TXU invests in home state

TXU Corporation has announced a $10bn programme of investment in the provision of power to satisfy the growing demand for electricity in its home state of Texas, including new power generation capacity and the largest voluntary emissions reduction programme of its type in the United States.

The plan includes 11 new generation units at nine existing TXU power sites with total capacity of 6400 MW. These are due to be operational by 2010 and will alleviate the prospect of state reserve margins falling below reliable levels.

A new subsidiary TXU Renew will be responsible for a doubling of TXU’s renewable energy portfolio to 1400 MW. TXU also plans to invest up to $2bn in the development of cleaner power plant technology including integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) technology.

Meanwhile, TXU Wholesale has contracted with Ireland’s Airtricity to take 125 MW of wind capacity from the largest wind farm in Texas, Airtricity’s Forest Creek Wind Farm, near Big Spring, Texas. The contract increases TXU’s contracted renewable energy to 705 MW from 756 wind turbines.

West Coast cable planned

Sea Breeze Regional Transmission System Inc. has filed an interconnection application with Pacific Gas and Electric Company for a submarine transmission line linking Canada to California.

The initial application is for a 1600 MW HVDC undersea cable, expandable to 3200 MW, to run 5-19 km offshore along the west coast of Canada and the USA for around 1900 km.

It is envisaged that the link would unlock the many thousands of potential megawatts of renewable energy along a coastline blessed with ample wind resources, would help stabilize the western continental power grid by making flow more predicable and free up conventional energy exports from Canada.

ABB is to provide technical support to Sea Breeze Pacific, a joint venture between Sea Breeze Corporation, a Canadian renewable energy developer and Boundless Energy, a US transmission engineering firm.

Bids invited for Chilean supply

Chilectra, the principle electricity distribution company in Chile, has invited bids, along with other local distributors, for power contracts totalling 42.5 GW to supply their regulated customers from 2009-2020. The energy is worth $3.2m at current grid connection prices.

The other distributors are Empresa Eléctrica Municipal de Til-Til, Empresa Eléctrica de Colina, Empresa Electrica Puente Alto (EEPA) and Luz Andes.

The companies are tendering three supply contracts, The first is for an annual 300 GWh from 2009-2010, the second is for 3800 GWh from 2011-2020 and the third is for the supply of 390 GWh a year for the same period. Bids must be submitted by 31 October and the contracts are due to be awarded by 10 November 2006.

Globeleq adds El Paso assets

Houston-based Globeleq has finalized the acquisition of power generation assets in Panama and the Dominican Republic from US power company El Paso Corporation at a cost of $88 million. The three power plants involved have a total capacity of 421 MW. They form part of a $141m deal announced by El Paso in January in support of its debt reduction programme. The purchase by Globeleq of the three remaining assets in Central America is expected to close later in 2006.

Globeleq owns and operates some 700 MW of hydroelectric and thermal generation throughout the Americas. In this transaction it has added the 300 MW Fortuna hydro plant and the 55 MW Pedregal thermo plant, both in Panama as well as increasing its interest in CEPP, a 65 MW thermal plant in the Dominican Republic from 48 per cent to 96 per cent.

Ontario takes green initiative

The government of the Canadian state of Ontario has introduced a guaranteed standard purchase price for renewable electricity to make it easier for entrepreneurs and businesses to sell clean power from small projects to the grid.

Under the Standard Offer Program, the Ontario Power Authority will purchase electricity produced by wind, biomass or small hydroelectric at a base price of C$0.11 ($0.09) per kWh. Solar power will command a fixed price of C$0.42. A metering system is also to be introduced allowing customers who generate their own power to take credit for electricity exported to the grid.

Canada broke its annual wind record for new capacity in just the first three months of 2006.

India joins FutureGen project

India has become the first foreign country to join in the US government steering committee for the Department of Energy’s FutureGen project.

The project aims to develop on a commercial basis the world’s first coal fuelled zero emissions power plant that will generate electricity and hydrogen while capturing and permanently storing carbon dioxide deep underground.

The Indian government will contribute $10m to the FutureGen public/private initiative and Indian companies will be invited to participate in the private sector segment. (More on FutureGen see p75)

News digest

North America: New research by Frost & Sullivan predicts that the market for compressors in North America will grow from $2.11bn in 2005 to $3.01bn in 2012, based on the expected number of new power generation plants.

Argentina: The Argentinean government has launched a tender for the construction of the San Martin and Manuel Belgrano 800 MW combined cycle thermal power projects in the north of the country.

Brazil: Brazilian utility CPFL Paulista has implemented SPL’s Outage Management System as part of its solution for energy delivery resource planning.

Brazil: EDF is to sell off 80 per cent of its stake in the Brazilian power company Light to the Rio Minas Energia consortium for €260m ($329m). EDF will retain a ten per cent interest.

Canada: BC Hydro has awarded Alstom an €18m ($22.8m) contract to upgrade two generators at its GM Shrom Hydroelectric Generating Station on the Peace River in British Columbia.

Canada: GE Energy is to supply 45 of its 1.5 MW wind turbines to Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc. for the $120m Melancthon Grey Wind Project in southern Ontario.

Chile: A GE Energy Frame 9E gas turbine is being installed at AES Gener’s Los Vientos power plant in the northwestern section of Santiago. It is the fourth power plant in Chile to use Frame 9E technology in the past seven years.

Mexico: Calpine Corporation is selling its 45 per cent interest in the 525 MW Valladolid power plant, currently under construction on the Yucatan Peninsula, to the remaining partners, Mitsui & Co and Chubu Electric Power, for around $43m.

Peru: Duke Energy has bought out the stakes of El Paso Corporation and PPL Corporation in the Aguaytia Integrated Energy Project in the Amazon Basin of Peru at a cost of $31m, increasing its holding to 64.9 per cent.

USA: Plans by American Electric Power (AEP) to build a 600 MW IGCC plant in Ohio have received a boost following the decision by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to allow the recovery of pre-construction costs.

Venezuela: State power company Cadafe has awarded Spanish electricity company Elecnor two contracts worth €132m ($167m) for transmission and distribution works.

Venezuela: The new 2160 MW Caruachi Hydroelectric Plant in southeastern Venezuela operated by state-owned utility C.V.G Electrificación del Caroní has been inaugurated.