Algeria aims to export solar power to Europe by 2013

Algeria could start exporting solar power to Germany by 2013, according to Tewfik Hasni, president and general manager of the country’s renewable energy agency, New Energy Algeria.

The agency is lobbying the state for approval for the project so it can build a 3000 km interconnection with Germany. It is also in talks with German and Italian utilities to secure customers for the power. The interconnection will initially be able to transport 800-1000 MW of electricity produced in solar hybrid power plants in Algeria. However, this could be scaled up to 6000 MW by 2018. In the meantime, the line will also be used by other power producers.

New Energy Algeria estimates that the production of 6000 MW of power in solar-hybrid plants will cost $18-20bn. Germany’s Deutsche Zentrum fur Luft und Raumfahrt (DLR), which is co-operating with the Algerian agency on energy research, estimates the link will cost an additional €2-3bn ($2.9-4.4bn).

New Energy Algeria is also planning 400 MW solar plants at Mghaier in the east and Naama in the west.

AES to sell Kazakhstan interests

AES has agreed to sell its interests in the AES Ekibastuz power plant and Maikuben West coal mine in Kazakhstan to Kazakhmys PLC, Kazakhstan’s largest producer of copper.

AES will maintain its ownership and operation of its other facilities in Eastern Kazakhstan, which include thermal and hydro generation capacity of about 2688 MW and a distribution business with over 400 000 customers.

AES will receive consideration of $1.1bn at closing. The company acquired its initial interests in Ekibastuz and Maikuben in 1996 and 2001, respectively.

Iran and Russia sign agreement to synchronize power grids

Energy cooperation between Tehran and Moscow entered a new stage as the CIS Electric Power Council and Iran’s Ministry of Energy signed a memorandum of understanding to synchronize their electricity systems.

Iran’s Energy Minister Parviz Fattah said the time is ripe for the two sides to raise cooperation in producing electricity.

The visit of CIS Electric Power Council director Anatoly Chubais said Russian president Vladimir Putin’s to Iran last year opened up new horizons for cooperation in energy and other areas.

Mr Fattah added that the power systems of Iran and Russia are technically similar, so Iran’s power grid can benefit its neighbours. Mr Fattah also proposed the idea of building a joint dam between Iran and Russia.

Oman to privatize two power firms

Oman will privatize a utility firm and a company that oversees a power distribution grid, government officials have said.

“The government will shortly initiate the privatization of Oman Electricity Transmission Company,” the Oman Observer newspaper reported, citing Oman’s Ministry of National Economy secretary-general Mohammad bin Nasser Al-Khusaibi.

The paper also reported that the Al Ghubrah Power and Desalination Company was earmarked for immediate privatization. Muscat Electricity Distribution Company, Majan Electricity Company and Mazoon Electricity Company will follow later, the paper said.

The Gulf state started its privatization programme in 2006 with Al-Rusail Power Company.

SibCOTES to design CCGT plants for TGK -2

Russian engineering company SibCOTES is to build a combined-cycle gas fired power plant to augment each of the plants Novgorodskaya CHP, Tverskaya CHP-3, Kostromskaya CHP-2 and Yaroslavskaya CHP-2.

SibCOTES, a member of E4, is preparing the feasibility studies and working documentation for the new plants. Each will add gas-turbine installation GTE-160 with a heat-recovery steam generator to the existing PT-60-130/13 turbine.

KEMA to optimize Bahrain power network

Bahrain’s Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) has commissioned KEMA to optimize maintenance and related operating processes of its entire electricity transmission and distribution (T&D) network.

Both parties agreed on an 18-month programme to optimize the maintenance and related operating processes of Bahrain’s entire T&D network.

In addition to some 5000 distribution stations and 80 high-voltage stations, the network includes approximately 8000 km of underground cable and 450 km of high-voltage overhead lines.

KEMA will also provide a comprehensive inventory and condition assessment of all of EWA’s T&D equipment.

•••

Egypt: Belgium’s Tractebel Engineering has been awarded an $0.8m consultancy contract by the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company. Tractebel will identify the best long-term plan for the Egyptian electric power system to meet growing power demand until 2030.

Egypt: Cairo has signed a $34m deal with the Palestinian National Authority for setting up linkage transformers of capacity 22 kV to provide power for the Rafah and al-Kanisa areas in the Gaza Strip.

GCC: Yousuf Janahi, corporate planning and business development manager at Qatar General Water & Electricity Corporation, has been selected as the next chairman of the GCC Interconnection Authority.

Russia: The Czech Republic’s PSG International will build a €200m coal fired power plant near Kurgan. PSG will supervise the construction, supply and installation of boilers and equipment made by the companies Turbomach, Siemens, Alstom and Bresson.

South Africa: Eskom has invited tenders for power generating plants that will be in commercial operation by June 2012. Projects between 5 MW and 1000 MW will be eligible.

Tanzania: The World Bank has approved the $111.5m Energy Development and Access Expansion Project, which will improve electricity services. Some 81 000 homes, schools, businesses, and public services will access electricity for the first time.

Uganda: India is to loan Uganda $350m to boost the country’s hydropower generation. Energy Minister Daudi Migereko said Uganda would use the money on the Isimba hydro project, expected to produce 100 MW.

UAE: Areva has won two turnkey power transmission and distribution contracts in Dubai worth a total of $125m. The first contract, from DEWA, is for two 132/11 kV indoor substations. Under the second, awarded by Nakheel, Areva will build three 132/22 kV substations on the Palm Deira development.

Zimbabwe: Mozambique has reconnected its 150 MW power supply to Zimbabwe after the country settled part of its debt owed to Mozambique’s state-run electricity firm. Cahora Bassa cut off the supply last December.