Asia-Pacific

China delays power projects on environmental grounds

Power projects worth $14bn are among 30 major construction projects halted in China on environmental grounds. A petrochemical plant, a paper plant and two highway projects were also affected.

The projects were stopped by the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), previously seen as a very weak body. They were in violation of a government ruling that took effect in September 2003, which said that project construction could not begin until environmental assessment reports had been approved.

The biggest project halted was the Xilodu dam, being built by the China Three Gorges Project Corp. The dam and hydropower plant, sited on the Jinsha river, an upper section of the Yangtze, will be the second-largest hydropower station in China, after the Three Gorges.

Observers believed none of the 30 projects were likely to be cancelled, but told local news agencies that it was a good start that the environmental reports were being considered, because it would be likely to improve environmental protection measures by the project developers.

Mirant seeks public listing in 2005

Officials from Mirant Philippines Corp, the country’s largest IPP, want it to go public this year, says Philippines Energy Secretary Vincent Perez. He said Marcie Fuller, president and CEO of US-based parent Mirant Corp, wanted the sale to take place within the year. Previously Mirant Corp said it wanted to list 10 per cent of the stock of its Philippines subsidiary.

Perez said conditions were favourable: the stock market was doing “exceptionally well” and the listing of Semirara Mining had raised interest.

The Philippines is also considering an initial public offering for part of PNOC Energy Development (PNOC-EDC), a subsidiary of the state-owned Philippines National Oil Co. PNOC-EDC is expected to follow the model set by Petroc Corp, of which 40 per cent was sold to a single company and 20 per cent to the public.

Wood to power in Thailand

United Power Generation (UPG) has announced plans to invest $585m in an integrated reforestation and renewable energy project in Nakhon Ratchasima, northern Thailand.

The 300 MW biomass project was proposed last year and approved in early 2005. The generating plant will use around 1.7 million t of wood each year from local landowners. The plant will have government support as it qualifies as part of Thailand’s renewable energy portfolio.

UPG director Khomdej Shaweevong said $540m of investment would be for building the power plant, $30m would cover replanting and $15m would be for an irrigation system. Shaweevong holds a 51 per cent stake in the company and the remainder is owned by Steag Aktiengesellschaft of Germany and McKeown Development (Thailand) a subsidiary of US-based McKeown Development.

Pakistan wants power from coal

The Pakistan government is planning to focus on power generation from coal instead of hydropower, and is planning to provide support for the provinces to develop new coal fired power stations, reports Associated Press of Pakistan.

Liaqat Ali Jatoi, Federal Minister for Water and Power, told a meeting on coal reserves that Pakistan has coal reserves of several billion tones, and it was present in abundance in Sindh, especially in Thar, Sondha and Lakhra.

The minister said that a working group would be set up including the Ministry for Water and Power, the Petroleum and Natural Resources Ministry and the Sindh Coal Authority.

Northeast India increases capacity

India’s North Eastern Electric Power Company is planning to invest Rs38600 m ($883m) in three new power generation and transmission projects.

The projects are a 600 MW hydropower project in Kameng, Arunachal Pradesh, a 280 MW gas fired power station in Tripura and a transmission line to connect Tripura and Kopili.

The company has almost doubled its power generation since 2002, thanks to additional power from the Ranganadi hydropower project in Arunachal Pradesh and the Doyang project in Nagaland. The company currently exports 30 per cent of its generation outside its service area, paying dividends to its member states.

Indonesia plans power IPO

Power generating companies PT Indonesia Power and PT Pembankit Jawa Bali plan to launch initial public offerings in the second half of this year.

The plan is part of a programme set out by the two companies’ parent company, state-owned power provider PLN, intended to improve the performance of Indonesia’s power companies. According to the plan a third subsidiary, PT Comnet Plus, would also be offered, in the second part of 2006..

However, PLN president Edie Wiriono also said the company was not in a hurry to carry out the plan, and so far no agencies had been appointed to carry out the offering.


News digest

Azores: A third geothermal power plant will be completed in the Azores by the end of 2006, under a $25m contract signed with Ormat Technologies. Two Ormat plants are already in operation on the island.

Australia: $3bn ($2.4bn) of investment will be required to upgrade Queensland’s electricity system, according to Energex chief executive Gordon Jardin. He said labour and resource shortages would slow investment.

China: Fujian’s first waste to energy plant is ready for startup, Xinhua said. The state aims to develop 120 MW of waste to energy projects in the period 2006 to 2015.

India: A memorandum of understanding is expected for construction of a 2000 MW coal-fired station in Madhya Pradesh. The Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh governments would share the costs and the electricity produced.

India: The National Thermal Power Corp and Indian Oil Company are planning to set up a joint venture power generation company. IOC would provide fuel, enabling NTPC to diversify its power portfolio.

India: The government of Himachal Pradesh says it wants to exploit its 21 000 MW hydro potential. It is in talks with Brakel of the Netherlands to investigate projects of 1000 MW and will seek Clean Development Mechanism registration.

New Zealand: The Electricity Commission has decided not to issue tenders for reserve generation to meet winter demand, despite increased prices and low hydro levels. Suppliers said a repeat of earlier power crises was unlikely.

Pakistan: A consortium of Saudi Kanooz Group and Siemens Pakistan will take over management of the Karachi Electricity Supply Corp after offering a bid of Rs1.65 per share. Its total payment will be Rs20.24bn ($340m).

Pakistan: A Rs28m PV project for schools and mosques in rural areas has been approved.

Singapore: ABB China has won its first export order, from SP PowerGrid. It will provide autotransformers and shunt reactors in a $22m contract.

Thailand: Ratchaburi Electricity Generation Holding is to issue debentures worth Baht 7.5bn ($195m) to raise funds for new power stations, it has announced. New power projects can enter the Thai grid from 2011.

Vietnam: Shares in the Vinh Son and Song Hinh hydro plants worth $28m are being offered for sale. The shares represent 35 per cent of stock. The remainder is held by the government (60 per cent) and employees.

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