Algeria aims to export solar power by 2013

Algeria could start exporting solar power to Germany by 2013 according to Tewfik Hasni, president and general manager of the country’s renewable energy agency, New Energy Algeria, MEED reports. The agency is lobbying the state for approval for the project, so it can build a 3000 km interconnection with Germany. It is also in talks with German and Italian utilities to secure customers for the power. The interconnection will initially be able to transport 800-1000 MW of electricity produced in solar hybrid power plants in Algeria. However, this could be scaled up to 6000 MW by 2018. In the meantime, the line will also be used by other power producers. New Energy Algeria estimates producing 6000 MW of power in solar-hybrid plants will cost $18-20bn.New Energy Algeria is also planning two 400 MW solar plants at Mghaier in the east and Naama in the west.

Tractebel wins Egyptian grid masterplan contract

Belgium’s Tractebel Engineering has been awarded the consultancy contract for the development of a masterplan for Egypt’s power transmission network.

The masterplan will cover the period from 2008-2030. The client is the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company. A meeting to launch the project will be held in the second half of February.

The project is funded by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development. Under the $0.8m contract, Tractebel will identify the best long-term plan for the Egyptian electric power system to meet growing power demand.

The company will carry out the study in partnership with Centro Elettrotecnico Sperimentale Italiano. It has also sub-contracted the local Shaker Consultancy Group.

Iran, Russia sign MOU to synchronize power grids

Russia’s Electric Power Council and Iran’s Ministry of Energy signed a memorandum of understanding with the purpose of synchronizing electric systems. Iran’s Energy Minister Parviz Fattah said time is ripe for the two sides to raise cooperation in producing electricity. CIS Electric Power Council Director Anatoly Chubais said that the power systems of Iran and Russia are technically very similar so that Iran’s power grid can benefit its neighbors like Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. Iran enjoys a 10 per cent annual growth in power generation sector and a 6.8 percent growth in energy consumption. Fattah proposed the idea of building a joint dam between Iran and Russia. “In the first opportunity transfer electricity will be done between Iran and Russia.”

Areva awarded two T&D contracts in the UAE

Areva has been awarded two turn key grid reinforcement contracts in the United Arab Emirates, totalling €86m ($126m). Under the first contract awarded by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), Areva will build two 132/11kV indoor gas-insulated substations to be commissioned in April 2009. The second contract is with Nakheel, the developer of Palm Deira, the world’s largest man made island project in Dubai. The island should attract 1.25m inhabitants by 2015.

The contract will form part of the first phase of Palm Deira’s power distribution network development plan. Areva will provide three 132/22 kV gas-insulated substations to be installed at three different locations on the island.

GCC interconnection authority picks new chairman

The Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) has selected Yousuf Janahi, corporate planning and business development manager at Qatar General Water & Electricity Corporation (Kahramaa) to be its next chairman.

In addition to his current position at Kahramaa, Janahi already has a seat on the board of directors of the GCCIA.

Mr Janahi will replace outgoing chairman Saleh Al-Awaji, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister for electricity affairs. The position of chairman is rotated among the six member countries every three years, in accordance with the Arabic alphabetical order of the states.

KEMA to optimize Bahrain maintenance electricity network

The Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) of the Kingdom of Bahrain – formerly operating as the Ministry of Water & Electricity (MEW) – commissioned KEMA to optimize maintenance and related operating processes of its entire electricity transmission and distribution (T&D) network. Both parties agreed on an 18-month programme to optimize the maintenance and related operating processes of Bahrain’s entire T&D network. In addition to some 5000 distribution stations and 80 high-voltage stations, the network includes apprOximately 8000 km of underground cable and 450 km of high-voltage overhead lines. KEMA also will provide a comprehensive inventory and condition assessment of all of EWA’s T&D equipment, including revision of all asset-related business processes and definition of adequate maintenance programs.

Egypt, Palestinians sign power linkage deal

Egypt has signed an agreement with the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to finance the Egypt-Gaza power linkage project.

The 185m Egyptian pounds ($33.6m) agreement calls for setting up linkage transformers of a 22kv capacity to provide power for Rafah and al-Kanisa areas in the Gaza Strip.

The projects, which are financed by the Islamic Development Fund, also stipulate the establishment of a 60 kV transformer to supply Gaza power generation plant with electricity.

Katana said bids will be announced for the construction of the power linkage projects between Egypt and Gaza, adding the projects will help Gaza attain power self-sufficiency and dispense with the Israeli power sector.

Oman to privatise two power firms

Oman will mobilise plans to privatise a utilities firm and a company that oversees a power distribution grid in the Gulf state, according to government officials. “The government will shortly initiate the privatisation of Oman Electricity Transmission Company (OETC),” the Oman Observer reported, citing Ministry of National Economy Secretary-General Mohammad bin Nasser Al-Khusaibi. Al Ghubrah Power and Desalination Company was also earmarked for imminent privatisation, the newspaper quoted John Cunneen, executive director of the Authority for Electricity Regulation. Muscat Electricity Distribution Company, Majan Electricity Company, and Mazoon Electricity Company are also lined up for privatisation at a later stage, the newspaper said.