News Digest

Americas

International: PriceWaterCoopers will support Pantellos and its customers in the development of an electronic marketplace for the energy and utility industry. It is estimated that the internet based services will provide significant cost savings and make the $130 billion North American utility and energy supply marketplace dynamically open and accessible to its participants.

Brazil: The Itaipu hydroelectric plant is set to increase its generation capacity from 12 600 MW to 14 000 MW by 2003. A contract valued at $184.6m was signed between Brazil and Paraguay to build two 700 MW capacity turbines. The plant is expected to contribute towards meeting the countries growing energy demand.

Canada: Eletrobras is to review the technical – economic feasibility study for the Angra III nuclear power plant conducted in 1998. The new open market for electrical energy, leads to doubts on whether or not to press on with the project.

Canada: H Power Corp. has completed the installation and start up of a prototype propane, fuel cell-based, residential electric cogeneration unit. Hydro-Quebec is to evaluate the unit, the first of its kind, which is capable of supplying all the electricity and hot water needs for a household. It is claimed that fuel cell co-generators are a highly reliable source of electricity that is environmentally friendly, safe and efficient.

Mexico: Technology group ABB has won a $80m order to design, build and finance part of a 750 km high-voltage power transmission system to support expanding energy demand in Mexico. The order is part of a $250m project run by the state-owned electricity utility (CFE) to accelerate the development of the country’s electricity infrastructure.

Mexico: The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a $41m loan for the construction of the Dona Francisca hydroelectric project costing $118m. The remaining funds will be raised with equity.

USA: The UK energy company Innogy is collaborating with Tennessee Valley Authority to build a $25m commercial electricity storage plant in Mississippi. Introducing breakthrough technology called Regenesys, that allows for the storage of electricity, the plant is set to become the second of its type in the world. The first Regenesys plant is currently under construction in the UK and is due to begin commercial operation in early 2003.

USA: The National Wildlife Federation has commended the US environment Protection Agency’s attempts to regulate the nation’s 464 coal fired power plants for mercury emissions. Coal fired plants are claimed to be the leading contributors to mercury air pollution.


Asia-Pacific

International: UN economist Kim Hak-Su urged Asia’s governments to open up their energy markets to attract investment in developing renewable sources of energy. He said that the total energy investment requirement for east Asia by 2005 would be between $150bn and $200bn a year. As overseas direct aid is not sufficient to meet the cost, energy market reform would be necessary to facilitate private sector participation and foreign direct investment.

Australia: Logica plc has acquired MITS, the IT services unit of Utility Services Corporation for A$85m ($44m) MITS staff will now operate as a unit of Logica.

Bangladesh: The Asian Development Bank has approved $140m assistance to finance a $300m power plant to produce 450 MW of electricity. The plant will be established by AES Corporation of the US at Meghanghat on the northern bank of the river Meghna.

India: Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd. (BHEL) will manufacture modern control systems for power plants and industries in partnership with MAX Control Systems Inc, USA. The agreement aims to manufacture a new generation of distributed control system called ‘MAX 1000 + Plus’ at BHEL’s electronic division in Bangalore.

Japan: Foster Wheeler K.K has been awarded a contract by Fuji Electric Company to supply two sets of 6 MW circulation fluidized bed boilers for Japan’s first power plant firing refuse-derived fuel. Valued at around $15m, construction of the plant is expected to begin in 2001 with commercial operation scheduled for December of the following year.

Philippines: The Investment Coordinating Committee has given the go-ahead for the 40 MW wind energy project in the Ilocos region. The $54m pioneering project can now start negotiating for finance. The project is part of a government policy to develop new and renewable energy sources and replace imported fossil fuel and coal. A recent study has found that the Philippines has the potential to generate 70 000 MW from wind power.

Sri Lanka: The Ceylon Electricity Board has struck a deal with Bonneville Power Administration of the USA to rehabilitate and upgrade its old hydropower stations. The aim of the partnership is to rehabilitate, enhance and increase the longevity of existing machines.

Thailand: A consortium of Petroleum Authority Thailand and Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand has been selected by the Second Bangkok International Airport Ltd. to construct a $60m district cooling and power plant. About 30 bidders competed for the cooling system and power plant contract.


Companies

Enercon acquires: The German wind-energy group Enercon has acquired the wind power pylon business of Kockums Industrier (KIAB) of Sweden – a member of the Saab group. Enercon, which has been manufacturing wind power equipment since 1984, already has an office in Sweden. KIAB has been a sub-contractor to Enercon since early 1999.

New chief at Enron: Enron has announced that Jeffrey Skilling will be assuming the duties of chief executive officer. Kenneth Lay will continue to serve as company chairman, resting speculation that he might leave the company.

President appointed at Fortum: Eero Auranne has been appointed President of Fortum Engineering Ltd. and head of the Power Plant Engineering unit as of 15 December 2000. The current president, Jorma Karppinen will take on other duties.

GE buys software: GE Power Systems has announced the acquisition of outstanding ownership control of GE Enter Software LLC, a developer of power plant design, optimization and performance software. GE originally bought a 51 per cent stake in Enter Software in 1999, and bought the remaining interest in December 2000.

Scottish Power setback: The failure of a generator at a US plant owned by Scottish Power caused the UK-based company’s shares to fall in December. Scottish Power warned that the problem at one of three 430 MW coal fired units at the Hunter power plant could mean losses of up to $180m. The unit could be out of action for up to six months after a short circuit caused the generator core to overheat.

Shell and Bechtel complete deal: The Royal Dutch/Shell Group and Bechtel Enterprises Holdings, Inc. announced the completion of the agreement to expand the scope of their InterGen joint venture. The deal broadens InterGen’s asset portfolio, enhances value through shareholder strengths, and consolidates its position as a global leader in power generation development.

Siemens-Shell JV: Siemens Solar Gmbh and Shell International Renewables are reported to be in talks to undertake a joint venture in solar energy. The two companies have worked together in renewables projects in Asia for several years, and are now interested in expanding this through a joint venture of their respective global solar businesses.

Siemens predicts: The German electronics and electrical engineering group Siemens has predicted double digit growth in sales for the year 2001 and expects its gross earnings to rise by 20 per cent a year. Analysts say that the targets are ambitious but attainable.


Europe

Cyprus: The 260 MW Vasilikos Phase I oil-fired power station near Limassol has been officially opened, according to engineering consultants Mott MacDonald. The plant consists of two oil-fired boilers and two 130 MW steam turbines. Consulting engineers PB Power have been appointed as engineers for the second phase of the power plant development.

Germany: The European Energy Exchange (EEX) is to launch Germany’s first power futures bourse early in 2001. The move will preempt the rival German exchange LPX, which is expected to launch a futures market in the first half of 2001. EEX launched its spot market in August 2000 and said that it hopes to have up to 40 participants by the beginning of 2001.

Germany: The European Commission appears unlikely to approve the acquisition of a one-third stake in German utility EnBW by Electricit

Norway: Statnett and Norsk Hydro have signed an agreement under which Statnett will buy part of Norsk Hydro’s Norwegian power lines and transmission system. The deal covers over 400 km of power lines and is worth $13.5m (a11.5m).

Norway: The Water Resources and Energy Directorate and the State Pollution Control Authority of Norway have granted construction and emission permits for a new 800 MW gas fired power station. The plant will be developed by Industrikraft Midt-Norge and will be only the third plant of its kind to be built in the country.

Spain: Global energy company BP has inaugurated a environmentally friendly gas station in Madrid that uses a microturbine as its main source of clean energy. A 30 kW Capstone microturbine provides power to the facility as well as heat to heat water for the car wash. Power is also supplied through a 10 kW photovoltaic array and a 6 kW wind turbine.

UK: The UK Power Exchange (UKPX) has announced that it has successfully completed two days of user testing on its NETA trading system in preparation for the new trading arrangements to be introduced in March 2001.

UK: The first offshore wind power project in the UK has been officially opened. The à‚£4m (a6.7m, $5.7m) project can supply enough electricity for 3000 homes and is thought to be the largest of its kind in the world. It features two turbines, located 1 km from the Northumbrian coast, that operate in winds of up to 161 km/h.


International

Armenia: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is making an equity investment in four regional Armenian electricity companies in order to support the government’s efforts to privatize the sector. The EBRD will buy a 19.9 per cent stake in each of the companies when they are sold to strategic investors, a process due to be complete by March 2001.

Egypt: Electricit

Hungary: Electricit

Mozambique: The Mozambican government has announced it is to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, and will promote development of forest regeneration and clean technology development in the country.

Nigeria: The Nigerian government has said that vandalism and power thefts are compounding the country’s power crisis which has seen whole towns and cities affected by blackouts. It warned of an imminent total collapse of the power system, blaming factions aiming to undermine the current civilian administration for vandalism to high voltage transmission lines. An estimated $15bn of investment is needed by the country to add 17 500 MW of capacity to the grid.

Poland: The French group SNET is to buy a 45 per cent stake in the Bialystok thermal power plant in north-east Poland subject to negotiations with the Polish Treasury.

Romania: The power sector of Romania is to benefit from a $51.5m loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), aimed at helping the national grid company Transelectrica SA upgrade its transmission and communication systems and undertake training in IT and financial systems. The loan will help the country liberalize its power sector in line with European Union rules.

Turkey: Alstom has received a repeat order for a GT10B gas turbine from Modern Enerji for a combined cycle power plant in Corlu near Istanbul. The plant will supply power and steam to a nearby factory, and will be capable of operating on natural gas and diesel fuel.

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