Lithuania to close reactors

The first two reactors at the Ignalina nuclear power plant will be decommissioned by 2005. This is the first time the government has given a firm date for the closure of the Chernobyl type reactors.

The closure of the first reactor is expected to cost up to $2.5bn. The full cost of decommissioning could be as much as $4bn.

The closure of the units could help boost Lithuania’s chances of being invited for talks on entry to the EU.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has welcomed the decision of the Slovak government for closing the the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors of the Bohunice nuclear power plant in the period 2006-2008. The commitment is seen as meeting the Commission’s repeated request for early decommissioning of these units. The Commission added that by taking this decision, Slovakia had confirmed that the aim of EU membership constituted an overriding political priority.

Kenya to diversify its generation sources

The Kenyan government is diversifying its power generation sources in a bid to combat the effects of drought, according to energy minister Francis Masahkalia.

He said 383 MW of the 527 MW that will be connected to the grid by 2003 will be generated from non-hydro sources. Currently, some 80 per cent of Kenya’s supply is from hydro sources. A long spell of drought has caused water levels in the three main reservoirs to fall, resulting in power shortages.

The government also said it would inject Sh32.5bn ($431m) into the power sector by 2004.

  • The Kenya Light and Power Company stands to gain Sh1.7bn from the sharing of assets with Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) following the separation of the roles of the two companies.

KPLC said that a 1997 valuation formula showed that KenGen was to transfer assets worth Sh4bn to KPLC, while KPLC was to transfer assets worth Sh2.3bn leaving a net debt of Sh1.7bn.

Poland speeds up privatization

Poland is attempting to speed up the privatization of its energy sector in a number of separate moves.

According to deputy Treasury Minister, Jan Bucwkowski, the country is in the process of selecting one of three consortia shortlisted to set up an electricity trading exchange.

The leaders of the three groups were the Warsaw Stock Exchange, the conglomerate Elektrim and a local consulting firm Doradztwo Gospodarcze, which helped the ministry prepare its strategy for the privatization of the energy sector. Other firms involved in the consortia include the Polish Capital Fund, the Polish Power Grid (PSE), Swedish utility Vattenfall and BRE Bank.

The exchange should be up and running by May or June next year. Bucwkowski said: “If the exchange gets ten per cent of the turnover of the electricity market by the end of 2000 and 30 per cent by the end of 2001, it will be a success.”

To make the exchange work, the government has to solve the problem of long term power purchase agreements which cover 70 per cent of the market.

In August the Polish Treasury announced a shortlist of bidders as part of the privatization of Elektrownia Polaniec power plant. The shortlist was said to comprise AES, Eastern Power and Energy Trading Poland and Tractebel.

The country also announced plans to complete the sale of all of its district heating plants by 2002. Under the plan investors are to be offered majority stakes in district heating and power plants, which will either be sold to strategic investors or floated on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Stakes in the country’s big power stations will be no larger than 35 per cent. This will allow the government to retain control. There is no timetable for the sell off of the large generators.

Turkey to build lignite fired plant

Turkey’s leading conglomerate, Koc Holding will lead a consortium which has won a $480m contract to build a lignite fired power plant in southern Turkey.

The consortium, which includes another Koc company, Demir Export and France’s Societ

The consortium will operate the plant for 20 years before handing it over to the Turkish government. It will consume 3.73m t of lignite a year to produce 2 TWh of electricity a year, two per cent of the country’s annual power needs. The plant will be the first in Turkey to use a state-of-the-art circulating fluidized bed system.

Egypt seeks IPPs

Firms have been invited to prequalify to build and operate two power plants of 600-750 MW capacity in North Cairo and Safaga, on the Red Sea. The Egyptian Electricity Authority (EEA) has asked IPPs to submit their qualifications for building the two combined cycle plants using natural gas and light fuel oil under the BOOT model.

News digest

Hungary: Hungarian utility Pecs Eromu is seeking to build a 200 MW gas fired power plant. This would replace plans to build a coal fired plant and would cost about $63m. A report in the Hungarian Business Journal noted that Hungarian power stations are switching increasingly to natural gas and said that regulators are warning that this trend could leave the country more dependent than ever on imported fuel.

Kosovo: The international agencies in Kosovo are working against the clock to re-establish electricity generation before the winter. Youssuf Gacaferri, director of the local utility Elektro-Kosovo has said that 650 MW of capacity was vital to survive the winter.

Middle East: GE Harris Energy Control Systems has been awarded two contracts to supply substation automation equipment in the Middle East. The systems will be installed at Saudi Consolidated Electric Company (Sceco) Central Region, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and at the Ministry of Electricity & Water (MEW) in the United Arab Emirates.

Nigeria: Siemens AG has received an order to supply medium voltage equipment to the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA). The order comprises 55 switchgear installations for the 11 kV network and further equipment for the 33 kV network.

Nigeria: The long term future of Nigerian National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) has been put in doubt by an agreement signed by the Lagos state government and Enron (Nigeria) Ltd and Yinka Folawiya Power for a 90 MW first phase project. The project at Ijora would cut the shortfall in electricity supply to the state to only 35 MW. A second phase would see Enron fund, build own and operate a 560 MW gas fired plant at Agbara, a suburb of Lagos.

South Africa: Black & Veatch has been selected by Eskom to provide a feasibility study for the fluidized bed combustion project at Komati station near Johannesburg. The study will evaluate the potential for repowering an inactive pulverized coal fired unit to a fluidized bed boiler. The nominal 125 MW plant will use the region’s waste coal for fuel.

United Arab Emirates: The Dubai Electric and Water Authority (DEWA) is to invest Dh 369m ($100.5m) to execute three projects to develop the country’s electricity network. The projects consist of installation and commissioning of three main transformers. The first project located at Merkadh is a 400/132 kV transformer station worth Dh294m. Work has already started and should be completed within 23 months from the awarding of the contract.