World News: international

Russia debates power reform plans

The amended package of laws for restructuring Russia’s power industry was submitted to the Duma in September following approval of the legislation by the government. The legislation is unlikely to be passed, however, as a number of contentious issues remain unresolved and threaten to delay liberalization.

Key issues that are likely to meet opposition in the Duma are ownership of the Federal Grid Company and electricity tariffs. The current legislation calls for the power industry to be liberalized in mid-2004 ” just after the presidential elections ” in order to attract much-needed investment to the sector.

National power company UES will be split up under the restructuring plans, creating several generating companies, a Federal Grid Company and a system operator. Shares in these new companies should be distributed between UES stakeholders, but some Duma members are pushing for the grid company to be 100 per cent state-owned.

Duma politicians ” who face a general election in 2003 ” have also expressed concern over tariffs, which are likely to rise after liberalization. President Putin has recently criticized UES for requesting rate hikes, and has called on the organization to cut costs and improve efficiency.

ABB to refurbish Mozambique system

ABB has been awarded a $32m contract to build a power transmission system in Mozambique to supply power to the northwestern Niassa province.

State-owned power company EdM Electricidade de Mozambique awarded ABB the contract to provide a link to the central and north electricity grid from the Cahora Bassa hydropower plant. ABB will design and install the 110 kV transmission link and two new transformer substations, while extending two of the existing ones, by January 2005.

UAE building new power, desalination plant

GE Power Systems has won a contract to supply equipment to what will be the world’s largest power and desalination plant. It will supply four gas turbines and other equipment to the plant, located in Fujairah, UAE.

The plant will be built by Korean firm Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction under a turnkey contract. The plant will be owned and operated by the UAE Offset Group, which plans to finish constructing the 100mgd (454m l/day) desalination plant and 660 MW combined cycle power station by mid-2003. Doosan signed the $802m contract on the basis of project completion within 24 months.

GE will provide four MS9001E gas turbine generators and auxiliary equipment for the power plant. The first unit has already been shipped to the site and the remaining three are scheduled to arrive before year-end. Natural gas will be the primary fuel for the power station.

Iran pushes ahead with nuclear

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) has told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the country has long-term plans to increase nuclear power generating capacity. The announcement came as some 600 Russian specialists began work on a key phase of the $800m Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran, a project that has drawn strong criticism from the USA.

Iran has also said that it needs technology for fuel processing and waste management, but the USA is concerned that development of the nuclear power sector will allow Iran to advance its nuclear weapons programme.

Heavy equipment has been shipped to the 1000 MW Bushehr plant from Russia under an agreement between Atomstroikoexport and the IAEO. Russia has expressed interest in helping Iran build a further five reactors.

Poland approves Electrabel buy

The Polish government has cleared the sale of an 1800 MW power plant, near Krakow, to Electrabel of Belgium. Electrabel now owns 38 per cent of the Southern Polaniec plant, which produces six per cent of Polish power. The sale is a relief for Poland’s treasury, which is looking to raise $1.6bn through the power sell-off programme.

Poland’s treasury has also granted Germany’s RWE exclusive rights to negotiate for the purchase of power distributor Stoen. Tractebel is one of several companies now in talks about the purchase of a majority stake in Poland’s G8 group, which the Polish government has failed to sell in spite of a high level of interest from investors.

B&V selected for renewable research

Black & Veatch has been selected by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to assess the potential for renewable energy use in eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Around 27 countries in central and eastern Europe will be examined for potential future funding by EBRD.

The evaluation study will indicate various types of renewable energy resources available for commercial use. The study will look at all green energy possibilities and will present findings by December 2002.

News digest

Hungary: Switzerland-based electricity group Atel is to take over Hungarian generator Csepel and two other power firms in the Czech Republic from US company NRG Energy. With a combined value of g535m ($523m), the acquisition will give Atel a foothold on Hungary’s power market, which is to be partially liberalized in January 2003.

Hungary: Alstom and Hungarian company Transelektro Co. Ltd. have signed a g45m ($44m) contract with TVK Power Plant of Hungary to supply a KA10-1CE power plant, based on the 25 MW GT10B industrial gas turbine. TVK power plant is jointly owned by the two companies Emasz Co. and Tiszai Vegyi Kombinat Ltd.

Jordan: Jordan’s state-owned electric utility, the Central Electricity Generating Co., has awarded Alstom and Jordan-based MAG Engineering & Contracting Co. a contract worth g16m ($15m) to convert five oil-fired boilers at its Aqaba thermal power station to dual fuel firing.

Russia: Russia is planning to ratify the Kyoto treaty on global warming, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Russia’s backing would mean that enough big producers of greenhouse gases would bring the treaty into effect.

Russia: Over 100 of Russia’s largest energy consumers and producers will soon start a simulated electricity trading exercise in advance of the creation of a wholesale electricity market. The new Trade System Administrator is currently carrying out a two-month test.

Saudi Arabia: Foster Wheeler Energy has been awarded a project management services contract for two distillate hydrotreaters and power cogeneration plants by Aramco Overseas Company. This follows Saudi Arabia’s plans to improve the ambient air quality for the most populated cities, Riyadh, Jeddah and Makkah, by switching to lower sulphur diesel fuel in 2006.

South Africa: South Africa’s Eskom has unveiled sub-Saharan Africa’s first modern wind turbine generator at the Klipheuwel wind farm north of Cape Town. The 660 kW unit was supplied by Vestas and is part of Eskom’s plans to increase generation from renewable resources.

Tanzania: Norway has agreed to provide $410 000 for Zanzibar’s project of power lines improvement. The donation is part of Norway’s efforts to help Zanzibar improve its infrastructure in order to attract more investment from foreign countries and the mainland.

UAE: ADWEA has extended the deadline for submitting bids for the Umm Al Nar independent water and power project to 18 November. The move came as Enelpower pulled out of the bidding for the project, leaving Tractebel to look for a new partner.

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