Iran opens private power project

The 6th unit of Isfahan’s ‘Chehelsuton’ power plant is now in full operation. According to a report from the Iran Electricity Expansion Organization, the plant is claimed to be Iran’s first private power plant. The primary investors in the plant are Mapna International and Germany’s IHAG. The plant was built under a BOT (build, operate, transfer) scheme.

The first unit of the plant, which comprises six 159 MW gas turbines, entered operation last July. Subsequent units were brought on line gradually. The primary fuel of the plant is gas, with gasoil used as a backup.

Meanwhile, the Energy Minister, Parviz Fattah said the country would expand its electricity industry with the capability achieved in uranium enrichment. Two nuclear plants, in addition to Bushehr, will be constructed this year. The country has a 20-year “Vision Plan” which will see the building of 18 more nuclear plants. “There are more prospects of a blackout in the country in the coming summer as 1700 MW of electricity need to added to the network,” added the minister.

F-technology starts up in Saudi Arabia

Two GE Frame 7FA gas turbines have started operating at the ‘Uthmaniyah cogeneration plant in Saudi Arabia, becoming the first F-technology machines to enter service in the Kingdom.

The two gas turbines are among six F-technology units GE has supplied for three cogeneration plants being built by the Tihama Power Generation Company of Saudi Arabia. The largest independent power producer in Saudi Arabia, Tihama Power is a joint venture between International Power of the United Kingdom and Saudi Oger of Saudi Arabia, an affiliate of the Saudi Arabia Oil Company (Saudi Aramco).

All of the plants are located in Saudi Arabia’s eastern region. Saudi Aramco will supply the natural gas for the projects and will use the power and steam generated for its processing plants. Each of the 7FA units at ‘Uthmaniyah is expected to generate more than 155 MW of power at 30°C, and 283 t/h of steam.

Installation at the ‘Uthmaniyah site began in April 2005. The major contractor for the project was Hyundai Heavy Industries of Ulsan, Korea. Following the startup of the machines, performance testing has been completed and reliability tests are currently under way. In addition to the gas turbines, GE also supplied spare parts, training and services for the ‘Uthmaniyah project.

Abdullah Taibah, Region Executive and General Manager, GE Energy Middle East and Africa commented: “‘Uthmaniyah is a major milestone, marking the operating debut of our advanced F technology in Saudi Arabia.”

ABB to build Qatar substation

ABB has been awarded a $44m contract by Qatar Electricity and Water Company to supply equipment and build a substation to serve the Ras Abu Fontas (RAF) B2 power and desalination project. ABB will provide the complete electrical scope for the plant, including the construction of a 220 kV gas insulated substation and transformers.

RAF B2 is a 550 MW, 151 416 m3 (40 million gallons) per day facility being built by a US/local team of GE Power Systems and Italimpianti.

Palestine and Egypt discuss electricity transfer to Gaza

Palestine is currently holding talks with Egypt to probe the technical potential for providing electricity to the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) held negotiations and signed agreements with Egypt at a meeting in Cairo. First Undersecretary of the Palestinian Ministry of Electricity and Energy Sulayman Abu-Samhadanah said that the implementation of the agreements is currently being discussed. The Egyptian side will foot the bill for the transfer of electricity to the Palestinian borders, while PNA will transfer electricity from the borders to Gaza.

UAE plans renewable energy park

The Abu Dhabi government is to donate 4 km2 for the so-called Masdar Initiative, an energy park which will focus on developing alternative energy technology and water and energy conservation. The government will also donate $100m for the project, which is being hosted in partnership with companies such as BP, Shell, Total, Occidental, GE, Rolls Royce, Fiat and Mitsubishi. The money will be for a “clean technology fund” set up to encourage further investment by domestic and foreign companies in emerging technologies.

Saudi Arabia orders handheld meter reading equipment

US company, Itron has signed a contract to supply an additional 193 G5 handheld meter reading computers to Saudi Electric Company (SEC). The G5 handhelds, along with Itron’s VIENA meter reading software, will be used for reading the Saudi utility’s electricity meters.

With this latest purchase, SEC now uses approximately 1400 Itron G5 handhelds for use in various locations around its operating regions. The handhelds are designed delivers high meter-reading performance and processing speed. VIENA is specifically designed to help water, electric and gas utilities around the world collect data and integrate it into other systems. The software provides extensive management reporting, meter probing support and drag-and-drop route allocation. SEC delivers more than 150 TWh in a service area of approximately 2.25 million km2.

Hybrid solar project for Algeria

Abener Energia of Spain has been awarded the build own operate (BOO) contract to develop a 155 MW solar hybrid power plant at Hassi R’Mel.

The contract, awarded by New Energy Algeria (NEAL), calls for the two-year engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), plus 25-year operation and maintenance of an 80 MW steam turbine, a 75 MW gas turbine and concentrating solar power element.

The project will be 75-80 per cent debt financed. Abener will be responsible for the provision of 66 per cent of the equity, at least 51 per cent on its own account, and up to 15 per cent from an international financial institution. NEAL will provide 20 per cent of the equity, with the remaining 14 per cent to come from local banks. Discussions are underway with Banque Exterieur d’Algerie to either fund the local portion or lead arrange its syndication.

Algiers is planning to launch three other similar projects by 2015. These will have a combined capacity of 1200 MW and will be part of the country’s plan to provide 10 per cent of its energy needs – an estimated 1400 MW/year – through alternative energy by 2015.