Around the Globe: americas

Economy downfall hinders Heritage Station start up

GE Power systems and Sithe Energies have announced that due to difficult market conditions and changes in the energy markets, the development of the Heritage Station power plant near Oswego, NY, has been cancelled.

The Heritage project, which had all major regulatory approvals, was delayed last December with the aim of resuming this spring. Dramatic changes in the energy markets – linked to US economic conditions – have made the project not economically viable at this time says Mark Little, vice president of Energy Products of GE Power Systems.

Jim McGowan, senior vice president for development at Sithe Energies said: “Sithe will continue its strong relationships with the town of Scriba, City of Oswego, Oswego County and New York State. Many people have worked very hard to bring the project to this point.

The H system will make its global debut at a power plant in south Wales, where it is currently being installed. Startup and testing of the system are scheduled for this summer.

NERC commends bill

The North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) applauded the US Senate for adopting comprehensive energy legislation that will help ensure the continued reliability and security of the North American bulk electric system. The energy bill approved by the senate authorizes the creation of an industry based, North America-wide electric reliability organization, or ERO, to develop and enforce the standards needed to protect the reliability of the electric grid.

The bill will now go to conference to resolve differences with the energy bill that passed the House of Representatives last summer.

The Senate bill includes $14bn in tax incentives over ten years, divided between renewable energy programmes and fossil fuel energy producers.

Fox aims to push energy reforms in Mexico congress

Mexico’s president Vicente Fox will push for congressional approval of reforms to the nation’s electricity and telecommunications sectors.

He referred to bills to expand private investment in the state controlled electricity industry and telecommunications law that would allow greater participation by foreign companies. The bills have so far been stalled in Congress.

The Senate discarded reform proposals aimed at further opening up the sector, which would have required changes to the Constitution. The Supreme Court meanwhile declared unconstitutional a decree issued by Fox last year, which would have allowed private electricity generators to sell their excess energy to the state.

American Superconductor releases first high temperature superconducting wire

American Superconductor Corporation announced it has released the first high temperature superconductor (HTS) wires for initial production at its new manufacturing facility in Devens, MA. The HTS wires will be fully processed under actual production conditions to provide rigorous verification of the manufacturing process.

The 33 000 m2 manufacturing facility is the first high volume, commercial HTS wire manufacturing plant in the world with the capacity to meet the needs of the growing HTS market.

Power companies to detail trades

US regulators gave more than 100 power suppliers an ultimatum of submitting within two weeks sworn affidavits detailing trading strategies during California’s 2000-01 energy crisis or face losing their licence to sell electricity.

FERC’s move followed revelations that Enron used strategies to boost trading profits from California’s wholesale electricity market. Documents released by federal regulators include two Enron memos which show Enron manipulated the California Power Exchange by creating congestion in the electricity grid and then relieving it, earning an extra fee.

Duke Energy pulls plug on Peru

Due to disagreements with state agency Osinerg, Duke Energy ruled out bidding in last month’s auction for state-owned electricity companies Egasa and Egesur.

Ernesto Garcia Calderon, Duke’s public affairs manager in Peru said the problem for foreign investors is that there is what is called “a total lack of credibility” in Osinerg’s procedures. Rates should be set one or two years ahead of time, not four years, as it is almost impossible to predict when generating facilities will be built and go online.

News digest

Barbados: Through an international competitive tendering process, Barbados Light and Power (BL&P) has selected Kema to assist in procuring and implementing a new Scada system for monitoring and controlling its electric power system.

Canada: An Ontario judge blocked HydroOne’s $4.52bn stock sale, saying the government left out provisions for initial public offerings in the 1988 act breaking up its energy monopoly.

Nicaragua: An affiliate of embattled US energy firm Enron, Enron Nicaragua, won a bid in the country for 95 per cent of two state-owned hydro electric plants with an offer of $41.4m.

USA: The Nuclear Energy Institute said it expects a US utility to soon seek federal permission to build the first nuclear power reactor in a generation as part of the Bush administration’s push for more diverse electricity sources.

USA: CMS Energy announced that its principle subsidiary, Consumers Energy, has closed the sale of its electric transmission system for roughly $290m in cash to a limited partnership whose general partner is Washington DC-based Trans Elect.

USA: Kema Consulting has signed two contracts with Siepac (Electric Interconnection system of the countries of Central America) for two components of their interconnection project in Central America. The total project duration is 24 months in Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Panama.

USA: The US House of Representatives has voted to approve Nevada’s Yucca Mountain as a central repository for radioactive spent nuclear fuel. Nuclear industry officials believe the resolution of the waste problem will pave the way for the construction of new power plants.

USA: Aquila said it had agreed to buy Cogentrix Energy, an independent power producer, for $415m and the assumption of $1.1bn in debt sending investors fleeing from the stock. Analysts said the fear was that Aquila was taking on too much in the post-Enron environment.

USA: AES announced an agreement with the Ameren Corp. to sell 100 per cent of its ownership interest in Cilcorp, a utility holding company whose largest subsidiary in Central Illinois Light Company, in a transaction valued at $1.4bn including the assumption of $860m of debt and preferred stock.

US: CMS Energy announced its exploration and production unit, CMS Oil and Gas Company, has signed a definitive agreement with XTO Energy of Fort Worth, TX, for the sale of CMS’s coalbed methane holdings in the Power River Basin of Wyoming.

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