China completes coal-by-wire plant

China has seen the completion of its first coal-by-wire power plant, a 2100 MW (6 x 350 MW) facility situated 800 km south west of Beijing in Shanxi province. The Yangcheng plant uses boiler equipment designed and supplied by US engineering firm Foster Wheeler, and is a major milestone in the development of China’s east-to-west power development programme.

Foster Wheeler’s $360m contract was funded by the US Ex-Im Bank. As part of China’s power generation modernization programme, the new plant will substitute electricity transmission for coal transport by supplying electricity to the eastern province of Jiangsu.

Coal-by-wire power plants are located next to the coal mines that fuel them rather than near the population centres that consume the electricity that they generate. The electricity generated by the Yangcheng plant is transmitted over a 740 km high voltage power transmission line to Jiangsu province.

Foster Wheeler undertook the engineering, procurement and delivery of the boilers, coal handling equipment and other equipment for the new plant’s owner, Yangcheng International Power Generating Co. The order for the plant was placed in 1996 and the first steam generator started up in 1999. The generators use Foster Wheeler’s double-arched fired technology.

Singapore slings planned asset sales

Singapore has shelved plans to sell three state-owned power generating companies that were due to be sold next year after recent weak industry performance. The sale is now likely to take place in 2004.

The gencos that were scheduled to be sold were Tuas Power, Senoko Power and Power Seraya, all of which are currently controlled by government investment arm Temasek Holdings. They were due to be privatized after the local electricity industry restructuring process is completed in 2003.

Philippines sale threatened after share slump

The Philippines may delay its planned sell off of Meralco – Manila Electric Company – after its shares plummeted some 40 per cent following news that it would be forced to pay refunds to customers.

The government will now look for a share price jump before selling a ten per cent stake in the distributor. The country’s Supreme Court ordered Meralco to refund subscribers for excess charges dating back to 1994.

One way that debt-laden Meralco could meet the cost of the refund is to raise prices, but this has been contested by electricity consumers. The company says it will appeal the ruling, and that it will be unable to repay debt due in 2004 if the ruling is not reversed.

Australia encouraged to unify regulation

A review of Australian energy policy has recommended implementing a single regulator to replace the multiple regional and federal regulators that currently govern the country’s energy market. The review, carried out by the Council of Australian Governments, has also called for allowing more choice for consumers.

Chaired by former Resources Minister Warwick Parer, the review said that although Australia’s energy market reforms over the last ten years have been beneficial, serious deficiencies remained. Areas requiring attention include the removal of retail price caps, the implementation of consumer choice, establishing a national energy regulator and the overhaul of electricity transmission planning.

India powers up final HV link

India has ceremonially started the $49.6m Sasaram back-to-back High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) interconnector project that completes the final missing link of the Indian national high voltage grid.

The HVDC link, built by Alstom, connects the country’s northern regional transmission grid with the eastern regional transmission grid. It will enable an additional 500 MW of power to flow to Delhi, which experienced many power shortages that lead to riots earlier in the year.

The g50m Sasaram project was the final link that was needed to interconnect India’s regional systems. The west and east regions, with their healthy coal reserves, are now connected to the hydro-rich north and south regions. The link, one of three that Alstom has supplied to India, also provides reactive power control.

Alstom supplied the Sasaram HVDC link, comprising a 500 MW pole operating at 205 kV DC, 2475 A, switchyard and ac harmonic filters, on a turnkey basis.

ADB inks $130m Sri Lanka loan

The Asian Development Bank is to fund the restructuring of Sri Lanka’s power sector with two loans worth a total of $130m. The loans are the biggest to be awarded to Sri Lanka, and will be split to finance different sectors of the market. Around $60m will be used to support policy reforms. The remaining $70m will be directed to modernization and expansion of transmission infrastructure.

News digest

Australia: GE Hydro has won a contract from SunWater to build a new small hydropower plant in northern Queensland. The 1.6 MW plant will provide enough power to meet the needs of 100 homes.

China: China International Engineering Consulting Corp. has approved a feasibility study to build a natural gas fired power plant in Qinhai province. CIECC is an entity authorized by the government to provide technical and economic assessments on industrial projects.

China: PetroChina Co. plans to build an Orimulsion-based power plant in Southern China’s Guangdong province to accommodate more imports of Venezuela’s trademark boiler fuel. The Zhanjiang city plant will be jointly operated by PetroChina and Port Authority of Zhanjiang and Zhanjiang Power Plant.

Indonesia: Indonesia plans to build a new 600 MW power plant northeast of Jakarta in an effort to arrest a power shortfall in the country’s main Java-Bali grid. Power shortages have been plaguing most of Indonesia due to a halt in new investments since 1998.

Japan: Nippon Oil Corp. said it will build a wind power plant in northern Japan and sell most of the electricity generated to regional power utility Tohoku Electric Power Co. from March next year.

Korea: Alstom has delivered a turnkey energy management solution to manage the entire South Korean electricity power grid under a £16.8m ($26m) contract with the Korea Power Exchange.

Korea: Work to build the nation’s first commercial wind power plant has begun on a slope in the Daegwalleyeong hill chain in Gangwon Province. The project is promoted by Gangwon Wind Power Co., a joint venture established in September last year by Unison Industrial Co. and German firm Lahmeyer International.

Malaysia: Work on the proposed 700 km power transmission line from the revived Bakun hydroelectric project is scheduled for completion by 2007 at the earliest, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan.

Myanmar: Korea Electric Power Company has completed a one-year project to diagnose and research the electric power network in Myanmar. The project represents the company’s first overseas venture in the power transmission sector.

Vietnam: Song Da Construction Corp. will begin building the Tuyen Quang hydropower plant in northern Vietnam later this year. The 342 MW power plant will be built at a cost of $489.7m and will enter operation in 2006.