News digest

China: China is prepared to extend financial and technical help to Pakistan to build the second phase of the Chashma nuclear power plant. The two countries are said to be in talks about the project.

India: The board of the National Thermal Power Corp. has taken an in-principle decision to re-tender the 1980 MW Seepat thermal project in Chhattisgarh with modifications aimed at attracting bidders. The recently tendered project did not elicit any response from bidders.

India: In an effort to harness the huge hydropower potential in the state, the Jammu and Kashmir government has announced a comprehensive policy for development of small hydroelectric power projects with private sector participation.

India: A fuel supply agreement for the Koodankulam nuclear power plant has been signed between India and Russia Nuclear Power Corp. Work on the two 1000 MWe plants is expected to be completed by 2007.

Japan: GE Wind Energy supplied ten wind turbines for the recently completed 15 MW Hibikinada Wind Energy Farm located on the coast of Hibikinada, Japan.

Japan: Toshiba Corp. and Orix Corp. said they have launched a joint venture in Japan to plan and operate an independent thermal power generation business. The Ube, Yamaguchi prefecture-based new firm, Sigma Power Yamaguchi Corp., has capital of ¥350m of which 66.8 per cent is owned by Toshiba and 33.2 per cent by Orix.

Pakistan: The 1450 MW Ghazi Barotha Hydropower will begin operation on May 15 with testing of its first 290 MW unit and its commercial operation will begin in July. The $2.1bn project will not provide any immediate tariff relief to consumers because it will offset high energy costs from the purchase of thermal power from independent power producers.

Philippines: The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. has disclosed that at least nine international power firms have expressed an interest in participating in the bidding for the National Transmission Corp. (Transco).

Sri Lanka: The Japan Bank for International Cooperation has signed loan agreements totalling $289m with the government of Sri Lanka. Part of the loan will focus on the power sector, which is a key economic agenda for Sri Lanka.

Vietnam: The Asian Development Bank has approved a $700 000 technical assistance grant to help Vietnam prepare its Northern Power Transmission project. The project will improve power supplies to Ha Noi, Hai Phong City and Quang Ninh province.

Kepco to build 100 MW Philippines power plant

Korea Electric Corp. (Kepco) has signed an agreement to construct a 100 MW coal fired power plant in Antique, Philippines, Energy Secretary Vincent Perez has confirmed.

The new plant will be based on circulating fluidized bed (CFB) technology and will supply energy to the Island of Panay, which includes the provinces of Aklan, Antigue, Capiz, Iloilo and Guimaras. Kepco hopes to complete the plant by 2006.

The $100m plant will be built under a build own operate contract, giving Kepco the right to operate the plant for 25 years, for which the company expects a 15 per cent yield. The proposed plant will use coal from Caluya, Antique. The use of CFB technology will help to keep emissions low.

Antique has been suffering from power shortfalls for some time. A number of companies, including Mirant, Alstom and Power One, are in the process of completing projects that would boost supplies in the region.

SembCorp buys into China

Sembcorp Industries has announced that its utilities arm will join with three Chinese companies as part of a venture to construct a $409m, 605 MW gas turbine cogeneration plant in China.

SembCorp Utilities will take a 30 per cent share in the venture – Shanghai Caojing Cogeneration Co. Its partners, Shanghai Electrical Power Co., Shanghai Shenergy Co., and Shanghai Chemical Industrial Park Development Co. will own 36 per cent, 30 per cent and four per cent respectively. The companies are targeting 2005 for operation.

The plant is expected to sell electricity under an annual power purchase agreement to the Shanghai Municipal Electric Power Company. The plant will be financed on a debt to equity basis of 75:25.

JBIC resumes business in Indian power sector

The Japan Bank for International Corporation (JBIC) has signed loan agreements totalling ¥111bn ($931m) with India for seven power and environmental projects. The loans form part of an official development assistance (ODA) package – JBIC’s first to India since 1998.

Two out of the seven projects are power related: the Simhadri Thermal Power Station Project and the Bakreswar Thermal Power Station Units Extension Project will reduce power shortages and stimulate economic growth.

JBIC announced a freeze on ODA loans to India in May 1998 following nuclear tests carried out by the country. The freeze has been lifted and JBIC has identified the power sector as being one of three priority areas for development in India.

Work starts on Se San plant

Work has commenced on Vietnam’s Se San 3A hydroelectric plant in Iagrai District, in the central Highlands province of Gia Lai.

The plant will, on completion, supply 479 GWh a year to the central and southern regions. The plant’s first turbine will be ready by 2006 and the second is scheduled to arrive the following year.

The Se San River will eventually supply six hydro schemes that will generate an estimated 8.7 TWh of power per year.

Three Gorges to power up in August

China’s Three Gorges power station on the Yangtze River will be operational by August 2003.

The annual output of the Three Gorges plant will be around 5.5 TWh, says the State Power Grid Corporation. The provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui along with the Shanghai Municipality in East China will receive 2.62 TWh from the power station and a further 2.88 TWh will supply the provinces of Hubei, Henan and Hunan in Central China.

Indonesia picks consortium for expansion

Indonesia’s PT PLN has picked a Siemens consortium to undertake the expansion of the 950 MW Muara Tawar power plant in Bekasi, West Java.

The consortium consists of PT Siemens Indonesia, PT Balfour Beatty Sakti Indonesia, Samsung Corp. and Siemens AG. It will build six new units at the plant, each with a capacity of between 100 and 150 MW.

The consortium was chosen on the grounds that it offered the cheapest price in terms of Rupiah/kW compared with the other competitors for the project. The power plant expansion will help to prevent projected future capacity shortfalls in Bali and Java.