Australia turns to solar power

WorsleyParsons, Australia’s biggest engineering company, has outlined a proposal to build a solar power plant at an as yet unnamed site in Australia, which upon completion will be the world’s biggest solar project.

The solar plant, which WorleyParsons says would use proven parabolic trough technology, would generate 250 MW of electricity at peak times, representing enough to power 100 000 homes. The plant, which has a startup cost of around A$1bn ($800m), is expected to be operational by 2011.

Although the project is not yet funded Peter Mehrs, managing director of the EcoNomics unit of WorseyParsons, said that the Australian company is optimistic and said that the federal government’s renewable energy target of 20 per cent by 2020, plus the proposed introduction of carbon trading by 2010, would make the plant economically feasible.

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, the proposal has also received support from several of Australia’s biggest polluters, including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Delta Electricity.

A site for the proposed plant has not yet confirmed, but one site that is being examined is near Geraldton, Western Australia.

Longer term PPA for International Power

International Power plc has signed a 30-year power purchase agreement (PPA) between PT Paiton Energy and PT.PLN, the state utility, for the new 815 MW, coal fired Paiton 3 plant in Indonesia.

The Paiton 3 project comprises a single 815 MW supercritical unit, which will be located within the existing Paiton complex, and is expected to be fully operational in 2012.

The project has a fixed price contractual arrangement, with the main equipment supplied by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Limited. Because of its close proximity to the existing plant, Paiton 3 will benefit from shared facilities such as the coal jetty, coal stockyard and wastewater treatment plant. The plant will be operated by PT IPMOMI, the operator of the existing Paiton plant.

China reaches nuclear milestone

The expansion of the Qinshan nuclear power complex, which was China’s first commercial nuclear facility, recently reached a milestone with the installation of a 350 tonne steam generator.

This now clears the way for the installation of two 650 MW pressurized water reactors. This will bring the total number of units to four, which will produce 18-20bn kWh of electricity a year. Phase 2 is due to be completed by late 2011.

The expansion of the Qinshan complex in Zhejiang Province will be completed in three phases.

Indonesian CCGT expansion deal

Alstom, in consortium with Marubeni Corporation, has won a contract worth €160m ($232m) from Indonesia’s national electricity utility PT.PLN for the construction of a combined-cycle power plant close to Jakarta.

The project consists of extending an existing power plant with a fifth unit. The Alstom-Marubeni consortium previously built the combined-cycle plant Unit 1 and the gas turbine peaking plant Unit 2 in 1995.

Unit 5 will increase the total output of the plant by 235 MW from the current 1800 MW, and will help Indonesia meet the high electricity demand on the Java/Bali grid. The plant will be operated with natural gas.

Alstom, as EPC contractor, will provide a fully integrated power island, consisting of one GT13E2 gas turbine, with one heat recovery steam generator, one COMAX steam turbine, two turbogenerators and the ALSPA control system.

Alstom will engineer and manufacture the heat recovery steam generators at its local boiler facility in Surabaya, the capital of east Java. Marubeni’s scope of the project is to supply the balance of plant, high voltage switchyard, civil works and erection services.

GE carbon storage deal on the cards

US giant GE could sign a deal in the not too distant future to build a $3bn clean coal power plant in New South Wales or Queensland that would incorporate underground storage of carbon dioxide (CO2), reports The Australian.

It is GE’s intention to gasify the coal and strip out the CO2, and the company is apparently in talks with utilities in both states, and would like to see an agreement for a commercial plant “within the next six months”, according to Keith White, head of GE’s clean coal power business.

The 700-800 MW power station could be operational by 2014 if approved this year, but regulatory uncertainty on CO2 storage could impede this.

Indonesia bags financing for coal plants

PT.PLN, Indonesia’s state-owned power generator, has signed a series of six long-term credit facilities with a combined value of some 10trn rupiah ($1bn) to finance its ambitious plan to add an additional 10 GW of power generation capacity.

The funds from major domestic banks will help to build coal fired power plants across the country by 2010, aimed at easing the power shortages the country is currently experiencing.

The lone facilities have a tenor of between 10-13 years.

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Brunei: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the government and Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan to build a large-scale photovoltaic demonstration project, which will be the largest in the ASEAN region.

China: The Chinese Ministry of Finance has published guidelines, which will support research & development in wind power generation in an effort to further promote the domestic wind power industry.

China: The first generator unit of the 400 MW Manzhouli coal fired combined heat and power plant is on course to begin production in September next year, with the second unit coming on-stream in the following December.

China: Power Investment Corporation, one of the country’s five power giants, said it was investing 2.8bn yuan ($410m) in building a wind power plant, the largest of its kind in the northeastern Liaoning Province. Upon completion, the plant will have an installed capacity of 300 000 kW.

Indonesia: Emerson Process Management has received a contract to digitally automate the 600 MW coal fired PLTU 2 Banten-Labuan power plant being built in Indonesia’s Banten Longwan Province.

Japan: An action plan to put underground storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) into practice by 2020 has been adopted, with the aim of cutting CO2 collection costs from 4200 yen ($39) per tonne to 2000 yen.

South Korea: Local media report that government officials have announced plans to build a solar power facility near islands in the East Sea that are at the centre of a diplomatic dispute between Seoul and Tokyo.

Taiwan: State-owned Taiwan Power has awarded a multi-million dollar contract to Invensys Process Systems to provide a critical digital upgrade to its Kuosheng nuclear power station in the north of the country.

Thailand: Demco plc has signed a MoU with Sustainable Energy Corporation to build a 100 MW wind farm in Petchaboon. The Electricity Authority of Thailand will receive 60 MW, while 40 MW will be sold to the Provincial Electricity Authority.