News digest

Africa: The African Development Bank has approved a $3.89m grant to finance a study on power trading and interconnection between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, all of which share the River Nile. The grant will cover 90 per cent of the cost of the study which will investigate the use of the river for power production.

Africa: At least $64m will be used by the African Union of Electricity Producers and Distributors in the financing of electrification projects in bordering villages of Angolia, Naimbia, Lesotho and Zambia.

Bulgaria: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is investing up to g50m ($59.7m) into a new facility that will help promote energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in private sector businesses across Bulgaria.

Hungary: Hungary’s sole nuclear electricity generating firm, the 1880 MW Paksi Atomeromu (Paks) company, expects to suffer losses totalling $23m this year due to the temporary shut down of its No. 2 generating block in March 2003.

Hungary: E.ON Hungary’s board of directors has approved plans to launch construction of a gas turbine power station in Nyiregyhaza in north-east Hungary. Around $48.5m is to be invested in the new cogeneration heat and power plant, which will start operating in 2006.

India: State-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) has successfully commissioned a 70 MW gas turbine power unit in Oman. The unit has been commissioned for Petroleum Development Oman, a joint venture between Oman government, Total, Shell International and Partex.

Nigeria: Siemens and ABB are holding talks with the Nigerian Government for the construction of two independent thermal power stations with a combined generation capacity of 726 MW.

Syria: Areva T&D division has been awarded a turnkey contract in Syria for the supply of two high-voltage substations. The contract totalling g33.5m ($40m), is with the Public Establishment of Electricity for Generation and Transmission.

UAE: Dubai’s Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is projecting a 14 per cent increase in power consumption this year, with water use set to jump nine per cent. The corresponding increases for last year were ten per cent for power and nine per cent for water. Dubai has 3000 MW of installed capacity and produces 855m litres of water/day.

Zimbabwe: The cash-strapped Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) is seeking cabinet approval to raise $600m through offshore investments to boost power generation at Hwange and Kariba Power Stations.

Russia supplies Iraq plant

Russia’s Power Machines Group has signed a supply contract to deliver equipment to Iraq’s Dibis thermal power plant. The order consists of two 160 MW gas turbines and two turbo-generators to be delivered by 2005.

In a connected deal, Power Machines Group is to supply the Iraqi Transportation and Communication Ministry with 30 diesel locomotives scheduled for delivery by year-end.

These contracts will be carried out whilst the group works on a third contract to construct the Yusifiya thermal power plant and the Al Adaim hydro-power plant.

Meanwhile, Power Machines has been selected to carry out works for three of Macedonia’s state-owned generating units at the Bitola thermal power plant. The $20m contract will see the Russian group provide rotors for each of the turbines, along with cylinder modernization and control systems.

UES to use cash in genco sell-off

The Russian government will use cash and UES shares as currency in the forthcoming auctions of UES’s generating companies.

The announcement was made by Victor Khristenko in April. The first genco auction will take place either by year-end or early 2005.

The resulting fall in Russia’s stock market suggested that companies had expected UES to use their shares as the only currency.

Some of the country’s smelting companies have been buying large stakes in UES in the hope of acquiring gencos near their plants which will ultimately secure them cheap electricity supplies.

The first genco sell-off is likely to be formed around several thermal power stations controlled by the federal government in Central Siberia, according to Khristenko.

Linking central Asia

The refurbishment of a regional power transmission link in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will go ahead after the respective states inked agreements with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The work includes rehabilitating 500 kV substations and switchyards to improve system reliability, upgrading dispatch and communication facilities to optimize system operation and installing new trans-border metering arrangements to measure traded power.

Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have each agreed $20m and $70m loans respectively from the ADB.

Japan’s Mitsui Babcock has won a stake in a $54.5m contract in Serbia to overhaul Lot 2 of Elekt

Mitsui Babcock’s work at the 308 MW lignite plant consists of installing replacement pressure parts and boiler components.

The overhaul work commenced last month. A target date of December 2004 has been pencilled in for the plant to return to commercial service, ahead of the peak winter demand period.

Africa eyes investment for its power potential

Africa has the largest power potential in the world but the untapped market has yet to lure investors, recent analysis from Frost & Sullivan reveals.

Only ten per cent of the population has access to electricity. In order to encourage increased power generation most governments have liberalized their energy polices. Fully and partial privatization of nationalised power companies has already occurred in Senegal, Mali, Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mauritania, Uganda and South Africa.

Investors have been slow in taking advantage of the situation due to the high costs involved in connecting the rural areas. The high risk seems to outweigh the potential however, efforts are being made to attract inward investment from the private sector.

The potential for hydropower is substantial in the Congo alone, where it can provide three times as much power as Africa currently consumes. This, along with South Africa and Nigeria’s offshore oil and gas resources, could be another incentive to attract investors to the continent.

Foster Wheeler has completed the first stage of its repowering of a 430 MW power plant in Estonia

The Narva Elektrijaamad’s Eesti power plant now has 215 MW in operation. When completed, the plant will be the world’s largest oil shale fired power plant using circulating fluidized bed technology.