World News – Americas

News digest

Argentina: Finning International has won a $7m contract to build a power plant to supply electricity to Barrick Gold Corp.’s gold project in Argentina. The new power plant will supply power and heat to the Veladero mine and processing mill from early 2005.

Brazil: Alstom has delivered the Itapebi power plant on the Jequitinhonha River in Bahia, Brazil, three months ahead of schedule. Alstom’s scope of supply included three 155 MW turbines as well as generators, control systems and other equipment.

Canada: Nai Kun Wind Development is seeking to develop a 350-turbine 700 MW offshore wind farm off the coast of British Columbia near Queen Charlotte Island. The project is valued at $1150m and is scheduled to start operating in 2007.

Chile: Innogy subsidiary Campanario Generacion is carrying out a study into the viability of a $200m, 370 MW combined cycle power plant scheduled to start operating in open cycle mode by the end of 2005. It would be fully operational by early 2006, and would be fuelled by natural gas from Argentina.

Chile: AES Gener is planning to construct a new combined cycle power plant in Laguna Verde in Chile’s Region V. The plant will add 394 MW to the SIC grid and will require an investment of $210m.

Colombia: Some 130 000 people were left without power in February after guerrilla forces blew up two electricity towers in Antioquia province. The government said that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels were responsible for the attack.

USA: FuelCell Energy and Caterpillar Inc. have finalized a contract with the City of Westerville Electric Division, Ohio, to supply a 250 kW Direct Fuel Cell power plant. The plant will be one of the first of its kind in the country to feed power directly into the grid.

USA: Ormat Industries has acquired the assets and electricity contracts for the Steamboat 2 and 3 geothermal power plants in Nevada for $55m. The deal is expected to be closed in March 2004.

USA: Hannahville Indian Community in Michigan is seeking regulatory approval for a $1000m complex consisting of four 250 MWe coal fired power plants. Construction could start in 2005.

USA: Florida Power and Light is seeking approval for a $600m project to add 1100 MW of gas fired capacity to its existing Turkey Point nuclear plant. Completion of the project is scheduled for 2007.

CFE plans seven projects

Mexico’s state power company CFE is to call for bids on seven new power generation projects in 2004. The projects will require an investment of $3.3bn, and are in addition to 14 other projects which are currently under construction, said CFE.

In total, CFE will invest $6.5bn in power projects in 2004. This includes four plants which are due to come on stream in 2004, and ten others that are under construction. The projects are part of CFE’s POISE plan, which aims to diversify generation sources in the country.

CFE will call for bids on the La Venta II wind project in the southwestern state of Oaxaca, the Tamazunchale and Agua Prieta II combined cycle projects in San Luis Potosi and Sonora states, respectively, and the coal fired Pacifico plant in the southwestern state of Guerrero.

CFE is currently accepting bids for a $150m, 220 MW combined cycle plant with an optional 20 MW solar power plant to be located at San Luis Rio Colorado in Sonora state.

Plants which are scheduled to come on stream this year include the Guerrero Negro II, Baja California Sur I, and Rio Bravo III plants, as well as the second phase of Manuel Moreno Torres hydropower plant in Chiapas state. The ten plants under construction include Altamira V and El Cajon.

EnerSur wins Yuncan concession

The Peruvian government has awarded a 30-year concession for the Yuncan hydropower project to EnerSur, a subsidiary of Belgium’s Tractebel. The Yuncan project will complete EnerSur’s existing thermal generation portfolio in the country, according to Tractebel.

EnerSur bid $53m for the concession in an auction held in Lima. The Base price for Yuncan was $200m but the government put its minimum auction asking price at $48.5m. EnerSur was the only bidder after Statkraft and PSEG declined to submit bids.

The Yuncan plant is located in the Pasco region of central Peru, 340 km north east of Lima. Construction of the plant is 70 per cent complete and commissioning is scheduled for July 2005.

Through EnerSur, Tractebel owns the ILO1 and ILO2 thermal power plants in Peru with a combined capacity of 362 MW. The addition of Yuncan will allow the company to benefit from low-cost hydropower capacity, making it more competitive in the market.

CERA: ‘back to basics’ not enough

The “back to basics” strategy employed by many US energy companies in the wake of the Enron scandal and valuation collapses is limiting growth potential. Company strategies must now be reset to meet new challenges and objectives, according to US-based Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA).

The back to basics approach is just a holding action, and companies must recognise that new strategies are required as the industry landscape changes, said Lawrence J. Makovich, CERA senior director of global gas and power. Companies should take advantage of others’ “blind spots”, i.e. a failure to recognise and act upon change.

Suroàƒ®t future uncertain

Public opposition to the proposed Suroàƒ®t power plant in Quebec, Canada, is threatening the future of the project. The 840 MW, C$550m ($410m) combined cycle plant would be the first in North America to use GE Energy’s high efficiency 7H gas turbine technology.

Mounting public pressure has forced the Quebec government to ask the state’s Energy Board to review the project and re-evaluate Quebec’s energy needs to 2010. The Energy Board has started a consultation process and has until June 30, 2004 to prepare its report.

Hydro-Québec was scheduled to start construction of the project this year in Beauharnois, southwest of Montreal. The utility announced in January that it had selected GE’s advanced 7H technology for the project. The plant would be the state’s first natural gas fired power plant.

Spanish power groups look to invest in Latin America

Spanish energy companies Iberdrola and Endesa have announced plans to continue investing in new capacity in South America over the next four years. Endesa will invest g2.4bn ($3bn) in 2004-2008, while Iberdrola will invest g1.9bn over the same period.

Endesa will invest g500m in new generating capacity, g100m of which will be used in 2004. Half of this will be used to complete the Ralco plant in southern Chile, which is scheduled to start operations in July.

The majority of Iberdrola’s investment will be made in Mexico, with the company aiming to increase installed generating capacity in the country to 5300 MW. Just g200 000 will be invested outside of Mexico, mostly in Brazil.

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