ADB approves $62m loan to aid transmission sector

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has given the green light to a $62m loan for India’s first public-private partnership in the power transmission sector.

Tala-Delhi Transmission Ltd., a joint venture company, will construct power lines from Siliguri in West Bengal to Mandaula near Delhi on a build-own-operate-transfer basis. The lines will comprise 1133 km of 400 kV lines and 20 km of 220 kV lines. Power will be transmitted from the Tala hydroelectric power plant in Bhutan as well as from India’s eastern region, to the northern region, where power shortages exist.

The $249m project will be met by 70 per cent of debt of which the ADB will finance 25 per cent. Commercial lenders have already been tapped for 45 per cent. The remaining 30 per cent will be financed by Tata Power Co. and Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd. The transmission project is expected to be fully operational by 2006.

Indonesia looks to resume IPP PPAs

The 19 power purchase agreements (PPAs) that were shelved by Indonesia’s PLN, due in part to the Asian financial crisis, could soon be resumed to help meet the country’s forecasted growth in energy demand.

The state-owned power giant said that it was on course to renegotiate seven contracts by June 2003. PLN signed 27 PPAs in the early 1990s, but critics claimed the price of power under the contracts, at ¢7/kWh, was too high. After the devaluation of the rupiah against the US dollar, PLN was unable to make the contracted dollar-linked payments.

The seven contracts that are being renegotiated are with Tanjung Jati A, Tanjung Jati C, the Cilacap plant, Serang plant, Parsuruan, Cilegon plant and Kamojang plant. Although not all agreements were disclosed, Eddie Widiono, president of PLN, said that the price for the Tanjung Jati B coal-fired power plant would be ¢4/kWh over 20 years. This would enable the company to sell the power on for ¢5/kWh and reduce PLN’s losses by $5bn.

Alstom bags hydropower order in India

Alstom has bagged a g50m order with JPVL (Jaiprakash Power Ventures Ltd.) in India for the supply of hydropower generating plant equipment for a 400 MW project.

The 4×100 MW project, called Vishnuprayag, is situated on the Alaknanda river in Uttaranchal state. JPVL is constructing the project on a build-own-operate basis. The roughly g380m project will help to alleviate the power shortages that currently plague northern India.

Ling Ao starts up ahead of schedule

Unit 2 of China’s Ling Ao nuclear power plant has started supplying the Guangdong province two months ahead of schedule, Framatome ANP has announced.

Unit 1 of the plant commenced operation in May 2002, and together with Unit 2, will help to reduce the country’s reliance on coal.

Ling Ao is the second large-scale nuclear plant to be built in Guangdong, following on from the Daya Bay plant.

Transco bill a must to ease Philippines power woes

The passing of the Philippines’ Transco bill is essential to bringing down electricity rates in the Philippines, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has stressed. The bill will help improve the efficiency of the country’s transmission sector and alleviate power shortages.

The oversupply situation in Luzon, for example, contrasts with the power shortages facing Visayas. Power supplies between the regions cannot be shared because of faulty transmission facilities. Privatization of the transmission sector, proposed under the bill, would encourage efficient operation and promote investment.

The privatization of Transco will also pave the way for the privatization of the country’s generating assets.

Upgrade for New Plymouth as NZ.gas reserves dwindle

New Zealand’s power giant, Contact Energy, will see its New Plymouth power station refurbished in a multi-million-dollar upgrade as the country’s Maui gas reserves reach a low. Contact will refurbish the 25-year old plant into a dual fuel facility, allowing it to run on fuel oil as well as gas.

Announcements that the Maui gas reserves could run out by 2007 have alarmed industry insiders. Contact’s chairman, Phil Pryke, said: “Restoring the New Plymouth power station’s capability to run on liquid fuel is a key ingredient in our planning to deal with possible gas shortages over the next few years.”

News digest

Australia: Australian Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said the country requires around $40bn of investment in new energy infrastructure over the next decade. The country is rapidly running out of time to attract major investors, Macfarlane said.

Australia: Geodynamics is hoping to become Australia’s largest renewable energy producer by pioneering the development of base load electricity generation from known Hot Dry Rock geothermal sources. The company has started drilling the $3.21m Habanero 1 well to access one of the world’s hottest geothermal resources, 4.9 km under the Cooper Basin.

Brunei: Brunei Darussalam has announced plans for the development of several large-scale industrial facilities to utilize the sultanate’s vast natural gas reserves. The $3bn worth of projects are scheduled for operation from 2008.

China: China’s largest independent electricity generator, Huaneng Power International, said the Chinese government had approved its plan to build generators worth $450.1m. Huaneng said its plan to build three 300 MW combined-cycle gas turbine generating units in Shanghai would be 75 per cent funded by bank loans.

China: ABB has received two orders to supply switchgear and control systems for the Jiaxing Phase II power station, a 2400 MW coal fired plant under construction in Zhejiang. The contracts are worth a total of $17m.

China: China is to increase the desulphurization capacity of thermal power plants to 21.5 GW by 2005. It also plans to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by ten per cent, said an official from the China Power Regulatory Commission.

China: Babcock & Wilcox Beijing Co. will deliver two new coal fired boilers to the Heng Shui Hengxing Electric Power Generation Co. for delivery in 2004. Two complete 300 MW coal fired boilers will be supplied for the Hengshui power plant located in the Hebei province.

Malaysia: VA Tech CNI, jointly owned by VA Tech Sat and PSI, was awarded a contract to supply a network control system for Tenaga Nasional Berhad, Malaysia’s largest utility. The new system is designed to control the distribution network of TNB’s metro region, spanning Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding Klang valley.

New Zealand: The Commerce Commission, the New Zealand regulatory body, has introduced price controls for electricity line companies effective 1 July 2003. Businesses that breach the thresholds could be investigated by the Commission.