Florida approves first nuclear power plant in 33 years

The Florida Cabinet has approved site certification for Progress Energy Florida’s Levy nuclear power plant, the first nuclear facility approved in the state since 1976.

Governor Charlie Crist, Attorney General Bill McCollum and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, serving as the Siting Board, unanimously approved Progress Energy Florida’s site request for construction of a nuclear facility on a 3105-acre location in Levy County. The site certification application includes a detailed analysis of the potential environmental impacts of the proposed plant, which will consist of two 1100 MW nuclear powered units and related transmission lines.

Federal approvals and permits required prior to construction include the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, which is an effluent and stormwater discharge permit; Prevention of Significant Deterioration, an air quality permit; approval by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and also by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The vote is the second of three major approvals needed before the company can begin building the nuclear plant. The last remaining major decision is from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is expected by early 2012.

Georgia Power parent company may build another nuke plant

Southern Company, which operates Plant Vogtle near Augusta, Georgia, may build another nuclear generating plant and could initiate licensing requests as early as 2011.

“The forecast date is 2011, but that is an early estimate to support some long-range planning,” company spokeswoman Beth Thomas said. “We’re not committed to submit in the 2011 time frame.”

Thomas said at this time it would be premature to discuss any site locations for a new plant.

“We are continuing to evaluate our needs, so we’re not really far enough along in the process to determine when or where,” she added.

ABB wins $540m order for world’s longest transmission link

ABB has won orders worth over $540m from the Abengoa Group to deliver the world’s longest power transmission link, which is due to be constructed in Brazil.

The project will link two new hydropower plants with São Paulo over a distance of 2500 km. Power will be transmitted at 600 kV to minimize transmission losses.

By 2012, ABB will provide two 3150 MW HVDC converter stations, as well as an 800 MW HVDC back to back station.

EPRI: US power sector could cut carbon by 41 per cent

The Electric Power Research Institute’s latest ‘Prism and MERGE’ analyses have found that the US power sector could potentially reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions in 2030 by 41 per cent relative to 2005 emissions levels, if it adopts a ‘full portfolio’ that includes carbon capture and storage (CCS).

The full portfolio includes coal with CCS, renewables and nuclear, plus increased generation/transmission efficiency. It requires deployment of advanced technologies by 2030 comparable to those assumed in the Prism analysis; an eight per cent reduction in electricity consumption through raising end-use efficiency; 45 new nuclear units; new renewables generation equivalent to four-fold increase in current wind and solar generation capacity; and 100m plug-in electric vehicles.

The full portfolio could reduce the cost to the US economy of cutting emissions by more than $1trn by 2050 and result in an 80 per cent increase in the real wholesale cost of electricity by 2050 relative to current costs, compared with a projected increase of more than 210 per cent with a limited portfolio.

Siemens receives order for power island

Siemens Energy has been awarded a contract from Northern California Power Agency (NCPA) for the supply of a Flex-Plant 30 power island.

The 280 MW, gas fired combined-cycle power plant will be located in Lodi, California, and will generate highly efficient and environmentally friendly power. The Flex-Plant 30, which runs a SCC6-5000F single-shaft turbine, has a fast-start capability designed to deliver approximately 200 MW of power to the grid within only 30 minutes.

These short start-up times reduce the emissions of the plant significantly. The approximate value of the order is $140m.

Hydro-Quebec looking to expand

Canadian utility Hydro-Quebec is seeking to invest C$25bn ($23bn) toward building new hydroelectric projects and expanding its existing fleet between 2009-2013. This is according to the utility’s strategic plan.

During that same period, the utility is expected to generate close to 37 TWh of surplus electricity.

Although net exports of electricity are expected to grow from eight per cent of volume in 2008 to 12 per cent in 2013, these exports are forecasted to earn less revenue for the state utility.

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Brazil: Eletrobrás is planning to buy a Peruvian generator to participate in an upcoming hydro auction in Peru, according to CEO José Antonio Muniz Lopes. This month, Peru will publish a list of qualified bidders to supply power from hydro plants for 15 years starting in 2013.

Canada: GDF Suez has inaugurated West Cape Wind Farm in O’Leary on Prince Edward Island. The French firm has uprated the wind farm to 55 turbines generating 99 MW from 11 turbines producing 20 MW.

Peru: EnerSur has begun commercial operations of a third gas turbine at its Chilca Uno power plant that expanded capacity by 194 MW to 543 MW. GDF Suez controls EnerSur, which also operates the Moquegua thermo plant, as well as the Yuncán hydro plant.

Peru: State inward investment agency ProInversión is to issue a call for bids to build two 200 MW duel-fuel power plants in the north and the south of the country. The contracts are set to be awarded by year-end or early next year.

USA: Japan’s Electric Power Development Company, or J-Power, is to construct a gas fired power plant in California. The company recently broke ground on the 95 MW Orange Grove power plant, its first to be built in the US.

US: Mirant is to close the 50-year old Potrero power plant in San Francisco by the end of 2010. The Atlanta-based utility also will pay the city at least $1m “to help address paediatric asthma in nearby communities and to initiate other mitigations in neighborhoods adjacent to the fossil-fueled facility,” the city said in a statement.

USA: The Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) has unanimously approved Advanced Power’s petition to site a 350 MW combined-cycle gas power facility in Brockton.

USA: The US Army is to build a 500 MW solar array at the Fort Irwin base in California’s Mojave Desert. The plant, which will utilize both photovoltaic panels and solar concentrators, is expected online.

USA: TransCanada has begun construction of a 575 MW simple cycle gas fired power plant in Coolidge, Arizona. The facility is due online by May 2011.

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