Nuclear the energy answer for Ontario

Canada’s largest nuclear producer, Bruce Power, has begun a C$4.25bn ($3.6bn) project to bring extra nuclear energy onto Ontario’s electricity grid.

After the Ontario Power Authority gave the project its approval, Bruce awarded AMEC a C$510m contract to manage the restart of two nuclear reactors at Bruce A while B&W Canada was contracted to provide 16 replacement steam generators. The project will also see the life extension of the plant’s Units 3 and 4.

The first unit will begin generating again in 2009. When the project has been completed, Ontario will have an additional 1500 MW of nuclear capacity.

The announcement of the Bruce A restart project followed news that another nuclear power plant in Ontario, Pickering A Unit 1, had started generating for the first time since it was mothballed in 1997.

Canadian contracted for SIEPAC grid

The Canadian construction and engineering firm Dessau-Soprin has been awarded a C$20m ($17m) contract to oversee construction of the first regional power grid in Central America.

Sistema Interconectado para la América Central (SIEPAC) will connect Guatemala to Panama via an 1800 km 230 kV transmission line that will run through El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. When the line begins transmitting in 2008 it is expected to bring greater stability to the region’s energy supply while also enabling costs to be lowered through energy trade.

The remaining contract awards for the C$330m project are not expected until early 2006 after the deadline for bid applications was extended until 31 October 2005.

Hydro to feature heavily in first Brazilian power auction

Brazil is expected to offer around 14 hydroelectric power projects with a combined capacity of over 2200 MW in the country’s first annual power project auction.

The first auction will be held in December giving companies the opportunity to submit bids for 15-30 year concessions on hydro and thermo power plants. Successful bidders will also sign long term power purchase agreements at the auction, guaranteeing the start date of power delivery.

Brazil aims to expand installed energy capacity in order to meet the annual 5.6 per cent growth in power demand, forecasted to last until 2012. Federal government plans have indicated that 32 new power generation projects will be tendered in 2006 and 2007.

New nuclear build gathers momentum

The US utility industry is to prepare licence applications to build a new generation of nuclear reactors at three sites in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.

Utility consortium, NuStart Energy Development is planning to apply for two federal construction and operating licenses (COL) and separate from the NuStart project, Entergy is to develop its own COL application.

GE’s 1500 MW Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor is favoured by one of the NuStart sites and the Entergy project while Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor is the preferred option for the second NuStart proposal.

Also aiming to feature in a potential new wave of nuclear plant builds is Constellation Energy and Areva which have announced the formation of UniStar Nuclear, an enterprise that will use a 1600 MW reactor design.

Venezuela to double generation

By 2024 Venezuela will have doubled its present generation capacity and created a more stable and comprehensive transmission and distribution network, if the government’s new $24bn plan is fully met.

Under the proposals, over the next 20 years Venezuela’s energy and oil ministry will invest $17.4bn in generation, almost $2bn in transmission, nearly $4bn in distribution and $611m in electrification projects.

A government minister said he accepted the state would have to front most of the generation and transmission costs, but he expected the private sector to invest in distribution.

Two consider building new generation IGCC plant in US

The standard commercial offering for IGCC projects developed by GE Energy and Bechtel has received interest from two parties seeking to build the first cleaner coal power plant in the US in nearly ten years.

American Electric Power has instructed GE and Bechtel to proceed with the front-end engineering design phase for a proposed 629 MW integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant. If approved and construction begins on the selected site in Ohio, commercial start-up of the plant would be in 2010.

The second potential IGCC project for GE and Bechtel could be located in Indiana after Cinergy/PSI, in partnership with Vectren, decided to begin the preliminary engineering and design of a 600 MW plant.

News digest

Argentina: Alstom has sold its 100th GT13E2 gas turbine in a contract that will see it construct a 465 MW combined cycle power plant for Argentinean aluminium company Aluar.

Bolivia: Combustion Energy and Steam Specialists Ltd. have raised £5m ($8.9m) from the sale of an unused Frame 6FA gas turbine to EGSA for the expansion of their existing power station.

Brazil: An Alstom led consortium has been awarded a €150m ($181m) contract to modernize six units at the 1050 MW Luiz Carlos Barreto de Carvalho hydroelectric plant in Brazil.

Brazil: In a consortium with VA Tech T&D, Siemens is to build a 345/230/138 kV substation as part of a €80m ($96.5m) contract to upgrade the country’s electricity supply network.

Brazil: Wärtsilä is to build an 83 MW power plant in Manaus for a subsidiary of Servtec group that will feature five of its 18V46 generating sets.

Chile: The UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) executive board has officially registered the Chile Methane Recovery Project. It is the first CDM project that Tepco has been involved with.

USA: A coalition of the country’s largest electric utilities and coal companies has agreed to partner the US Department of Energy in creating the world’s first near-zero emissions coal fired power plant.

USA: GE Energy has been awarded a ten-year multi cycle contractual service agreement to provide nuclear instrumentation and associated technical and field services for Entergy’s fleet of boiling water reactors.

USA: Nevada Solar One, a 64 MW solar power plant in Nevada, will be the world’s largest solar development for 14 years when it enters operation in 2007.

USA: Powerspan is to test a carbon dioxide removal technology at a plant in Ohio. In preliminary tests the technology demonstrated a CO2 removal rate of 90 per cent.

USA: Siemens is to supply FPL Energy with 600 MW capacity of its 2.3 MW wind turbines. It is the company’s first wind turbine contract in the US since it acquired Bonus Energy.

USA: The first citywide use of broadband over power line technology has been deployed in the Washington D.C. suburb of Manassas.

USA: The US Department of Energy has awarded Waukesha Engine a $7.6m grant to develop an engine able to achieve 47 per cent thermal efficiency while further enhancing emission reduction capabilities.