AMERICAS

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Brazil selects Norte Energia to build 11 GW Belo Monte dam

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Brazil has awarded the Norte Energia consortium the contract to build the world’s third largest hydropower dam, the 11 GW Belo Monte.

Norte Energia’s offer to supply electricity at a rate of R$77.97/MWh ($44.51/MWh) beat that of Belo Monte Energia, which put forward a price of R$83/MWh. Brazil’s government had created a price ceiling of R$83/MWh. Norte Energia includes the main subsidiary of Brazil’s state utility Eletrobras. Estimates for the cost of the hydropower plant vary from R$19bn to R$30bn. The location is the Xingu river in the Amazonian state of Paràƒ¡.

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GDF Suez plans $600m Peru investment

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GDF Suez of France is set to invest €450m ($600m) into hydropower and thermal power plants in Peru.

The company will use the money to carry out a long-term contract it has won to supply 662 MW to distribution companies in the country from 2013 to 2025.

Some of the electricity will come from a new GDF Suez 112 MW hydropower project called Quitarasca I, 500 km northeast of the capital Lima. The company’s existing Enesur thermal facility will provide some power under the contract and the rest will come from its ChilcaUno thermal plant, which GDF Suez will convert to combined-cycle operation to raise its output by 270 MW to about 800 MW.

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Jamaica eyes wind power potential

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The Caribbean country of Jamaica is looking at raising the amount of power it generates from wind.

The Carribean island has 22 sites in mind that could be developed to add to the existing 20.7 MW Wigton I and soon to be completed $49m Wigton II windfarms.

A loan from the Inter-American Development Bank of more than $700 000 is enabling Jamaica to carry out research into whether the sites are suitable for wind generation. Jamaica is aiming to generate some eleven per cent of its electricity requirements from renewable sources by 2012.

Jamaican Minister of Energy and mining James Robertson has said the nation is improving its infrastructure and preparing a legal and regulatory framework to make its energy sector competitive. Dr Ruth Potopsingh, group managing director of Wigton I owner the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, said Wigton I and II will save the nation more than $2.5m per year in oil imports.

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US coal gasification plant costs rise by $880/kW

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Duke Energy Indiana of the USA has accounced the cost of building its Edwardsport coal gasification plant has risen by more than $500m.

The company has told regulators that construction of the power station will now cost $2.88bn, which is equivalent to $4660/kW, rather than $2.35bn, or $3800/kW.

Duke Energy Indiana accounted for the rise by blaming the project’s scale and complexity. Regulators are to review the explanation before phasing the cost increase into the amount customers will be charged for the electricity the plant generates.

The company had last year told regulators that as the project’s engineering had progressed, there had been upward pressure on costs that would lead to a rise of $150m.

Edwardsport is some 60 per cent complete and should begin operation in 2012, said Duke Energy Indiana.

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Utilities sue DoE over nuclear levy

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US utilities are going to court to show their objection to a levy to fund the disposal of commercial nuclear waste.

Every kilowatt-hour of nuclear generation has been generating a fee of one-tenth of a cent for the DoE since the Nuclear Waste Fund began in 1982. Estimates are that the DoE receives $750m every year for the fund, which today stands at $24bn.

The grievance surrounds the Obama administration’s decision to terminate the Yucca Mountain permanent storage facility in Nevada. No other solution has been found, but the DoE is still collecting the levy.

Sixteen utilities and the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) are suing the Department of Energy (DoE).

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US firms develop wind energy storage projects

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A scheme in the USA aims to develop compressed air energy storage projects for use with power from wind or off-peak electricity.

General Compression and ConocoPhillips will jointly develop a pilot scheme in Texas to store wind energy underground by using the first company’s Advanced Energy Storage (GCAES) technology.

GCAES is a 2 MW modular compressor and expander unit that uses no fuel and emits no carbon. It takes electricity from wind farms or off-peak grid power to compress air and deliver it to underground storage caverns. At times of peak power demand it works in reverse.

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ࢀ¢à¢€¢à¢€¢

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Canada: Toronto-based Transmission Developers has a plan to build a high voltage DC line to run into the northeast US to meet growing demand there. The $3.8bn project will deliver as much as 2 GW of electricity to New York and New England states from hydropower plants that Canada plans to develop.

Canada: Ontario Power Authority has awarded Canadian Solar contract offers for 176 MW worth of PV generation projects under its feed-in tariff programme.

Canada: RES Canada is buying 43 Siemens Energy SWT-2.3-101 wind turbines rated at 2.3 MW each for the Greenwich project near Thunder Bay in Ontario. This follows an order late last year from RES for 43 of the same turbines for the Talbot project in Ontario.

Ecuador: Pichinincha province utility Hidrotoapi will issue another call for the civil works for hydroproject Toachi-Pilataàƒ³n after the first call for the $245m works generated only one bidder that failed to meet the bidding requirements. The project includes the 49 MW Sarapullo plant and the 204 MW Alluriquàƒ­n plant.

Nicaragua: Ram Power of Nevada, USA, has requested a loan of $40m to raise to 72 MW the output of the San Jacinto-Tizate geothermal project. Ram is already raising output there from 10 MW to 46 MW.

USA: E.ON is buying 87 Siemens Energy SWT-2.3-101 wind turbines rated at 2.3 MW each for the Papalote project in Texas. Siemens will provide service and maintain the windfarm for two years.

USA: Grid-tied PV capacity went above 1 GW in 2009, says the Solar Energy Industries Association. However, year-on-year growth was only 38 per cent, down from the 84 per cent of 2008.

USA: National grid has won $2.2m from the Department of Energy to train workers about smart grid technologies. The company will use the money in a $4.4m project in Massachusetts and New York states.

Venezuela: Oil refinery El Palito may get its own 745 MW power plant as power shortages grip the nation. The power station would be part of a $6bn plan to boost electricity output in the country this year and to reduce reliance on hydropower.

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