Vietnam to double power capacity by 2010

Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) is set to double its power output by 2010 to 16 GW at a total cost of $25bn.

One project that the country will focus on immediately is the construction of the 715 MW gas-fired combined cycle power plant in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau. The $480m project, for which $50m was financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), will be implemented under a build operate transfer scheme. ADB will also issue a political risk guarantee of up to $25m. The contract is between Vietnam’s ministry of Industry and the Mekong Energy Company – a company set up especially for the project.

Capital for the project has been made available as loans from the World Bank’s lending arm, IDA, which issued $225m along with funds from the government totalling $123m.

EVN is to spend $1bn a year up to 2010 on the construction of plants. The programme will consist of 16 hydropower plants totalling 2400 MW, several coal-fired power plants totalling 3900 MW, and gas-fired plants of 5700 MW.

Sri Lanka approves 300 MW coal plant

The Sri Lankan state has agreed the construction of the country’s first coal fired plant. The 300 MW unit will be located at Clappenberg, Trincomalee with private sector participation.

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) says the average fuel cost per unit of thermal power generation will drop from the present Rs6.50 ($0.07) to Rs2.13 by 2010 if the plant becomes operational by 2006.

Elsewhere, the country’s power and energy ministry is looking to meet the nation’s demand through biomass power. The ministry will seek contracts for 15 biomass-fired power plants with a combined total of 7.5 MW.

Some 3000 hectares of surrounding woodland will provide fuel for the projects and the World Bank will grant $400/kW upon installation.

World Bank vetoes Laos dam

The World Bank has refused to extend a partial risk guarantee to Laos’ controversial Nam Theun 2 hydropower project until it receives additional support from the international donor community and environmental groups.

The Laos government and investors in 1995 asked the bank to support the programme with a risk guarantee. The bank required the project to satisfy poverty reduction and environmental protection standards.

The plan was to build a 1070 MW dam on the Nakai Plateau, 250 km east of Vientianne and sell 995 MW to Thailand.

CLP shelves Indian projects

Hong Kong’s CLP Power International, which acquired PowerGen India Private Limited, has put its planned construction and expansion projects for Mangalore (1000 MW) and Pagathuan (655 MW) on the back burner to avoid capital risk.

The Pagathuan project, which was taken over from Powergen last year, is to be called Gujarat Pagathuan Energy Corp (GPEC). GPEC has already bought land for the project but is in no rush to pursue the project through, even though it has government backing. GPEC has also refrained from signing a power purchase agreement, which is likely to take two years. CLP has decided on a similar approach for Mangalore.

AGL acquires $449m Pulse

The Australian Gas Light Company has successfully bought Pulse Energy for A$801m ($449m) plus A$79m in working capital.

AGL plans to raise A$325m through an institutional placement to partially fund the purchase. The placement is to be underwritten by UBS Warburg.

Meanwhile, Tractebel has bid for the Loy Yang power station in Victoria. Tractebel will talk to the three current owners – CMS Energy, which owns 50 per cent, and NRG Energy and Horizon energy with 25 per cent each. Both CMS and Horizon have been keen to sell their shares for a number of months.

IDBI rejects Dabhol revival

Proposals from Maharashtra to buy power from Dabhol Power Co. have been turned down by the Industrial Development Bank of India due to a shortfall in their bid to acquire 50 per cent instead of the requested 75 per cent of the project.

Initial proposals from Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) indicated a unit price of Rs2.25 ($0.046), but the IDBI has refused the offer. Officials close to the deal said that an offer of at least Rs2.60-2.70 should be put on the table.

IDBI is the key domestic lender to the $2.9bn, 2184 MW Dabhol project located in the western state of Maharashtra. Enron holds 65 per cent of Dabhol, while MSEB owns 15 per cent.

News digest

Australia: Western Australia gas utility AlintaGas started its long-awaited move into the state’s retail electricity market, unveiling a A$100m ($56m) power joint venture with Alcoa World Alumina Australia.

Australia: The future of a nuclear reactor project near Sydney has been thrown into doubt following the discovery of an earthquake fault line on its construction site. The fault was discovered by geologists in the excavation stage of construction of the A$286m ($163m) reactor.

India: The National Thermal Power Corporation has sought the government’s permission to go public in order to part finance its new projects. The corporation could get a premium of at least three times the face value of the equity, say analysts.

Indonesia: Finalizing the renegotiation of power purchase agreements and completing the new electricity bill were seen as strategic steps in a bid to lure foreign investment to Indonesia’s power sector. The country needs $28.5m pledged into the market to meet growing demand.

Indonesia: State-owned oil and gas company Pertamina said a US court had issued a ruling that would allow it to recover part of the $520m frozen by the Bank of America at the request of power producer Karaha Bodas Co. Karaha asked the Bank to freeze funds in a bid to collect an outstanding payment over a power purchase agreement.

Indonesia: The government and independent power producer PT Paiton Energy have reached an agreement on purchasing prices for the Paiton I and Paiton II power projects. The agreement ends a four-year power contract dispute between PT Paiton Energy and state-owned electricity company PT PLN.

Japan: Three major Japanese trading houses, Mitsui, Mitsubishi and Sumitomo aim to receive a total of ¥3.17tn ($2.7bn) worth of plant construction orders in 2002. The companies anticipate growing demand for power plants and other facilities, mainly in China and southeast Asia.

Japan: FuelCell Energy and Marubeni announced the first siting of a Direct FuelCell power plant for a municipal wastewater treatment facility in Japan at Fukuoka. Marubeni will install a 250 kW DFC power plant in the first quarter of 2003.

Philippines: President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said a review of the power generation contracts of state utility National Power Corp. with 35 independent power producers showed most could be renegotiated for a possible reduction of electricity rates.

Sri Lanka: Aggreko International Power Projects has signed a contracts with Ceylon Electricity Board to provide 200 MW of power in eight locations around Colombo.