Australia: Energy World Corp. said the sale of Barcaldine power station and the Cheepie-Barcaldine pipeline to Queensland Power Trading Corp. is complete. Sale proceeds have been used to reduce outstanding debt, and the $2.27m guarantee associated with the transaction has also been retired.

China: Two of the largest power companies and one coal giant have agreed to jointly build power plants and tap the largest coal mine in east China. Huaneng Group, China Power Investment Group and Huainan Mining Group signed a letter of intent to construct a multi-billion-Yen coal-power complex in Huainan.

China: Hong Kong’s electricity market should be opened up in three phases according to a member of the government’s Energy Advisory Committee. Professor Lam Pun-Lee proposed that at least 25 per cent of the market should be opened from 2009 to 2013, while by 2018 at least half of it should be liberalized.

India: Tata Power and BP have jointly offered to buy the 85 per cent foreign equity stake in the mothballed 2184 MW Dabhol power project in India for $150m. The offer is short of the $370m asked by GE and Bechtel, which each own ten per cent of the project.

China starts up second Qinshan nuclear generator Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) has secured an order from Indian Oil Corp. for setting up a 120 MW captive power plant at Panipat refinery for Rs 7720m ($166m). The order is the largest-value single order ever secured by BHEL’s industry sector business segment.

Japan: Japan could see up to 15 new gas fired power plants added to its electricity generating capacity by 2010. Gas fired power generation remains the most feasible option for Japan as the construction of nuclear plants remains in doubt following a scandal over false inspection reports at Tokyo Electric Power last year.

New Zealand: Genesis power, a New Zealand state-owned electricity retailer and generator said it has approved the installation of a new 40 MW open cycle gas turbine plant at its Huntly station site. The plant will be operational before next year’s southern hemisphere winter.

Singapore: Alstom has received an order for the supply of electrostatic precipitators for an orimulsion fired boiler with a capacity of 750 MW. The order was placed by Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co. for installation at the Pulau Seraya power station in Jurong, Singapore.

Vietnam: Japanese corporations Mitsubishi, Nissho Iwai, and Toshiba have won two three-year $30.1m contracts to revive the 40-year-old Da Nhim hydropower station. The signed contracts with Electricity of Vietnam Corp. are for the overhaul and repair of the generators.

China starts up second Qinshan nuclear generator

The second generator of the third phase of the Qinshan nuclear power plant project in China went into operation last month. The Zhejiang-based plant will supply electricity to the east of the country.

The third phase of the project was launched in June 1998 and involves the construction of two generators. The first of the generators has been operating at full capacity since last December. The third phase of the Qinshan project is the largest project in China to be joint-financed by Canada and China.

The two generators have a combined capacity of 1456 MW (728 MW each). The Canadian-designed heavy water reactors were made in China.

After nearly 20 years of construction, the Qinshan plant now has a generation capacity of 2300 MW. The last 600 MW reactor is scheduled to come on stream in the middle of next year.

Philippines demonstrates hydropower-solar hybrid

The Philippines will go ahead with plans to install a solar power plant thanks to financing from the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, and Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company.

The $5.4m solar power project also has funding from the Global Environment Facility. It is to be based on Mindinao as part of the existing Bubanawan hydroelectric plant in the first full-scale demonstration combining hydro and photovoltaic hybrid power systems.

The project, expected to come on line in 2004, will have a capacity of 80 MW.

Financing aids Vietnam power plant construction

The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), a member of the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), will aid Vietnam to build the 716.8 MW, Phu My 3 power plant in Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

The total cost of the project will amount to $582m. The ADB will provide a loan of $40m and a $32m political risk guarantee, while MIGA will offer political risk guarantees of $138m. Shareholders will also provide funds ($103m) along with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation ($99m) and a syndicate of international commercial lenders ($170m).

February 2004 is the operation target date under a 23-year build operate transfer (BOT) contract between the Ministry of Industry and the Phu My BOT company.

In addition the country plans to invest in the construction of 28 power plants to raise capacity by 9600 MW. The new power plants will comprise 18 hydropower plants (4000 MW) and ten thermal power plants.

China’s Three Gorges enters new phase of construction

The three gorges reservoir is entering its next stage of development after the completion of filling the reservoir behind the dam in central China.

From 2004 until 2009, the project team will step up construction of the power plant. The majority of the hydropower generating units and related high-voltage electrical apparatus will also be installed during this period.

The third phase of the project will involve further construction of power transmission and transfer facilities, including 3100 km of alternating current lines, 2000 km of direct current lines, as well as expansion of power transformer and inversion capacities. After a decade of building, the Three Gorges project begins to pay dividends this year. Two generating units will begin operation in August to provide a total of 5.5bn kWh of electricity by year-end to China’s eastern and central regions, where power supply is insufficient.

The Three Gorges, which consists of Qutang, Wuxia and Xiling Gorges, extends for 200 km on the upper reaches of the Yangtze river. The water level is expected to reach 175 m by 2009 when the project is completed, with a reservoir storage capacity of 39.3bn m3.

Japan develops fuel cell for domestic market

Japan’s Matsushita Electric Industrial Company plans to market fuel-cell based cogeneration systems available for domestic use by 2005.

The system will consist of a fuel cell unit for generating electricity using city gas as the hydrogen source and a 200 l hot water tank. The prototype began final testing in June.

The system will be priced at ¥1m ($8365) and is designed to last for 10 years. It is designed to meet one-third of the needs of a typical family home and reduce electricity bills by ¥50 000/a.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has developed a similar product to be launched in several years. The generator is expected to save a family home $422m a year in electricity bills.