Korea to decide location of nuclear waste repository

Four regions in South Korea have bid to host the repository for low and intermediate level radioactive waste the national government plans to have built by 2008.

It is expected to cost between won800bn ($780m) and won1tn to build, with the total rising further if an island site is selected. After the government has assesed the four bids, a national referendum will be held in November to decide where the repository will be built.

The project has been in the offing since 1986 but plans have never progressed this far. The government has promised won300bn of incentives to the successful region to ensure that the project finally becomes a reality.

The South Korean government also has ambitions to construct a repository for high level radioactive waste by 2016. The plan is in line with the country’s new won309bn public research institute aimed at developing an experimental nuclear fusion reactor by August 2007.

EVN outlines $1.65bn investment

Vietnam’s state electricity provider, Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), will invest $1.65bn in new power plant construction to help bridge the generation shortfall expected from now until 2010.

The company, which produces 97 per cent of the country’s power, struggled to meet demand this year after a drought affected the output of its hydropower plants. It is expected to enounter the same problems over the next five years and has introduced measures to increase the water levels in the hydropower plant reservoirs.

Between 2006 and 2007, 18 steam turbines will be added to EVN’s power plant portfolio. By 2008, a further eight steam turbines and two boilers with a capacity of 1320 MW will enter operation along with a 600 MW natural gas fired power plant.

EVN will also explore the possibility of purchasing electricity from China, potentially at levels escalating from 770 GWh in 2006 to 1900 GWh in 2008.

Australian power consumption growth hits new high

Australian energy consumption has risen faster than ever before, according to the latest statistics released by the Energy Supply Association of Australia.

The national rate of increase for the period between 2003 and 2004 was recorded at around five per cent, while the country’s installed generation capacity grew by just one per cent. Reflecting strong economic growth, the country’s eastern coast saw the highest rise in electricity consumption with an average rise of six per cent between 2002 and 2003. Power growth in Western Australia was recorded at 4.1 per cent. By comparison, national electricity consumption grew by 3.4 per cent in the period between 2002 and 2003, while between 2001 and 2002, the figure was at just 1.9 per cent.

The supply association’s chief executive officer, Brad Page, said that Australia had an adequate supply, but new supply capacity would be required in the near future. Page predicted that the Australia would have to secure A$30bn ($22bn) to ensure electricity and gas supply over the next 15 years.

Australia currently has an installed capacity of 45 GW.

PSALM speeds asset sale schedule

The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) has said it aims to have sold 50 per cent of the Phillippine’s state owned generation assets by the end of the year. By January 2006, PSALM aims to have sold more than 1300 MW of generating capacity to private investors.

Under the revised privitization schedule, PSALM plans to have sold the assets of Napocor by the end of 2006. It is currently in the process of finalizing power purchase and operation and maintenance contracts to make the assets more attractive.

Government offers incentives to speed Dhabol restart

A group of India’s senior government ministers has granted ‘mega project’ status to the Dhabol power plant to encourage the company charged with completing it, RGPPL, to have it in commercial operation by the end of 2006.

Now labelled a mega project, the problem-hit $3bn project will enable RGPPL to benefit by importing the 2.1 million tonnes of LNG required to fire the 2184 MW plant without paying the usual five per cent duty.

The government also promised to waive any capital gains tax that RGPPL, a company created by GAIL and National Thermal Power Corporation, would have been liable to pay following the transfer of Dhabol’s assets.

News digest

Bangladesh: A new 450 MW power plant will sell electricity at the country’s lowest ever electricity tariff offered by an IPP. An global consortium will build, own and operate the plant at a cost of $299m.

Cambodia: A consortium led by Wärtsilä has won two contracts for power plants on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. The plants will together deliver 60.6 MW to the national grid and will be fired by heavy fuel oil.

China: A 2400 MW coal fired power plant is to be developed by the mining firm PT Bukit Asam and China Huadian Corporation after $2.25bn funding was received from national banks.

China: Alstom will supply some of the largest bulb units in the world to the Qiaogong hydropower station. The €35m ($43m) contract includes four 57 MW bulb turbine generator units with a runner diameter of 7.4 m.

China: Datang International Power Generation Company has been given consent to construct three power plants with a combined capacity of 4800 MW. The projects will cost a total of $2.6bn.

China: South Korea’s state owned power company, KEPCO, will initially invest $7.68m in a 49 MW Chinese wind farm. The $57.5m project signals the Korean company’s entry into the Chinese wind energy market.

India: A joint venture between Tata Power and Damodar Valley Corporation will construct a 1000 MW thermal power plant in Jharkhand, India. Tata will hold a 74 per cent stake in the $913m project.

Indonesia: The country’s state owned coal mining company is to construct two new power plants with foreign consortia at a cost of around $1bn. Together, the plants will generate 3600 MW.

New Zealand: The state owned Mighty River Power is to develop a NZ$300m ($212.5m) wind farm in partnership with Palmerston North City Council. The project will have a capacity of around 150 MW.

Pakistan: The federal government has decided to build two 450 MW plants to provide power to the Water and Power Development Authority system and a 300 MW plant to increase power supply to the Karachi Electric Supply Corp.

South Korea: A 550 MW power plant built with foreign finance has entered operation. The $354m LNG fuelled project in the city of Suncheon, is owned by the Hong Kong based Meiya Power Company.

Sri Lanka: The construction of Sri Lanka’s largest ever power project, due to begin this month, will reduce electricity charges by around 32 per cent when the final phase enters commercial operation in 2012. The $380m plant will generate 300 MW.