News digest

China: A consortium of US private equity investors has paid $84.6m for a 20 per cent stake in Meiya Power, one of the biggest foreign-owned IPPs in China. The Darby Asia Investors-led group bought the stake from Hydro Quebec International.

India: Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution Group has received an order from Power Grid Corporation of India to set up four compensation systems. The equipment will improve the transmission performance and the reliability of the 400 kV overhead line between Purnea in eastern India and Gorakhpur in the north.

India: The hydro dam owned by Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam has begun operation. When complete in 18 months, the plant will have a generating capacity of 1450 MW.

Indonesia: Babcock Hitachi K.K and PT Triaryani plan to build a coal fired power plant in Musi Rawas, south Sumatra with a capacity of 2600 MW. The plant will use supercritical technology and cost $4.2bn.

Philippines: The Department of Energy has said that at least five investors have submitted expressions of interest for a concession agreement to operate the National Transmission Grid Corp (Transco). Meanwhile, state-owned utility, Napocor is to begin privatization of 14 of its Small Power Utilities Group to meet the growing power demand of large island provinces.

Philippines: Blue Energy Canada has developed a proposal for a 4 km tidal fence between the islands of Samar and Dalupiri in the San Bernadino Strait. Pending government approval, the Dalupiri Ocean plant will have a capacity of 2200 MW at peak tidal flow, generated from 274 turbines each generating 7-14 MW. The project is being proposed under a build, own, operate, transfer scheme.

Sri Lanka: The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is increasing its generation from renewables. CEB is to set up a 30 MW wind power plant at Kalpitiya. It is the country’s second wind project. The government is also likely to increase the renewable energy subsidy from Rs100m ($1m) to Rs150m after the next budget. Meanwhile, the CEB is in the process of implementing a strategy to recover a Rs26bn financial loss. CEB chairman Ananda Gunasekera said the situation surfaced when the CEB started generating more thermal power than hydropower due to prolonged drought.

Taiwan: Taiwan Power Company has received government approval to build a 1600 MW plant in Changhua County. The plant, costing $1.47bn, will have two 800 MW units. Completion is scheduled for July 2010.

Japan prepares for J-Power IPO

The Japanese government is preparing to sell its 83 per cent stake in wholesale electricity provider, Electric Power Development (J-Power). The sale of $3bn of shares in the company will represent the biggest initial public offering since the listing of NTT DoCoMo in 1998.

The sale is part of the government’s attempt to deregulate Japan’s power generation market as well as raise funds to shore up public finances. According to reports, the privatization could go ahead as early as this month (September). The government is thought to be putting pressure on Japan’s nine private utilities, which own the remaining 17 per cent of J-Power, to sell their stakes. J-Power is Japan’s fifth largest utility and the privatization could have a big impact on deregulation, which has been slow. J-Power has a mixture of coal and hydropower stations with a total generating capacity of 16 000 MW – seven per cent of the country’s total capacity.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) is planning to sharply increase operation of conventional power plants in response to record heat and the impact of the nuclear facility at Mihama going off-line. Kansai Electric’s Mihama power plant in Fukui Prefecture suffered a fatal steam leak in the steam turbine building. As a result, Kansai Electric is to shutdown all of its nuclear power plants.

PLN awards boiler contract for delayed Taharan plant

Indonesia’s state electricity company, PT PLN has awarded a contract to an international consortium to supply boilers for the Taharan power project in south Sumatra. The order is valued at $118.3m.

Under the contract, the winning consortium, comprising Alstom Power Inc. of the USA; Marubeni Corp. of Japan; and PT Alstom Power Energy System Indonesia, will supply two circulating fluidized bed boilers (CFBs) for Taharan units 3 and 4. Each power plant will have an installed capacity of 100 MW.

The construction of Taharan units 3 and 4 was scheduled to start before the end of last year and completed by the end of 2006 but PLN was forced to delay the construction because the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) was unable to complete the evaluation of the tenders by the end of last year. The delay means the plants will come on line in 2007 and 2008 for units 4 and 3, respectively.

Huaneng gains approval for power projects

Huaneng Power International has obtained approvals from the State Council regarding its project proposals for Yingkou Power Plant Phase II and Qinbei Power Plant Phase 2.

Yingkou Phase 2 , located in Yingkou City, Liaoning Province, will involve the construction of two 600 MW domestic supercritical coal fired units and associated flue gas desulphurization facilities. The project will cost an estimated RMB4.5bn ($543m), based on 2002 price levels. Qinbei Phase 2, located in Jiyuan City in Henan Province, will also involve the construction of a 600 MW supercritical unit and FGD facilities.

At the same time of gaining approvals for these projects, Huaneng Power also gained approval of a feasibility study for Taicang Phase 2. The project, located in Jiangsu Province, would be the same size as the Yingkou and Qinbei projects.

Huaneng Power owns plant with a total generating capacity of 18 832 MW. It also recently signed letters of intent with China Huaneng Group with respect to proposed acquisitions of equity interests in two power companies in Sichuan Province and Gansu Province.

Morgan Stanley has signed a letter of intent to buy into 11 power projects in northeast China for $278.11m.

First GE Frame 9FA gas turbine assembled in China

The first GE Frame 9FA gas turbine to be assembled in China under a technology transfer agreement between GE and Harbin Power Equipment Company (HPEC) has been shipped from HPEC’s manufacturing factory in Qin Huang Dao, Heibei Province, China.

The turbine is the first of 13 GE Energy F technology machines supplied for China’s Gas Turbine Power Plants Construction Project. All 13 units are scheduled to be shipped over the next 15 months and will generate a total of 4500 MW for China’s electric power grid in the Shanghai area.

The first Frame 9FA is being shipped to Zhejiang Banshan power plant in Zhejiang Province.

John Rice, president and chief executive officer of GE Energy said: “The successful assembly and delivery of the first 9FA gas turbine represents the partnership we are building with HPEC…” Zhao Kefei, president of HPEC noted: “This product has certainly created a significant milestone in China’s energy industry.”

When completed later this year, the HPEC Qin Huang Dao facility will also include the GE-HPEC Energy Service Company, a joint venture formed in February to provide repair and field services for GE 9FA turbines in China.