Iran joins nuclear club

Iran has successfully enriched uranium to the level needed to make nuclear fuel, according to official statements. The announcement came just 15 days before the expiry of a UN Security Council deadline for Iran to freeze its enrichment programme. President Mahmoud declared that Iran “has joined the club of nuclear countries.”

Envoys from the International Atomic Energy Agency and China’s Foreign Ministry have visited Tehran in order to discuss the international dispute.

The US has called on Russia to stop nuclear cooperation with Iran but this was dismissed by Russia which maintains that only the UN Security Council is authorized to prevent cooperation and that the design of the nuclear reactor at the Bushehr power plant cannot be used for a military purpose.

Iran’s Energy Minister said that two new nuclear power plants in addition to Bushehr will be constructed this year and that a further 20 GW of nuclear generating capacity would be built under its 20-year plan.

Finance secured for Bahrain Hidd IWPP

One of Bahrain’s largest power and desalination plants Al Hidd has been sold to a consortium comprising the UK’s International Power, Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation and Belgium’s Suez Tractebel. The site handover took place in January following the signing of agreements between the Hidd Power Company (HPC) and the Finance Ministry and included a 20-year power and water agreement.

In April, a $1bn project financing deal was announced between HPC and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). The loan agreement is co-financed with six financial institutions (including Gulf International Bank, Mizuho Corporate Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation). It is the first IWPP project for Japanese companies in Bahrain and JBIC’s first project financing in Bahrain.

Desalination capacity at the 962 MW facility will be expanded from 113 million to 227 million litres/day. The total cost of the Build Own Operate project is $1.25bn.

Hyundai secures captive contract in Saudi Arabia

Hyundai Heavy Industries has secured a $170m contract to build a gas fired power plant for Saudi Arabian state owned oil company Saudi Aramco. Under the turnkey contract Hyundai will provide engineering, procurement, start-up and commissioning of three 65 MW gas tubine units.

The company will also supply and construct facilities including a switchyard supplying captive power to the new Saudi Aramco gas and oil separation plant to be built at Shaybah in Saudi Arabia. The project is scheduled for completion by 2008.

Hyundai is currently constructing four cogeneration plants for Saudi Aramco, which are to be handed over this year.

Aggreko provides temporary solution

Aggreko has won a contract to supply 100 MW of temporary power to the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) to support the national grid. A prolonged drought in the country that is threatening a humanitarian disaster has resulted in low water levels in the country’s dams and reduced hydroelectric output.

The 100 MW represents ten per cent of Kenya’s power needs and is the largest single temporary power plant Aggreko has delivered.

The 12 month contract is worth an estimated $34m and equipment is being assembled from a base in the UAE.

Aggreko has also won a contract with the General Electricity Company of Yemen for the hire of a 50 MW power plant.

BOT plant to ease Ugandan shortage

Norwegian firm Jacobsen Electro is to build a 50 MW thermal power plant at Namanve, Uganda on a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) basis intended to reduce load shedding across the country. The firm will operate the plant for six years before handing it over to the Ugandan government.

The Electricity Regulatory Authority, the Energy Ministry of Uganda, Uganda Electricity Transmission Company and the World Bank accepted Jacobsen’s $341m winning bid, consisting of $289m for energy costs and $52m as capital cost. A power purchase agreement was also signed, allowing Jacobsen to sell power to the grid as an independent power producer.

The Namanve plant is one of two new 50 MW thermal plants due to be in operation by 2007.

CEZ states green ambitions

The Czech utility CEZ is to invest $1bn in renewable energy sources over the next 15 years. Company CEO Martin Roman said that the biggest potential was in wind energy but that, after 2010, the largest increase in electricity production would come from biomass. Renewables currently account for only 4.3 per cent of Czech electricity production with hydropower being the largest contributor to the two per cent growth in renewables output in 2005.

CEZ is to embark on a programme of modernization of its brown-coal fired power plants in two years time.


News digest

Bahrain: Alstom has been appointed by the Bahrain Ministry of Electricity & Water to carry out the phase 2 upgrade and rehabilitation of the Riffa power station under a BD48.6m ($127.9m) contract.

Jordan: Mitsui & Co and AES Corporation have been selected by the Jordanian government to jointly build a 400 MW gas fired power plant near Amman at a cost of $280m.

Kenya: A rural electrification programme costing SH1.2bn ($16.8m) will be carried out by Kenya Power and Lighting this year. The government has spent Sh3.6bn on the project since 2003.

Kenya: The Kenyan Ministry of Energy is planning to appoint a firm of consultants to assist in the unbundling and possible privatization of its power utility Kenya Power and Lighting Company.

Qatar: Mott MacDonald has been appointed owner’s engineer by Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC) for the Ras Abu Fontas B2 power and water plant extension project being carried out by EPC contractors GE and Fisia Italimpianti.

Saudi Arabia: The first two from a fleet of six GE Frame 7FA gas turbines have started operating at the ‘Uthmaniyay Cogeneration Plant in Saudi Arabia, becoming the first F-technology machines to enter service in the Kingdom.

Tajikistan: Three workers were killed and another seriously injured in an accident that occurred during repairs at Tajikistan’s largest hydroelectric power plant at Nurek.

Tanzania: Kiwira Coal and Power Limited plans to double its annual coal production and is seeking contractors to build power generation plant increasing the country’s power output by 200 MW.

Turkey: The Turkish prime minister and energy ministry have chosen Sinop on the Black Sea coast as the site for the country’s first nuclear power plant, due to enter service in 2012.

UAE: Adwea subsidiary Al Ain Distribution Company has employed EA Technology to provide equipment and training for monitoring partial discharge of switchgear across its HV grid.

UAE: The Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea) is to sign a $1.35bn water and power purchase agreement with Sembcorp of Singapore for the privatization of the Fujairah Union Electricity plant.

Ukraine: Canada’s DynaMotive Energy Systems has licensed a 200 t/day pyrolysis plant to Rika Limited to be located at one of Rika’s farm operation in the Ukraine. Rika also has an option for two further plants.