EPRI says technology can halve cost of emission control

New research by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) shows that the aggressive development and implementation of a full portfolio of advanced electricity technologies could reduce the economic cost of cutting future US emissions by more than 50 per cent while still meeting the expected growth in demand for electricity.

Previous EPRI research has shown that, without investment in advanced technologies, significant reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gases would result in higher prices for electricity and natural gas and reduced economic growth. However, by employing advanced technologies, such as the smart electricity grid, plug-in hybrid vehicles, new advanced nuclear reactors and clean coal technologies with carbon capture and storage, the new research reveals that the same cuts in future CO2 emissions could be accomplished at a much lower cost.

The study includes new work that identifies the research, development and deployment pathways necessary for these technologies to reach their full potential. The study is intended to inform the work of the electricity industry, government and other interested parties in preparing a long-term action plan for research, development and demonstration projects related to these technologies.

BoA plans environmental finance products

The USA’s largest commercial bank, the Bank of America (BoA), will develop environmentally focused financial products which it will market and execute. It has also joined the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) and says its will join the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange and the European Climate Exchange.

“BoA’s membership of the CCX is a key step in the development of its carbon emission credit trading platform, which is part of the bank’s $20bn environmental initiative to support the growth of environmentally sustainable business activity to address global climate change,” the bank said.

BoA will also provide liquidity on the European Climate Exchange and the CCX and will buy 500 000 tonnes of offsets over three years.

Houston to tie up wind deals for city supply

The city of Houston plans to buy up to a third of its total electricity purchase from wind sources. Officials plan to modify the city’s electricity supply contract with the Texas General Land Office (GLO) and Reliant Energy to buy power for its municipal needs beginning in July 2008.

Houston will enter into a five-year, fixed-price contract with GLO and Reliant Energy for 50 MW of wind energy from a Horizon Wind facility in Shackelford County, Texas. City energy officials said that the price would be competitive with conventionally generated electricity.

Brazil to select nuclear site in 2008

Brazil will decide in 2008 where to build new nuclear power plants, according to Othon Luiz Pinheiro, president of Eletronuclear.

He said, “This will be a very important decision since we plan to build our next six nuclear plants on a single site.” Brazil plans to add 8 GW of nuclear generating capacity by 2030.

Pinheiro said that nuclear energy was important to Brazil as “we cannot store wind or solar energy.” In November 2006 the government announced plans to complete Angra 3 and also build four further 1000 MW nuclear units from 2015. An additional four reactors could follow by 2030.

Approval for the construction of the 1224 MW Angra 3 unit was granted by Brazil’s National Energy Policy Council in June 2007.

Inifinia partners EBI to bring biogas project to developing countries

Stirling-cycle technology maker Infinia Corporation is partnering Emergence BioEnergy Inc (EBI) to develop a product that will serve developing nations, including their rural communities.

Focusing on Bangladesh, the partnership will package Infinia’s 1 kW free-piston Stirling generator with a thermal appliance and have it operate on methane gas produced by an anaerobic digester that converts livestock manure and agricultural wastes into biogas. The digester will also produce waste solids that can be used as fertilizers and fish food.

Residential combined heat and power appliances that employ Infinia’s Sterling engine are expected to be commercialized in Asia and Europe over the next 18 months. This should ensure that entrepreneurs and villages in Bangladesh are able to afford the EBI product.

Mine firm plans wind farm in Chile

Toronto-based mining company Barrick Gold Corporation has put a proposal to the Chilean environmental authorities to build a 20 MW wind farm in La Higuera in the Coquimbo region of the country for $40m. The ten-turbine project would be the largest source of wind-generated power in Chile.

“As part of Barrick’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we are working on innovative energy strategies while improving the efficiency of our mine sites,” said Barrick CEO Greg Wilkins.

Barrick is also installing a 2 MW demonstration turbine near its Veladero mine in San Juan, Argentina. It will be the first in the world to operate at above 4000 m above sea level.

Canada: Enbridge Inc has won authorization from the Ontario Municipal Board for its 182 MW wind power project. Construction will begin soon and is expected to be completed by the end of 2008.

Canada: Finavera Renewables Inc has received an Investigative Use Permit for its Ucluelet wave energy project off the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia that will employ its AquaBuOY wave energy converter.

Chile: Slovenske Energeticke Strojarne (SES) Timace has won a contract to supply equipment for Puerto Coronal, a 370 MW power plant block in Chile owned by Chilean company Colbun, with an option to supply a second unit.

Mexico: John Wood Group subsidiary companies have won contracts totalling $1.2m to supply and support two Rolls-Royce 501KB gas turbine-driven generators for Vitro, a large distributor of glass products based in Monterrey, Mexico.

Mexico: State power company Luz Fuerza de Centro (LCF) plans to invest 3bn pesos ($273m) in substations from 2007 to 2012. It is also looking at installing three mobile substations, each with a capacity of 30 MVA.

Peru: Suez Energy International has inaugurated the second 175 MW unit of the ChilcaUno gas-fired power plant in the Cañete province in the district of Chilca, Chile. The two units involved an investment of around $120m.

USA: CH2M HILL has been awarded an EPC contract for the Besicorp/Empire combined-cycle power plant in Rensselaer, New York. Total project cost for the 535 MW plant is more than $500m. It will incorporate GE gas and steam turbines and Alstom HRSG technology.

USA: Fluor Corporation’s Power Group has been awarded a contract by Toshiba Corporation for EPC services for two new nuclear reactors planned for the South Texas Project Nuclear Generating Station in Bay City, Texas.

USA: Global Nuclear Fuel, a joint venture of GE, Hitachi and Toshiba, has won a six-year contract to supply fuel fabrication and related reload engineering services for Energy Northwest’s 1200 MW Columbia Generating Station boiling water reactor.