Elektrim includes PSE in Polish powerex

Polish conglomerate Elektrim has agreed to include the National Power Grid (PSE) and the Warsaw Bourse in the group that will create Poland’s first power exchange. An Elektrim-led consortium was selected by the Polish treasury ministry in October over a consortium consisting of the PSE, the Warsaw Bourse and CeTO.

The treasury ministry was concerned about Elektrim’s dominant position in the consortium, and asked the group to include some of its competitors in its plans. The treasury currently controls both the stock exchange and the national grid and wants to take a 30 per cent stake in the new power exchange.

The consortium also includes Spain’s Endesa, Scandinavian energy broker Bergen Energi and the Amsterdam Power Exchange. Elektrim is reported to be in talks with Nord Pool about an equity involvement in the bourse.

The exchange is scheduled to go into operation in June 2000 and is part of Poland’s electricity privatization. Deputy treasury minister Jan Buczkowski said recently that privatization was necessary to raise capital for investment in the country’s electricity system.

Consortium signs Bui hydro agreement

A consortium of contractors led by the UK’s Brown and Root has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Volta River Authority (VRA) for the Bui hydroelectric project in Ghana. The agreement paves the way for several studies to be done, including an environmental impact assessment and geotechnical studies.

The memorandum covers a 20-month period during which a detailed review will be carried out for the proposed 400 MW project on the Black Volta river at Bui. The review will cover technical design, legal issues, financing and impact mitigation.

Other members of the consortium are Alstom Hydro, Grupo Dragados SA of Spain and South Korea’s Hyundai. The project will be developed on either a build-own-operate or a build-own-operate-transfer basis by the VRA and consortium members. Project implementation could start in May 2001.

The project partners will seek private sector, bilateral and multilateral financing.

African transmission project financed

A project to develop power transmission infrastructure in southern Africa has been awarded a $37m untied loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), formerly the Export-Import Bank of Japan (Jexim). The Mozambique Transmission Company (Motraco) and JBIC signed an agreement in October for the loan, which was partly financed by two commercial banks.

The project involves the construction, maintenance and management of two power transmission lines stretching from South Africa across Swaziland to Mozambique. It will be executed by Motraco, a company set up by the public power companies of the three countries to integrate and enhance the efficiency of the region’s energy system.

JBIC is contributing 70 per cent of the loan with the remaining 30 per cent being financed by two commercial banks – Sumitomo Bank and the Industrial Bank of Japan. The project will supply power to an aluminium smelter in Mozambique and will be an integral part of economic recovery in the country after years of civil war.

The JBIC was formed on October 1 after the merger of the Jexim and the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund of Japan (OECF).

Oman privatization

The government of the Sultanate of Oman has appointed consultants Mott MacDonald as the technical advisors on the privatization of the Oman electricity sector. The company will be part of a consortium led by ABN Amro Bank that will assist the government with the sale of assets, the development of a new regulatory framework and tendering for new generating capacity.

The consortium will initially review the performance and value of existing assets, define new plant requirements and develop a new regulatory framework and electricity sector structure. The sale of assets and the development of new plant will then take place.

Mott MacDonald will carry out an asset valuation of the entire sector.

Kosovo contract

Danish aid organization Danida has awarded Danish Powerlines Joint Venture a DKK38m ($5.4m) contract to start the rebuilding of Kosovo’s power distribution network.

The work includes the construction of over 5000 electricity posts and towers and the installation of new transformer stations, and will start immediately.

Danish Powerlines Joint Venture is led by ABB Electric A/S.


News digest

Czech Republic:

Canadian power company Northland Power Inc. is negotiating with the Czech government to build a brown coal fired power plant in the Homutovska region.The $280m, 250 MW power plant would be the second largest investment in the country’s energy sector. Northland Power is reported to be seeking a ten year exemption on taxes if it constructs the plant.

Czech Republic:

The IEA’s governing body has said that the Czech Republic is able and willing to meet the requirements of the International Energy programme and so can become a member of the IEA. It said that the country has made good progress in moving towards a market-based energy policy.

Macedonia:

FYR Macedonia has begun the construction of a 400 kV power line linking the electricity transmission network of Macedonia with that of Bulgaria. The 110 km line is estimated to cost around $23m.It will help to improve the stability of the region’s transmission network and increase the exchange of electricity between Balkan countries.

Nigeria:

The state-run National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) is to be broken up with a view to future privatization. NEPA will be divided into separate generating, distribution and transmission firms and a regulator set up, possibly within 12 months.

Palestine:

ABB Alstom Power has booked a turnkey contract worth $120m from an Enron subsidiary to build a 140 MW combined cycle power plant near Gaza, Palestine. The plant will be equipped with four GT10 gas turbines, four heat recovery boilers and two steam turbines. The contract includes an eight year maintenance agreement.

Uganda:

Parliament has passed a law allowing private sector participation in the electricity sector. The bill was passed in October and aims to increase efficiency in generation, transmission and distribution. The state-owned Uganda Electricity board (UEB) has failed to cope with rising demand for power in the country, resulting in daily power cuts.

Ukraine:

Energoatom has awarded a consortium of Belgatom, Ansaldo Nucleare and SGN a contract for the design and turnkey supply of a treatment installation for the liquid waste produced by the Chernobyl power plant. The project is being financed by the EBRD under the international assistance programme for safety improvement of nuclear installations in eastern countries. The plant will enter operation in 2001.

Uzbekistan:

ABB Alstom Power is reported to be carrying out a feasibility study for a project in Mubarek. The 60 MW plant would be repowered with a 100 MW chp unit if the project is approved.