ASEAN region’s power sector set to suffer from delays

Southeast Asia is likely to face significant power shortages as the global economic crisis makes financing of projects more problematic and prone to delays, according to a market analyst.

Mark Hutchinson, senior director of Cambridge Energy Research Associates’ (CERA) Asian division, said that a recession would leave ASEAN nations, in particular Indonesia and Vietnam, unable to meet their power needs to fuel economic growth due to a lack of finance resources.

The CERA analyst said that the ASEAN region was better equipped to withstand a drop in external demand for its exports than during the late 1990s, but this would lead to a slowing of power demand growth rather than a decline. This could lead to power projects being delayed or cancelled.

Hutchinson, speaking at the recent POWER-GEN Asia conference and exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, added that many ASEAN banks were well capitalized and that several governments were running trade surpluses thanks to Chinese demand for Southeast Asian goods and services.

Flue gas desulphurization systems set to be big business in China

Over the next 12 years owners of coal fired power plants will spend $200bn dollars adding flue gas desulphurization (FGD) systems to existing and new combustion units, forecasts the McIlvaine Company.

More than 800 GW of coal fired boilers will be fitted with scrubber systems, and 2000-plus units, at an average cost of $100m per unit, will be installed. China will be the largest purchaser of these systems.

Chinese licensees are gaining extensive experience and are likely to become international suppliers of systems. Chinese FGD systems are being built for less than 50 per cent of the cost elsewhere in the world.

Two new geothermal power plants ease Indonesia’s shortage

Two geothermal power plants with a total capacity of 132 MW could be in operation soon to help ease Indonesia’s power supply shortage.

Sugiharto Harsoprayitno, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s director of geothermal utilization, named the two new plants as Wayang Windu plant’s unit 2, in West Java, with a capacity of 120 MW, and the Sibayak plant, in North Sumatra, with a capacity of 2 x 6 MW.

Indonesia has the world’s largest geothermal reserves, with an estimated capacity of 27 000 MW, but Indonesia’s 18 operational geothermal plants only produce a combined 1050 MW. One of those power plants is the Lahendong power plant (currently producing 40 MW) – PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy is planning to upgrade this to a total capacity of 60 MW of geothermal energy by the year end.

More companies to launch hydropower in Myanmar

More regional companies will launch a hydropower project in Myanmar’s southern Tanintharyi Division, according to local press.

Under a memorandum of understanding between the Myanmar Ministry of Electric Power-1, the Italian-Thai Development Public Co Ltd and Windfall Energy Services Ltd the two companies will launch the 600 MW hydropower project.

A major hydropower project, the 7110 MW Tar-hsan on Myanmar’s Thanlwin River, was started in April 2007 by Myanmar and the MDX Group Co Ltd of Thailand under a $6bn contract.

The hydropower plant will produce 35bn kWh a year. Another recent Thai-engaged hydropower project is the 600 MW Hutgyi, which has an annual capacity of 3.8bn kWh.

Japan to require firms to use more non-fossil fuels

Japan plans to require electric, gas and petroleum companies to use certain amounts of non-fossil fuel power, such as solar, hydraulic and nuclear.

The goal is to raise the proportion on non-fossil fuels Japan uses to 30 per cent in fiscal year 2030, from 18 per cent in 2005. Tokyo intends to overhaul a 1980 law to promote the development and use of non-petroleum fuels and to reduce Japan’s heavy reliance on oil. Power providers are currently required, under a law introduced in 2002, to use renewable energies, including solar and wind power. The planned revision will add nuclear power and other non-fossil fuels and cover gas utilities and petroleum companies.

GE sees growth opportunities in Malaysia

GE Energy has said it sees continued growth and opportunities in Malaysia’s power sector, reported the New Straits Times.

The US company said that, although Malaysia has a comfortable power reserve margin between generating capacity and demand, there remain pockets of demand for additional capacity. GE Energy’s general manager of Asia Region Power Generation Sales, Mark Hill, said demand for power in Sabah will increase to 820 MW by 2010 and 2.3 GW by 2025.

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China: The China Huaneng Group, has announced that it has inked contracts with ten suppliers to equip a nuclear plant in Shandong. The nuclear power plant is designed to adopt high-temperature, gas-cooled technology, with a capacity of 200 MW and start operation in 2013.

India: Steel Authority of India Ltd and Larsen & Toubro Ltd are expected to form a joint venture to set up a coal fired power plant using supercritical technology. The joint venture will identify coal blocks and facilitate the setting up of a 2 x 800 MW power project, with the option of expanding capacity by 800 MW or 1600 MW.

India: Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd has secured a contract for setting up a 412 MW hydroelectric project in Himachal Pradesh. The Rampur HEP is located downstream to the 6 x 250 MW Nathpa Jhakri HEP.

Japan: The Tokyo Electric Power company has agreed with the city of Kawasaki to build two large-scale solar power plants. The plants, south of Tokyo, will be among the largest solar facilities in Japan and will generate about 21m kW per annum.

Laos: Eight banks have signed a $585.5m syndicated loan to finance the Theun-Hinboun hydropower extension project in Laos by the plant operator THPC. The loans will be used to increase the power generating capacity of the Theun-Hinboun dam from 210 MW to 550 MW.

Pakistan: KUB associate company, Progas Pakistan Ltd, has won its bid to construct a 305 MW independent power project in Port Qasim, Karachi, Pakistan.

Philippines: Alsons Consolidated Resources Inc. (ACR) is studying options on its possible investment in a 200 MW coal fired power plant in Maasim, Sarangani.

Thailand: Power generator manufacturer Gunkul Engineering plans to invest $28m next year to develop its own wind power plant and produce wind turbine generators to meet the country’s growing appetite for renewable energy.

Vietnam: Industrial giants are poised to invest $400m into two electricity plants and into the production of diesel from gas in the northern Hung Yen Province. The investment hopes to allow mining companies to access deeper coal reserves and directly turn the coal into gas while underground.