ADB to promote renewable energy

Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) is to conduct a study into its energy policy to promote greater use of clean energy in the Asian Pacific region and boost the region’s energy security.

Backed by a $1m technical assistance grant from the US, the study will address environmental incentives such as the clean development mechanism, the promotion of private sector participation, and expanding the role of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and demand-side management.

The new ADB strategy, which aims to guide energy sector operations for the next five years, acknowledges that the adoption of cleaner technologies is still slow within the region while developing economies in the region are being forced to borrow money to finance oil and gas imports.

A team of energy specialists will develop and recommend strategies for ADB to adopt.

China builds its first super high voltage line

Construction of China’s first ultra high voltage (UHV) transmission line has begun with approval from the relevant government authorities.

The proposed 654 km line will connect Shanxi, Henan and Hubei Provinces via the cities of Nanyang and Jingmen.

Under development by the State Power Grid, the national transmission utility, the pilot line will deliver energy at AC voltages of 1 mV. The line is part of a programme to connect the resource rich west of the country with the demand heavy eastern coastline.

MHI in fuel cell-micro turbine technology break through

Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has tested a novel gas-fuelled solid oxide fuel cell-micro gas turbine (SOFC-MGT) combined-cycle power generation system, a first for the country.

MHI has been developing the system since 2004 at the company’s Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works having been commissioned by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

The company stated that the system, which uses a ceramic SOFC with its exhaust containing unreacted hydrogen and hot air fed to the MGT, achieves power generation efficiency above 50 per cent.

MHI also confirmed that efficiencies of 60 – 70 per cent were possible when using reformed natural gas.

Thai proposal woos IPPs

Independent Power Producers (IPPs) have received a boost from the Thai government with a proposal to extend power purchase agreements between the private sector generators and state-owned national utility the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).

The five-year proposed extension will see EGAT purchase the power to 2020 from a new round of IPP projects, the bids for which are expected in the first half of 2007.

The move is expected to increase private investment to the sector by a minimum of Bt10bn ($267m) and attract more foreign power players, said the chairman of EGAT Yongyuth Wichaidit.

Bids are expected to be invited from February 2007.

Mirant to sell Philippine assets

Mirant Corporation has announced a strategic plan to auction its Philippines and Caribbean businesses, with the proceeds expected to go on a share buy back programme.

Mirant has ownership interests in three generating facilities in the Philippines, the 1218 MW Sual plant, the 735 MW Pagbilao plant and a 20 per cent stake in the 1500 MW Ilijan plant. Together the stakes represent a combined capacity of 2203 MW.

The auction-based sales are due to close by mid-2007 given regulatory approval, and are expected to raise some $2bn in revenue. AIG, Mitsubishi and China Light & Power are all reported to be interested in bidding.

IFC to boost investment on Vietnam generation

A deal with the International Finance Committee (IFC) has been agreed with Vietnam that should encourage private investment to the country’s energy sector.

Under the terms of the agreement, the finance organisation is to review the legal framework for foreign build, operate, transfer (BOT) contracts. IFC will draft bidding forms for BOT projects and assist the country’s Ministry of Industry to invite bids for generation projects worth $3bn annually.

With demand growth set to reach 14 per cent over the next five years, the country plans to attract private investment in order to maintain strong economic growth.

IFC has invested an average of $50-75m annually in Vietnam over recent years and plans to double that, to somewhere between $100m and $150m, over the next three years, said IFC executive vice president Lars Thunell.

News digest

Australia: Acciona Enerrgy is to install a 200 MW wind farm in the state of Victoria with a total investment of €238m. The Waubra farm is due for completion in 2008.

Bangladesh: The Asian Development Bank is to provide some $465m in finance for the Bangladesh Power Division to improve the power infrastructure and distribution system.

China: Siemens has won a contract to supply the Waigaoqiao 3 and Daihai coal-fired plants with I&C systems. Commissioning of both plants is due in 2007.

China: Mitsubishi Electric Corp has set up a joint venture to produce high voltage substation switchgear. Chinese partners Baoding Tianwei group will hold a 10 per cent interest.

Hong Kong: A pilot SOx, NOx and particulate emissions trading platform is to be implemented for thermal power plants in the Pearl River Delta region between the island state and China’s Guangdong Province.

India: Wind technology company Suzlon has announced plans to invest some $322m in setting up manufacturing facilities in the country in order to increase export potential.

Indonesia: Close to 60 investors have expressed interest in developing 10 coal-fired generation stations in Indonesia, part of an $8bn programme to deliver 10 GW of additional capacity. The government plans to open bidding in October on a further 30 power projects.

Indonesia: Itochu Corporation plans to develop the world’s largest geothermal power plant in Indonesia’s North Sumatra. The $600m project will have three generators producing 330 MW and is due for completion in 2009.

Indonesia: PLN and Malaysia’s TNB have agreed to complete cross-border transmission links between West Kalimantan and Sarawak by 2009. The 150 kV, 231 km line will cost $38.5m.

Korea: Millennium Electric has signed a development agreement with Korea’s HQMC for the development of a $150m solar-PV project with a capacity of 120 MW. The project is due on-line by 2009.

Myanmar: China Sinohydro Corp together with Thailand’s EGAT are to develop a 600 MW hydro station on the Thanlwin river in Myanmar. The $1bn project is the first of five planned.

Philippines: Twelve investors have expressed interest in bidding for a 25-year contract to manage the country’s national grid, says the state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Corp.