Brazil’s hydro reliance is a worry 

Brazil’s 2010-2019 energy expansion plan focuses too much on the construction of hydro plants instead of much needed gas-fired thermo plants and renewables, Roberto Brandão, an energy sector expert from Rio de Janeiro Federal University (UFRJ), told BNamericas.

The expansion plan predicts a growth in power demand of 5.1 per cent a year until 2019, meaning an extra 7.1GW of new capacity will be needed every year.

It also foresees the connection of all the country’s state cities to the national grid by 2019, and highlights the priorities for Brazil’s energy expansion, including the construction of hydro plants in the Amazon, and the diversification of the energy mix.

The new hydro plants are mainly run-of-the-river style projects, or small dams located in the Amazon basin region. The problem with this as Brandão explains is that it will make power generation all but impossible in the second half of the year when rains are scarce.

Investment in Brazil’s energy sector is expected to reach 951bn Reais ($501bn) over the period. According to the Brazilian mines and energy ministry, 672bn Reais will be invested in the oil and gas sector, with 175bn Reais for power generation, and 39bn Reais for transmission.

“The demand expectation is inline with what industry specialists expect,” said Brandão. “The plan should also have included gas fired thermos, as we are poised to have natural gas for considerable power generation with the development of the massive pre-salt oil cluster.” 

Work set to begin on Angra 3 construction 

Over 25 years since the project was originally started, work may now begin on Angra 3, Brazil’s third nuclear power reactor after regulators issued a construction permit.

Back in December 2008, Eletronuclear signed an agreement with Areva, confirming that it would complete Angra 3.

The large-scale nuclear power plant is set for completion in 2015 when it should produce 1270 MW.

Eletronuclear said 600m Reais ($327m) had already been spent on equipment in the original phase of the project and this would be supplemented by a further 8.4bn Reais based on a June 2009 estimate. 

FPL selects Siemens’ next-generation H-class gas turbine 

Florida Power & Light (FPL) has contracted Siemens Energy to supply six, 60-Hz H-class gas turbine-generator packages for the modernization of its Riviera Beach and Cape Canaveral next generation clean energy centers in Florida.

Each power plant will utilize three 274 MW rated SGT6-8000H gas turbines. With an efficiency of approximately 60 per cent in combined-cycle operation. Siemens has also been awarded a 15-year service agreement for all turbines. 

Wärtsilä converts Ecuadorian crude oil power plant to gas 

Wärtsilä has been awarded the contract to convert the Eden Yuturi – Block 15 power plant in Ecuador from crude oil to associated gas fuelled operation.

The aim of the conversion is to mitigate the plant’s environmental impact and to take advantage of the available associated gas for power production. Wärtsilä is co-developing the project under the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism to enable the project to access carbon financing.

The order has been issued by Petroamazonas EP, a state-owned oil company that strongly endorses the Ecuadorian government’s focus on environmental sustainability. The plant, powered by four Wärtsilä engines and built in 2002, generates power for the Eden Yuturi and nearby oil fields.

During the extraction process of crude oil, associated gas will come to the surface, and is usually flared. The conversion of the power plant from crude operation will enable the utilization of these gases.

Furthermore, Wärtsilä has been awarded a two-year Operations Advisory and Maintenance contract. 

Iberdrola’s new hydro capacity in Brazil 

Iberdrola has confirmed plans to invest over $1bn in its Brazilian operations over the next three years.

The Spanish utility owns a 39 per cent stake in Brazilian energy company Neoenergia, north-eastern Brazil’s largest electricity distributor, and says that its main focus over the next few years will be the construction of new hydropower plants.

Iberdrola said that it is expecting to bring around 710 MW of new hydropower capacity on stream in Brazil by 2013, as part of plans to invest $1.1bn in the country between 2010 and 2012. It already operates 1740 MW of generating capacity here. 

Tapajos hydro to be auctioned in 2011 

Brazil’s government will tender the first hydro plant to be built on the Tapajos River in the Amazonian state of Para by the end of 2011, said a spokesperson for the federal energy planning company EPE.

The 6.1 GW Sao Luiz do Tapajos plant is expected to go online in 2016. When complete the whole complex is expected to have a total generation capacity of 10.7 GW.

Other units of the Tapajos complex should be auctioned separately in 2012 to avoid licensing difficulties, the spokesperson added. 

••• 

Canada: International Power is to build 76 MW of additional wind capacity in Ontario, Canada. The projects, Point Aux Roches (49 MW) and Plateau (27 MW) will cost an estimated C$227m, and are expected to begin construction later this year and commence operation in 2011.

Canada: Alstom equipment has been selected to add 100 MW ‘steam tail’ to a natural-gas-fired combined cycle plant being built in Saskatchewan, central Canada.

Guatemala: Enel Green Power in association with Simest has launched a run-of-the-river hydroelectric project in Guatemala. The project involves a €185m investment in the construction and operation of the 84 MW Palo Viejo plant.

Mexico: Mexico is likely to install less new generation capacity under the independent power producer (IPP) model than in the previous decade, thinks Héctor Elizondo, CEO of Genermex. He said the government will be pushing wind, large hydro projects, and probably nuclear.

Mexico: Cannon Power Group has signed a 10 year deal with Spanish based Gamesa Wind, for up to 500 wind turbines for the planned Aubanel Wind Project. The project, costing $1bn is expected to reach 1 GW capacity and supply power to both the USA and Mexico.

USA: Luminant has begun operations of its second low emissions, 800 MW coal fired unit at the new Oak Grove power plant in Texas.

USA: Fluor Corporation has announced that it has been awarded a contract by Rentech Inc. to provide fengineering and design services for The Rialto project to build the first commercial biomass gasification facility in the US.

USA: Siemens Energy has recently secured an order for its single largest US wind turbine project. Puget Sound Energy has ordered 149 turbines, with a total capacity of 343 MW for the Lower Snake River Wind Project in Washington State.

USA: Babcock and Wilcox Power Generation Group Inc. has signed a contract to replace a coal fired boiler at the university of Missouri campus with a biomass boiler that will generate steam and electricity from clean, renewable biomass fuel. 

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