Brazilian blackout affects 60m people, Itaipu dam shutdown

Brazil suffered a serious blackout that left nearly 60m people in the dark for four hours and raised concerns about the country’s ability to guarantee electricity to support its surging economy.

Last month’s blackout was caused by heavy rain, lightning and strong winds that made transformers on a vital high voltage transmission line short circuit, causing two other lines to go down as part of an automatic safety mechanism.

The massive Itaipu dam on the border with Paraguay – the world’s second largest hydroelectric power producer – had to be completely shutdown for the first time in its 25-year history during the blackout.

The blackout cut electricity to 18 of Brazil’s 26 states and left them without power for up to four hours. All of Paraguay briefly lost power.

“There is an absolute failure of infrastructure in terms of energy. There is a need to invest more, to improve how energy is managed by those in the government” Patrizia Tomasi, from the Brazilian energy consulting firm Planck E was quoted as saying.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva disputed that his government has not done enough to improve the power grid since he took office in 2003. Silva’s government is said to have invested about $13bn in transmission lines and $4.7bn on transformers since 2003.

GE signs on for US wind turbine operations and maintenance with E.ON

E.ON Climate & Renewables (EC&R) North America and GE Energy have signed a seven-year operation and maintenance (O&M) agreement, covering EC&R’s complete fleet of 529 GE wind turbines installed in the United States.

GE will provide 24/7 remote monitoring and diagnostics from GE Power & Water’s Renewable Operations Center, based in Schenectady, NY, and low and capital parts support. It will also provide complete site services for all GE 1.5 MW wind turbines installed at EC&R’s five project sites The O&M contract includes an availability guarantee, ensuring turbine performance.

Siemens secures first Latin American wind business with Mexican contract

Siemens will supply 70 wind turbines for the Los Vergeles wind farm in Tamaulipas, Mexico, representing the German company’s first wind turbine contract in the Latin America region.

The turbines are being purchased by Grupo Soluciones en Energias Renovables in a deal worth in excess of $270m. With a total installed rated capacity of more than 160 MW, the Los Vergeles wind farm will be Mexico’s largest.

Siemens will deliver, install and commission the 70 wind turbines.

Aker to proceed with 900 MW CCGT plant in Ontario

Aker Solutions has been awarded a notice to proceed by TransCanada Corporation (TransCanada) for the construction of a 900 MW gas fired combined-cycle power plant in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

Under a joint venture, Aker Construction Canada Limited, a subsidiary of Aker Solutions ASA, and HDR Corporation will execute engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) work on the project in cooperation with TransCanada. The contract value to Aker Solutions is approximately C$400m ($381m).

TransCanada will build, own and operate the Oakville power station, having secured a 20-year clean energy supply contract from the Ontario Power Authority (OPA). TransCanada expects to invest approximately C$1.2bn in the natural combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station. The project is scheduled to begin producing power by the end of 2013.

Aker Construction Canada will perform construction, construction management and some procurement in the project, while HDR Corporation will complete project design and procure engineered equipment.

Chile’s green development may halt on funding

Acera, Chile’s renewable energy power association, has said that the next two years will be challenging for the development of renewable energy in the country.

According to Acera’s Jose Ignacio Escobar Troncoso, vice-president the recent Monte Redondo wind project may represent Chile’s peak as far as investment in renewable energy.

He went on to say that new variables, such as water right issues for mini-hydro, had entered the picture, which are likely to result in a more conservative investment landscape. What comes out of Copenhagen this month could also have an impact.

Steam turbine deal for Alstom in USA

In a $100m deal, American Electric Power (AEP) will purchase steam turbines (ST) from Alstom for its DC Cook 1 nuclear power plant in Michigan and its Conesville 4 coal fired unit in Ohio, USA.

At the DC Cook facility, Alstom will provide three replacement low-pressure nuclear ST rotors for unit 1. The Conesville 4 unit will be supplied with a high-pressure rotor and parts and perform the turbine installation.

The retrofit will increase the plant’s efficiency and will help offset the power requirements of the new sulphur dioxide scrubber installed at this site.

 

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Argentina: The deal to sell a minimum of 50 per cent of the power generated by the expansion of the Loma de la Lata thermal plant to Cammesa, the wholesale market administrator means an extra $37m in revenues for Pampa Energia.

Canada: Hydro-Quebec has awarded ABB an order worth $75m for static VAr compensators. Two SVCs will be installed on the 735 kV network at the Chenier substation, which will regulate the voltage and help to ensure the stability of the network.

Canada: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Limited has received an order for two sets of gas turbines and generators (GTG) from TransCanada for its 900 MW combined-cycle gas turbine Oakville power station. The GTG sets are slated for delivery in mid 2011.

Canada: The 102 MW Bear Mountain wind park, the first such facility in the province of British Columbia, is now fully operational. The C$200m ($191m) project, comprising 34 Enercon 3 MW turbines, was completed on time and on budget.

USA: A cross-party bill, which aims at building 100 nuclear power plants in 20 years has been presented to the Senate. The bill would also provide an additional $100bn in loan guarantees for the R&D of low-carbon sources of energy.

USA: E.ON of Germany has further expanded its US wind energy portfolio with the opening of its Stony Creek wind farm in Pennsylvania. This is E.ON’s fifth wind project completed this year and brings its US installed wind capacity to almost 1700 MW.

USA: Tenaska, one of America’s largest independent power producers, has chosen Siemens Energy’s coal gasification technology for its 730 MW Taylorville Energy Centre in Nebraska, which will be one of the first commercial-scale IGCC plants when it comes online in 2014.

USA: The Shaw Group has awarded Pike Electric Corporation an EPC contract for a new 230 kV transmission switchyard and associated electrical work for the V C Summer nuclear station in South Carolina.

USA: Xcel Energy’s application to complete the conversion of the three coal fired boilers of its Bay Front power plant to 100 per cent biomass has receive approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.

 

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