India approves power modernization plans

The Electricity Bill 2001 has now been approved by the Indian cabinet. The legislation sets out to update the country’s outdated power laws and restructure the power industry.

Government spokesman, N. J. Krisna said that the bill would seek to reform the bankrupt state utilities, encourage investment, end shortages, cut red tape and ease back on subsidies. The legislation currently in place consists of the Indian Electricity Act of 1910, the Electricity Supply Act of 1948 and the Electricity Regulatory Commission Act of 1998.

The draft legislation seeks to reform the state electricity boards by making transmission services an independent activity. The states will retain control of generation and distribution activities or privatize them as they see fit.

Asia Consulting Group consultant Vishjeet Kanwarpal commented that the legislation is a positive move for both consumers and producers and will also help to form an even playing field.

Regulators will also be looking to prevent power theft which accounts for much of the country’s transmission and distribution losses. Tariffs have also proved to be a sore point in power purchase agreements in India, most notably with the Enron’s Dabhol project.

Napocor lists bidders

The Philippines National Power Corporation (Napocor) has pre-qualified around six foreign transmission firms for Stage 2 of the $86.4m Leyte-Bohol Interconnection project. Bidding was set to commence in September.

Among the pre-qualified bidders are ABB Inc. (Switzerland), Jyoti Structures Ltd. (India) with Black and Veatch International (USA), Kanematsu (Japan) with Hyundai Engineering Inc (Korea), Larse and Toubro (India), KEC International (India) with Alstom (France) and Xian Electric Machinery and Partners (China).

The list has been sent to the project funders, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, who extended the funds under its 21st Yen Loan Package to the government.

Stage 2 involves upgrading the interconnection to 138 kV, and is due to be completed by April 2003. The transmission line will run for 130 km on steel towers from Ormoc substation to Maasin substation with the installation of power transformers in Ubay and Maasin substations.

M-co signs Singapore deal

M-co has set a world first by entering into a joint venture with the regulator of the Singapore electricity market to operate the country’s new wholesale electricity market. The firm will work with the Energy Market Authority of Singapore to put in place a new wholesale market later this year.

Chief executive of M-co, Philip Bradley, expressed his satisfaction with the deal and said, “we expect to expand further”. Khoo Chin Hean of the Energy Market Authority said he was “pleased to join a partner as experienced as M-co to implement Singapore’s new wholesale electricity market”.

3G tendering concluded

International tendering for the world’s largest hydropower project has concluded with the signing for two computer control systems for the left-bank power station at the Three Gorges dam. Commissioned by the China Yantze River Three Gorges Project Development Corporation (CTGPC), the Three Gorges International Tendering Co. started organizing the bidding in1997.

ABB Automation and Alstom clinched contracts with CTGPC to supply computer supervision and control systems for the cascade dispatch centre.

Budgetary support sought

The Indian Finance Ministry has been petitioned for budgetary support for the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to add 10 000 MW by 2012 to the 20 000 MW power generation capacity addition target for the 10th and 11th Plans.

The total target for the private sector has been fixed at 14 000 MW and 26 000 MW for the 10th and 11th plans respectively.

Meanwhile, the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. has identified six power transmission projects for private sector participation valued at a total of around $2.62bn.

Australia steps on the green power

Publicly listed softwood plantation timber company, Aupine, is planning to build a 60 MW green energy plant at Tarpeens in South Australia. Costing around A$90m ($46m), the facility is to be commissioned by the summer of 2003.

The plant will supply the firm with power for its manufacturing activities and shield it from the high electricity prices experienced in the South Australian market during the summer. The cogeneration plant will burn a mixture of waste products, forest residues and municipal waste.

News digest

Australia: The government has commissioned a task force to study the electricity market of Western Australia with the intention of implementing reforms. Energy minister Eric Ripper said that while the privatization of Western Power was not an option, the region would benefit from further competition. Recommendations are expected on dividing Western Power into separate enterprises, increasing reliability and safety of supply and establishing an electricity code.

India: The US international development agency, US Aid, has issued a solicitation for conducting a feasibility study for a 100 MWe coal based IGCC demonstration plant in India.

Japan: A power plant that dates back to the 1950s will have one generator unit replaced by a high voltage Powerformer system from Alstom. The equipment will be supplied to the Katsurazawa hydropower plant in the town of Hokkaido. Costing around $4m, the delivery is expected to take place in February 2003.

New Zealand: Vortec Energy has decided to stop further activity on a NZ$23m ($10m) diffuser augmented wind turbine project. The diffuser technology was purchased from aircraft manufacturer Grumman Technology, but failed to evolve in to a viable commercial turbine. Meanwhile Christchurch based firm Windflow Technology is seeking to raise NZ$3m for a prototype two blade turbine incorporating the teetering hub design and a patented torque limiting gearbox.

Pakistan: The Asian Development Bank has made an agreement with the government to deregulate the power sector within five to seven years.The plan aims to give 13m electricity consumers the option of choosing their own supplier.

Philippines: The Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) has approved the plan of PNOC-Energy Development Corp. to obtain an official development grant from Japan to finance a 40 MW wind power facility in Ilocos Norte. Costing around $54m, the project is expected to be financed by the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation.

Taiwan: The US power firm, NRG Energy, announced that it has acquired around 60 per cent of Hsin yu Energy Development Co. Ltd. of Taiwan. NRG is primarily engaged in acquisition, development, construction, ownership and operation of power generation facilities. The firm currently owns 21 822 MW of generating assets.

Vietnam: The state will spend $272m on a 273 MW hydroelectric power plant, Se San 3, set to be built in Gia Lai province. With an annual output of 1127m kWh, the plant will use water from Yaly’s reservoir when completed in 2007.