US seals surprise climate deal

The US has announced a pact with five Asia-Pacific nations to cut emissions of greenhouse gases through the use and transfer of ‘clean’ technology such as IGCC, carbon capture and renewables. The Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate is designed to complement the Kyoto Protocol, say its founding members, who account for nearly 50 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The deal, between the USA, China, India, South Korea, Japan and Australia, is designed to address climate change, energy security and air pollution in a way that will encourage economic development and reduce poverty. Its critics believe that it will undermine the Kyoto pact and will not be effective as it is non-binding.

The six founding members, of which only Japan is an Annex I ratified signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, will work together to develop and deploy existing and emerging clean technology, explore ways to reduce greenhouse intensity and seek ways to engage the private sector.

The USA and Australia refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on the grounds that it does not mandate developing countries to reduce emissions. Both countries believe that signing up to Kyoto would have damaged their economies. This new pact, they say, will allow technology to solve the climate problem.

Neptune orders HVDC

Neptune Regional Transmission System (RTS) has placed orders worth $400m for the construction of an undersea high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission link between New Jersey and New York states. The link will start operating in mid-2007 and will enable the New Jersey grid to export power to Long Island, NY, to cover increasing demand.

The project will be implemented by Siemens, which will engineer and supply the HVDC system, and Pirelli Energy Cables and Systems, which will provide the 105 km, 500 kV submarine power cable. Siemens will also provide operation and maintenance services for five years. The total contract value is $422m.

The new link will run between Sayreville, NJ, and North Hempstead in Long Island. Neptune RTS will make the link available to the Long Island Power Authority, which will be able to transmit up to 750 MW from the New Jersey PJM grid to Long Island.

  • San Diego Gas & Electric Company is proposing a 500 kV transmission interconnection line project. Sargent & Lundy is to provide services for the project.

US Senate passes energy bill

The US Senate has passed an energy bill that will provide tax incentives to boost oil and gas production in the US as well as encourage renewable energy development, nuclear power and energy conservation. President George W. Bush requested that the bill be finalized by early August, although early October is a more realistic deadline.

The Senate’s approval of the legislation sets up a clash with the House of Representatives, which has already passed its own version of the bill. The House-approved bill favours domestic oil and gas production, whereas the Senate bill requires utilities to use more renewable fuels in electricity generation.

For the bill to be signed by the President, both the House and the Senate must pass identical versions of the legislation.

Bio-oil gas turbine generates power

The demonstration phase of the West Lorne BioOil cogeneration project in Canada has commenced operation, supplying power to the Ontario power grid. The bio-oil fired gas turbine operated successfully with a performance comparable to a natural gas or diesel-fired turbine, according to Dynamotive Energy Systems and Magellan Aerospace Corp., the project sponsors.

The start-up of the project marks the first time that a bio-oil fuelled gas turbine has generated power at a combined heat and power facility. The plant features an Orenda OGT2500 gas turbine coupled with Dynamotive biomass conversion technology.

When fully commissioned later this year, the plant will use up to 48 t of bio-oil per day to fuel the 2.5 MW gas turbine.

Dynamotive’s technology converts forest and agricultural waste into liquid fuel (bio-oil). The bio-oil is the only pyrolysis fuel to date to have been proven to meet quality, efficiency and emission standards for commercial operation.

IFC supports Dominican Republic wind project

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has signed an agreement to provide up to $23m for the development of the first wind power project in the Dominican Republic. The agreement comprises $10m of financing and a guarantee of up to $13m for Consorcio Energetico Punta Cana-Macao S.A (CEPM), a privately-owned utility.

The funds will support development of an 8.25 MW wind power plant and CEPM’s capital expenditures. The project will save on fuel costs by displacing part of the utility’s existing diesel generation, and will also support the tourism sector.

CEPM serves resort areas and surrounding communities in Punta Cana, as well as resorts in the Bayahibe region through a subsidiary.

News digest

Brazil: The Itaipu hydropower plant was forced to shut down 3000 MW of capacity in June after high winds damaged nine transmission towers and cut two transmission lines. Brazil had to import power from Uruguay and Argentina to meet demand.

Canada: Canada has become the sixteenth member of the Methane to Markets Partnership (MMP), an international initiative that promotes the recovery and use of methane to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. MMP targets methane emissions from landfills, coal mines and oil and gas fields.

Chile: Chilean distributor Chilectra has signed a power purchase agreement with the developers of the 155 MW La Higuera hydropower project for the supply of electricity generated by the project. La Higuera is due to start operating in 2008.

Colombia: The government is to invest peso40bn ($17.2m) in rural electrification in 2005, a rise of 41 per cent over 2004. Projects that will benefit include the peso12.1bn project in Cauca department, which will connect 2857 consumers.

Cuba: Venezuela’s state-owned development bank Bandes is to finance a $93m electrification project in Havana, Cuba. Funds will come from Bandes’ recently created international cooperation fund (FACI), which will provide $20m for the project.

Mexico: Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) is due to sign a contract with Iberdrola Ingeníeria y Construcción (Iberinco) to reinforce electricity infrastructure in five northern states of Mexico. The project consists of ten transmission lines with a total length of 171 km, as well as construction of three substations and 21 feeders.

Nicaragua: The first 10 MW phase of the San Jacinto geothermal power project has been inaugurated. Standard Bank and the project developer, Polaris Geothermal Inc., are in the process of raising financing for the second phase of the project.

USA: GE Energy has signed a contract to provide five LMS100 gas turbines to East Kentucky Power Cooperative. The turbines will be operated in simple cycle for mid-load and peaking requirements.

USA: The Department of Energy (DOE) is making $2.5m available to 18 Native American tribes to advance the use of renewable energy and energy efficient technology on tribal lands. One tribe, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, will tap the geothermal resources in their central Oklahoma reservation to generate electricity.

USA: Robinson Power has been granted government approval for a $400m, 300 MW waste coal power plant in Pennsylvania.