Peco Energy Co. buys Sithe North America

Peco Energy Company has announced a deal under which it will acquire 49.9 per cent of Sithe North America from Sithe Energies for $680m. The move will allow Peco to consolidate its position in the North American power market, making it one of the largest power generators in the USA.

Under the deal, Peco has the option to buy the remaining 50.1 per cent of Sithe North America between two and five years after the deal is closed. This remaining stake in Sithe is currently owned by Vivendi of France (33 per cent), Marubeni Corp. (15 per cent ) and Sithe management (two per cent).

The acquisition by Peco will add 10 000 MW of capacity to the company, bringing its total capacity to around 46 000 MW. Peco has said that it is highly likely that it will acquire the remaining 50.1 per cent, which could be valued at up to $900m. This is good news for Vivendi, who is looking to reduce its operations in the electricity business.

Enel enters Brazilian electricity market

Italian generator Enel has announced that it has entered the Brazilian electricity market with the acquisition of a 30 per cent stake in Inepar Energia through its Enelpower subsidiary. Inepar Energia, which is listed on the Sao Paolo stock exchange, operates in the transmission, distribution and generation sector of Brazil and also as a generator in Argentina.

Enel’s investment is valued at ITL170bn ($79.4m), which includes the implementation of a new business plan and the expansion of the company’s transmission and generation facilities. Current shareholders in Inepar include the Inepar Industrias e Constru

The deal forms part of Enel’s strategy to become an active player in international generation and transmission markets. One of the first projects to be implemented will be the 1350 MW Sepetiba coal fired power plant in Sao Paulo.

CFE invites bids

The Mexican Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) has invited bids for the construction of seven new combined cycle generating plants in the country. The projects, which will require a combined investment of $930m, are part of the government’s strategy to strengthen the country’s electricity system.

But the government’s independent power producer (IPP) scheme has been criticized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which said that the IPP scheme – designed to attract overseas investors – is an imperfect substitute for the opening of the sector. It believes that power plants should be sold off.

The seven planned projects include the 482 MW CCC Monterrey II plant in Pesqueiria, Nuevo Leon.

OPIC supports Panama

The USA’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has said that it will provide political risk insurance to a hydropower project in Panama, the first OPIC-supported project in that country since the signing of a bilateral agreement between the US and Panama in April 2000.

OPIC will provide Houston-based Coastal Corporation with insurance against expropriation and political violence for its equity investment in the Fortuna hydropower project. OPIC believes that this latest deal will pave the way for it to lend support to further infrastructure investments in the country.

The Fortuna project is an important part in the privatization process of Panama’s power sector.

Fuel cell will be USA’s largest

A 1 MW fuel cell system has been inaugurated in Alaska by the US Postal Service and Chugach Electric Association, Alaska’s largest electric utility. It is the largest commercial fuel cell system in the US.

The system consists of five fuel cells, connected in parallel to supply power and heat to the Anchorage Mail Processing Center. The system is also connected to the local electric utility grid and is dispatched by a central system dispatch centre. Excess power is fed into the Chugach electric grid.

The fuel cells were supplied by International Fuel Cells. Each IFC PC25 fuel cell generates 200 kW of power and 700 000 Btu/h of usable heat.

PV array order

Pepco Energy Services and Applied Power Corp. have been selected by the US General Services Administration (GSA) to construct what will be one of the largest photovoltaic (pv) arrays in the USA. The 100 kWe system will enter operation by the end of 2000.

The pv system will use amorphous silicon technology, a more advanced cell material than the polycrystalline silicon technology that has been used for over 20 years. Amorphous silicon performs better under high ambient temperatures and costs less to manufacture.

The system will consist of an array of 2800 modules.

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