Light relief at debt agreement

Twelve banks and investment funds have agreed in principle to extend debt facilities of over $760m owed by the Brazilian power distributor, Light. It is hoped that the restructuring package will reverse the company’s fortunes.

If Light signs the agreement by the end of June 2005, the maturity of debt repayments on $600m will be delayed from mid-2006, the date originally agreed with lenders. Light will also be able to defer repayments of a further $160m from 2007 until 2012.

Before the agreement is signed, EDF will turn the $400m it is owed by Light into a three per cent stake.

The debt relief will enable the company to invest $417m in the 2005-2007 period to expand its operations and fight against power theft.

Duke and Cinergy merge to create giant

Duke Energy and Cinergy’s boards have unanimously agreed to a merger that would create a combined company with an approximate market capitalization of $36bn.

The new energy company, which would trade under the name of Duke Energy, would have approximately 5.4 million retail customers and assets totalling more than $70bn generating 54 000 MW.

If the deal is approved by the shareholders and various regulatory bodies, Paul Anderson, currently chairman and chief executive officer of Duke, would become the new company’s chairman of the board while James Rogers, currently Cinergy’s president and chief executive officer, would maintain his job titles.

Banks prepare to finance upcoming tenders in Brazil

Brazil’s national development bank BNDES and the Inter American Development Bank are forming a finance package for generation projects the Brazilian government is expected to tender later this year.

It is understood that the banks will finance 70 per cent of each project with the remainder coming from shareholder equity. Future power sales revenues from long term power purchase agreements would be used as a guarantee.

The government is expected to tender for 17 projects that will have a combined capacity of nearly 3000 MW.

In 2006, Brazil will tender for the 8000 MW Madeira hydroelectric complex and the first stage of the 11 000 MW Belo Monte hydroelectric complex.

World FGD orders to hit $11bn in 2006

Orders of flue gas desulphurization (FGD) systems are expected to hit a record high of $11bn in 2006, according to a report published by the McIlvaine Company.

During the 1990s annual sales of power plant FGD systems were less than $1bn a year globally, while last year the orders recorded were only just over $7bn.

The report predicts that after the expected $11bn peak in 2006, sales in 2007 will drop to $7.5bn before rising again to $9bn in 2008. McIlvaine cites the present market being driven by regulations to retrofit at existing plants, whereas the long-term market will be bolstered by substantial construction of new coal fired plants.

Bush proposes new nuclear plant incentive scheme

President Bush has proposed a new nuclear power plant incentive, designed to give investors confidence that licensing will not be impeded by regulatory delays.

Speaking at the US Small Business Administration’s conference in Washington, Bush called for a form of risk insurance in the licensing process to provide stimulus and protection for those seeking to apply for a nuclear power plant licence.

Many companies are already participating on a cost share basis with the Department of Energy to test the new process for issuing early site permits and combined construction and operating licences.

Grid companies to co-ordinate on connections in US

The Midwest Independent Transmission Operator, PJM Interconnection and the Tennessee Valley Authority have signed a Joint Reliability Co-ordination Agreement that will see unprecedented co-operation in the management and operation of the transmission grid over many of the eastern United States.

The companies will share operating information, system models and planning data and will also conduct joint planning sessions to ensure that all improvements are cost effective.

Edison tempt with ten year PPA

Power contracts lasting up to ten years have been offered by Southern California Edison as part of its bid to attract new generation plants to the south of the power hungry state.

The company issued a competitive Request for Offers for facilities that could be online between June 2006 and August 2008.

Assessments by state agencies have indicated that the power supply may be vulnerable this summer if extreme conditions develop in the SP-15 grid.


News digest

Brazil

Areva is to supply a new 345 kV transformer bank and switchyard equipment to boost the electricity transmission network in the state of Espirito Santo. It will also build five new air insulated 138 kV substations in Mato Grosso.

Brazil

Local power distributor Celpe will invest Reals127m ($53m) over the next 12 months after it took a Reals150m loan from Brazil’s national development bank, BNDES.

Central America

Bids have been called for the contracts to build the 1800 km Siepac transmission line that will connect six countries in Central America.

Chile

Generation company Colbún could pursue alternative gas supplies and may build new hydro or coal fired generation facilities after it was revealed Argentina’s gas export restrictions would be worse than predicted.

Panama

AES Panama has awarded a contract to GE Energy for the repowering of two hydroelectric plants that will add a total of 12 MW to its national grid. The projects will be completed in April 2006 and April 2007.

Uruguay

The government has halved the tender that state power company UTE issued for the construction of a new thermoelectric plant. Instead of 400 MW, the company will now request 200 MW to be operational by August.

USA

A Colorado firm will conduct scale up and advanced research on metal, alloy and ceramic metal membranes to separate hydrogen from carbon dioxide in a stream of synthetic gas produced in coal gasification.

USA

An appliance that gives homeowners the ability to create electricity from the energy they use to heat their homes has been developed by Climate Energy and the US Honda motor company.

USA

BESS, a battery that consists of 13 760 rechargeable nickel cadmium cells in four parallel strings, has smashed a Guinness world record after it delivered 46 MW for five minutes.

USA

Of the 359 largest power plants in the US, the dirtiest 50, which generate just 14 per cent of the electric power, account for up to 42 per cent of mercury, 40 per cent of nitrogen oxides and 35 per cent of carbon dioxide pollution, according to a report from the non partisan Environmental Integrity Project.

USA

Texas Genco has purchased an additional 13.2 per cent stake in the South Texas Project nuclear generating plant. The $174m acquisition has raised its total interest to 44 per cent.

USA

Wind, solar and cogeneration units under 2 MW should find it easier to connect to the electric system after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accepted a proposal from PJM Interconnection.