Record energy demand drives markets to new high

Rapid growth in demand for energy around the world, the highest percentage increase since 1984, led to rising prices during 2004, according to BP’s latest Statistical Review of World Energy. World Energy consumption grew by 4.3 per cent with the Chinese market leading the way with a 15.1 per cent increase. China now consumes 13.6 per cent of the world’s total energy.

The growth in demand was geographical with every region experiencing an above-average trend. Outside China, India was the single largest source of non-OECD energy growth, with demand rising by 7.2 per cent.

Demand for oil was up 3.4 per cent, or 2.5 million barrels a day, despite record oil prices. Gas production rose in every region except North America with shipments of LNG rising by 5.4 per cent last year. Coal was the fastest growing fuel globally due to demand from China. After a rare decline in 2003, nuclear consumption grew 4.4 per cent and hydroelectric power generation rose by five per cent.

€500m Mena orders for Siemens

Siemens has announced power plant equipment orders from the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region totalling around €500m ($607m).

The German group is heading a consortium that will build the 1000 MW Ras Laffan B combined cycle power plant in Qatar, which will also have the capacity to handle 27 500 m3 of water. The turnkey contract incorporates three Siemens SGT5-4000F gas turbines, two steam turbines and associated electrical and instrumentation and control equipment.

Siemens has also won an order from the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority to supply and install gas turbines, steam turbines and instrumentation and control equipment for a new 400 MW gas fired power plant. The other regional order is two SGT5-4000 gas turbines and auxiliary systems for the El Kureimat gas turbine power plant.

CEZ plans power auction

Czech Republic power group CEZ is to auction 400 MW of electricity from a so-called virtual power station in early August, as required by the Czech anti-trust office. CEZ will sign power contracts with selected business partners on power supplies for 2006. Similar auctions will be held next year for 2007 supplies.

The anti-trust authority has ordered that CEZ separates the virtual power station from its total output, which stands at over 12 000 MW, in order to preserve competition after CEZ took over government stakes in all eight Czech power distributors.

CEZ reported a rise of 25 per cent in operating profits in the first quarter of 2005. The company said it hoped to renew almost 45 per cent of its current coal fired generating capacity and would invest about €3bn ($3.64bn) in the period to 2015. Plans are also being developed for the construction of new gas fired and nuclear plants

Eskom rescues coal fired power plants

South African electricity giant Eskom has announced plans to re-open three coal fired power plants it mothballed in the late 1980s and 1990 in the Mpumalanga region. The plants were shut during a period of power surplus with the prospect of re-opening them at a later date.

Work has already started at the plant at Camden near Ermolo and plants at Grootvlei near Balfour and Komati near Middleburg will begin soon. The total cost of the projects is R12bn ($1.77bn) and a feasibility study carried out by Econometrix for Eskom estimated that 26 000 jobs could be created during the construction and operation phases of the stations.

The stations are exprected to add R4.2bn to the area’s GDP.

Eskom has also budgeted R1.5bn to build a railway line for heavy coal trucks that supply its power stations in Mpumalanga.

Dubai growth continues

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has unveiled plans to build a new power and water station in response to rising demand in the fast expanding Emirate. The Station M project will have a desalination capacity of 273 million litres of water and a power capacity of 2000 MW. An open international tender for the work will be held early next year.

Dewa has also announced details of contracts for Phase 2 of the Jebel Ali power and desalination station L. The extension will see power output rise to around 1200 MW and 250 litres of water. The gas fired combined cycle project was awarded to the consortium of Hyundai Engineering of South Korea and Italy’s Fisia Italimpianti. The project consultant is Lahmeyer International of Germany.

The city of Dubai was paralysed by a four hour power cut on 9 June amid sweltering summer temperatures. Dewa said the power cut was caused by a technical fault that was unexpected.

News digest

Bulgaria: Six firms including local subsidiaries of CEZ, EVN and E.ON, have applied to the Bulgarian State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission for power trade licences.

Bulgaria: VA Tech Transmission & Distribution, has signed a new contract for 245 kV voltage transformers in Sofia for NEK, the Bulgarian national electrical utility. The contract covers the manufacturing and delivery on site of 305 capacitive voltage transformers and 46 inductive voltage transformers.

Hungary: AES Tisza has completed the 860 MW Tisza power II plant renovation project, cutting CO2 by 94 per cent and NOx emissions by 56 per cent and extending the plant life through to 2016 at a cost of $126m

Iran: Iran and Tajikistan have signed an agreement to build a dam and 220 MW power plant on the Vakhsh river in Nurek in the west of Tajikistan at a total cost of $220m, of which Iran is to finance $180m.

Ivory Coast: Alstom has signed a ten year service agreement with Azito O & M for its Azito power plant covering the plants two GT13E2 gas turbines. At 288 MW the plant is the largest in the Ivory Coast.

Kenya: The Kenyan government has given the Kenyan Electricity Generating Company the go-ahead to acquire the currently idle 44 MW independent Westmont power plant in order to boost power supplies.

Lithuania: An EU funded project, led by the Technical Research Centre of Finland, aimed at improving safety levels and nuclear power plant expertise in Lithuania has been successfully concluded.

South Africa: Amatola Green Power has launched the first market trading in renewable energy in South Africa in order to promote the development of ‘green’ energy which currently accounts for less than one per cent of energy consumption in the country.

South Africa: Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution (PTD) is to supply 11 transformers worth over €30m for the modernization of several coal fired power plants and a pumping power station in South Africa. The existing equipment, owned by Eskom, is now on average 30 years old.

UAE: The government of Abu Dhabi is planning a DH2bn ($544m) initial public offering to its citizens for half of its 60 per cent stake in Emirates CMS Power Company in late June. The company operates the Taweelah A2 power project.