Plants planned to ease South Africa’s power crisis

Two new power plants are to be built by the independent power generation developer IPSA to ease South Africa’s national energy crisis.

The company has signed preliminary agreements to develop an 800 MW combined cycle gas turbine power plant at Port Elizabeth that will run on imported LNG, and a 400 MW clean coal power plant next to the Elitheni coal project near East London.

IPSA is close to purchasing four gas turbines that are available for immediate delivery and if secured will provide the first 500 MW of capacity for Port Elizabeth. Several institutions have been approached to provide finance for the initial 500 MW development.

Work on the environmental impact assessment for the Elitheni plant is expected to begin immediately.

Metso to automate unique CFB boiler

Metso is to provide an automation system to the new 460 MW Lagisza power plant in southern Poland, home to the world’s first supercritical circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boiler island.

The automation system will be tailored to meet the unique demands of the boiler, provided by Foster Wheeler, which can also claim to be the world’s largest CFB unit. A complete DCS system based on MetsoDNA technology will be provided.

Fired by hard coal, Poludniowy Koncern Energetyczny SA’s plant will be able to utilize biofuel for up to ten per cent of the fuel load. The project is part of an ongoing programme in Poland to replace outdated plant capacity with high-efficiency and pro-environmental technologies.

Baltic region unites in nuclear

Energy companies from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have agreed to start the necessary preparations to jointly develop a new nuclear reactor in the region.

The heads of Eesti Energija, Latvenergo and Lietuvos Energija signed a memorandum of understanding on preparation for construction for a new reactor in Lithuania in early March. It followed shortly after the countries’ prime ministers signed a declaration to start a feasibility study for the project.

Under the agreement, the countries will equally share the responsibility, involvement and costs for the nuclear project, which is designed to reduce the region’s dependence on a single primary generation source.

IAEA safety team rates PBMR

A Safety Culture team under the leadership of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has visited Pebble Bed Modular Reactor Ltd. to benchmark its safety practices against the “world’s best”.

The South African nuclear power plant company requested the independent review last year. Over ten days around 250 randomly selected PBMR team members were interviewed for up to 60 minutes at a time. The safety review is the latest in a number of recent developments the company has witnessed.

Following Toshiba’s acquisition of Westinghouse from British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. (BNFL), PBMR announced that a 15 per cent stake that was previously held by BNFL has been transferred to Westinghouse as part of the deal struck by the Japanese company.

EVN bid beats CEZ and Enel

Austrian utility EVN has emerged the successor of a 90 per cent stake in Macedonia’s national distribution company with a bid of €225m ($271m), €44m higher than its nearest rival. The final price is the largest amount paid for a distribution company in southeast Europe by a considerable distance.

As part of its bid, EVN promised to invest €96m as the main stakeholder in Elektrostopanstvo na Makedonija over the next three years, the largest amount tabled by any of the interested parties.

Standard & Poor’s Rating Services has lowered its long-term corporate credit rating on EVN to ‘A’ from ‘A+’.

CEZ was the second highest bidder with an offer of €181.6m, followed by Enel with €40m.

Pilot grid system set for take-off

Poland is to host the world’s first demonstration of a technology that aims to dramatically improve power line reliability and capability.

IntelliGrid transmission architecture has been developed to give utilities an easily automated power delivery system that will facilitate advanced service offerings such as remote metering and real-time pricing.

EPRI and Poland’s PSE-Operator will integrate the power delivery system and the communications and equipment that will be used to control the system.


News digest

MENA: Steam and gas turbine markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will grow from $2.53bn in 2005 to $3.25bn by 2011, according to a report from Frost & Sullivan.

Azerbaijan: The national electricity company, Azerenerji, has contracted Wärtsilä to provide five plants, the first of which has recently been inaugurated, that will produce a combined 454 MW for the national grid.

Dubai: Bids have been invited by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority for the right to build a new power and desalination plant in the country by 2010. The project, which will have a capacity of 2000 MW, is estimated to cost Dh5.5bn ($1.5bn).

Iraq: As part of Japan’s pledge to provide $1.5bn of financial assistance to reconstruction efforts, Marubeni Corporation has been awarded a contract to equip a power plant in southern Iraq.

Kuwait: Nine foreign companies in the bidding process for a $700m, 500 MW power and desalination project in Shuaiba have until 7 May to submit their final bids. The final value of the project for the winning EPC contractor is expected to be between $500m and $700m.

Nigeria: A 480 MW power plant built in an isolated swamp by Alstom, which burns gas that was previously burned off in the oil extraction process has received its Provisional Acceptance Certificate from Nigerian AGIP Oil Company.

Qatar: The national Electricity and Water Corporation has contracted Siemens to construct five turnkey substations in a deal worth around €110m ($132m). It is the third project the company has secured in the country in 2006, equating to a value of nearly €500m.

Saudi Arabia: Alstom has celebrated the synchronization of the second of six 400 MW units planned for Shoaiba II. When completed the project will be the largest single power station in the region.

Slovakia: To comply with EU standards, the International Energy Agency has recommended that Slovakia enforces an energy efficiency plan to offset high energy prices, compensate for decommissioning generation capacity and open its markets to competition.

Turkey: GE Energy’s first wind turbine contract in Turkey will establish the country’s largest wind energy farm. The company will provide 20 of its 1.5 MW turbines for the 30 MW facility.

Turkey: Under a turnkey contract Voith Siemens is to supply two 59.3 MW vertical Francis turbines for the Dalaman Akköprö hydroelectric plant located in the south west of the country.