Alstom Grid to provide HVDC converter assets for Tres Amigas

Tres Amigas SuperStation, a US transmission hub to link three primary electric transmission grids, is to use Alstom Grid HVDC converter technology.

Alstom Grid has begun engineering design, featuring its voltage source converters (VSC) technology. Construction is set to start in 2012 for operation by 2014.

Tres Amigas would be near the Texas/Mexico border in Clovis, New Mexico, and is intended to improve reliability of the electricity network and to facilitate transfer of clean energy between regions.

Interconnecting the Eastern (Southwest Power Pool), Western (Western Electricity Coordinating Council) and Texas (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) networks, Tres Amigas should help tackle voltage and stability problems caused by the intermittency of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal.

Reactive power capability will be controllable at each interconnection to raise stability, transfer capability and transmission efficiency.

Constellation stalls UniStar nuclear project over loan guarantee terms

The Calvert Cliffs 3 project in Maryland, USA, has been held up by Constellation Energy’s rejection of government loan terms.

In a letter to the US Department of Energy (DOE), Constellation threatened to pull out over an 11.6 per cent fee of $800m for a loan guarantee for the $10bn UniStar joint venture project, in which it is partnering with French utility EDF.

“Such a sum would clearly destroy the project’s economics (or the economics of any nuclear project, for that matter),” wrote Constellation’s vice chairman Michael Wallace.

DOE has asked Constellation to reconsider its decision, claiming that the department and the White House were on the verge of offering UniStar a new set of loan-guarantee terms when the letter arrived.

Cinergy overturns pollution ruling that shut three coal fired units in Indiana

Three units of the Wabash coal fired power plant in Indiana are poised to re-open after an appeals court reversed a 2008 ruling against their upgrades.

Duke Energy, which merged with Cinergy in 2006, had been forced to shut units 2, 3 and 5 at the 677 MW plant by September 2009 after a jury ruled that modifications contravened the US Clean Air Act. Cinergy had argued pollution regulations applied only to increases in the hourly emissions, rather than modifications that let plants operate for more hours.

Duke has announced it plans to start the plants back up as soon as possible.

Endesa plans to invest up to €700m in Latin America over the coming years

Spanish energy company Endesa is set to build a 400 MW power plant in Colombia as well as a 370 MW plant in Chile as it plans a continuing heavy investment in the Latin America region.

Endesa is already constructing the Bocamina II hydroelectric station in Chile, which is expected to generate up to 2750 MW when it becomes fully operational.

The Spanish utility, which was taken over by Italy’s Enel in 2007, now operates in five Latin American countries – Peru, Argentina, Chile, Columbia and Brazil – where it generates a total of 15.7 GW and meets the demands of more than 12m customers, according to the Spanish television network Intereconomia.

Over the coming years, Endesa expects to invest a total of between €600m and €700m (between $836m and $975m) in the Latin America region.

Russia to build 2.4 GW Venezuela nuclear plant

Russia will help Venezuela construct a nuclear power plant with two 1.2 GW reactors and a separate research reactor, says Rosatom.

While admitting the deal is unlikely to please the USA, Russia has stressed the peaceful use of this nuclear technology. After completing Iran’s Bushehr plant, Russia is seen as seeking to expand its presence in the global atomic energy market.

“A deal in the atomic sphere has just been signed. I already know that it will make someone shudder,” said Russia’s president Dmitri Medvedev at a meeting in Moscow with Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez, who has said “nothing will stop” his country developing nuclear power.

DOE backs $1.3bn loan for 845 MW wind project

The US Department of Energy will give a partial guarantee for a $1.3bn loan to support Oregon’s 845 MW Caithness Shepherds Flat wind project.

Its 338 GE turbines are to supply Southern California Edison in a 20-year fixed-price power purchase agreement. The loan would be funded by institutional investors and banks led by Citi, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, RBS Securities and WestLB Securities.

DOE now has $15.9bn in loan guarantees to 15 clean energy projects.


Argentina: A concession has been awarded to Geothermal One to build the country’s first geothermal plant, with a forecast capacity of 30 MW by 2015, in Copahue in Neuquen province, according to a local government spokesperson.

Argentina: Enarsa Energia and Gentersa have signed an agreement for a feasibility study for a tidal plant in the province of Santa Cruz, according to local media, which said the plant would cost $150m and have a capacity of 50 MW.

Bolivia: The government aims to triple its 3.3 GW capacity with six stations for exporting electricity to Brazil, Peru and Chile. A mix of hydro and thermal plants is planned, with thermal plants feeding Chile and hydro plants supplying Brazil and Peru.

Brazil: One of the 20 generators at the 14 GW Itaipu Brazilian-Paraguayan hydro plant has been taken off line for repairs. But power generation will be unaffected as the plant operates with only 18 of its units to maintain backup capacity.

Canada: Siemens has won an order for 72 of its 2.3 MW SWT-2.3-101 wind turbines for the Comber Wind Limited Partnership Project in Ontario. The purchaser is Brookfield Renewable Power Inc.

Chile: Renewables law penalizes hydro by only seeing projects under 20 MW as renewable, Pacific Hydro general manager Antonio Valdes has said. His firm is working on the 155 MW La Higuera and the 158 MW La Confluencia dams.

Ecuador: Japan is to jointly finance the Chachimbiro geothermal project, with an estimated potential capacity of 50 MW. Ecuador has requested a 30-year loan of $100m, said state agency Andes.

USA: CH2M HILL has completed a 535 MW, $700m combined-cycle natural gas fired plant in New York that can provide peaking power of 635 MW. The plant will also be able to run on low-sulphur fuel oil.

USA: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has delivered two replacement steam generators for San Onofre nuclear plant (SONGS) in California. The generators, for Unit 3, each measure nearly 7 metres in outer diameter, making them among the world’s largest.

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