GE secures 23-plant order

Duke Energy North America has placed agreements with GE Power Systems for equipment and services for the US power industry worth nearly $4bn. GE will supply gas and steam turbines and other equipment for 23 merchant plants which will add 13 GW to the US grid.

The order is thought to be one of the largest of its kind. In a separate order, GE Power Systems will supply NRG Energy Inc. with 11 gas turbines and five steam turbines. The agreements are testament to the unprecedented levels of growth seen in the US power generation industry.

GE will supply 84 gas turbines – 36 7FA and 48 7EA units – 17 steam turbines and long term services for the 23 plants being developed by Duke, a developer and owner of merchant plants in the USA. Four projects are already under construction. Construction will begin on six more plants in 2000.

The service agreements cover maintenance and spare parts for 12-year periods on the individual plants.

Long Island link

Canada;s Hydro-Quebec and global engineering company ABB have proposed the construction of a C$260m ($180m) subsea power line linking New Haven, Conn. and Long Island, NY. The project requires final approval, and also depends on a decision by Long Island Power Corp.

The Long Island Sound project would deliver 600 MW of power from Connecticut to energy-hungry Long Island. The viability of the project depends on whether Long Island Power Corp. decides to import power or build new generating capacity of its own. Construction could begin in 2001 with completion in 2002.

The project is in line with Hydro-Quebec’s strategy of seizing business opportunities in the market, such as alleviating energy bottlenecks.

Colombia asset sales postponed

The Colombian government is to restructure the sale of electricity transmission firm ISA, and has postponed the sale of generator Isagen. The privatizations have faced opposition from unions, politicians and left-wing guerrillas.

Instead of selling 76 per cent of ISA to a private firm, the government will offer a portion of this stake to the public. The sale, originally slated for February 2000, will take place in the second half of 2000. The privatization of Isagen has also been delayed until April 2000. The government wants to restructure the company’s finances and administration before an offering.

Rebels opposed to the sales have bombed electricity towers around the country. But the government says it must adhere to the sales in line with a $2.7bn three-year aid agreement with the International Monetary Fund. Hydro-Quebec, Tractebel, Enron and Reliant are companies said to be interested in ISA.

Fuel research will lengthen n-plant refuelling intervals

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is to lead an eight-institution collaborative research programme to develop a new fuel that will enable nuclear reactors to run for longer periods between shutdowns. The programme has received a $3.3m DOE Nuclear Energy Research Initiative grant for the research.

The researchers hope that the new fuel – a mixture of thorium dioxide and uranium dioxide – will enable commercial nuclear power plants to double the length of time they can operate between refuelling shutdowns. This could save the industry around $1bn per year, and will help nuclear plants compete with coal and gas fired plants.

The DOE will work with the Argonne National Laboratory, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Framatome, Westinghouse Electric Corp. and ABB Combustion Engineering, among others.

Mexico flexible

Mexico’s latest power supply tender, the Rio Bravo III project, includes the option of constructing the plant in the USA and importing the power to Mexico. This will make the tendering process more competitive, according to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).

The flexible tender conditions are designed to make the project more attractive to potential bidders. In 1999, Mexico saw a decline in the number of bidders for power projects. Rio Bravo III, a 450 MW project, falls within the CFE’s independent power producer scheme which was set up to meet soaring demand for power in the country.

Terms include allowing bidders to choose the type of plant technology.

Camisea contracts

Cecam, the Peruvian government commission overseeing the Camisea natural gas project, has failed to finalize take-or-pay contracts with two private power generators. A long term contract has instead been signed with state-owned electricity company ElectroPeru for the offtake of the fuel.

The successful development of the Camisea fields, which hold an estimated 368m m3 of natural gas reserves, depends on the creation of a natural gas market in Peru. Cecam has been negotiating with Etevensa and Edegel, both majority owned by Spain’s Endesa, for the supply of natural gas to power plants.

ElectroPeru will buy $20m of natural gas annually, and will continue negotiations with the private generators.

News digest

Brazil: The National Electricity Agency has invited bids for a Real207.5m ($115.9m) electricity transmission concession involving the construction of two new transmission lines in Sàƒ£o Paulo state by 2001. The projects are a 173 km line from Taquarucu to Assis, and a 332 km Assis-Sumare line. The 30-year build-operate-transfer concession will be renewable for an additional 30 years.

Canada: The Alberta government has invited bids for the auction of the province’s power purchase agreements (PPAs), planned for July 2000. The auction is a key part of Alberta’s electricity deregulation plans. Consumer groups are concerned that the auction will attract a small number of big players, leaving the market open to manipulation. TransAlta, Alberta’s largest electric utility, has said that it will not bid for the PPAs, which represent over 6500 MW of capacity.

Chile: Environmental regulators in Chile have refused three power generators licences to burn petcoke in their power plants. Licences will only be granted after regional environmental regulators have been given more information on the expected environmental impact of the fuel by Edelnor, Electroandina and Norgener.

Mexico: The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) has said that it will build a 100 MW geothermal power plant in the Mexica* Valley to provide power to the Baja California peninsula and Sonora state. The Cerro Prieto IV plant will bring the country’s geothermal capacity to 853 MW.

USA: The World Bank has launched the first global market to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through the transfer of technology to developing countries. Four governments and six companies have agreed to take part in the scheme, in which they will receive emissions credits for the emission cuts they make. Participants will pay to take part in the scheme.

USA: ABB Alstom Power has secured orders for the supply of two gas fired power plants with a total capacity of 1000 MW to American National Power. ABB Alstom will supply equipment and services for plants at Midlothian, Texas, and at Bellingham, Massachusetts. The plants are based on the KA24-1 ICS combined cycle system.

USA: Entergy Corp. is to buy two nuclear power plants from the New York Power Authority for $638m. Entergy will pay an initial $50m for Indian Point 3 in Buchanan and the James A. FitzPatrick plant in Oswego county, followed by seven annual instalments of $84m. It will also pay $168m over seven years for fuel. Entergy will sell part of the FitzPatrick unit’s output to the wholesale market.

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