China faces power shortage

Rapid economic growth and heatwaves are causing power shortages in China. Blackouts have hit the eastern and southern parts of the country this summer and power shortages are expected to continue.

The government has asked industrial and commercial consumers to reduce load while the State Electricity.Regulatory Commission has introduced higher tariffs during peak times.

Driven by 8.2 per cent economic growth in the first half of this year, China’s power consumption rose 15.4 per cent year on year to 861 TWh in the first six months, according to state media. The growth is concentrated in regions such as Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong. The country’s electricity consumption is expected to rise by 12 per cent this year.

Since June, China has imposed blackouts in 19 provinces and municipalities during peak periods. The government hopes that the reorganization of the electricity sector will encourage the development of new power plants.

News digest

China: The company operating the Three Gorges hydropower project has signed its first contracts for the delivery of electricity produced by the dam. China Yangtze Power Corp. will supply electricity to the east China and central China grids.

China: Westinghouse Electric Company signed two nuclear fuel-related contracts with major companies in China. The contracts call for Westinghouse to provide engineering services and 10 t of zicronium-alloy TREX for use in the production of fuel, and to cooperate with the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering research and Design Institute in the field of core design.

India: Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. has won a contract to set up the 1000 MW (stage II) Kahalgaon super thermal power project in Bihar which is being implemented by the National Thermal Power Corporation. The contract, comprising two 500 MW units, was bagged by BHEL in an open global tender.

Indonesia: Duke Energy International has completed the sale of its 85.7 per cent majority interest in PT Puncakjaya Power in Indonesia for $300m, including $222m project debt to Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold.

Korea: BP announced the Tangguh liquefied natural gas project in Indonesia has been selected as the preferred supplier of LNG to two south Korean companies – SK Power Company and POSCO – which are constructing gas-fired power plants in South Korea.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s largest listed power company, Contact Energy said it will build and operate a new government-owned, dry year reserve electricity generating plant on the company’s Whirinaki site.

New Zealand: The Tuaropaki Power Company plans to build a new $90m power plant on the Mokai geothermal field between Atiamur, 25 km southeast of Tokoroa and Taupo. Completion is scheduled for April 2005.

Sri Lanka: The US government has awarded a $560 000 grant to the government of Sri Lanka to fund a technical assistance programme for providing consultancy services on the development of a 300 MW coal fired power plant.

Singapore: InterGen announced the signing of a gas sales agreement for the Island Power Project, a 720 MW natural gas fired combined cycle power facility located on Jurong Island, Singapore.

Vietnam: Russian machinery -building company Power Machines Group and Vietnamese construction corporation Song Da Corporation signed a contract for delivery of equipment and carrying out service works for Se San 3 HPP.

Nam Theun 2 to continue without EDF

Thailand’s state-owned Electricity Generating Authority (EGAT) will continue with the construction of the Nam Theun 2 dam venture in Laos despite the withdrawal of France’s Electricité de France (EDF) from the project.

EDF pulled out of the project in late July just hours before it was due to sign a power purchase agreement for the project. EDF holds a 35 per cent interest in the project.

Thailand’s Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding has expressed an interest in buting a stake in the project. Electricity Generating plc is considering increasing its 25 per cent stake in the project. The Laotian government owns a 25 per cent stake in Nam Theun 2, while Italian-Thai Development plc owns 15 per cent.

EDF’s decision is in line with its strategy to consolidate its assets and refocus its priorities on the European electricity markets.

China gives thumbs up to four reactors

China’s government has approved the development of four new nuclear power plants in the country.

Two of the 1000 MW generators will be situated in Sanmen in east China’s Zhejiang province and another two in Lingdong, Guandong province. Construction will start in 2005 and operation is slated for 2010.

The projects form part of the state’s initiative to expand its nuclear power generating capacity by up to four times its current level by 2020 to compensate for the shortfall of thermal power in certain areas. Eight nuclear plants already operate in China, while another three are under construction.

Vietnam to build hydro plant in Laos

A Vietnamese consortium has signed a deal to construct a large scale hydropower plant in Laos to help meet growing electricity demand in both countries. The Vietnam-Laos Investment and Development Joint Stock Company, which consists of six state-run power and construction firms, will build the 210 MW Sekamang 3 plant and operate it for up to 30 years.

The plant will export most of its capacity to Vietnam’s central provinces of Quang Nam and Danang. Construction will start in 2004 and operation is scheduled for 2008.

The $232m power project is Vietnam’s largest ever overseas investment.

Indonesia to boost power with $624m loan

Indonesia has signed two loans worth a total of $624m with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to repower an existing power plant in Jakarta and extend the Maura Tawar gas fired facility.

The Muara Karang plant in north Jakarta will be converted into a combined cycle gas fired plant, increasing its capacity from 300 MW to 720 MW. The Muara Tawar project involves the construction of a new 225 MW combined cycle gas fired facility at the site of an existing plant in Bekasi.

Pakistan approves five gas EoIs

Pakistan has accepted five expressions of interest (EoIs) from independent power producers to implement 775 MW of gas based thermal power at a cost of $543m.

The country’s Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) said that since the disclosure of the 2002 power generation policy, it has received 15 EoIs for a generation capacity of 2683 MW for $1.9bn. These consist of nine gas plants, five hydro and a residual oil plant.

The PPIB is also preparing to invite EoIs for a further 900 MW in order to prevent future projected power shortages in the Karachi area. The ministry of petroleum has been asked to speed up work on gas resource development to support the power sector.