Guyana completes power group sale

Guyana has completed the privatization of its power company, selling a 50 per cent stake to a European consortium that will invest $50m in the utility over the next five years. The consortium, which comprises Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) and ESBI of Ireland paid government-owned enterprise, Guyana Electricity Corp, $23m for the stake.

The consortium will be responsible for the management of the business, which will trade as Guyana Power & Light (GPL). GPL will have a 25-year licence to develop and operate the electricity system throughout the country, with the main aim of improving the quality and access to power supplies.

The agreement ends a four year effort by the government to find an investment partner for the power company.

The government is committed to reducing interest in GPL over time and the shareholders intend to offer shares in the company to employees and the general public within five years.

Solar technology could lead to bigger power plants

A technology that has been under development in the US has been declared successful by the US Department of Energy and a private consortium led by Southern California Edison. Ultimately, the technology could lead to bigger solar power plants.

Solar Two, a 10 MW “power tower” project located in Bartsow, California has demonstrated a unique storage system, which can deliver power to the grid for 153 hours. It can also deliver electricity on demand on a 24-hour basis.

The $55m design uses 2000 sun tracking mirrors that reflect sunlight on to a receiver at the top of a 91 m (300 ft) tower. The receiver is made up of hundreds of vertical tubes that have molten salt flowing through them.

The concentration of sunlight on the tubes heats the salt to as high as 565°C (1050°F). It then flows to a tank at the bottom of the tower where it is either stored or sent to heat water to produce steam for a nearby steam turbine-generator.

H-technology for 800 MW Scriba plant

GE’s advanced gas turbine H-technology is to be employed for the first time in the USA in a $400m project. Sithe and GE is to construct and operate a 800 MW natural gas fired plant known as the Heritage power station in Scriba, New York, USA.

The H-technology turbines developed by GE and the US Department of Energy is the most efficient gas turbine in the world, capable of net efficiencies of 60 per cent.

Sithe’s Heritage Station is seen as the perfect venue for the new technology. The planned facility marks an expansion of the company’s generating capacity in Scriba, site of Sithe’s 1040 MW Independence Station.

Sithe will initiate the permitting process by submitting final application to the State of New York this autumn. Construction would begin in the last quarter of 2000, with operations and testing projected to commence in the last quarter of 2002.

Combined cycle plant for Mexico

ABB Alstom Power has won a turnkey engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract worth Euro250m ($266m), for Unit III of the Rosarito power plant, 22 km south of Tijuana, Mexico. The new unit scheduled for completion by July 2001 will increase the total output of the plant by 540 MW to 1170 MW.

ABB Alstom will supply two single shaft power trains each comprising one GT24 gas turbine, an associated heat recovery steam generator, steam turbine and generator, as well as the overall power plant control system and balance of plant.

The order was placed by Rosarito Power S.S. de C.V. a special-purpose company owned by ABB Energy Ventures and Nissho Iwai, a Japanese trading company. The project is tendered on a build, lease, transfer (BLT) basis by Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).

Colombia prices Isagen privatization

Colombia’s government has set a $500m value for the privatization of Generacion y Comercializacion de Energia SA, known as Isagen, the country’s third largest generator.

Mines and Energy Minister, Luis Carlos Valenzuela said that an analysis of projected cash flows valued the assets of Isagen at $1.36bn, while the debts of the company came to $636m.

Detroit utility to buy MCN Energy

In another example of US utilities’ efforts to become large, diversified national energy companies, Detroit electric utility, DTE Energy, is to buy Michigan based MCN Energy.

The combination of DTE and MCN will result in $6bn in annual revenues, 2.2m electricity customers and 1.2m gas customers. The new company will keep the DTE name.

This latest US merger follows Unicom’s – Chicago electric utility – agreement on a $7.8bn merger with PECO Energy of Philadelphia.

News digest

Brazil: US-based Entergy is in negotiations with 35 potential clients in Brazil: five electricity companies, and about 30 large industries which have free choice of supplier. Entergy is hoping to secure the sale of 65 per cent of the output from the 800 MW Bom Jardim power station, which it is planning to build in Sao Paulo state. Meanwhile, CMS Energy Corp. has acquired 95 per cent of Cia. Paulista de Energia’s voting stock for $85m through its Brazilian subsidiary CMS Basil Energia Ltda and a US-based controlled concern, CMS Electric and Gas Company.

Colombia: Chile’s Enersis has set up a new company, Enersis Energia de Colombia (EEC) to market electricity in Colombia. Enersis will have a 75 per cent stake in EEC.

Chile: Power company, Empresa Electrica Pilmaiquen has published bidding rules for the sale of the 39 MW Pilmaiquen hydropower plant at Orsorno.

Ecuador:National utility Electroecuador has become the first of the country’s private sector power generators to sign a concession contract under the new electricity deregulation regime. The company has signed a 30-year agreement with the national power authority, Conelec, to take over operation of Guayaquil, Anibal Santos and Alvaro Tinajero thermal power plants.

Peru: The international units of Public Service Enterprise Group (PEG) and Sempra Energy (SRE) completed their acquisition of about 47.5 per cent Peruvian electric company Luz del Sur SA.

USA: AmerGen Energy – the 50:50 joint venture between British Energy and PECO Energy Company – has agreed in principle to pay $10m for the Oyster Creek nuclear plant in New Jersey. The 619 MW facility is a BWR commissioned in 1969.

USA: Scottish Power has received formal approval from the state regulatory authorities in Oregon for the purchase of Pacificorp. The $3.8bn all-share offer has already received approval from the Californian authorities. The bid needs approval in six states and officials in Washington, Utah, Wyoming and Idaho have indicated their intention to recommend acceptance.

USA: A national engineering consortium based at Purdue University is developing a “self healing” computerized system designed to quickly anticipate the changing demands of industrial, commercial and residential customers. Called Telos (Transmission Entities with Learning capabilities and On Line Self healing) would be used for controlling the flow of electricity during peak demands, such as during this summer’s heat wave in the United States.