TransCanada close to power lines decision

TransCanada has announced it is close to reaching agreements with enough utilities in the southwest of the United States to enable it to move ahead with detailed permitting and siting of two 500 kV power lines running from Montana and Wyoming to southern Nevada.

The company envisions building two 1000-mile DC lines, each with a capacity of up to 3000 MW. Each line will cost between $1.4bn and $2bn.

Michael Hogan, vice president of business development, said that TransCanada has agreements in place with generators developing more than 15 000 MW of capacity.

Mr Hogan added that TransCanada is also in talks with utilities in the southwest to take equity stakes in the project. The company plans to begin construction in 2009, and bring the lines into service in 2012.

Value of IGCC deal questioned

Excelsior Energy’s plan to build a 603 MW advanced coal fired power plant in northern Minnesota, USA, may have reached an impasse after the recommendation by two administrative law judges that the state regulators reject a proposed power purchase agreement (PPA) related to the plant.

Excelsior, an independent power producer, requires the PPA with Xcel Energy to enable the Meseba integrated gasification combined-cycle project to move ahead. However, Xcel Energy opposes the PPA in part because it believes it is too expensive.

According to the administrative law judges, the project was not in the public interest. They added: “The final PPA should not be approved primarily because of its unreasonable cost to Xcel Energy and ratepayers”.

An analyst at the Minnesota Commerce Department found that the Mesaba project would be at least 30 per cent more expensive than comparable non-IGCC power plants.

Smart technology for T&D network

Texas-based utility CenterPoint Energy plans to invest $500m expanding a broadband-over-power-line (BPL) initiative, add advanced meters to its systems and bring new technologies to its transmission and distribution network.

CenterPoint had been involved in a limited BPL pilot project in partnership with IBM, and now wants to expand the BPL network to cover its entire service area. The BPL network will solely be used for utility functions such as enhanced monitoring and communication with customers, as part of a broader ‘smart grid’ initiative.

CenterPoint and IBM have also announced the creation of an ‘intelligent utility’ coalition that will collaborate with other companies to bring smart grid technologies to users, and enable utilities to have more real-time information about energy usage.

Siemens order for biomass fired gensets

In a deal worth €22m ($30m), Siemens Power Generation will supply two steam turbine gensets to a biomass fired plant in Tres Lagoas, Brazil.

The contract covers two SST-PAC 800 steam turbine generator sets, each comprising one steam turbine and one generator. The steam for the gensets will be supplied almost entirely by the combustion of biomass residue from a local pulp mill.

The plant will provide electricity to the pulp mill and a paper mill, with the excess supplied to the local grid. When both mills have reached maximum production capacity, the gensets will generate 160 MW.

Ontario sees huge project for power lines expansion

Canadian transmission giant Hydro One is to spend C$600m ($531m) in expanding Ontario’s electricity transmission system, which will be the largest expansion to the province’s transmission system in 20 years and will give it access to enough electricity to power 1.5m homes by 2011.

The money will be spent on expanding the transmission system between the Bruce power plant and a switching station in Milton. According to energy minister Dwight Duncan, the new line will help the province tap into renewable energy projects underway in the region, as well as into two nuclear reactors at the Bruce power plant, which are scheduled to go online in 2008. The expansion will help to boost the region’s renewable and nuclear electricity supply by 3000 MW.

The 180-km line, which is subject to environmental assessments and the approval of the Ontario Energy Board, is expected to be completed by the end of 2011.

Clean coal plant gets go ahead

A ‘Record of Decision’ has been signed that allows for the construction of a $569m, 285 MW ‘clean’ coal fired power plant in Florida, USA.

The plant, co-owned by Southern Power Company, the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) and Kellogg, Brown and Root, will be located at the OUC’s Stanton Energy Center near Orlando. The Department of Energy will provide 41 per cent ($235m) of the funding.

The plant will demonstrate a form of integrated gasification combined-cycle and state-of-the-art emission control technologies. The transport gasifier technology at the plant uses low-rank coals and coals with high moisture or high ash content, which comprise around 50 per cent of the USA’s coal reserves.

News Digest

Belize: SFECO, a Chinese engineering firm, has been selected to build a 31.5 MW bargasse fired power plant in Belize. The plant will supply 20 per cent of the country’s electricity requirements.

Brazil: Delek infrastructures Limited is to participate in the construction of a 140 MW power station in the Guyana district of Brazil, representing an investment of $50m. Delek has a 35 per cent share in the project.

Canada: The province of Alberta has introduced legislation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from large industry. It states that companies that emit more than 100 000 tonnes of GHG a year must reduce their emissions by 12 per cent by July 2007.

Canada: SNC-Lavalin’s T&D division has won a C$6m ($5.3) contract to design and construct a critical electrical substation, which is part of the project to interconnect the power transmission grids of the province of Alberta and the state of Montana.

Canada: The utility Nova Scotia Power has requested proposals from independent power producers for renewable energy projects, as part of its plan to add more clean energy to the province. It is seeking to add 130 MW of renewable energy by 2009.

USA:A subsidiary of Foster Wheeler has been awarded a $100m contract for the design and supply of a natural circulation pulverized coal steam generator. It will be constructed at the Southwest power station in Springfield, Missouri.

USA: REpower Systems has concluded an agreement on the delivery of 75 wind turbines for a wind farm project in the state of California. The total capacity of the wind turbines is 150 MW.

USA: Driven by increased demand for solar electricity, Kyocera Solar Inc., the American subsidiary of Kyocera Corp of Japan, plans to spend $250m to double its worldwide manufacturing capacity over the next four years.

USA: The Energy Information Agency has said that following the large increase in residential electricity prices last year, prices are projected to grow at a slower rate of three per cent in 2007 and 3.1 per cent in 2008.

USA: Vestas has received an order from PacificCorp for 39 units of its V80.1.8 MW wind turbines as part of the second phase of the Marengo project in Washington state. The turbines are due for delivery in the first quarter of 2008.

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