News digest

China: Shanghai Foxboro Company Limited has been awarded a $3m automation contract for a 1200 MW capacity expansion project at the Jiangsu Zhenjiang Power Generation Co. Ltd. in China’s Jiangsu province. The company will implement Foxboro I/A Series control and data acquisition systems and Triconex TS-3000 turbomachinery control systems in two new 600 MW supercritical units currently under construction.

China: Germany’s Deutz Energy has sold two combined heat and power plants into China. The two plants will be built at an altitude of 3000 m above sea level and will provide heat and electricity to two lithium mines in Qinghai province.

China: Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution is forming a joint venture with XJ Electric Co. Ltd. of Xuchang in Henan province, China, to produce systems for high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission and systems for stabilizing supply networks. The new business will start operations in July 2004.

India: Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam has synchronized all of the six 250 MW units of the Nathpa Jhakri hydroelectric project, four months ahead of schedule. The first unit was commissioned in October 2003 and the last in March 2004, adding 1500 MW of capacity to India’s Northern Grid.

India: The Project Investment Board (PIB) has cleared the 250 MW Barsingsar power project for construction. The 2 x 125 MW lignite fired power plant, located near Bikaner in Rajasthan, will help alleviate the power crisis in the state.

India: NEG Micon has introduced a 1.65 MW wind turbine in India which it says is the most powerful turbine on the Indian market. The company has so far sold two units in the country and plans to sell a further 70 this year.

Philippines: The Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) is to enter into an agreement with British power firm Bronze Oak Group Ltd to construct a $57m cogeneration project in Negros Occidental. The 30 MW bagasse plant will be operational by August 2006.

Philippines: CDC Globeleq has completed the sale of its 2.94 per cent interest in Sual, a 1200 MW coal fired power plant in the Philippines. The sale is in line with the company’s strategy to seek majority ownership or operational control of the power assets in which it invests.

Singapore: The Singaporean government is considering building the state’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal as a way of meeting its long term power needs. A feasibility study will be carried out to determine the economic viability of the project.

EGAT revises power development plan

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) has approved a revised power development plan which envisions new investment in the power sector of THB548.2bn ($13.5bn) in the period to 2011. The company has also asked the government to extend state guarantees on new investments.

The revised PDP assumes an electricity demand growth rate of 7-7.5 per cent per annum and calls for the development of 24 new power plants. Half of the required investment is expected to be made by EGAT and the remainder by private companies.

EGAT is concerned, however, that the absence of state guarantees on loans taken by the utility will jeopardize its ability to invest. The Thai government is said to be concerned about the burden of EGAT on public debt and is considering privatizing the company. Currently, around THB130bn of EGAT’s total liability of THB140bn are guaranteed by the government.

Among the proposed new power plants, four will be built in Chana district of the southern province and will start commercial operation in 2008-9: North Bangkok (800 MW), South Bangkok (700 MW), Bang-pakong (800 MW) and Songkhla (700 MW). They will use natural gas as fuel.

EGAT will compete with the private sector for the right to build the 20 remaining power plants, which will use either gas or coal, or will be hydropower-based. These will require a total investment of THB612.7bn.

Power exchange for southern China

The China Southern Grid Corporation, the second largest power grid operator in the nation, has announced that a power exchange market is to be set up in the first quarter of 2005 in southern China. The market will cover the four provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangdong and Hainan, as well as the Guangxi Autonomous region.

Previously, pilot power transaction markets have been launched in northeastern China and eastern China only. By paving the way for larger scale transactions in the region, the foundation of such a massive power market should help optimize power production and consumption in the region.

Three Gorges starts up new unit

The eighth generating unit at the Three Gorges hydropower plant on the Yangtze River in China started operation in May after a successful 72-hour test run and routine checks. Each generator at the plant has a generating capacity of 700 MW and by the end of April, the plant had generated 17.8 thousand GWh of electricity.

The installation and trial operation of the eighth generator took only 59 days, the least of all the eight units now operating at the site. The first generator went into operation in July 2003.

Philippines awards WESM contract

ABB has been awarded a contract to provide its Sable Market Operation System to administer the Wholesale Energy Spot Market (WESM) in the Philippines when it opens in early 2005. The contract includes training and support services, and is being financed by the Asian Development Bank and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

The Philippine WESM will operate week-ahead, day-ahead and real time markets for energy and ancillary services. Under market rules, power distributors will be required to fill at least ten per cent of their daily power requirements from the spot market. The WESM will also manage financial transmission rights to allow market participants to hedge against price differentials.

Japan eyes Philippine projects

Five Japanese companies have signified an interest in bidding for ten geothermal fields to be auctioned off by the DOE this year. Sumitomo Corp. and Kanematsu are two companies thought to be interested in the projects.

According to the DOE, there are ten promising geothermal fields which between them could generate as much as 470 MW. The projects would require investments of $940m.

The DOE has identified geothermal resource areas in the country with a potential generating capacity of 4137 MW. Based on the Philippine Energy Plan 2004-2013, the country will install as much as 1200 MW of new geothermal capacity in the next decade.

ONGC expands into power

India’s largest oil exploration company, Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), is planning to diversify its business into the power generation sector. The company is planning to construct power plants at Dahej in the western state of Gujurat and at Mangalore in the southern state of Karnataka.

ONGC already generates 1000 MW for its own use but is now planning the construction of several large natural gas fired wellhead power plants. “We propose to set up power plants at gas fields from where transportation of gas is not economical,” said ONGC’s chairman Subir Raha.

ONGC has already signed an agreement with Gujurat for establishing a special economic zone (SEZ) at Dahej, site of the country’s first liquified natural gas terminal. The plans include a 2000 MW power plant adjacent to its subsidiary Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd.