Canadian city favours gas turbines over clean coal

A plan to build a 300 MW clean coal project to meet Saskatchewan’s power demand until 2014 by has foundered. The Canadian city will instead use gas turbines, renewables and conservation.

Part of the reason for the cancellation of the coal plant – the first of its kind in the world – was the rise in its expected cost from $1.5bn to $3.8 bn. Also, SaskPower, the city’s main power supplier said the plant could not be built in time to meet rising demand at a competitive cost.

SaskPower will instead now spend $525m over five years on 400 MW of turbines fired by natural gas. It will also add 100 MW of wind power by 2012 and 50 MW of waste heat recovery and 20 MW of biomass projects by 2010.

The turbines will be installed in areas where electricity is most needed. This will reinforce the existing electrical system and minimize transmission costs, SaskPower said.

“These natural gas units are very attractive given their relatively low capital cost, and they can be started and stopped to support the availability of wind generation,” said John Nilson, minister responsible for SaskPower.

Firms sign CANDU mutual-aid deal

An agreement signed recently at a meeting in Beijing could see joint development of CANDU nuclear power plants in Argentina, Canada and China.

Argentina’s nuclear plant owner and operator NASA and CANDU designer Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) have agreed with China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to jointly study the potential for co-operation on the design, manufacture, construction and operation of the plants in future projects in the three countries.

NASA and CNNC have also agreed to strengthen the sharing of their operational and maintenance experiences of their CANDU 6 nuclear plants, which are, respectively, the Embalse plant and the third Qinshan nuclear power plant.

The former has been operating for 24 years, the latter began operating in 2003.

AECL’s chief operating officer Ken Petrunik said the CANDU reactors built in Argentina and China have the lowest con-sumption of uranium per TWh.

Companies to develop CO2 reduction projects

Industrial gases supplier Praxair Inc and engineering company Foster Wheeler North America have signed a multi-year agreement to jointly develop demonstration projects to reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) output of coal fired plants. The companies say the combination of their technologies will allow coal burning plants to reduce stack emissions by 90 per cent.

Foster Wheeler will develop and supply steam generators that use oxy-coal combustion technology for use in new or existing coal fired plant. The company says it expects the new technology’s first use would be in its circulating fluidized bed steam generators.

Praxair will provide upstream oxygen-supply facilities and technology and equipment for downstream CO2 capture and gas processing.

The firms expect their first joint commercial effort to be at the demonstration project of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities, New York.

GE-Hitachi to uprate US reactor for $50m

GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy has won a $50m contract to supply equipment and services for the uprating of a reactor in the US state of New York.

Constellation Energy’s Nine Mile Point plant has two reactors that generate about 1800 MW. Unit 2 at the plant employs a GE BWR-5 unit and a GE turbine-generator that output about 1150 MW, which will increase by about 20 per cent after the uprating, due for completion in 2012.

Ontario set on nuclear power

Phasing out coal use in Ontario, Canada, will mainly be achieved by building new nuclear plants and refurbishing old ones. In the final draft of its electricity system plan, the province’s power authority outlined how $60bn of government money will ensure a reliable electricity supply as Ontario aims to shy away from coal by 2014.

Under the plan, nuclear will produce nearly half of the province’s power. About $27bn will be spent on refurbishment and new build. Nuclear operator Bruce Power, for example, will now spend an extra $1bn on renovating its Unit 4 reactor, pushing the project’s total cost to $5.3bn and increasing the reactor’s life by 20 years.

Ontario’s plan will also see $10bn spent on conservation and energy efficiency and $15bn on renewables, which is expected to meet 30 per cent of demand.

TXU-TEFHLP merger approved

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the US has agreed to the merger of energy company TXU Corp. of Dallas and investment firm Texas Energy Future Holdings Limited Partnership (TEFHLP).

The deal includes the $32bn purchase of TXU’s Oncor Electric Delivery Business and TXU Wholesale.

Brazil: Spanish bank Santander’s Brazilian division Santander Banespa and Portuguese investment bank Banif aim to raise up to $204m to fund the Santo Antonio hydroelectric plant. They are in a consortium that includes state power company Furnas and engineering firm Odebrecht that hopes to win the contract for the plant.

Canada: A consortium of EDF Energies Nouvelles, Renewable Energy Systems Canada and Hydroméga Services is to supply power to the province of Québec. REpower Systems of Germany will supply the consortium with 2 MW turbines up to a total of about 1 GW.

Canada: Naturener Energy Canada’s acquisition of Alberta-based West WindEau Inc has increased its project portfolio in the country to 1 GW. The company is a subsidiary of Spain’s Naturener Group.

Chile: Japan and Chile have agreed to enhance their co-operation on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and have reaffirmed the importance of promoting clean energy sources such as solar, wind and hydropower.

Mexico: Canadian waste-to-energy firm Smart Soil aims to raise its generation capacity from landfills in Mexico to 60 MW by 2010. It is planning to have another nine projects there by 2010. The two there already will generate a total of 12 MW by 2012.

USA: Engineering company Fluor Corporation has won a contract to supply programme management services for the design and construction of the Desert Rock supercritical, low-sulphur 1.5 GW coal fired plant in New Mexico. The plant will have the lowest emissions of any coal fired plant in the USA when it begins full output in 2013.

USA: Power generation technology supplier GE says it has agreed to take a minority stake in PrimeStar Solar Inc of Colorado. PrimeStar develops and commercializes thin-film photovoltaic modules.

USA: The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has rejected a request from local utilities to build an $1.8bn coal fired plant in the north of the state. Natural gas producer Chesapeake Energy Corp had called on regulators to deny the request, stating that gas is cheaper than coal and is abundant in the region.

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