South Africa and China sign pebble bed reactor agreement

South Africa’s Pebble Bed Modular Reactor Ltd. has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Chinese Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology (INET) of Tsinghua University and Chinergy to facilitate the development of pebble bed nuclear reactors.

The parties hope that the memorandum will lead to co-operation in a number of strategic and technical areas of reactor development.

According to the INET, the MOU evolved from recognition of areas of overlap between the programmes in the two countries during a conference on high temperature reactor technology in Washington in 2008. This was followed by a visit to South Africa by representatives of INET and Chinergy to devise a framework for the co-operation.

The pebble bed projects in the two countries make use of slightly different technological approaches. The first commercial-scale plant to be built in China will use an indirect cycle steam turbine system while the South African design uses a direct cycle gas turbine-based generating system. However, there are many similarities between the two since both exploit the same pebble bed concept for nuclear heat generation.

The aim is to be able to develop supply chains in both countries for the technology.

Israeli environment minister seeks freeze on new coal unit construction

Israeli Minister of Environmental Affairs, Gilad Erdan, is seeking to halt plans for construction of two new coal fired generating units at the country’s Ashkelon power station.

The Israel Electric Corp (IEC) currently plans to construct two units at the Ashkelon site with a combined generating capacity of 1300 MW. The plant already has four coal fired units.

However Erdan wants plans shelved because of the environmental impact that will result from new coal fired generation. Instead the Minister believes that Israel should exploit either natural gas or renewable energy sources to provide new generation.

In particular he has highlighted the potential of new offshore natural gas discoveries which, according to Erdan, are expected to supply Israel’s energy needs for many years and end the dependence on imported fuel for electricity generation.

The IEC disputes that the gas discoveries will transform the fuel mix.

ABB bags balance of plant contract for hybrid solar plant in Algeria

Spain’s UTE Aberer Hassi R’Mel Construction has been awarded a $14m electricial balance of plant contract for a 150 MW integrated combined cycle solar thermal power plant in Algeria to ABB.

The plant is under construction at the Hassi R’Mel gas field in northern Algeria. The new power station will include two 40 MW gas turbines, one 80 MW steam turbine and two parabolic trough solar collector fields capable of providing up to 25 MW.

The solar fields will provide supplementary heat to generate steam for the steam turbine from August 2010.

DEWA to launch tender for 1500 MW project in September

The Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) plans to launch a tender for a 1500 MW power plant in September.

The contract for the scheme, worth an estimated $6bn, is due to be awarded in the first quarter of 2010.

Meanwhile, DEWA has succeeded in refinancing a $2.2bn Islamic loan which matured in April at 300 points over Libor. The refinancing deal, which is structured as an Ijara or lease agreement, is being co-ordinated by Emirates NBD, Dubai Islamic Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Standard Chartered Bank.

Saudi government to take control of Ras Al Zour plant

The government of Saudi Arabia is to take control of the oil fired Ras Al Zour power and desalination project.

The scheme has faced problems since the Malaysian company Malakoff International withdrew from the preferred bidder consortium led by Sumitomo.

The project was originally intended to have a generating capacity of 3000 MW and burn natural gas. However a royal decree issued in 2006 changed the fuel to crude oil.

The capacity is now expected to be 850 MW – 1100 MW but it is unclear what government entity will be in charge of the project.

Doosan, Samsung, Siemens win Abu Dhabi contract

A consortium of Doosan Heavy Industries, Samsung Engineering Construction and Siemens has won a $473m contract for construction of a combined cycle gas turbine power and desalination plant in Abu Dhabi.

The Shuweihat II project, 200 km west of Abu Dhabi, will have a capacity of 1500 MW and will provide around 455 000 m3 of drinking water per day when it enters service in 2011.

The project is being developed by GDF Suez and output will be sold to the Abu Dhabi Electricity and Water Authority.

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Algeria: ABB has won a contract worth $56m to supply two sub-stations and ten mobile sub-stations to the Algerian state power company Sonelgaz.

Ethiopia: The Ethiopian government has rejected calls demanding that the country halt construction of the Gilgel Gibe III hydroelectric power project.

Iran: The Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran is due to start generating power from the middle of this summer, according to Iran’s energy minister, Parviz Fattah. The plant, with a projected generating capacity of 1000 MW will start by producing 500 MW.

Jordan: The Jordan Micro Credit Company, Tamweelcom, is to finance the purchase of small solar systems through facilitated loans to low income families and small businesses. In return, participants will pay a minimum of around $37 each month. Jordan is aiming to provide 600 MW of solar power by 2020.

Jordan: The Japanese government has agreed to help Jordan build and operate nuclear power plants. The country plans to introduce nuclear power in 2017.

Kuwait: The Kuwait Ministry of Electricity and Water has awarded a contract for the design, manufacture and supply of 450 medium voltage distribution substations to ABB.

Turkey: Enerjisa is planning to build a wind farm with a capacity of 30 MW in the northwestern Turkish province of Canakkale. The plant is to be constructed in a venture with the German company Siemens. Enerjisa hopes to have 185 MW of wind capacity by 2015.

South Africa: Five contractors including Aker Solutions have been awarded a three year framework agreement to provide nuclear engineering design packages at the Koeberg nuclear power station in South Africa. The agreement is with Eskom Holdings.

Uganda: A 9 MW small hydropower plant is to be built in Uganda by Hydromax. The Buseruka project is part of a government plan to increase rural electrification to 10 per cent by 2012. The project will cost $27m. The PTA Bank is to provide $10m and Hydromax will invest $8m, but a $9m shortfall remains.