In its bid to dramatically increase its power generating capacity in the coming years, Iran’s government has been urged to increase its nuclear capacity. Kamal Daneshyar, chairman of the Majlis Energy Commission said the government should build nine more nuclear plants in addition to the one under construction at Bushehr. He said that Iran could produce at least 10 TWh per year from nuclear in the next few years and that the government should put out tenders to international companies. Commenting on Bushehr, Daneshyar said 80 per cent of the work is complete and the plant should be operational within two years.

Meanwhile, Iran Power Development Company (IPDC) has invited local and international companies to pre-qualify for a new power project to be built at Assaluyeh on a build-operate-transfer basis. The successful buyer will be required to design, finance, build, operate and maintain the 500 MW gas fired power station. IPDC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Energy Ministry affiliate Iran Power Generation and Transmission Company (Tavanir). Tavanir plans to add 12 000 MW to Iran’s generating capacity from 2001-2011 in four tranches.

GIS substations for Oman

The largest gas insulated switchgear project ever awarded in Oman has been won by Areva’s T&D division. The $18 million contract is with Bahwan Engineering Company, subcontracted by Oman’s Ministry of Housing, Electricity & Water (MHEW).

Under the contract, Areva will build and install three 220 kV substations. The first will be installed in the new Sohar power plant, currently under construction in northern Oman.

The second substation, which will act as a central node for all future interconnections between the country’s regional grids, will be located a few kilometres away. The third substation will be in the city of Maludha, 40 km from Sohar.

Areva will supply some 32 bays of its B105 GIS circuit breakers. The first two substations will be operational within 14 months and the third within 24 months.

In addition to integrating the new Sohar power plant into the grid, the new substations will help Oman prepare for its interconnection with neighbouring GCC countries.

Wind gains momentum

The first wind power plant to be installed in the Gulf has been inaugurated in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The $2.5 million plant on Sir Bani Yas island off Abu Dhabi will generate 850 kW to power a sea-water desalination operation. A spokesman for the German engineering consultancy and design group Allawy-Beratende Ingenieure said that wind power desalination plants able to produce up to 2000 m3 of drinking water per day were now technically feasible. The UAE project was designed and built by a consortium including the German overseas aid agency, GTZ and Dornier Consulting.

Germany has also provided finance for a wind farm to be built in Al-Za’afrana in Egypt. The wind farm, which will cost $98 million, will be operational in three years. Egypt has 147 MW of wind capacity.

Applications in for Saudi IWSPP

Potential bidders have submitted applications for prequalifications for a captive water, steam and power project (IWSPP) to serve the $4.3 billion integrated refinery and petrochemicals Rabigh complex owned by Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical Company. The IWSPP project will have a capacity of 400 MW. Request for proposals are expected to be issued by the end of this year.

Syria moves to increase gas fired generation

The Syrian Arab Republic has received a loan of g200 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for the construction of a 750 MW gas fired combined cycle power plant at Deir Ali, 25 km south of Damascus. The loan, which is being organised through the EIB’s facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), is the largest ever signed in the country.

This is FEMIP’s. first project in Syria aimed directly at supporting the government’s decision to gradually shift from oil to gas fired power generation.

Meanwhile, German consulting engineers, Fichtner has been awarded the contract to evaluate bids for the estimated $350 million turnkey contract to build a 750 MW CCGT plant at Deir Ezor in the northeast. Contractors were scheduled to submit bids for the engineering procurement and construction by November 22, 2004. The contract involves the supply of two 250 MW gas turbines and a 250 MW steam turbine.

The Public Establishment of Electricity for Generation & Transmission (PEEGT) is in talks with the Kuwait based Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development and the EIB over funding for the project.

DCS systems for Saudi plants

GE Energy is to supply distributed control systems (DCS) to three Saudi Electric Company power plants. It will install its Mark VIe DCS for balance-of-plant controls, communicating with Siemens V84 gas turbines at the Asir and Bisha sites, and with new GE Frame 7EA gas turbines at the Jizan location. The DCS will control power plant functions, digitally linking the entire power plant to operator interface stations for plant operations, data acquisition, and performance.

VA Tech secures substation contracts

VA Tech Transmission & Distribution has been awarded two major contracts worth g44 million for two turnkey and extension contracts in Dubai and Qatar.

Under a g15 million contract with the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, the company will extend the existing VA Tech 400 kV/132 kV substation at Najma. The project is scheduled for completion within 15 months.

In Qatar, VA Tech has won a g29 million contract from local utility, Kahramaa, for part of a project known as Phase 5 Development. The scope of work includes the turnkey supply of a new 220 kV/66 kV substation. In addition to the new substation, VA Tech will also extend two existing 132 kV substations and carry out minor modifications at an existing 220 kV substation. This contract is scheduled to be completed within 18 months.