Brazil needs power boost
A think tank in Brazil has said that the country’s power sector needs over $82bn to avoid power shortages in 2007.
Although Brazil is experiencing oversupply, the Infra2020 infrastructure body predicts that with three per cent economic growth a year, another 85 000 MW of installed generation is needed by 2006 along with the construction of transmission and distribution lines at a cost of $68bn, $12bn and $2.3bn respectively.
Brazil is hoping to overhaul the power market into a pool system to prevent short term price signals in the wholesale market. Its plans include a 20-year centralized plan for supplies based on demand expectations. Plans for the change are due to be presented by year-end and will include a two year transition period starting in 2004.
The Brazilian government has announced that it will auction concessions to build and operate over 1600 km of power lines in July. The concessions will attract $630m in investment and will help in the prevention of power shortages in the country. The 11 concessions are spread across eight states, and the lines will become operational by 2005.
Argentina: Argentine Planning Minister Julio de Vido has said it may be 18 months before power utilities are allowed to raise prices, up to a year longer than he said previously.
Brazil: Electricité de France (EDF) is planning to sell Light Servicos de Electricidade, the Rio de Janeiro power distributor. EDF has hired Goldman Sachs to help it restructure Light’s debts, estimated to be $1.4bn.
Canada: Ontario nuclear generator Bruce Power said it had bought British Energy’s 3.4 per cent stake in Hydrogen Corp. for $4m. General Hydrogen, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, makes infrastructure and develops technologies for fuel cell vehicles.
Peru: The regional government of Pasco has reached an accord with the central government to privatize the concession for the Yucan power project. The winner of the 30 year concession will be required to put the 130 MW plant in operation by 2005.
USA: Fast growing independent power producers now account for nearly one third of all US electricity generated. In 2002, IPPs were responsible for 27 per cent of US electricity while utilities accounted for 68 per cent.
USA: The controversial proposal by TransGas Energy Systems to build a 1100 MW power plant on the Brooklyn waterfront got a boost when the state power plant siting board ruled that TransGas’ application for state certification was in order.
USA: Avista Corp., and Mirant announced the commercial operation of the Coyote Springs 2 power plant developed jointly by the two companies. The power plant, near Boardman, Oregon, is a 280 MW combined cycle combustion turbine facility, fuelled by natural gas.
USA: The start of two years of construction work on the Magnolia power plant was recently marked by a ground-breaking ceremony at Burbank Water and Power’s electricity generating complex in California. When completed in 2005, the 320 MWe combined cycle power plant will serve the Burbank area of Los Angeles.
USA: PG&E Corp.’s National Energy Group unit said it was testing the three 330 MW gas fired generating units at its Athens power plant in New York. It is the first large power plant built in the state in nearly a decade.
Venezuela: Venezuela will receive ten mobile thermoelectric plants totalling 60 MW from the US government. The units cost $52m and will be delivered this month. Further units will arrive later in the year, bringing the capacity to 150 MW.
ISA wins 30-year Bolivia concession
Bolivia has contracted Colombia’s Interconexion Electrica ISA (ISA) to build and operate power transmission lines in a 30 year contract worth $87m.
The lines are to be built in Bolivia by ISA, Colombia’s largest energy transmission company. They will span 604 km and will run from Santivenez to Sucre; from Sucre to Punutuma; and from Carrasco to Urubo. The Energy Superintendency of Bolivia decided the tender.
In a seperate move, the International Finance Corp. ” the private sector arm of the World Bank ” has agreed to provide $30m of long term corporate financing to Bolivia’s private electricity transmission company, Transporta de Electricidad (TDE). The investment will support development of the Bolivian electricity sector and facilitate further investments in the region by Red Electric Internacional (REI), TDE’s parent company.
TDE is studying the possibility of expanding the Bolivian high voltage grid as well as interconnecting the transmission grids of Peru and Bolivia. REI, a unit of Spain’s Red Electrica de Espana, purchased TDE in 2002.
Canada completes biggest wind farm
Canada’s TransAlta Corp. and Enmax have announced the completion of the country’s biggest wind farm project. The 75 MW project cost C$100m ($75m) to develop and is capable of powering up to 32 000 homes.
The McBride Lake wind farm consists of 114 turbines which took a total of eight months to install. It is situated near Fort MacLeod in southern Alberta.
Enmax is Calgary’s regionally owned power utility. It has signed an agreement to buy all of the power generated by the wind farm. Much of the power will supply Alberta’s public buildings. TransAlta acquired Vision Quest Windelectric, which had been planning the project, last October as part of a strategy to boost its renewables portfolio.
Alberta is traditionally a fossil fuel-consuming region, but is trying to boost the amount of power generated by renewables.
DOE starts carbon storage tests
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has started a research project at American Electric Power’s Mountaineer plant in West Virginia, USA, to capture and sequester carbon dioxide emissions.
Drilling has begun on a 3000 m well to evaluate the underground rock layers near the Mountaineer plant and determine whether they are suitable for the sequestration of carbon dioxide emitted by the plant.
Sequestration is the capture and storage of carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels, and is part of president Bush’s initiatives on national climate change technology.
If the 18 month study shows that the site is suitable for sequestration, data from the study will be used to carry out simulations and risk assessments, and to help the programmes’ future efforts.
The study is part of a $4.2m carbon sequestration research project funded by the DOE’s fossil fuel energy and is led by Battelle Laboratories.
New York hydro plants sold
Black Hills Corp. has agreed a deal to sell seven hydroelectric power plants with a combined generation capacity of 80 MW in upstate New York to two affiliates of Canadian company Boralex for $186m.
The proceeds will go towards paying approximately $82m of debt associated with the power plants and will also help to strengthen Black Hills’ balance sheet. Black Hills Corp. plans to continue focusing on the western USA. The purchasers of the plants are Boralex Inc and Boralex Power Income Fund.
The transaction is expected to go through later this year, provided it receives approvals from the relevant energy regulatory bodies.