World News – International

News digest

Bahrain: Nissho Iwai Corporation has received a à‚¥15bn ($138m) order to build a power substation and supply other equipment for Aluminium Bahrain (ALBA) to be used in an aluminium refinery to be built by June 2005.

Central Europe: A Frost & Sullivan report forecasts high demand for power rentals in Central and Eastern Europe, particularly from the construction sector, in the near term. However, it warns that Western investors will have to accept longer amortization rates than the usual three or so years.

Cyprus: With Cyprus due to join the EU on May 1 2004, the authorities are offering a number of new energy plans and tender opportunities to comply with EU requirements. These include a combined cycle unit at the Vasilikos power station to run on diesel and gas as well as a gasification terminal.

Czech Republic: Chief executive of Czech Republic state-controlled power producer CEZ, Jaroslav Mil, has been dismissed by the supervisory board following a disagreement with the government over plans for CEZ to bid for a majority stake in a coal mine privatization.

Egypt: The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company has awarded Alstom a g14m ($16.3m) contract to design and build the largest regional electricity dispatch centre in the country, connecting five power plants and 65 substations.

Egypt: The Egyptian Ministry of Electricity and Energy has outlined ten power projects through which it plans to increase power generation by 6300 MW by the end of 2007.

Egypt: Russia’s Power Machines Group in a consortium with Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation and Hydro Plants Generation Company of Egypt has signed a contract for the reconstruction of Aswan High-Head Dam. The project will extend operations for a further 30-40 years and increase output from 2100 MW to 2400 MW.

Poland: Environmental Investment partners, based in Poland, is to launch a new fund in the middle of next year, investing in renewable energy in Central European countries joining the EU in 2004. The fund will be in the range ($35-117m).

Russia: UES chief executive Anatoly Chubais has announced that the company will seek to acquire generation and transmission assets in CIS countries and participate in the privatization of neighbouring power utility assets.

UAE: Al Mirfa, Abu Dhabi’s fifth independent water and power project, has been shelved and the Taweelah B plant is likely to be developed instead, according to local reports

Iraq restores power levels

Iraq’s senior deputy electricity minister, Dr Karim Hasan, told delegates at last month’s Power-Gen Middle East conference in Abu Dhabi, that power levels in the country have reached the pre-war level of 4400 MW. He added, however, that this remains well below current demand, estimated at 7600 MW.

A planned maintenance programme over the winter will see power levels drop to around 3800 MW but a target of 9000 MW has been set for the end of 2004, rising to 15 000 MW in the next few years.

In the short term, capacity is being boosted through the repair of existing plants and the addition of gas turbines in the 25-100 MW range operating in simple cycle.

Iraq plans to encourage foreign investment in the reconstruction of its power infrastructure and the US-backed Iraqi finance minister has announced economic reforms to allow 100 per cent foreign ownership in all sectors except oil.

The US Army Corps of Engineers has enlisted the support of Washington Group International through a $110m task order focusing on the installation of electrical generators in northern Iraq and the reconstruction of a series of 400 kV transmission lines.

A similar task order worth $66m has been awarded to Perini Corp. to help restore power in southern Iraq, with Flour Corp. supporting efforts in central Iraq and Baghdad through a $102m task order.

Iran starts up gas facility

A 1053 MW combined cycle gas fired power plant along with a connecting 23 kV power transfer line has been inaugurated in Fars Province, Iran by president Mohammad Khatami. Work on the latest phase of the project began in 1999 and consists of six gas fired 123.4 MW generation units and three 98.3 MW units.

At the inauguration, the managing director of Iran’s Power Development Organization, Hossein Mahmoudzadeh, said output from Iran’s power plants would rise by 2800 MW to 33 400 MW by March 2004. Of this, 1415 MW would be obtained from thermal plants and 1396 from hydroelectric power plants. He added that failure to attract foreign capital was the main problem facing the sector.

Russia, EU propose grid integration

Russia and the European Union have agreed to work towards the full integration of their respective electricity grids by 2007. Brussels and Moscow plan to draft an agreement establishing joint institutions to work on the details. A working group set up in March is expected to report to Brussels early next year.

Anatoly Chubais, CEO of Russia’s UES, said the company, which has already synchronized the grids of all 14 of Russia’s neighbours, is already studying how to do the same in Europe. He added that synchronizing electricity grids is a “significant issue” for the industry as a whole, and will benefit consumers most because it increases both the reliability of power supplies and eventually leads to lower prices.

Russia recently launched its competitive wholesale electricity market, which will initially sell between five and 15 per cent of Russian electricity. The launch was delayed due to the failure of the relevant ministries and the country’s Federal Energy Commission to agree wholesale market operation rules.

Japan firms lead Jebel Ali development

A consortium led by Japanese firms Mitsubishi and Toshiba has won the Dh3bn ($821m) order to construct the expansion of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) Jebel Ali power and water plant. Italy’s Fisia Italimpianti will handle the desalination part worth more than Dh1bn, while ETA-Ascon and Alstom will also take part in the project.

Dewa’s Jebel Ali “L” project will add 860 MW and 318m l/day of desalination capacity with commissioning set for 2005.

BP Solar wins Morocco deal

Apex-BP, a subsidiary of BP France and Moroccan oil company CMH has won a contract for the supply and installation of solar power systems to provide 20,000 domestic users in rural Chichaoua province, Morocco.

The turnkey contract, awarded by state-owned electricity utility ONE, covers the supply and installation of solar panels manufactured by BP Solar over three years.

Austrian firms win Bulgarian order

Bulgaria’s National Electricity Company and three Austrian companies have signed agreements for the construction of an 80 MW hydroelectric power plant at Tsankov Kamak on the Vacha River, 250 km south east of Sophia.

The g200m ($234m) energy project falls within the terms of the Kyoto Agreements and will result in emission certificates generated by hydropower plant being transferred to the Austrian carbon credit programme.

VA Tech Hydro led the group and will supply equipment and services.

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