G8 energy security accord masks underlying splits

An agreement reached at the meeting of the Group of Eight (G8) industrial nations in St Petersburg over “Global Energy Security” included a pledge from Russia to, in principle, open its energy sector to foreign investment. The members could not, however, agree on a common approach to nuclear policy and climate change. At German insistence, a statement to further reduce the risks associated with the safe use of nuclear power was included.

The leaders said they recognized the “shared interest of energy producing and consuming countries” and committed to “open, transparent … and competitive energy markets” as being key to energy security. European Union representatives were unable to persuade Russia to ratify the Energy Charter – a step that would require Russia to break the export monopoly of state-controlled gas giant Gazprom.

The summit agreed on a seven-point plan of action included in which were pledges to increase transparency and improve the investment climate in energy markets.

International trade boosts Africa’s market

A report published by market analysts Frost & Sullivan into the steam and gas turbine business in Africa describes a market energized by population growth and by greater engagement with a globalized economy. It predicts that the power generation market is set to continue its growth, especially in Nigeria, South Africa and some countries of north, central and east Africa.

With current supply levels incapable of meeting increasing demand for electricity, African countries are seeking to grow the installed capacity of their power plants. The report says that the presence of large proven reserves of fossil fuels will complement the growth of conventional power plants, particularly that of steam and gas turbine plants. It forecasts that gas turbine market revenues will increase from $982.2m in 2005 to $1.2bn in 2012.

First wind park in Slovenia

A wind park that, when constructed, will provide Slovenia with one per cent of its electricity needs, has been approved by the country’s Ministry of the Environment. The 28.05 MW Volovja Reber wind park is jointly owned by Spanish renewable energy developer Acciona Energía and the publicly-owned regional utility Elektro Primorska.

The project will include 33 wind turbines each with a capacity of 850 kW and will be located in the municipality of Ilirska Bystrica. Construction is set to start in March 2007.

Acciona Energía started operations in Slovenia in 1999 as part of an EU project to evaluate wind energy potential. It plans to invest €250m ($320m) in developing wind projects totalling around 225 MW in Slovenia. Around 20 per cent of the electricity Slovenia currently consumes is imported.

EPIC to advise Serbian utility

The European Privatization & Investment Corporation (EPIC) has won a contract to advise the electric power industry of Serbia, along with the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the University of Belgrade (ETF).

The assignment for EPIC and ETF is the search for a strategic partner for the unfinished power plant TPP Kolubaram. The consortium will also analyse the impact of environmental measures and investments, based on the assumption that state-of-the-art technologies would be introduced, taken to meet Kyoto requirements.

Eskom upgrades Kriel I&C

South African utility Eskom has appointed Siemens to undertake the world’s largest modernization project for instrumentation and control (I&C) systems at its 3000 MW Kriel coal fired power plant. Siemens will install its SPPA-T3000 technology, the world’s first fourth-generation I&C system.

The contract is worth €43m ($55m) and also includes the installation of a new central control room and construction of a simulator for training operating personnel. Complete replacement of the I&C systems will extend the service life of this plant by 20 years.

Work on the first of the six units at Kriel has already commenced and will be completed after about 100 days.

Sembcorp wins Fujairah IWPP

The Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea) and Singapore’s Sembcorp Industries have signed an agreement to jointly develop the $1.73bn Fujairah independent power and water plant. Sembcorp will acquire a 40 per cent stake in the project.

The project involves the acquisition of the existing Fujairah power and water facility, which has a net generation capacity of 535 MW and desalination capacity of 455 litres per day and an expansion of the generation capacity by 225 MW by the first quarter of 2009.

News digest

Algeria: SNC-Lavalin has signed contracts with SKH SpA worth C$1.3bn ($1.15bn) to provide EPC and operations and maintenance services for a 1227 MW gas fired power plant in the province of Tipaza, Algeria.

Bahrain: Alstom has signed a contract worth over €100m ($128m) with Bahrain’s Ministry of Electricity and Water for the modernization of the 20-year old Rifaa II power plant.

Bahrain: Hidd Power Company has appointed PB Power to be Owner’s Engineer for the Phase III expansion of desalination capacity at the Hidd power and water complex.

Hungary: French energy company Energie Lyonnaise has taken a 96.6 per cent stake in the Hungarian wind farm developer Pannon Wind Power Plant, which is planning a 15 MW wind park at Babolna in northwest Hungary.

Hungary: GE Energy has supplied eight Jenbacher cogeneration gas engines to Energott Kft for the largest combined heat and power project in Hungary in the city of Székesfehérvár.

Iceland: A consortium comprising Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Corporation and Balcke-Durr has received a turnkey order to build two 40 MW geothermal power plants for Reykjavik Energy.

Namibia: The construction of the 360 MW Baynes hydroelectric power station co-funded by NamPower and ENE, an Angolan power utility, will commence following the signing of a bilateral agreement between the two governments.

Russia: Power Machines Group has completed a modernization of the Konakovskaya GRE thermal power plant for customer WGC-5, equipping it with a 328 MW K-300-240-7P turbine.

Russia: Russia’s Federal Nuclear Energy Agency plans to build a low capacity floating nuclear power station to be located in the White Sea and equipped with two power units using KLT-40S reactors.

Slovakia: Rolls Royce has signed a contract for two RB211-6761 DLE gas turbine generator sets to power a plant that will provide both electricity and heating to an industrial park in Levice, Slovakia.

Tanzania: Finland’s Wärtsila is to supply gas fired emergency power generators with a capacity of 100 MW to the Tanzania Electric Supply Company under a contract worth $92.3m, to address the country’s current power shortfall.

Uganda: The Ugandan government and the consortium selected to develop the 250 MW Bujagali hydropower dam along the river Nile are seeking to deal with resettlement and finance issues ahead of the bidding process in September.