Ontario government to build more nuclear plants

Ontario’s Provincial government has announced plans to build at least two more nuclear plants. Among six sites suggested are the three existing sites, Pickering, Bruce and Darlington plus Nanticoke, on Lake Erie, where there is a 2000 MW coal fired power station which is due to be closed, but where all the transmission infrastructure will remain in place.

Opinion seems to favour an existing nuclear site, with Darlington, some 80 km east of Toronto thought to be the first choice. Two 540 MW units at Pickering and two 800 MW units at Bruce are currently mothballed, but will be brought back into service as part of the plan.

Currently accounting for 40 per cent of electricity supply in Ontario, nuclear has come back into focus because Ontario Power Generation cannot now close all its coal fired stations by the end of 2007 without risking serious power shortages. It is expected that the last coal fired stations will not now be closed before 2010.

Meanwhile demolition has started of the oldest coal fired plant, Lakeview, a few kilometres west of Toronto in Mississauga. It is thought that a combined cycle will be installed in its place.

TXU makes wider plans

TXU is examining opportunities to develop coal fired generation outside of the ERCOT electricity market where it believes the economics for plant construction could be even more attractive than Texas, according to chairman and CEO John Wilder. The company is targeting an additional 5000-8000 MW of capacity and is targeting a zone including Pennsylvania, Virginia and the West Virginia corridor, according to Wilder.

In April, TXU said it would spend $10bn to power the future of Texas through the construction of 11 coal power generation facilities at nine existing power plant sites. In a progress report TXU said it had secured non-recourse financing at favourable rates for the projects and completed air permit filings.

TXU has appointed Bechtel to design and build generating capacity of around 7000 MW as part of its expansion plan. Bechtel will be the primary contractor on up to nine units.

Seven states fight for FutureGen

America’s FutureGen Alliance is considering 12 sites in seven US states as the location for its planned $1bn prototype “zero emissions” energy project. States that have submitted proposals include Illinois, Texas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Wyoming and West Virginia.

The plant will be designed to produce electricity, hydrogen and chemical feedstocks from coal and will incorporate technologies that either capture or prevent the formation of pollutants. The Alliance plans to announce a list of finalist sites this summer with the final location being chosen by mid-2007.

Some of the states, for example Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, have submitted joint proposals.

United States gets wind in its sails

The US wind energy industry will install a record-breaking 3000 MW of new generating capacity this year, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The industry boom follows the two-year extension to the federal wind production tax credit. Over 400 MW of new plants have already been brought online since January. Overall, the industry is planning to invest over $4bn in new wind energy capacity this year.

ࢀ¢ FPL Energy reported plans for about 760 MW of new wind capacity this year.

LNG market will double by 2010

New analysis by Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) suggests that the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply market is building strongly and is on its way towards meeting 15 per cent of the world’s natural gas demand by 2012. CERA says that the industry will probably double in six or seven years relative to 2004, becoming a $65bn market.

More than 25m t of new liquefaction capacity has been commissioned since October, adding 18 per cent to global capacity. LNG trade is projected to grow to 159m t in 2006, up 12 per cent compared with 2005.

Work starts on Peruvian gas unit

Siemens Power Generation has been given the go ahead by emerging markets power developer Globeleq to start construction of the first unit of the two-unit 336 MW Kallpa power plant near Lima, Peru.

The first phase of the Kallpa plant will provide 168 MW of new generation fuelled by natural gas from the Camisea field and supports the Peruvian government policy of broadening the country’s energy mix.

Plans are well advanced for phase two, which will double Kallpa’s generating capacity and a third phase is planned, which will see the plant converted to combined cycle.

News digest

Central America: Inabensa, the Spanish engineering subsidiary of energy conglomerate Abengoa, has been awarded a $114m contract to build, operate and maintain a 953 km interconnector linking Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama.

Canada: Under its new Provincial energy policy Hydro-Québec is to invest C$25bn ($22.4bn) in new dams producing 4500 MW of hydroelectricity of which 1000 MW is earmarked for export sales.

Brazil: Construction by federal power company CGTEE of the 350 MW Candiota III coal fired power project in Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul state is scheduled to commence in July, with operations due to start in 2010.

Brazil: Italian power company Enel has fulfilled its announced strategy of entering the Brazilian power market with an agreement to buy 22 small-scale hydroelectric power plants for 450m reais ($198m) from Brazil’s Grupo Rede.

Brazil: Tractebel Energia has obtained Clean Development Mechanism registration for its biomass fuelled cogeneration plant in Lages in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. The project will generate 220 000 tradable Certified Emission Reduction credits over ten years.

Guatemala: Ormat technologies has increased it stake in the Zunil Geothermal Project in Guatemala to 85.91 per cent with the purchase of a 14.09 per cent partnership interest from CDC Group. The plant is now fully operational following repairs to hurricane damage.

Mexico: A $40m interconnection project, through which Mexico has agreed to export electricity to its power-hungry neighbour Guatemala, has been inaugurated at the Mexican border town of Tapachula.

Uruguay: State-owned power company Usinas y Trasmisiones Electricas has called on consumers to conserve electricity and help maintain reservoir water levels after Brazil cut power sales to the country by 70 MW in order to meet its own domestic demand.

USA: Constellation Energy and EDF have signed a Memorandum of Understanding under which the two companies will work together to develop the Areva-designed Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR), for deployment in the USA.

USA: Mirant has withdrawn its offer to buy fellow US power generator NRG Energy after its bid was rejected by the NRB Board and concerns about the strategy was expressed by some Mirant stakeholders.

USA: Spanish power company Iberdrola has entered the US wind market with the acquisition of Community Energy.