Russian power sell off starts

Russia’s power giant UES has sold its 110 MW Solikamsk combined heat and power plant in Perm to its main customer Solikamskbumprom for $14m through its subsidiary Permenergo. The sale signifies the start of the break-up of UES under planned power industry reforms.

The auction result was welcomed by analysts, who said that Permenergo had sold an inefficient plant for a good price. The buyer – a pulp and paper plant – paid $127/kW, while the stock market currently values blue chip energos at about $45/kW. Profits are expected to be ploughed back into upgrading power stations operated by UES.

The European Commission has picked an international consortium led by Kema Consulting to support the restructuring and liberalization efforts in Russia. The reforms are needed to attract investments that are vital for repairing and upgrading outdated electricity infrastructure.

JBIC funds Morocco rural power project

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has inked a $62.6m contract with Morocco’s power giant Office National de l’Electricité (ONE) to develop distribution line networks for 88 000 households in rural areas.

The 30-year, overseas development loan has a ten-year grace period and a 2.2 per cent interest rate for the remaining 20 years. The rural electrification project is expected to raise living standards as well as bolster the economy, thereby alleviating regional disparities between urban and rural areas and reducing poverty.

E.ON back in with a chance for G8 sale

E.ON has been given a second chance to submit a bid for Poland’s G8 Group following the failure of a local power company to strike a deal with the government.

In July, Polish distribution utility El-Dystrybucja was granted permission to undertake exclusive talks for the purchase of G8. The deadline for the talks was extended to July 25, but are reported to have failed due to incomplete documentation.

The government has put G8 up for sale to generate revenue. Poland’s Treasury minister said in June that he expects to raise $1.56bn from the sale of G8, Gdansk refinery and Stoen electricity distributor.

Cummins to aid power in Africa

Cummins Power Generation has revealed plans to generate electricity in Africa’s emerging power market using a new range of mobile power plants.

Tony Satterthwaite, managing director of Cummins Power Generation, outlined the plans in a paper delivered to the African Energy Forum. The concept involves the construction of a 5 MW modular power stations to aid distributed energy development.

“Cummins believes that it can play a pivotal role in Africa’s development,” said Satterthwaite. “We are introducing a new 5 MW mobile power station … [and] are convinced it ideally fits the needs of the continent.”

The African Energy Forum was held at the Institute of Electrical Engineers in London, UK.

Russia to build nuclear reactors in Iran against US wishes

Russia has made clear its intentions to supply Iran with six nuclear reactors for the southern Bushehr plant and other sites.

The move was critcized by the USA, which said it would give Iran the ability to acquire nuclear weapons. The US argues that there could be no other reason for a country with Iran’s rich oil resources to want so many nuclear power reactors.

Richard Perele, a US adviser, has recommended a compromise deal in which Russia would be forgiven its $42bn Soviet-era debt as way of persuading it to end nuclear cooperation with Iran.

Iran has stated that the nuclear project would be subject to monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Namibia in cross border supply line deal with Botswana

NamPower and Botswana Power Corporation have struck a deal to build a cross-border transmission line for $7.3m. The line will support the electricity needs of eastern Namibia and Ghanzi in north-west Botswana.

The planning and design has started, with the first tenders to be issued later this year. The 250 km, 132 kV overhead line will run from Omaere substation in Namibia to Charles Hill at the Botswana border and from there to Ghanzi. It will have a transmission capacity of 18 MVA.

The interconnector will also carry a 24-core fibre optic ground wire, suitable for high-speed quality data transmission that will enable NamPower to venture into the telecommunication business. Work on the line is scheduled for completion before the end of 2003.

News digest

Armenia: Six companies have submitted bids to participate in an international tender for the sale of 80.1 per cent of shares in Distribution Electrical Grids of Armenia. Participants in the tender are Unified Energy Systems of Russia, AES with ABB, Electricité de France and Spain’s Union Fenosa. Results of the tender will be announced this month.

Ethiopia: China National Water Resources and Hydropower is building a hydro project in northern Ethiopia at a total cost of $224m. Construction of the plant, is believed to be the largest cooperative project between China and an African country.

Ghana: Eleven international investors have expressed interest in the construction of the Bui Hydroelectric power project. The site is located on the Black Volta river approximately 150 km upstream of the Volta Lake.

Israel: State-owned power monopoly, Israel Electric Corp., said it signed a deal with Israeli company OPC for the private supply of electricity from a new power station.The $220 million OPC plant will be constructed by Siemens. The 350 MW private power plant will run on natural gas, with oil as a secondary power source.

Kazakhstan: Kazakhstan is considering investing $1.9bn in the construction of two Kyrgyz hydroelectric stations. The country also pledged to acquire 1.1bn kWh of electricity from Kyrgyzstan.

Lithuania: Lithuanian negotiators have opened formal talks in Brussels over EU commitments on financial aid for the closure of the Ignalina nuclear power plant. The country estimates the shut down costs at $2.3bn. Lithuania agreed to close down the plant’s second reactor by 2009 on the basis of financial support from the EU.

Namibia: Namibian power utility NamPower is looking for funding from foreign governments to facilitate a wind power project near Luderitz. The project would be the third wind farm in Southern Africa. Two are being constructed in the western Cape region.

Poland: UK-based Centrax Gas Turbines has been awarded the contract to supply a 3.8 MWe natural gas fired generator set to Poland. The CX501-KB5 gas turbine powered package is to be used in the main district heating plant in the city of Tarnow, in the south east of the country.

Serbia: The Russian Power Machines enterprise, controlled by Interros, has won a contract to modernize the Djerdal hydropower station in Serbia for the local utility Elektropriveda. The project is expected to be completed within seven years.