Energy agency set up to avert crisis

A new energy agency is to be created by the government of the Philippines in an effort to attract and coordinate the private investment required to avert a looming power crisis in the country.

The energy agency’s first task will be to develop a plan that will outline all strategies to ensure a sufficient power supply until 2010. The action to create an emergency agency came in spite of the country’s energy secretary predicting a lower than expected shortfall in capacity.

An earlier plan had called for 8630 MW to be added before 2014, whereas the latest department figures suggest that between 4000 MW and 4500 MW will be required.

According to the energy secretary, around 2850 MW of this will have to be built before 2010, concentrated mostly in Visayas and Mindanao.

KESC owners pledge $800m investment

Around $800m is to be invested in new power generation capacity for Pakistan’s recently privatized energy company, Karachi Electric Supply Corporation, according to its chief executive officer.

The new owners have also earmarked Rs4.34bn ($72.5m) for improving KESC’s operational infrastructure. The company has been running at a loss for years and under-investment has led to frequent power shortages.

Pakistan’s government received Rs15.9bn for relinquishing a 73 per cent stake and management control in a company it has been trying to privatize since the mid-1990s. The successful consortium in the bid process included Hasan Associates, Al-Jomaih Holding Company of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan’s Premier Mercantile Services.

White elephant turns gold

A consortium bidding to build an aluminium smelting plant in Malaysia has offered to buy all of the power generated by the Bakun hydroelectric dam, the country’s largest power plant.

The consortium, made up of companies from China and Malaysia, said it would pay ¢2/kWh for the entire 2400 MW output of the plant. Its proposed smelting plant is projected to consume less than half that amount, at 1000 MW. The consortium plans to sell the surplus capacity to companies from China.

Bakun was a controversial project that many analysts said was more about prestige than practicality, given the fact that Malaysia now has a surplus of power in the region. In the face of environmental criticism and project delays, the government maintained that the project is part of a policy to diversify its energy mix.

Bangladesh counts on coal power

Coal will play a vital role in Bangladesh’s future energy supply as it aims to reduce its reliance on natural gas and make use of the recent discovery of coalfields in the northwest of the country.

A draft policy compiled by the government has recommended that the northwest region should become the country’s ‘powerhouse’ and that 10-15m tonnes of coal per year are produced.

It is the first time that such a policy has been created and the government has recommended that by 2016 the country should have established between 1000 MW and 1500 MW of coal fired generation capacity.

India promotes pyramid project

Construction of the world’s first renewable power plant that uses solar and wind energy together in a unique pyramid structure to produce electricity as well as drinking water has started in India.

Singapore-based MSC Power Corporation is developing the so-called perceptual pyramid power plant near Pune, India, at a cost of Rs450m ($10m). Spread across three acres, the power plant will generate 5 MW of electricity when it enters operation in May 2006.

The pyramid-like power plant, with four side frames, will contain at least four heating layers and a central wind turbine. MSC said it planned to create further pyramid plants in India, with capacities of 10 MW, 18 MW and 36 MW.

Vietnam makes New Year power industry resolutions

Electricity of Vietnam has pledged to invest over VND37bn ($2.3bn) in 2006 on building new generation capacity, bringing forward the start-up dates of projects already under construction and ensuring greater grid stability by commissioning new power transmission projects.

The Phu My power plant will have its capacity increased by 100 MW and an extra 60 MW will be added to the Ba Ria Vung Tau plant. Investments will also be made to raise the capacity at the Yaly and Sesan 3 hydroelectric projects.

A number of 110 kV and 220 kV transmission lines will be built this year, including a line that will enable the country to purchase power from southern China. EVN’s general director said the company was prepared to invest in 32 power projects over the next 12 months.

News digest

Australia: Energy company Alinta has placed a €70m ($84.5m) order with Alstom for two 172 MW GT13E2 gas turbines for the first stage of a cogeneration facility at Alcoa’s Wagerup alumina refinery.

Australia: GE Energy is to supply ten Jenbacher generator sets for a new 10.6 MW power plant that will use waste coal mine gas pumped from an active coal mine in the state of Queensland.

Bangladesh: Norway is to play a role in infrastructure improvement projects after its national Agency for Development agreed to provide Bangladesh with Kr68m ($10m), 50 per cent as a grant and the remainder as an interest free loan.

China: China Southern Power Grid is to build a 2000 km, 800 kV extra high tension direct current transmission line by 2010, which will transmit between 5000 MW and 6400 MW.

China: The world’s largest Corex gas turbine combined cycle power plant, to be located in Shanghai, will feature technology supplied by GE Energy and Oil and Gas.

India: The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership has opened an office in New Delhi to help improve access to energy for rural communities in South Asia.

Indonesia: The government’s latest energy policy will encourage greater use of varied types of gas and coal as necessary alternatives to oil for electricity generation.

Korea: Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Company has ordered two GE Frame 6B gas turbines that will each produce 42 MW for a new cogeneration plant being built in Yeochun City.

Laos: Construction has started of the $1.25bn Nam Theun 2 hydropower dam in Laos, which will export power to 17 provinces in Thailand when it enters operation in 2009.

Malaysia: Tenaga Nasional Berhad will this year invest between Rm200m ($52.6m) and Rm300m on improving its substation network.

Malaysia: The first installation of GE’s new distributed control system will take place at a 100 MW gas fired combined cycle power plant currently being developed by Sepangar Bay Power Corporation.

Philippines: The local subsidiary of German company Steag has secured $210m from a consortium of international banks to finance the construction of a power plant in Mindanao.

Thailand: The use of hydropower and coal in the country’s generation mix will increase by at least 50 per cent of total fuel demand over the next 15 years, according to the country’s energy minister.