US forms clean coal coalition

A number of leading US-based coal fired power generators and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) have announced a new initiative to accelerate the deployment of clean, efficient, advanced coal technology and to develop options for managing the carbon dioxide emitted from power plants.

To provide technical oversight and direction for the initiative, “CoalFleet for Tomorrow”, a world-class expert working group will be formed and be composed of early deployment plant owners, core investors, government experts, EPRI technical staff and selected industry experts.

The collaborative programme will coordinate efforts, as appropriate, with the R&D efforts of the US Department of Energy and other research organizations.

Stiff competition for Colbún contracts

Chilean generator Colbún has received 17 bids for two contracts related to its $70m, 70 MW Quilleco run-of-river hydro project on the Laja river in central-southern Region VIII, a Colbún source told Bnamericas. Colbún received eight bids for a contract to supply two 35 MW turbines for the project, and nine bids for a contract to install the water channels. Both contracts will be awarded in mid-January, the source said, without naming the bidders.

Colbún has tendered four main Quilleco contracts, of which it has awarded one and received bids on three.

Ontario takes first green steps

The Ontario government has taken a first step toward green power by authorizing ten renewable energy projects to provide enough electricity for 100 000 houses.

The $700m in contracts with private companies will provide 395 MW of power and include five wind power generation sites, two hydroelectric plants and three projects that will use energy from gas escaping from landfills.

Energy minister Dwight Duncan said the new operations, which will commence operation by the end of 2007, will help Ontario reduce its dependence on coal fired generating plants. The projects will put the government one third of the way toward its commitment to provide five per cent of Ontario’s electricity needs from renewable sources by 2007.

Copel forced to participate in power auction

Brazil’s supreme court has revoked a lower court decision that allowed power company Copel to extend power supply contracts between companies in the same group, forcing it to participate in the government’s existing 55 000 MW power auction.

The decision was reached following an appeal by power regulator Aneel after a federal court in Porto Alegre allowed Copel to extend to 2015 power purchase contracts between its distribution and generation units.

In response to Copel’s claim that they would be forced to buy more expensive power at the auction, Aneel argued that if absence was allowed, it could give Copel an unfair advantage.

Exelon and PSEG merger to create USA’s largest utility

Exelon Corporation and Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (PSEG) are to merge to create the USA’s largest utility, Exelon Electric and Gas.

The merger will create a combined company with total assets of approximately $79bn, serving seven million electric customers and two million gas customers in Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The three states cover a service area of more than 18 million people.

The new company will have approximately $27bn in annual revenues and $3.2bn in annual net income. With a generation portfolio of approximately 52 000 MW of domestic capacity, including long term contracts, the combined company will be the nation’s largest power generator.

Dominion power station purchase moves forward

Dominion, one of USA’s largest producers of energy, has been granted approval by the US bankruptcy court to purchase three Northeast power stations from USGen New England Inc.

The purchase of the 1599 MW Brayton Point station, the 745 MW Salem Harbor station and the 495 MW Manchester Street station includes $536m in cash and an estimated $120m for an adjustment for fuel inventory and reimbursement for certain capital expenditures occurring before the deal closes.

Over the next seven years, Dominion expects capital expenditures will average $70m to $95m a year, with most of that budgeted for environmental controls. In 2005 and 2006 the expenditures are expected to total approximately $230m.

News digest

Canada: GE Energy is to supply Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. with 45 1.5 MW wind turbines for use at the $120m, 67.5 MW Melancthon Grey Wind project in Southern Ontario. Construction is to start in the first quarter of 2005.

Canada: VA Tech is to cease production of new transformers at VA Tech Ferranti-Packard Transformers Ltd in St. Catharines, Canada, in a move to significantly downsize and restructure. It has been agreed by VA Tech’s Management and Supervisory Board that the ceasing of production at St. Catharines is the last part of its reorganization programme.

Chile: Hidroelé La Higuera, the Chilean generator, has awarded Brazilian construction company Queiroz Galvao a $130m engineering, procurement and construction contract for the 155 MW La Higuera hydro project.

Cuba: Iran is to complete two industrial projects that will supply water and electricity to Cuba. Iran has outlined its readiness to provide the necessary financing for the projects at a medium rate of return.

Mexico: Calpine Corporation has announced that its subsidiary Compania de Generation Valladolid, S. de R.L. de C.V has completed a $195m, non-recourse project financing for the 525 MW Valladolid III Energy Centre in Valladolid.

USA: Power generation equipment manufacturer, Centrax Gas Turbines of the UK, has formed a new company, Centrax Gas Turbines Inc., to serve the North America market. Its product range will cater for power generation projects in the 3 to 20 MW power range.

USA: Dynegy Inc. has announced the $15m sale of its 50 per cent interest in the 310 MW Commonwealth power generation facility in Chesapeake, Va., to Dominion Virginia Power, a subsidiary of Dominion.

USA: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has received an order from Southern California Edison (SCE), one of the largest electric utilities in the US, to supply four replacement steam generators (RSG) for use in nuclear generation.

USA: A dual purpose spent fuel dry storage system is to be supplied by Transnuclear, Inc., an Areva subsidiary, to the Monticello nuclear generating plant owned by Nuclear Management Company. The first fuel loading is scheduled for late 2008.

USA: MidAmerican Energy Company has contracted GE Energy to supply 207 1.5 MW turbines for what will be one of the world’s largest wind generation facilities. When completed in 2005, the 310.5 MW facility will meet the electricity needs of 85 000 homes.