Human activity responsible for climate change – report

The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been published, concluding that anthropogenic carbon emissions are to blame for global warming.

“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level,” the IPCC says, adding: “Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”

With improved observations and climate modelling since the Third Assessment Report (TAR) in 2001, the latest report argues that it is extremely unlikely that the climate change observed over the past 50 years can be explained without reference to human intervention.

The combined influences of greenhouse gas increases and stratospheric ozone depletion, primarily through fossil fuel use and land-use change, are chiefly responsible for global warming, the report finds.

The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, from a pre-industrial value of about 280 parts per million (ppm) to 379 ppm in 2005, far exceeds the natural range over the last 650 000 years and has increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750.

GE Energy wins Saudi contracts worth $1bn

GE Energy has announced a series of new contracts for projects in Saudi Arabia with a value topping more than $1bn in total.

Among the contracts is a deal for the Marafiq generation and desalination project, located in Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. Plans are for GE to supply four combined-cycle power blocks, including 12 Frame 7FA gas turbines. Net plant output is targeted at more than 2740 MW, with steam extraction for desalination.

The new facility is to have multi-ownership, with Suez-Tractebel, Gulf Investment Corp, and the Arabian Company for Water and Power Projects, each owning 20 per cent. The local power and water utility company will hold 30 per cent, while the remaining ten per cent is divided between the Saudi Electricity Company and the Saudi Public Investment Fund.

A second contract for the Riyadh Power Plant 9 project has also been signed with Saudi Electricity Company. GE plans to provide 12 Frame 7EA gas turbines, along with technical advisory services and performance testing. The project will expand the site’s power generation capacity by more than 660 MW.

The gas turbines for the Power Plant 9 project are scheduled to be shipped during the second half of 2007, with the units expected to enter commercial operation between February and June 2008. The primary fuel for the expansion project is crude oil.

Azerbaijan plans transmission link with Turkey

Plans for a power transmission line that will link Azerbaijan with Turkey via Georgia have been launched.

The Tbilisi Declaration on regional cooperation, signed by leaders of the three nations, includes the statement: “We agree to support the construction of a new electricity transmission line from the Republic of Azerbaijan through the territory of Georgia to the Republic of Turkey, as well as other appropriate projects, which will enhance electricity exchange between the parties in future.”

The document, which also invites participation by other neighbouring states, notes that regional energy infrastructure projects help to establish “long-term and predictable” relations.

Siemens substation for Abu Dhabi

Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution is to construct a €120m ($158m) 400 kV turnkey substation for the power supply on Saadiyat Island off Abu Dhabi.

The substation forms part of a three-phase plan for the island, some 500 m off shore, to transform it into a tourism centre. The order was placed by the state power company the Abu Dhabi Transmission and Dispatch Co (TRANSCO).

In addition to the construction of the 400 kV/132 kV/22 kV substation, the contract also comprises engineering and commissioning of the gas-insulated high-voltage switchgear.

The substation is scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2008.

The infrastructure of the island is due to be fully developed by 2018, with a total investment of about $27bn.

News digest

Albania: KESH, the Albanian Electro-Energy Corp, has signed a contract with Marie Engineering of Italy for the development of a €92m ($121m) power plant. The 100 MW oil fired station will be located in the south of the country, 140 km southwest of Tiranaand, and is due for completion in 2009.

Belarus: Two new nuclear plants are planned to begin generation by 2016. The first unit is due for commissioning in 2014, with the second to follow two years later.

Kenya: Ormat Technologies has exchanged securities with the Kenyan Power and Lighting Exchange as part of the development of a 35 MW geothermal project at Olkaria.

Oman: Wood Group has been awarded a 16-year maintenance contract for GE turbines at the 665 MW Al-Rusail Power Company project in the Sultanate. The deal, from subsidiaries of Suez, is worth around $92m.

Qatar: Kahramaa, the Qatar General electricity and Water Corp has allocated a budget of QR12.6bn ($3.5bn) for the development of four main areas of water and power network infrastructure. The budget includes QR7.6bn for electricity infrastructure development.

Romania: Italy’s Enel is planning to invest some €1.5bn ($2bn) in the Romanian energy sector. Plans include an oil pipeline to be developed between Constanta and Trieste.

Russia: Metals giant Norlisk Nickel is planning to spin off power assets worth some $2.5bn before the end of the year. The move is seen as a precursor to a state buy up of the strategic metal production assets.

Russia: Units 3 and 4 of the Leningrad nuclear power station is to be modernized, extending its lifespan beyond their original decommissioning dates of 2009 and 2011, respectively.

Saudi Arabia: A €7.6m ($10m) turnkey contract to deliver two 7 MW power plants to a Saudi dairy project has been won by Wärtsilä. The 14 MW project, due for operations in June 2008, will be located at Haradh agricultural project site, 280 km from Riyadh.

South Africa: The country’s first landfill gas-to-energy project is underway. Two projects will be developed near Durban in early 2007 using methane from the La Mercy and Mariann landfills, and will have a 1.5 MW capacity.

Turkey: A planned sale of Turkish distribution grids is to be delayed until after parliamentary elections due in November.

Uganda: IPL Skandinavian and MAN B&W have revealed plans to develop a 100 MW thermal plant.