Southern China Company, part of the Chinese State Power Corporation said it would start construction work on the Longtan Hydropower Station in June this year. The new station is part of the proposed development of the Hongshuihe River valley. The development is in Tian’er County in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and as well as generating power, will include flood control, shipping, irrigation, aquatic breeding and tourism.

Ergon Energy, the Australian state of Queensland’s regional electricity supplier, today announced the launch of a US$61m power project to improve power supplies to areas at high risk of cyclone damage. Work will begin in June in Townsville and will be followed by developments in the towns of Cairns and Mackay. Last year, cyclones led to power blackouts to over 750,000 households after high voltage power lines were brought down. Work will include relocating power lines underground and bundling together overhead lines to help protect them.

PT Indonesia Power (IP), a subsidiary of the state-owned electricity company PLN, is currently waiting for government approval for its plans to launch a public share issue in order to finance new projects. The power generator plans to construct new power generating plants, company secretary Lili Tjarli Tahlan said Thursday. IP has assets valued at Rp40 trillion (US$4bn) and it posted a profit of Rp250 billion last year. It is estimating profits will reach Rp400 billion this year. Lili indicated that there was considerable interest among investors both at home and abroad in acquiring IP shares. A large programme of investment in new generating capacity is required if Indonesia is to prevent a looming power supply crisis, said Lili.

Korea Electric Power Corp (Kepco) has taken up part of a loan facility to finance a gas fired plant project in the Philippines. The $300m loan is part of a $350m facility extended by foreign banks including the Export-Import Bank of the United States and Japan Bank for International Cooperation. Kepco expects to complete the 1200 MW Ilijan plant next year and will operate it for 20 years after which ownership will revert to Philippines’ National Power Corporation (Napocor). It is the first time foreign financial institutions have loaned money to a Korean company under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme. The remainder of the loan will be taken out by the end of the year

Electricity of Vietnam has stated its intention to have all residents in the southern provinces connected to the national grid by 2003. Vietnam is targeting an annual GDP growth rate of 7.5 per cent over the next five years and the electrification of the south is intended to facilitate the region’s rapid industrialization and modernization. The nation’s power productivity will be boosted later this year by the completion of the Ham Thuan – da Mi Hydro Power Plant, producing 475 MW, and Phu My Power Plant 1, producing 1,090 MW. The southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau is due to become the most modern power supply centre in Southeast Asia, capable of supplying up to 3,800 MW, twice as much as the giant Hoa Binh Hydro-power Plant, northwest of Hanoi.

Indonesian state-owned electricity company PLN has threatened today to revoke its contract with 17 independent power producers (IPP). This follows a protracted dispute concerning price renegotiations. PLN is selling power at much less than its buying price from IPPs under a power purchase agreement (PPA) signed with 27 IPPs before the financial crisis hit the country in 1997. With the fall in the value of the rupiah, the previously contracted prices became unsustainable for PLN. An international arbitration panel has already ordered PLN to make large compensation payments for unilaterally terminating contracts with some of the IPPs.