No rest on pebble bed

The 165 MW pebble bed modular reactor demonstration project in South Africa will be ready to generate in 2010, according to the company leading its construction after it awarded two contracts.

PMBR Ltd awarded a joint venture between Canada’s SNC-Lavalin and South African Murray & Roberts a R20m ($3m) engineering, procurement and construction management contract. The deal will see construction begin in 2007 and completion in 2010.

The second contract awarded, the largest on the project so far, has enabled assembly to begin on the core structure ceramics. German company, SGL Carbon, will manufacture the graphite feedstock material that will then be machined to specification in order to shape and support the reactor’s pebble bed core.

First Saudi IWPP goes to Malaysian syndicate

The first independent power and water project in Saudi Arabia has been awarded to a consortium including three Malaysian companies and a company based in the kingdom itself.

Shuaibah Phase 3 is projected to cost $2.5bn and begin commercial operation in 2009. One of the Gulf’s largest infrastructure development projects to date, it will supply 880 000 m3 of water per day and 900 MW of power to Mecca, Jeddah, Al-Taif and Al-Baha.

The Saudi-Malaysian consortium will hold a 60 per cent interest with the remainder held by the Saudi government. Siemens AG and Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction will build the plant.

Sembcorp leads the pack for latest ADWEA privatization

At just over $1.3bn, Singapore’s Sembcorp Utilities has submitted the highest bid for the sixth power plant to be privatized by Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA).

In total, ADWEA received bids from four parties that included companies such as Suez Energy International, Mauribeni Corporation and International Power. The new owner will agree to add 200 MW of capacity to the Fujairah based plant. It currently has a generation capacity of 650 MW and a desalination capacity of 378.5 million litres per day. ADWEA aims to reach financial close on the project in July 2006.

According to ADWEA’s latest annual report, the company plans to sell its shareholding in the country’s two distribution companies as well as offer stakes in independent power and water projects to the general public.

Contracts awarded for GCC grid

Dammam based GCC Interconnection Authority has signed all 14 contracts for the first phase of the GCC electricity grid project.

ABB was awarded six substation contracts, worth a total of around $470m. The company was the lowest bidder on all six lots and will now construct a total of six 400 kV substations in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

A partnership of Pirelli and Nexans will install a 40 km long 400 kV submarine cable to link Saudi Arabia with Bahrain after it was awarded a contract believed to be worth around $400m. Areva T&D won two contracts that will see it construct the region’s first back to back 1800 MW HVDC converter station as well as the power grid’s main control centre.

The GCC grid project is due to enter operation in 2008.

New model to help competition

New power plant capacity could be added in Russia after Fortum, RAO Unified Energy System and KES-holding agreed to develop a joint operating model to improve the competitiveness of electricity generation firms in Russia.

The territorial power companies created as a consequence of the modernization of RAO UES will receive investment and skills to improve their efficiency, market value and availability of power plants.

According to the agreement, the three companies are prepared to consider participation in planning and building additional capacity as well as projects that will better utilize new and existing technologies. The group will also provide expertise in obtaining external finance for improvement projects.

World Bank funds Kazakh project

The World Bank has approved a $100m loan to finance Phase II of the Kazakhstan North-South electricity transmission line, a project that will help promote national and regional competition as well as provide a more stable power supply across the country.

While Kazakhstan has sufficient capacity to meet domestic power needs, demand currently exceeds supply in the south by almost 50 per cent of peak demand, 966 MW. This deficit is expected to increase to 1400 MW by 2010.

The country will construct a 475 km long, 500 kV overhead transmission line from Ekibastuz to Agadyr.

News digest

Georgia: Power Machines has signed a $2.7m contract to reconstruct four hydro turbines and generators at the Gumati-1 hydropower plant. The new equipment will be supplied in July 2006.

Iraq: Over 2500 homes in northern Baghdad will receive a more reliable power supply following the installation of 4 km of underground power cable that will connect two new substations.

Lithuania: Five 300 MW units at the Elektrenai power plant are to receive flue gas desulphurization technology from Alstom to reduce the plant’s emissions below the levels specified in the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive.

Nigeria: The Power Holding Company of Nigeria is to receive power from a new 480 MW simple cycle plant in Alaoji that will use four GE Frame 9E gas turbines for generation.

Poland: Construction of an ultra modern coal fired power plant that had been stalled for two years will now be completed by SNC-Lavalin within 28 months. The total project cost is estimated to reach $600m.

Serbia: The Kosovo Energy Corporation has warned its customers to expect severe power cuts this winter, as it will not be able to generate sufficient capacity. The company has also advised that the last of its coal reserves will be gone in 2009.

Ukraine: The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development has provided the Ukrainian Energy Service Company with a $20m loan to finance energy efficiency projects in one of the developed world’s most energy intensive countries.

South Africa: An independent power plant developer has purchased an 18 MW combined heat and power plant in the UK for a cost of $3.85m and begun work to ship it to a site in KwaZulu Natal.

Russia: Uralkali JSC has contracted Siemens is to supply four industrial gas turbine generators for installation in cogeneration plants at two potassium mines in Berezniki.

Tunisia: The first generator set sold by Centrax into Tunisia will see the company supply its new 5.2 MW indoor package, the CX501-KB7, to a paper mill 30 km away from Tunis.

Hungary: Pannonpower is to spend $140m constructing two biomass fuelled generator blocks by 2009. The company’s chief executive said it was also considering building new capacity in Slovakia and Romania.

Bulgaria: Honeywell has signed an $11m contract to supply the country’s largest thermal power plant, Maritza East 2, with its Experion Process Knowledge system.