US coal plant database released by DOE

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Energy Technology Laboratory has released the 2007 version of the Coal Power Plant Database, a comprehensive database of coal fired power plants in the USA.

The database consolidates information on the nation’s existing coal fuelled power plants, with data on more than 1700 boilers and associated equipment. This includes emissions, generation, location and firing data for all US plants.

The database is provided in three computer formats, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access and an Excel pivot table version. The different formats allow different levels of manipulation and search.

The new version of the database is based on the most recent data available, which is from 2005. This is derived principally from information collected by the Energy Information Administration, supplemented by data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) including the EPA’s National Emissions Inventory.

Random checks were carried out on 350 data points in order to ensure the data was transferred accurately from the various databases. The new database contains 191 fields.

Exelon chooses GE-Hitachi nuclear design

Exelon Nuclear, an Illinois-based, USA, nuclear utility, has chosen the GE-Hitachi ESBWR as it proposed reactor design if it decides to construct a new nuclear plant in Texas. The company is currently studying sites in Texas’ Matagorda and Victoria counties.

The company is considering a nuclear unit to help address this States’ growing demand for power. The preparation of a federal combined construction and operating license, which it began in 2006, requires a utility to select a preferred design.

The GE-Hitachi ESBWR is a 1520 MW reactor based on GE’s boiling water reactor. The incorporation of passive safety systems and design simplifications are claimed to make the unit both safer and cheaper to build.

No unit of this design has yet been constructed although several other US utilities have selected it as their preferred design for projected future projects..

Empresa Electrica Guacolda to extend Chilean power plant with coal unit

Chilean utility Empresa Electrica Guacolda is to extend its Guacolda power plant at Huasco by adding an additional coal fired unit. The plant, 700 km north of Santiago, already has three units in operation.

The new unit will be supplied by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the company that built the three existing 150 MW generating units. The fourth unit is due to enter service in 2010. The boiler, steam turbine, generator and steam condenser will all be manufactured in Japan.

Chile’s GDP is expected to grow by around five per cent this year, fuelling a growing demand for electricity. The country has traditionally relied on hydropower, but recently began to diversify with gas and coa fired units. Since a crisis in 2004 caused by Argentina limiting exports of natural gas to Chile, coal has received increased emphasis.

Georgia Power seeks renewable energy

Georgia Power has announced a request for proposals for renewable energy from wind or solar sources. The energy will be sold under the utility’s Green Energy Programme.

Since Georgia Power launched the programme in 2006, it has attracted customers subscribing to more than 15 000, 100 kWh blocks of energy. The company is seeking before 1 October 2008.

Currently a small proportion of the energy for the green programme comes from solar sources, while most is provided from landfill gas.

The utility is seeking 3500 MWh annually of electricity from wind, and up to a further 500 MWh from solar sources, or from a combination of wind and solar. The minimum bid is for a 100 MWh block to be supplied for a period of 10 years.

NJ companies set to be charged for GHG emissions

The legislature of the US state of New Jersey is to require companies to pay for the greenhouse gases (GHG) they produce. The proposals include imposing a cap and trade system for New Jersey, New York and eight other US states agreed to the plan two years ago.

Under the agreed proposal, utilities will be required to cut GHG emissions by 10 per cent by 2021. Permitted state emissions of CO2 in New Jersey would initially be set at 21m tonnes, then in succeeding years.

Allowances will be issued, permitting utilities and other companies to emit carbon dioxide.

However there is a debate about whether these should be free or should be auctioned. If they were auctions, around $70m could be raised for the state.

US shareholders agree to Iberdrola takeover

Shareholders in Energy East Corporation, a Portland, Maine-based energy services and delivery company, have agreed to the company becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Spanish utility Iberdrola. Around 93 per cent of shareholders voted in favour of the merger, which will give them $28.50 in exchange for each common share they hold in the US company.

Energy East expects the deal to be completed in the first half of 2008. However the merger is subject various state and regulatory approvals.

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Argentina: Six consortia have expressed interest in bidding to construct two hydropower plants in Argentina. The plants, with a combined capacity of 1.7 GW, will be built on the Santa Cruz River.Its estimated cost is $1bn.

Brazil: Eight diesel engines for a 148 MW standby power plant in Brazil will be supplied by Man Diesel. The contract is valued at $48m. Engine delivery to the plant, is due in the middle of 2008 with commercial service expected six months later.

Canada: Canadian Solar has signed a contract with the German City Solar Group for the delivery of 60 MW of solar modules for a series of solar power plants in Spain. Shipments begin immediately, with startup due by the summer of 2008.

Canada: Nova Scotia Power has entered negotiations with independent power producers for 240 MW of wind power. The power will be generated at eight sites across the province and will involve an Startup is expected before the end of 2009.

Latin America: The chairman of Spanish utility Iberdrola has announced that the company plans to invest $1bn in the Latin American region between 2008 and 2010. The company currently has 6200 MW of generating capacity in the region, 5000 MW of which are located in Mexico.

South America: Nexans has signed a framework agreement to acquire the cable business of South American cable manufacturer Madeco. Nexans will pay $422m for the company, along with 2.5m newly issued Nexans shares.

USA: UniStar Nuclear Energy (UNE) has signed a letter of intent with Alstom, reflecting the former’s intention to purchase a minimum of four turbine generators for UNE’s planned fleet of advanced nuclear power plants in the USA based on the European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR). The final decision on construction of the first EPR in the USA has not yet been made.

USA: Cascade Wind Holdings has ordered 25, 2 MW wind turbines from German company REpower Systems. The units will be installed at the company’s proposed Wind Point Phase 1 wind farm in Goldendale, Washington. Completion is due in 2008.