Americas – World News

Central America expands energy integration initiative

The Inter-American Development Bank has approved a $37.5m loan for Guatemala to help finance transmission lines linking the Mexican and Guatemalan power grids.

The project is part of the Plan Puebla Panama energy integration initiative and will complement the Siepac project, which involves construction of a 1830 km transmission line connecting Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The 103 km, 400 kV single circuit line will link Tapachula in Mexico with Los Brillantes in Guatemala. The line’s capacity will be 200 MW from Mexico to Guatemala and 70 MW in the opposite direction.

This project and the Siepac project will help to reduce energy costs in Central America and improve the quality of electricity supply to participating countries. An environmental and social impact study for the project has already been carried out.

News digest

Brazil: ABB has won contracts worth $15m to provide equipment to three companies building transmission lines in Brazil. ABB will primarily be supplying transmission towers and fittings as well as automation for substations, telecom systems and remote control systems.

Canada: VA Tech transmission and distribution has been awarded a g11.5m contract by Canada’s Hydro One Networks to manufacture and supply pole-mounted distribution transformers.

Canada: Siemens has been selected by Canada’s Hydro One to design and build an integrated end-to-end asset and work management solution. Hydro One is seeking a solution within this project that combines technology, systems integration and management consulting services that will bring benefits to the organization.

USA: An official US investigation has attacked Barclays Bank for its role in the Enron scandal, saying it knew the US energy trader was trying to mislead investors. Barclays earned hundreds of million of dollars in fees from the collapsed energy trader.

USA: GE Wind Energy will supply TXU Energy with the first 25 wind turbines, or 37.5 MW, for phase I of the proposed 400 MW Sweetwater wind project in Texas which, when completed, will be among the world’s largest wind developments.

USA: Black & Veatch’s Global Renewable Energy Group, which provides comprehensive project services for renewable energy projects in the areas of wind, solar, biomass, hydroelectric, geothermal and ocean energy, has been awarded a three-year contract by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to support the expansion of renewable energy resources.

USA: Caterpillar has sold of five of its largest gas-fired engines to a new electrical power plant in Geneva, Illinois. The $18m project involves construction of a 29 MW power plant capable of providing critical peak power for up to 40 000 homes.

USA: Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution (PTD) has begun construction of a high voltage back-to-back converter for the Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCO). The tie will connect Xcel Energy’s Southwestern Public Service Company system in the eastern interconnection with the PSCO system in the western interconnection, allowing the transfer of 210 MW of power in either direction.

Venezuela: Electricidad de Caracas (EDC) plans to spend $75m to build the 200 MW La Raisa fossil plant outside Caracas by the end of the second quarter 2004. It will be located on the southwest side of Caracas.

Venezuela plans $1.5bn expansion

The Venezuelan government is planning to invest $1.5bn in the construction of new thermoelectric power plants over the next seven years to avoid power shortages.

Around 2380 MW of capacity will be added to the country’s grid. The plan will consist of nine gas fired plants supported by a planned expansion in the country’s natural gas sector.

The government will directly finance four of the plants with a $790m grant. State-owned oil company PDVSA and Brazil’s Petrobras will finance another two ” the 300 MW Yucal Placer plant and the 150 MW Planta Oriente plant ” at a cost of $525m. Private investors, including Repsol-YPF and AES-owned Electricidad de Caracas, are already progressing with two more new plants.

Around 70 per cent of Venezuela’s electricity demand of 89 500 GWh is met by the Guri hydroelectric complex in eastern Bolivar state. Extensive power shortages this year have been blamed on low rainfall levels in 2002.

GE tests HTS generator

GE has successfully tested a demonstration unit of a high temperature superconducting (HTS) generator. The test was part of a DOE-funded project to commercialize a high efficiency generator that could lead to millions of dollars of energy savings.

GE designed, manufactured and tested a 1.8 MVA proof-of-concept model for the rotor, cryo-refrigeration and HTS subsystems. Extensive cryogenic, mechanical, and electrical component tests were carried out.

Solar tower heads for the USA

SolarMission Technologies has adopted a strategy to implement solar tower technology across the USA and has already started the search for a suitable site that will allow it to develop and commercialize the technology.

Solar tower technology is a large-scale solar thermal renewable energy technology. Under a license granted by SolarMission in 2001, Australia’s Enviro-Mission Ltd. is developing the technology at a site in Australia, where it has made progress in engineering capability and commercial opportunity.

SolarMission Technologies now plans to build on EnviroMission’s progress and will commence commercialization of the technology outside Australia.

Mexican project selects Fluor

Ameco, the construction arm of Fluor Corporation, announced that it has been awarded a site services contract to support the construction of a hydropower project in Mexico.

The 750 MW El Cajon hydroelectric plant near Tepic, Nayarit will be built over a five year period. It is a highly strategic project for the Mexican government and is one of the largest public infrastructure projects undertaken in years. Ameco will provide construction equipment vehicles, and large haul trucks used by Constructora el Cajon (CESCA), which is building the plant.

Mexico’s state power company CFE has called for bids for the development of the 700 MW Pacifico coal-fired power plant in Guerrero state. The project will utilize 2m t of coal per year, and will be located next to the 2100 MW Petacalo power plant. The plant is scheduled to start operating in 2007.

NOxStar wins

Mitsui Babcock has won a contract to supply its proprietary NOxStar technology to the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Colbert facility. NOxStar is an innovative emission reduction technology that enables plant operators to meet NOx compliance goals without the high capital investment typical of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) installations.

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