Around the Globe: Asia-Pacific

New Zealand faces summer of supply problems

Parts of New Zealand will face power supply restrictions next summer, according to Transpower New Zealand. The city of Auckland and nearby areas will be the worst hit.

Transpower, which owns and operates the national grid, recently issued a grid security warning notice for summer 2001 due to the likelihood of not being able to maintain voltage on critical transmission busbars. Energy minister Pete Hodgson has established a task force to monitor the situation.

The situation has arisen due to a combination of weather-related factors and plant availability problems. A 400 MW combined cycle plant at Otahuhu is currently out of service and will remain so over the summer due to a generator transformer failure. In addition, low inflows to the Waikato river catchment area has affected output at hydropower plants as well as at thermal plants which rely on the river for cooling.

Transmission constraints in central North Island are also a problem. Hodgson said that he expects the industry to handle the situation without government intervention.

New CCGT at Kuala Langat

A subsidiary of Malaysian Resources Corp. Bhd. (MRCB) is to construct a new combined cycle (CCGT) power plant at Kuala Langat, Malaysia. Sepang Power Sdn Bhd. will build the 710 MW plant at a total cost of around RM2bn ($526m).

Sepang Power signed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with Siemens AG and Siemens Power Generation Asia Pacific on October 6, 2000. Financing arrangements for the project have yet to be made.

The CCGT plant will be based around Siemens’ V94.3A gas turbine. It will initially be operated in open cycle mode in mid-2002, and will be extended to combined cycle operation in 2003.

Under the EPC contract, Siemens will design, engineer, construct and commission the plant on a turnkey basis. It will also provide after-sales services.

  • Independent power producer Teknologi Tenaga Perlis Consortium (TTPC) has awarded a RM1.2bn turnkey contract to Alstom Power Asia Pacific to build a combined cycle power plant in Perlis. The 675 MW plant will start up in 2003.

Power ministry must resolve financial issues

The Indian government has ordered its power ministry to resolve issues preventing the early financial closure of 20 private power projects with a total capacity of 10 000 MW.

Disagreements between lenders and Indian financial institutions have held up progress on the projects which the government see as key to resolving the country’s power crisis.

The power projects affected include the 520 MW Ramagundam project and the 1040 MW Vizag plant. The government wants to see financial closure of these and 17 other projects by March 31, 2001.

One of the key issues preventing financial closure is the refusal of the State Bank of India (SBI) to allow sharing of its first charge on the revenues of the State Electricity Boards with the lenders to the projects.

Callide financing milestone

InterGen has announced that it has completed the debt financing for a 50 per cent stake in Australia’s Callide C coal-fired facility. The Queensland-based plant is expected to be one of the lowest marginal cost generators in the country.

Callide C is an 840 MW plant being developed by InterGen and CS Energy. It is an extension of an existing plant and will enter commercial operation in May 2001.

The use of advanced boiler technology at Callide C will enable the plant to be the cleanest coal-based generating facility in Queensland as well as the lowest marginal cost generator in the state. It is being constructed under a lump sum contract by a consortium which includes Mitsui and Toshiba.

Retail JV to target Japan

Showa Shell Sekiyu, Marubeni Corp. and Orix Corp. are to form a joint venture to sell electricity to the retail market in Japan. The group will take advantage of advanced technologies and will undercut Tokyo Electric Power Co.

The joint venture will initially target commercial consumers such as hotels and office buildings. It plans to install small-scale generating units, such as microturbines and diesel generating sets, and hopes to be able to undercut Tokyo Electric Power Co. and other utilities by ten per cent.

Initially, the venture will lease the generating sets to building owners, and will operate and maintain the units on behalf of clients. Eventually it hopes to construct its own generation facilities and sell power via utility power lines.

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