FPL calls for nuclear energy to be considered as renewable

In a highly provocative move, a senior executive of Florida Power & Light has called for new nuclear generated power to be re-defined as renewable as a fast track way of meeting Florida’s proposed goal of having 20 per cent of all its power coming from renewables. Eric Silagy, FPL’s chief development office told regulators that the move would allow the goal to be met by 2030, rather than 2050.

The law currently defines renewables as solar, geothermal, wind, ocean, waste, hydroelectric or biomass. Silagy said that the sooner climate change was tackled the better and that with amendments to include nuclear power, modernizations of older plants and energy efficiencies, greenhouse gases would be reduced.

Environmentalist groups reacted angrily. The Environmental Defense Fund called the proposal “distasteful” and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy argued that the nuclear industry already had so many incentives that to ask for additional support was “unconscionable”.

Exelon files nuclear plant application

Exelon Generation has filed its first new nuclear plant application with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a site in Victoria County, in southeast Texas, USA. The proposed two unit plant would have an installed capacity of 3000 MW – enough to power more than 1.85m average Texas homes.

Exelon expects the license application to cost about $23m. Submitting the application in 2008 allows the company to participate in nuclear production tax credits, financial risk insurance and federal loan guarantees specified in the 2005 Energy Policy Act.

News of the filing was welcomed by the Nuclear Energy for Texans alliance who commended Exelon Generation for its vision and commitment to expanding Texas’ energy portfolio.

Areva Koblitz wins contract for Tractebel biomass plant

Areva Koblitz, a subsidiary of French group Areva, has been awarded a contract worth over €33m ($47m) by Tractebel Energia, to design and build a power plant fuelled by sugarcane bagasse in Pitangueiras, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Construction work has already begun on the plant, located at the Andrade ethanol facility owned by the Guarani Group, with commissioning scheduled for April 2010.

Areva Koblitz and Tractebel Energia previously co-operated on the construction of the 28 MW Lages bioenergy cogeneration plant in Santa Catarina.

Brazil plans independent nuclear watchdog

The Brazilian government is investigating the establishment of an independent nuclear watchdog agency to oversee its expanding nuclear industry. The Nuclear Program Development Committee is undertaking this study in the light of Brazilian plans to expand its uranium enrichment, build a new nuclear reactor and develop a nuclear-propelled submarine.

Safety and security within the nuclear industry is currently the responsibility of the government’s National Nuclear Energy Commission but an independent body would bring Brazil in line with international standards.

An additional $540m is to be invested in Brazil’s nuclear energy programme with construction to be completed on its long-delayed third nuclear plant, Angra 3. A further four nuclear plants are scheduled for completion by 2013. Currently the Angra 1 and Angra 2 plants near the coastal city of Angra dos Reis account for 2000 MW of installed capacity.

Argentine group plans $1.6bn wind investment in Brazil

Argentinean engineering and construction group Impsa plans to invest more that 2.7bn reais ($1.66bn) in wind energy projects in Brazil, according to a report from BNAmericas. The company already has its own wind turbine and hydroelectric equipment production facility in Pernambuco in Brazil.

Impsa will invest 660m reais in the 126 MW Água Doce wind project and 450m reais in the 91.9 MW Bom Jardin da Serra wind facility. It is also planning investments in the region of 550m reais in three wind parks in Ceará state, 750 m reais in projects for wind tenders plus 145m reais in its turbine manufacturing plant.

The 100 MW Ceará project will start production for federal company Electrobrás this year.

Kansas utilities strike V-Plan deal

Two of the three sections of the proposed Kansas V-Plan transmission project will be built by ITC Great Plains following agreement by Kansas utilities Mid-Kansas Electric Company and Sunflower Electric Power Corporation.

Westar Energy will be offered the opportunity to build the third link through to Sedgwick County.

The 180 mile high-voltage V-Plan transmission line is part of the Southwest Power Pool’s Transmission Expansion Plan.

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Bolivia: The Andean Development Corporation has agreed around $294m of loan contracts with Bolivia’s Planning Ministry for infrastructure projects including the Pututuma-Tarija link.

Brazil: Alstom Hydro has been awarded a contract valued at €500 ($710m) by EPC contractor Construtoro Norberto Odebrecht for the supply of equipment for the 3150 MW Santo Antônio hydropower plant in Brazil.

Canada: ABB has won orders worth $32m from Hydro One Networks in Toronto, Ontario for the expansion of two existing 550kV-80kA substations involving seven Gas Insulated Switchgear circuit breakers positions.

Canada: Ontario has formally issued a request for proposals for 500 MW of new renewable energy supply from projects larger than 10 MW, as part of a procurement process that will eventually give the province another 2000 MW of green power.

Chile: Canadian methanol producer Methanex plans to develop a 2.3 MW wind farm in southern Chile’s Magallanes region at a cost of $5m. The firm is also studying a plan to install a $40m coal fired plant.

Columbia: Columbia’s Mining and Energy Ministry has announced Columbian and foreign firm investment of around $6bn in new projects including seven new hydro plants and two new coal and diesel fired power plants.

Cuba: Skoda Power of the Czech Republic has won a contract worth nearly 0.5bn crowns ($30m) to upgrade a Cuban power plant approximately 150 km from Havana.

Dominica: Venezuelan engineers are to build a new power station on the small Caribbean island of Dominica to supplement the island’s only existing power station and reduce energy costs to islanders.

USA: Iberdrola Renewables has begun construction of its Buffalo Ridge 50 MW wind farm project near White, South Dakota featuring 50 Suzlon wind turbines, due for completion next year.

USA: Calpine Corporation has signed a three-year power purchase agreement with TVA to sell 500 MW of electricity from its Morgan Energy Center in Decatur, Alabama.