Three Gorges powers up

Trials at China’s Three Gorges hydropower project commenced last month with the second and fifth generators put into operation for the first time.

The second generator, which went online a week before unit five, succeeded in supplying 700 MW to China’s central network. The trial was due to last for 30 days following an initial 72 hour trial. The generator is expected to be in full operation this month (August) and will produce 5.5bn kWh of electricity per year. Both generators will produce 26m kWh per day to ease the power grid shortages in the country.

The fifth generator will also undergo a 30 day trial, after it too, passed the initial 72 hour trial. This unit will also come online in August.

The Three Gorges hydropwoer plant will consist of 26 generating units, each with a capacity of 700 MW. At 18 GW, the plant will be the largest plant in the world when complete.

In May, construction of the Three Gorges entered a new phase after the filling of the reservoir was completed. Construction of the project is scheduled to end in 2009.

News digest

China: Korea Electric Power Corp. and China’s Wozhi No.1 power station in Henan province will sign a formal $65m investment deal later this month for the construction of two new power plants in China. Under the agreement, the Korean state-run firm will build two 50 MW combined heat and power plants by 2005.

New Zealand: A major expansion is underway that will more than double the size of the Tararua Wind Farm in New Zealand. The $55m expansion project will add 55 turbines, increasing the wind farm’s output to 68 MW.

China: American Superconductor Corp., announced that it will ship 30 km of its high temperature superconductor wire to China for use in two electric power projects. China, which has the world’s second largest power generation capacity, is widely viewed as one of the world’s most important markets for HTS products.

Vietnam: The Russian concern Power Mmachines Group and Vietnam’s Lilama Corp. have inked a $83m contract for Russian-made equipment for the Uong Bi thermal electric plant. The contract stipulates that the block is to be put into operation within 33 months of the contract signing date.

South Korea: The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy has approved a project to build the world’s largest power plant to be fuelled with landfill gas as part of its effort to expand the use of alternative energy in Korea. Proposed by Eco Energy, the 50 MW power plant will be operated with methane gas from a landfill mine in Baekseok-dong, Incheon.

Malaysia: Finland’s Foster Wheeler Group has agreed in principle to set up a RM50m ($13m) biomass-based energy plant in Kangar, Perlis. Foster Wheeler was scheduled to sign an agreement in December to set up a 10 MW independent power plant in the state.

Indonesia: PT Indonesia Power, an affiliate of Indonesia’s PT PLN power company, plans to build a coal fired power plant with a capacity of 2×7 MW in Singtang district, West Kalimantan. A memorandum of understanding on the construction of the power plant was signed by the Sintang district administration and PT IP recently.

Vietnam: Equipment manufacturer Alstom has won a contract valued at g6m with Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and Mitsubishi Corp. of Japan to supply a new control system and protection equipment for the rehabilitation of the Da Nhim hydropower station. The 4×40 MW power plant is located in Ninh Thuan province, 250 km northeast of Ho Chi Minh City.

Sri Lanka arranges $88m power loan

Sri Lanka’s Hatton National Bank has arranged its first power deal that will enable two consortia to construct two 100 MW thermal power plants.

The projects, arranged with Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), will be built on a build own operate basis. The ACE power/Caterpillar consortium will build one plant at Embilipitiya, while the second consortium – Heldhanavi – will build a 100 MW plant at Puttalam.

HNB, a local bank, has undertaken to raise $47m of debt for Heldhanavi, a joint venture between Hemas and Lakdhanavi, from local commercial banks and foreign credit lines. The syndicated seven-year loan has a two year grace period.

HNB and Commercial Bank have undertaken a $41m loan for ACE Power/Caterpillar under the same terms as the first loan. The funding is the largest ever lending undertaken by local banks on a non-recourse basis in the power sector.

CMS Energy sells Australian asset

CMS Energy and partners will sell the 2000 MW Loy Yang power plant and coal mine in Victoria, Australia to an international consortium for $2.4bn.

CMS, NRG Energy and Horizon Energy Australia have a 49.6 per cent, 25.4 per cent and 25 per cent stake in the plant respectively. The consortium purchasing the plant is known as The Great Energy Alliance Corp. (GEAC) and consists of Australian Gas Light Co. and the Tokyo Electric Power Co. of Australia. The brown coal-fired plant is the largest generator in the region.

The Victorian government sold Loy Yang for $4.8bn in May 1997. Since being privatized Loy Yang has struggled under mounting debts and lower than expected pool prices in the National Electricity Market, suffering a loss of $787m last year.

Taipower chooses MHI to build world’s largest CCGT

Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) has chosen Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to supply six power generators to its Tatan power plant in Taiwan in a contract worth $1.5bn.

The Tatan plant will have a total installed capacity of 4272 MW, accounting for ten per cent of Taiwan’s total power generation capacity. It will be the world’s largest CCGT power plant. Of the six units, four will use natural gas as fuel, while two will be capable of burning either diesel or natural gas.

Taipower is in the process of picking a company to supply natural gas to the Tatan power plant. Four prospective suppliers have entered bids for the gas supply contract, including Chinese Petroleum Corp., Tung Ting Gas Group, United Resources and TaLNG Co.

JBIC finances Phu My 3

The Japanese Bank for International Corp. (JBIC) has agreed to extend a $99m loan for the Phu My 3 power plant in Vietnam.

The 720 MW CCGT plant is being developed on a build own transfer (BOT) basis and is owned by BP, Kyushu Electric Utilities, Nissho-Iwai and SembCorp Utilities. JBIC has co-financed the project with Mizuho Corporate Bank, with Fortis Bank acting as lead arrangers with the ADB.

No interest in Philippine Transco bid

The Philippine government has said that the privatization of the National Transmission Co. (Transco) has failed due to a lack of interest in the sale.

Only one company expressed interest at pre-qualification stage. The privatization was seen as a test of investor confidence in the Philippines’ power sector and that of Asia as a whole.

A second round of bidding will now follow. The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) has given August 22 as the target date for bidders to submit proposals.