UES proposes grid plan

Anatoly Chubais, chief executive officer of Russia’s Unified Energy Systems, has proposed synchronizing Russia’s grid with that of western Europe, creating a giant power grid that will operate from Vladivostok to Portugal. He believes his plans could be implemented for as little as $100m.

The plan would provide substantial savings for generators and customers, and would reduce the level of reserve power needed in different regions.

Chubais said that CIS members had reconnected their grids last summer and were now ready for a link to the western grid whose alternating current (AC) runs on a slightly different cycle. AC is the most common form of electricity because of its suitability in voltage changes and in powering machines.

He added there were two possible links. One was to build “back-to-back” interconnectors, which would take the AC output of one grid, convert into direct current (DC), then back again into the AC cycle of the next grid.

Conversion between east and west would require three to five interconnectors, each costing around the $60-70m mark said Chubais. A cheaper solution would be to synchronise the AC cycles of the two continents, he said, adding, the preliminary estimate for such a link is $100m.

EBRD to aid Slovakia’s $75m power restructuring plan

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is to guarantee a $75m loan to Slovakia to support restructuring of the country’s power generation sector.

The credit is being supplied by the Slovenska sporitena bank to the national power company SE. The EBRD guarantee will match a $90m credit in local currency from a group of international banks led by Citibank and Tatrabanka.

EBRD said the country’s power sector was undergoing comprehensive reorganization and it was important to provide SE with all the support necessary. SE is to be divided into separate generation and transmission companies in compliance with the EU electricity directive. The Slovak government intends to privatize both these companies in preparation for market competition.

Nigeria launches first independent power project

The owners of Nigeria’s first IPP project has awarded Alstom an order worth g70m ($62m) to supply two GT13E2 gas turbines to the project.

Owners Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), which is part of a joint venture with Nigerian National Petroleum Company and Phillips Oil, will construct the 450 MW combined cycle gas turbine plant in Okpai in Delta State.

It will run initially as a simple-cycle operation before being converted into a combined cycle plant at a later stage yet to be confirmed.

Under the terms of the contract, Alstom will deliver two GT13E2 gas turbines, two air-cooled turbogenerators and the electrical equipment.

Both gas turbines will be delivered to Nigeria in February 2003. The first unit will enter commercial operation at the end of October 2003 and the second unit will follow December 2003.

Shuweihat orders power transformers

The 1500 MW Al Shuweihat power plant based in Abu Dhabi has ordered power transformers with a total installed capacity of 3500 MVA from Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution under a g20m ($18m) contract.

The transformers will link the new generating plant and the Emirate’s power transmission network.

The 20 transformers, which are being manufactured at Siemens’ factories in Germany, Croatia and Portugal will operate as machine transformers in the power plant and as network transformers in the high-voltage substation.

Fortum to offload Hungarian asset

Six years after buying 84.4 per cent of power engineering design company ETV-Eroterv from the Hungarian state, Fortum is putting the stake up for sale.

The move comes as Fortum frees up resources to concentrate on Nordic energy sectors. Eroterv’s president, Veikko Antilla, said a number of prospective buyers from both Hungary and abroad have expressed an interest, but said it was too early to name them.

Turks renege on distribution deal

Turkey’s energy ministry said its power distributor had taken back operation of the first privatized grid from the operator Aktas Elektrik.

Aktas was awarded operation of the grid in Istanbul’s Asian side in 1989 but its operation was challenged because of what analysts say are loopholes in the original contract.

News digest

Croatia: The Croatian Parliament continued its 20th session adopting a draft law on the privatization of the Croatian power industry. The draft law introduces a restriction that no individual can become the owner of more than ten per cent of HEP shares, which will be secured by stock quotations.

Egypt: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Tomen Corporation have jointly won a $109m order to build a thermal power plant in the suburbs of Cairo. The plant will be a combined cycle installation, consisting of both gas and steam turbines capable of generating 750 MW.

Kosovo: Innogy has been awarded a major new contract worth around g7m to bring UK expertise to a power plant in Kosovo. The European Agency for Reconstruction has awarded the contract to an Innogy-led consortium with Alstom Power Service for ‘Essential Works’ on Kosovo B2 lignite fired power station.

Poland: The Polish Treasury Ministry will sell its majority stake in Stoen, Warsaw’s leading energy supplier. Jan Szczasny, responsible for privatization of the energy sector, said that the shortlist of potential investors will be closed by the end of the month.

Romania: Romania’s state-owned power company Nuclearelectrica has inked a deal with Korean Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. for the latter to provide technical support for the running of first block of the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant.

Romania: The International Monetary Fund said that Romania’s government would have to move forward with reforms in the energy sector and elsewhere if it wanted to receive two tranches of a $383m loan package simultaneously.

Russia: Mosenergo publicly unveiled its preliminary restructuring plan in an effort to initiate dialogue with interested parties, and to obtain feedback on the draft before it is submitted to UES. An aspect of the plan is to create a large generation company based on Mosenergo’s 21 power plants.

Russia: UES will concentrate on three out of ten investment projects within its 5000 MW programme. UES will first turn its attention to the northwestern, Pskov and Dzerzhinsky power stations. UES is currently putting together a package of documents for a tender to complete construction and operate the Northwestern power station.

Turkmenistan: Turkmenistan will spend $520m on building electricity supply lines for export of Turmen electricity to neighbouring Afghanistan. The agreement on the construction of the lines was reached during the visit of the Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai to Ashkhabad.