Nepal and India to increase power exports

Technical experts from Nepal and India have recommended that the two countries increase the quantity of power exchanged in order to meet shortages in the border areas. The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has said that a technical panel believes the power exchange should be raised to 150 MW from 50 MW.

An increase in power exports would become effective as soon as the two governments endorse the recommendation. Nepal in particular suffers severe power shortages as its peak hour demand exceeds its generating capacity by 80 MW. Under an agreement signed 27 years ago, the two countries exchange power at various points along their border.

Power shortages in Nepal are likely to ease over the next two years as several new power projects are commissioned. The country could even become a net exporter by 2002 when the 144 MW Kali Gandahi project is brought on line. The 60 MW Khimti plant and the 36 MW Bhote Koshi projects are due on line in 2000. Increasing exports to India would help Nepal to reduce its trade deficit with New Delhi.

Nepal has a hydropower potential of 83 GW.

Pakistan must move on IPP row

Analysts in Karachi have said that Pakistan’s new military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, must solve the energy industry tariff row if he is to solve the country’s economic problems. The independent power producers (IPPs) involved in the dispute have also demanded that tariff payments are based on market-based unified exchange rates.

Pervez’s government inherited the long-running dispute when it took power in a military coup in October. It has called the IPPs’ claims for a market-based unified exchange rate unjustified. Analysts have estimated that the dispute has resulted in a rise in project costs of 12-14 per cent.

IPP developers for 16 projects representing a total investment of over $5bn remain locked in the dispute with the Water and Power Development Authority over tariffs paid for the power they produce. The combined generating capacity of the IPPs will be 3580 MW when they are all complete – capacity which is vital to economic growth.

  • IPP Japan Power generating Co. will start commercial operation of its 135 MW heavy fuel oil fired power plant at Raiwind by January 2000.

    Bangladesh awarded ADB energy sector aid

    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is to provide Bangladesh with a $277m loan to finance power and gas transmission projects, but has called on the country to make energy sector reforms.

    The ADB will help Bangladesh finance projects to strengthen the transmission and distribution system in Dhaka, and is also planning to finance a gas transmission project that will supply natural gas to energy-starved western Bangladesh. However, the bank has urged Bangladesh to introduce reforms into the energy sector in order to reduce loses and to attract private investment. The ADB has also asked for a short-term action plan to improve the revenue collection of the Power Development Board and the Dhaka Electric Supply Authority.

    Bangladesh has a generating capacity of around 2290 MW and there is a power shortfall of around 200 MW.

    Paka upgrade

    Malaysian national utility TNB has awarded a contract to upgrade two GT13D gas turbines at its Paka power plant to ABB Alstom Power. The order is part of a major uprate programme and will enhance the performance and competitiveness of the plant.

    The two machines were commissioned in 1991 and have accumulated 50 000 equivalent operating hours each. ABB Alstom will equip each unit with new turbine blading and other components, resulting in higher efficiency and longer intervals between maintenance.

    India orders hydropower equipment from Europe

    India has ordered power generating equipment from European companies for two hydropower projects with a total capacity of 372 MW. In the state of Himachal Pradesh, Siemens KWU and VA Tech Hydro Vevey will supply the mechanical and instrumentation and control equipment for the Baspa II plant. In Maharashtra, Siemens KWU and Sulzer will extend the Khopoli plant by 72 MW.

    Siemens and VA Tech will supply, install and commission three generators rated at 100 MW to the Baspa II run-of-river plant. Commissioning will take place in early 2002.

    For the Khopoli plant, Siemens will supply the generators and the instrumentation and control equipment for three 24 MW units.

    News digest

    Australia:

    Melbourne-based Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd. has built and tested a solid oxide fuel cell that demonstrates that its second-generation fuel cell technology can be stacked for useful power output levels. The 1 kW stack was operated for 600 hours and a 25 kW test-bed unit is currently being constructed. The company hopes to be able to capture the fast growing distributed generation sector.

    China:

    Noell-KRC Energie und Umwelttechnik has been awarded a contract for the supply of equipment to China’s first large scale municipal waste incineration plant in Ningbo. The order for three 2-track grates, boiler, refractory lining and other parts was placed by the Ningbo Municipal and Rural Construction Committee, which will operate the waste-to-energy plant.

    Pakistan:

    Pakistan’s second nuclear power plant at Chashma, with a capacity of 300 MW, has been completed with the help of China and is expected to start operation in the first half of 2000. The two-loop pressurized water reactor was designed by the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute and was built by the China National Nuclear Corp.

    Philippines:

    Electric utility Meralco expects industrial prices for electricity in the Philippines to fall by 30 per cent next year following the implementation of deregulation in the country. Legislation expected to be passed by 2000 will open up the market to competition in generation and distribution, and will create a market-based pool price for wholesale power.

    Philippines:

    Pacific Hydro Ltd. has announced a one-for-one rights issue to raise $55.7m for the $150m Bakun River hydropower project. Pacific has a 50 per cent interest in the project for which it has agreed a US$-denominated long-term power purchase agreement with the Philippine government.

    Thailand:

    The privatization of the energy sector in 2000 is expected to raise up to $2.75bn for the government, according to the National Energy Policy Office (NEPO). Four state companies are scheduled for sell-off next year following the passing of the State Enterprises Corporation Act in November. The sale of a 55 per cent stake in the Ratchburi power plant alone is expected to raise $1.7bn.

    Vietnam:

    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $998 000 project preparation technical assistance grant to Electricity Viet Nam (EVN) for the Se-San 3 hydropower project. The 260 MW plant will be constructed under ‘best practice’ guidelines and will serve as a model for future hydropower development in the country.