Nicaragua plans private geothermal power projects

Plans to develop Nicaragua’s first fully private geothermal power plant have been released by consultants to the project, Sinclair Knight Merz. They include plans to install a 10 MW pilot plant and progressively add to this until the fully commercial 66 MW facility is established.

The geothermal plant will utilize steam from the San Jacinto-Tizate volcanic steam field near the town of Leon, 90 km northwest of the country’s capital, Managua. San Jacinto Power, a subsidiary of Polaris Energy Corporation, has the concession to operate the field.

Polaris has negotiated a 20-year ‘Take or Pay’ PPA to supply desperately needed electricity to the Nicaraguan grid and has estimated the project will cost $140m, The pilot plant will initially use two Alstom 5 MW conventional steam back-pressure turbines to be purchased from Geotermica Salvadorena of El Salvador.

Underground power grid progresses

Engineering group Black & Veatch has completed the preliminary design in respect of environmental permitting as well as development of technical specifications for the largest underground high voltage transmission system in the US for PG&E in northern California.

Awarded by PG&E in June, the project includes constructing 23 km of 230 kV transmission line, 18 km of which will be underground. It will connect two new substations in the Tri-Valley area. When complete the project will decrease the flow of electricity through the existing low voltage transmission lines and, as a result, increase the amount of energy that can be transmitted.

Machala gas fired plant completed early

Ecuador’s first natural gas fired power generating plant, the Machala project, has gone into commercial operation ahead of schedule and under budget. Units 1 and 2 of the 130 MW simple cycle plant owned by Noble Energy started in September – two months earlier than planned.

Washington Group International’s power business unit was responsible for EPC management and start-up services. Washington Group said that its excellent relationship with the Noble Energy management team and local sub-contractors were key to the early project completion.

Approximately 849 500 m3 (30 million cubic feet) per day of natural gas will be supplied to the coastal Machala plant via a 64 km pipeline to Noble Energy’s Amistad gas field. The project also includes a 14 km transmission line and substation to provide interconnection to the national power grid.

Bids invited for Hydro One

Strategic investors are being invited to submit expressions of interest in buying a 49 per cent stake in Hydro One, Ontario province’s transmission grid operator.

The Canadian province has appointed advisors who have indicated that potential investors will be restricted to those with CAN$1bn ($642m) in assets or market capitalization. A plan to offer shares in Hydro One through an initial public offering was blocked in the courts earlier this year after which the province announced the 49 per cent divestment.

•Hydro-Québec is to replace turbines at two of its aging hydroelectric generating stations at a cost of C$40m. GE Power Systems will build and install eight generators at two stations on the Ottawa River near Cadillac.

Enersis may sell Peru transco

Latin American energy group Enersis says it may sell the transmission lines of Peruvian subsidiary Edegel as part of a programme reduce its $9.2bn debt. The company also needs to ensure payment of a $1.4bn loan to its Spanish parent Endesa amid a bleak economic outlook in Latin America.

Edegel has generating capacity of 850 MW from ten plants and supplies Peru’s northern transmission grid via its own lines.

•Electroperu is to auction a contract to buy 1.98m m3 per day of gas for 15 years from the Camisea reserve.

Alstom in US DOE coal tests

Alstom is to participate in two US Department of Energy-sponsored programmes to develop and test new coal combustion technologies.

Alstom will build and evaluate the Circulating Moving Bed combustor, a new type of steam generator using a novel method of solid fuel combustion.

It will also evaluate advanced coal-fired plant concepts to make plants using pulverized coal, fluid bed and moving bed combustors more efficient. While current plants operate at 540°C, the programme will evaluate the feasibility of building plants operating at steam temperatures of up to 720°C.

News digest

Barbados: South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries said it has received a $60m order from Barbados Light and Power company to build a 60 MW diesel-fueled power plant in the Caribbean island country.

Canada: New Brunswick’s public utilities board ruled yesterday against a plan to refurbish the aging Point Lepreau nuclear plant, saying the $845m upgrade does not make financial sense. The board said there is little difference in price between refurbishment and switching the plant to natural gas.

Peru: Belgian energy outfit Tractebel, whose $167m purchase of two Peruvian state electricity firms has been frozen in courts since June, has said it will work with local officials to bring the dispute to a close. Tractebel won a June auction for generators Egasa and Egesur for $167.4m. The generators are situated in the southern region of Arequipa, Peru’s second biggest city.

USA: ABB has won two $10m orders to upgrade the control systems for the Square Butte high voltage direct current (HVDC) scheme and the CU HVDC Project. Both are HVDC transmission systems, which link together the states of North Dakota and Minnesota.

USA: Adoption of fuel cell technology is moving forward with the planned installation of seven 200 kW units – the world’s largest application – at a call-routing centre in Long Island, New York. The units will be supplemented by four gas-fired generator sets, which are designed to operate in parallel with the fuel cells and as a backup system. The combined output will be 4.4 MW.

USA: Powerspan Corp., developer of ECO multi pollutant control technology for power plants, and Amerenue, a Missouri-based electric utility, have developed plans for a full-scale installation of the technology at Amerenue’s Sioux Plant in St. Charles County, Missouri.

USA: In Korea’s first-ever export of a key nuclear power station facility to the US, Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. dispatched four steam generators for use in the Sequoyah nuclear power plant. The four Doosan-built 1200 MW class steam generators, valued at $50m, were loaded on a US bound freighter at the company’s in-house port in Changwon of South Kyongsang Province.

USA: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Westinghouse Electric Corporation have received an order for replacement work of reactor vessel heads from one of the leading electricity companies in the US market. The order is for a plant generating 900 MW.