India plans transmission audit after devastating blackouts

India’s Ministry of Power is planning to conduct independent audits of the country’s electricity transmission system following the crippling blackout that affected half of the population at the end of July.

The decision was made at a meeting chaired by power secretary P. Uma Shankar.

As well as the decision to conduct independent third party audits of the grid protection systems, it was also agreed to establish an effective plan to ensure the integrated operations of the national and regional grids in adherence with the Indian Electricity Grid Code.

It was also decided that all utilities must adopt best operation and maintenance practices, and would be subject to random checks by regional power committees.

India has suffered its worst blackout in over ten years on July 30 following a grid failure that left more than 300m people without power in New Delhi and much of the north of the country.

Media reports speculated that the grid failure was caused by over-drawing by states as they tried to satisfy the high power demand of their citizens as temperatures soared.

The outage forced the shutdown of hydro plants and thermal power stations in Punjab and Haryana.


China sets renewables targets

China has released its renewable energy targets under its current five-year economic plan which runs from 2011 to 2015.

The country’s National Energy Administration said its ultimate target was for total renewable energy consumption to reach 478 million metric tonnes (mt) of coal equivalent, representing 9.5 per cent or more of the overall energy consumption mix by the end of 2015.

Total installed hydropower capacity is targeted to reach 290m kW, wind power at 100m kW and solar 21m kW.


Babcock to build Vietnam coal plant

South Korea’s Daelim Industrial Co has awarded Babcock & Wilcox Beijing Company (BWBC) a $300m subcontract to build a coal fired power plant in Vietnam.

BWBC will provide equipment for PetroVietnam’s 1200 MW Thai Binh II power plant. It will design and manufacture two 600MW boilers, boiler auxiliaries and two wet flue gas desulfurization units for the plant.

The units are expected to be built and operational by 2016.


Camco purchase of Biopower leads to Malaysia biogas plant

Clean energy developer Camco International is to build a biogas project in Malaysia – its first in Southeast Asia.

The 2MW plant, based at a palm oil mill in Palong, will use anaerobic digestion to recover biogas containing methane from palm oil mill effluent.

Camco claims it will be among the largest of its type to date to generate electricity for supply to the Malaysian national grid.

Camco South East Asia has acquired the rights to develop the project through the acquisition of Biopower Climate Care Holding, a fully owned subsidiary of Rhodia Energy.

Construction work is expected to be completed early next year.

The total cost of the project, including the acquisition of Biopower, is anticipated to be around $4m.

The project is being developed under a 13 year build-own-operate-transfer agreement with the mill. The plant will generate revenue from the sale of electricity to the grid and from the sale of carbon credits generated under the UN clean development mechanism.


Tepco nationalised as loss hits $3.6bn

The operator of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), posted a quarterly net loss of $3.69bn, a day after it was nationalised.

Japan’s biggest utility revealed losses of 288bn yen, a huge amount yet almost half of the 571bn yen losses of a year earlier.

Earlier this month the Japanese government took a 50.1 per cent stake in Tepco and provided a cash injection of 1 trillion yen, which the company will use to pay clean-up and compensation costs associated with last year’s disaster.

Hokuriku Electric was the only utility to post a first quarter profit.


Australia set for 270 MW wind farm

Siemens has received an order with a combined capacity of 270 MW for a wind farm in Australia.

Snowtown II wind farm will be located approximately 140 km north of Adelaide in South Australia and be operated by TrustPower, one of New Zealand’s biggest utilities.

The deal covers the delivery, installation, commissioning and servicing of 90 of Siemens’ 3 MW turbines.

Installation is scheduled to begin next year with commissioning of the plant planned for 2014.

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Asia-Pacific: China overtook Japan as the world’s largest coal importer in 2011 and Indonesia overtook Australia as the biggest global exporter, according to to the International Energy Agency. Total global coal production increased by 6.6 per cent in 2011.

Cambodia: Cambodia’s first integrated biomass gasification project will be powered by GE gas engines. GE has signed a deal with Cambodian conglomerate Soma Group to supply engines to the plant.

China: Chinese wind companies won more than 30 per cent of global turbine sales in 2011 and their combined turbine manufacturing capacity is expected to be worth $73bn this year.

China: China’s natural gas consumption is set to almost treble over the next eight years. According to research from GlobalData, its consumption was 131.7bn m3 in 2011, already a steep rise from the 2000 figure of 24.5bn m3. Consumption levels are predicted to soar to reach 375bn m3 by 2020.

India: BGR Energy Systems is building what it claims are the two biggest cooling towers in the world – at 202 metres high – as part of the construction of the Kalisindh thermal power plant in India.

India: The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy plans to create a company to promote and execute biomass power projects in India. The company would be similar to the Solar Energy Corporation of India.

India: Minister of Power, Sushilkumar Shinde, has confirmed a target of 88 000 MW of extra generation capacity in the next five years, as part of the country’s new 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-2017). India’s current generation capacity is 200 000 MW, but still suffers from a peak shortfall of 10 per cent.

Indonesia: A $130m hydroelectric plant is being built in Indonesia for PT Wampu Electric Power. It is the first private power project in the country to benefit from a business viability guarantee letter issued by the Ministry of Finance, under regulations introduced in 2011.

Japan: Sumitomo Electric Industries has installed and demonstrated a MW-class concentrating photovoltaic (CPV)/energy storage system on the premises of its Yokohama Works in Japan.