Philippines plans fresh grid sell-off

A fifth attempt is to be made to find a buyer for the National Transmission Corp, the Philippines’s high voltage network owner and operator.

Earlier attempts had failed because of questions over profitability, but the government hopes a new tariff structure in place since June last year will make the company more attractive.

The Philippines government has already sold eight power plants since 2004, and hopes eventually to dispose of a further 31 plants belonging to the National Power Corp (Napocor). The first on the block will be the 600 MW Masinloc plant.

The generating and transmission assets are expected to jointly raise up to $5bn, required to pay off debt owed by Napocor and to make planned investments of $850m in the next five years.

Indonesia-South Korea tie-up to bear seven energy projects

Seven energy projects in Indonesia, representing $3.3bn of investment in the country, could be jointly developed with Indonesian and South Korean companies.

Indonesia’s minister for energy and mineral resources, Purnomo Yusgiantoro, said Korea Western Power and local mining firm PT Tambang Batu Bara Bukit Asam would build a 400 MW gas fired power plant, while Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company would carry out a feasibility study for Indonesia’s first nuclear power plant.

In addition the two countries would cooperate on a liquefied natural gas terminal and on oil and gas exploration, he said.

Alstom ventures into Taiwan

Alstom has signed a contract with the Taiwan Power Company to upgrade one of the gas turbines at the Tung Hsaio power station.

The so-called “M” upgrade taken up by the state-owned Taiwan Power Company was said to include improvements to the turbine blading and combustion chamber, and is designed to allow power plant owners to switch operating regimes between higher output and longer lifetime.

The upgrade, on one of two GT11N2 units at the plant, will be completed during a scheduled outage in early 2008. It is the first time such an upgrade has been performed in Taiwan. The 1800 MW Tung Hsaio plant has 11 gas turbines and four steam turbines for the plant’s six combined-cycle blocks.

Thailand’s EGAT seeks IPP investment

A subsidiary of the state-owned Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) is aiming to win more than half of the country’s new independent power capacity to be contracted this year.

EGAT plans to let independent power producer (IPP) contracts for 3000 MW of new capacity to come on line in 2012/13. The company’s subsidiary Electricity Generating plc (Egco) said it wanted to provide 1600 MW of that, half from its existing power station at Rayong and half from a plant yet to be built.

Both would be fuelled by natural gas, after EGAT effectively ruled out coal. Bids will be submitted in November.

Japan to raise uranium imports from Kazakhstan

Japan will raise its imports of uranium from Kazakhstan from one per cent to 30 per cent of its demand, under a nuclear energy co-operation agreement signed by the two countries.

The deal could make Kazakhstan Japan’s biggest supplier, ahead of Canada and Australia.

The co-operation agreement makes the two countries “strategic partners” and also covers a number of deals between Japanese nuclear companies and their counterparts in Kazakhstan including state-owned Kazatomprom.

The state company has entered a uranium mining alliance with Marubeni and a power plant building alliance with Toshiba.

Australia brews up beer power

The University of Queensland, Australia, and compatriot brewer Fosters have trialled a pioneering renewable energy project that will utilize brewery waste to produce electricity.

The wastewater, containing sugars and starches, will be fed into a microbial fuel cell, where bacteria convert the waste into protons and electrons that feed the cell, along with carbon dioxide and water.

The research group hopes to scale up its three gallon research-scale plant by September of this year to a 2 kW version that will require a 660 gallon cell. If the trial is successful, the technology is planned to be used at Fosters’ breweries and wineries, where both the heat and power produced by the cells will be required.

The project has been supported by an A$140 000 ($115 000) grant from the Queensland government and A$1.3m from the Australian Research Council, as well as Fosters.

Twin plant for Komipo’s Incheon

State-owned utility Korean Midland Power Co (Komipo) is to build a second power station at its Incheon site, where one combined-cycle gas fired plant went into operation in 2005.

The new unit will also be a 550 MW combined-cycle unit. The power island, comprising two SGT6-4000F gas turbines and one SST6-5000 steam turbine, will be supplied by Siemens Power Generation in a contract worth $180m.

The plant is part of 3.6 GW of new generation expected to be installed in South Korea by 2020 to meet demand growing at 5 per cent per year.

Vietnam pleas for electricity investment

Vietnam is appealing for foreign investors to help build its electricity industry.

Electricity demand in Vietnam is rising at a rate of 15 per cent annually, and growth is not expected to slow before at least 2010.

The World Bank estimates that capacity available in the country will have to double from its current level of 25.5 GW to meet demand in that period. With more than 40 per cent of capacity in the form of hydro, the government has also revealed plans to install thermal capacity.

However, since its gas reserves are expensive to extract it is aiming to make use of coal reserves. It will also import more power from neighbouring China.

Myanmar commits to two more hydroelectric installations

Myanmar has decided to install more hydroelectric plants to meet the country’s own demand and provide power for export to neighbouring Thailand.

In co-operation with Thai investors and electricity companies Myanmar has begun work on two new hydropower projects: Tar-hsan, on the Thanlwin river, rated at 7110 MW, and Hutgyi on the same river, rated at 600 MW. The massive Tar-hsan project has attracted $6bn of investment from Thailand.

Six other hydropower projects are also at various stages of development.

China and UK co-operate on degree awards

Chinese electrical engineering students will complete the final year of their four-year course at a university in Kent, UK.

The students will study electrical engineering for three years at the university in Tianjin and will be given direct entry into the final year programme at the University of Kent where they will finish their training. The first group of students is expected to arrive in October 2008.

Yong Yan, professor of Electronic Instrumentation and head of the Embedded Systems and Instrumentation Research Group at Kent, and visiting professor at Tianjin’s School of Electrical Engineering, said: “I’m delighted that we have reached this stage after a long period of hard work. I hope this marks the beginning of a long-term partnership with a premier Chinese insitution not only in joint teaching and learning, but also in other areas such as research.”

Kent’s Professor Michael Fairhurst added: “This will allow students to gain joint recognition for their studies from two very different but excellent departments.”

Tata gets wind loan

Tata Power Company has won financing from the Asian Development Bank for a 100 MW wind farm split between two sites in Maharashtra state.

The financing will be in the form of a $79m fixed-interest loan to be repaid over 13 years.

The first set of turbines for the wind farm totalling 50 MW of capacity have already gone into operation. Tata is India’s biggest private sector wind power developer.

Pakistan defends power price rises

A recent 10 per cent increase in Pakistan’s electricity tariff was required because of much larger increases in fuel costs, the government said, defending the tariff rise in the Senate.

Promising a full debate, minister for water and power Liaquat Ali Jatoi said that electricity prices had only been increased four times since 2003. The latest rise had been in response to a 90 per cent rise in the price of petroleum products and a 55 per cent increase in gas tariffs.

He said plans for new power capacity included a recent agreement to buy 1000 MW from Iran and an agreement for imports from Tajikistan. There are also plans to involve the private sector more in government plans to ramp up electricity production.

News Digest

Australia: Austrian Energy & Environment has won a €95m ($128m) contract to build a cogeneration plant in Queensland. The 140 MW unit will be built for Condamine power station, and is scheduled for startup in August 2009.

Australia: The Australian government has announced grants of A$1.83m ($1.5m) to fund energy storage units from VRB Power Systems. The storage units will be sited with solar and wind applications in remote locations. The first will be at Windy Harbour in Western Australia.

Bangladesh:United Group, an independent power producer in Bangladesh, is to build a 40 MW power plant near the capital, Dhaka. The station will be sited at the Dhaka Export Processing Zone, where it will provide uninterrupted power for the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority.

China: China’s renewable energy market reached $6.9bn in 2006, and could grow to $17.9bn by 2013, according to new research from Frost & Sullivan. The company said China’s renewable energy law, which came into effect in 1 January 2006, has been a “landmark” in the market’s growth. It requires grid operators to buy renewable energy and provides a series of subsidies.

China: Pulse Energy, the Australia-based energy company, has signed a $260m agreement to build four 60 MW power stations in Chongqing, China. The four stations will use technology developed by researchers at Australia’s CSIRO to burn low-concentration vented methane from local coal mines.

China: Siemens Power Generation is to supply three coal gasifiers to a Chinese coal producer to be used to convert coal to polypropylene. The entrained-flow gasifiers, each rated at 500 MW, will be installed at Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group and follows two other gasifiers ordered earlier this year and due to start up in 2009.

China: Two new supercritical coal fired stations are to be built in Jiangxi Province. The two 350 MW units will be built near Ganzhou city, at a cost of $312m, according to the state-owned Assets Commission.

India: India’s renewable energy generating capacity should increase by 10 000 MW in the eleventh five-year plan period, according to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, with most increase in wind. The first year, 2008, should see installation of up to 2000 MW.

India:Mumbai’s metropolitan area is facing a growing power shortfall that could reach 600 MW this year, Tata Power company has announced. The company has launched an energy saving campaign with two other local suppliers, Reliance and Best.

Laos: Thai contractor Ch Karnchang is to complete a feasibility study for a new dam in Laos. The study would examine the potential for two dams, Nam Bak I and II, with a combined capacity of 300 MW. The site is within 15 km of another dam site at Nam Ngum.

Pakistan: A 320 MW power plant donated to Karachi will be operational by 2008, according to the provincial governor. The 320 MW plant has been donated by the Abu Dhabi government to relieve power shortages in Pakistan’s biggest city.

Pakistan: Pakistan has requested loans of $17bn from international institutions to construct three dams: Diamer-Basha, Kalabargh and Akhori. Pakistan said the three dams were required by 2016 to avert floods, produce power and reduce droughts.

Pakistan: The Sindh government has awarded a coal exploration licence to Hassan Associates to access deposits in the Thar field. The coal will be used to fuel a 1000 MW power station, said Pakistan’s Private Power & Infrastructure Board.

Philippines: The Philippines National Oil Company (PNOC) has announced plans to invest in a 150 MW hydropower project in the country’s second-biggest island, Mindanao. PNOC said it would invest 30 per cent of the total $245m and seek private investors for the remainder.

Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia or Thailand are on the site shortlist for a biodiesel demonstration plant, Canada-based developer BipoMaxx Systems has announced.

Thailand: Bids will be accepted shortly for 1000 MW of small power producer (SPP) plants rated at between 10 MW and 100 MW, according to Thailand’s National Energy Policy Committee. Around 500 MW is expected to be cogeneration plants and 500 MW will be from renewable energy and energy from waste.

Thailand:The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand will issue bonds this year to finance four new 700 MW power stations. The plants will be at Chana in Songkhla, Bang Pakong in Chachoengsao and Bangkok north and south. Egat also has to invest in 4000 MW of wind power by 2017 under current plans.

Vietnam: Vietnam will import 2.5 TWh of electricity from China this year through five high-voltage transmission lines, according to the China Southern Power Grid Company.

Vietnam: Wartsila is to open a branch office in Hanoi. The company has been operating in Vietnam since 1994 and founded Wartsila Vietnam in 1998.