highest per capita greenhouse gas emitter and seeks to increase its renewable energy production.

Daewoo wins 600 MW Kenyan coal project

South Korea’s Daewoo International has signed with the Kenyan Electricity Generating Company to build a $1.3bn power station in Kenya’s Kilifi County.

The coal fired power station with have two turbines, each of 300 MW, making it the largest in East Africa, according to a statement from the Kenyan Prime Minister’s office.

Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who visited Seoul to sign the agreement, said the new power station is key to the Kenyan government’s goal of adding 1500 MW of capacity by 2019.

South Korean builders have found increasing success in African construction projects this year, with the total value of deals up 28 per cent on last year by 18 November, according to the International Contractors Association of Korea.

Nigeria and Sinohydro sign 3 GW hydro deal

Nigeria signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s Sinohydro Corp. to build a 3050 MW hydro plant on the West African nation’s eastern Mambila Plateau, said Power Minister of State Zainab Kuchi.

Sinohydro will build the power plant at its expense and operate it for nine years before transferring ownership to the Nigerian government, Kuchi told reporters.

The company will work with China National Electrical Equipment Corp. to build another 700 MW hydro power station on northern Zungeru River, with China’s Export-Import Bank providing 75 per cent of required funds, said the minister. Nigeria will provide 25 per cent, or $309m, she said.

The two hydro power projects planned with the Chinese companies are expected to be completed by 2014, said the minister.

Shanduka may build 200 MW power projects

Shanduka Group may bid to build more renewable-energy plants in South Africa after completing plans for a $167m 74 MW wind project due to generate from July 2014.

Shanduka may submit bids for two or three projects with a combined capacity of about 140 MW next year in South Africa’s third bidding round for renewable capacity, Managing Director Nandkishor Moharir told Bloomberg. The company may also announce projects elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa early next year, he added.

Nordex wins 80 MW South African wind order

Nordex

Nordex has bagged an 80 MW order for the Red Cap Kouga wind farm project in South Africa.

The company will install 32 of its 2.5 MW machines at the project. Nordex will provide road access, lay cables and erect a transformer station from April, said the Hamburg-based company. The plant, to be operated by Red Cap Kouga Wind Farm Pty, is due to produce power from 2014, said Nordex.

Nordex earlier clinched an order for 40 of its N100/2500 turbines for the 100 MW Dorper wind farm, backed by Rainmaker Energy and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation. Installation at Dorper, also in the Eastern Cape, will begin in the third quarter of 2013.

Equipment UPDATE

MHI launches high-rigidity horizontal boring mills

MHI
MHI has launched new horizontal boring mills

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has developed new table-type horizontal boring mills – the MAF-E Series – targeted at machining parts for industrial fields including power generation systems.

The company has launched two models: the MAF130E and MAF150E featuring boring spindle diameters of 130 mm and 150 mm, respectively. Both machines have an 800 mm extendable spindle stroke, the longest among the same class for medium-size workpiece machining.

The new machines also achieve high-speed, high-accuracy machining through enhanced structural rigidity, according to MHI.

The MAF-E Series is designed to fill the gap between the company’s MAF-C Series, floor-type horizontal boring machines for cutting large-size workpieces, and its MHT Series, table-type horizontal boring machines suited to small workpiece machining.

By increasing the main spindle stroke extension to 800mm, the new MAF-E Series units enable deep boring not possible with conventional machines, said MHI. The main spindle features motor outputs of 30/37 (continuous/30 minutes rated) kW, maximum torque of 2441/3011 (ditto) Nm, spindle rotation speed of max 3000 rpm and a feed rate of 15 metres per minute.

Thermo Fisher Scientific debuts carbon monoxide analyser

Thermo Fisher Scientific's carbon monoxide analyser
Thermo Fisher Scientific’s carbon monoxide analyser

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. has announced the release of the Thermo Scientific IRIS 4800 mid-IR laser-based carbon monoxide (CO) analyser.

Designed for improved accuracy and greater precision, the unique difference frequency generation (DFG) laser technology, used across the IRIS series platform, enables measurement in the mid-infrared region, where line strengths are orders of magnitude stronger.

Because the IRIS 4800 analyser offers real-time ppb-level detection of CO, analysts at power plants can obtain immediate feedback aiding emissions reduction and ambient and source gas monitoring programnes.

Housed in a single-box solution, the IRIS 4800 analyser features an integrated manifold and pump designed to enable continuous operation with minimal maintenance. All IRIS analysers are equipped with web-based remote access to enable continuous monitoring in the field.

“We designed the IRIS series of mid-IR laser-based analyzers with a view to improving trace species monitoring through greater precision and accuracy, another crucial step in finding solutions to reduce key greenhouse gases and other pollutants,” said Christopher Elicone, product manager, Thermo Scientific Environmental and Process Monitoring business.

GE claims Grid IQ SaaS as key grid technology

GE’s Grid IQ Solutions as a Service (SaaS) is among nine industrial service technologies that are creating more modern, interconnected businesses in a 21st century economy, claims GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt.

Grid IQ SaaS is a cloud-based grid management fee-for-service system aimed at meeting the operational technology needs of smaller and mid-market utilities that want to avoid overheads from developing their own Smart Grid management networks.

With the world’s electricity demand expected to increase by more than 70 per cent by 2035, GE’s Grid IQ SaaS and other solutions are being deployed to help utilities around the world modernise their grid networks to meet growing capacity, environmental and security needs.

“The internet has changed the way we consume information and talk with each other, but now it can do more,” said Immelt. “By connecting intelligent machines to each other and ultimately to people and by combining software and big data analytics, we can push the boundaries of physical and material sciences to change the way the world works.”

Grid IQ SaaS allows utilities to monitor, manage and control their grid more intelligently. Using a cloud-computing services model, these capabilities can be deployed in 50 per cent less time than traditional turnkey project models and 10 per cent of the estimated implementation cost, according to GE. This empowers utilities to embark upon grid modernisation projects without worrying about the financial impact of ongoing IT operations.

Already, cities in Georgia are partnering with GE and utilities to use Grid IQ SaaS tools to improve energy efficiency and cut cost.

Wind turbines turn to direct drive

Wind turbine installations are beginning to reject gearboxes in favour of direct drive turbines, according to a new report from GlobalData.

Direct drive turbines have increased their share of global wind turbine installations from about 18 per cent in 2006 to 22 per cent in 2011, and are expected to supply 29 per cent by 2020, with manufacturers such as Siemens and GE shifting from gearbox turbines to permanent magnet direct drive turbines.

While a gearbox allows the generator’s internal shaft to spin 50–250 times for each rotation of the turbine blades, and provides advantages including low noise and high efficiency, drawbacks such as a high level of maintenance and low reliability have prompted a shift to the competing technology.

The global wind turbine gearbox market is dominated by Winergy and China High Speed Transmission Equipment, who together took 52% of global wind turbine gearbox production in 2011. Gearbox units installed in the global wind market increased from 9075 in 2006 to 21,192 in 2011 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19 per cent. But a rise in average turbine size and growing prominence of direct drive systems is expected to trigger a decline in turbine installations with gearboxes to 12,662 by 2020.

Enercon GmbH of Germany and Xinjiang GoldWind Science and Technology Company Limited of China are major companies manufacturing direct drive turbines

SeaGen tidal turbine hits milestones

Since its installation in 2008, the tidal current turbine has fed more than 6 GWh into the grid and has thus set another record for free stream tidal energy systems.

SeaGen’s leap from 5 GWh up to 6 GWh took only 68 days, the fastest gigawatt hour since the turbine started operation. This is even more remarkable since this period included a nine-day outage for reasons including routine engineering inspections.

During a strong spring tide on 14 October 2012, SeaGen achieved 22.52 MWh – its highest level of power generation in a single day. “SeaGen is delivering predictable and reliable power to the grid, and with these three successes we have set crucial milestones for further commercialisation of this technology and increasing its market readiness” said Achim Wörner, head of the Hydro&Storage business segment of Siemens’ Energy Sector.

DNV KEMA expands lab for super grids

DNV KEMA will invest about €70m ($92m) in expanding its High-Power Laboratory in Arnhem, the Netherlands, for extreme testing in the upcoming market for super grids: bulk energy transport at 800 kV+ levels.

Under the expansion programme, DNV KEMA will increase the number of short circuit generators from four to six, and extend the available testing space.

The investment caters for the development of super grids, which CEO David described as “a wide, trans-national, or even trans-continental transmission network that facilitates the transport of high volumes of electricity across great distances”. Examples include connections between hydro stations in western China and load centres on the east coast. Other examples can be found in Canada and India, and the possible connection between continental Europe and solar farms in the Sahara desert in Africa.

The impact of super grid outages is huge, said Gerd Enoch, global director, Testing, Inspection & Certification, DNV KEMA. “Excellent functioning of circuit breakers and power transformers for super grids is crucial, as these serve entire metropolitan cities or large regions within a country,” he said.

Yokogawa enhances ProSafe-RS safety instrumented system

Yokogawa

Yokogawa Electric Corporation has released an enhanced version of its ProSafe-RS safety instrumented system – ProSafe-RS R3.02.00 – with input/output modules that will operate reliably in the high-temperature conditions typically encountered in desert locations.

Support of an open communications protocol has also been added, enhancing the system’s compatibility with other vendors’ distributed control systems (DCS).

Enhancements include the development of high-temperature resistant digital and analogue input/output modules. Support has been added for Ethernet-based Modbus/TCP communications with other systems.

Takashi Nishijima, a director and senior vice president, and Head of Yokogawa’s Industrial Automation Platform Business Headquarters, said the new version of ProSafe-RS “is now capable of ensuring that our customers’ systems work precisely and safely under high-temperature conditions”.

“The tighter connection not only with CENTUM systems but also other vendors’ systems makes it easier for companies to adopt our highly reliable safety instrumented system. We will continue our efforts to develop products that support our customers’ plant operations.”

Major target markets and applications include emergency plant shutdown, fire prevention and firefighting.