Around the Globe – Americas

Financing completed for Mexican CCGT plant

Intergen and AEP Resources, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, have completed arrangements for a $435m credit facility to underpin completion of construction of the 600 MW Bajio combined cycle power plant on a build-own-operate basis.

The plant will be built near San Luis de la Paz in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. Some 495 MW of the project’s power will be made available to the Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) under a 25-year power purchase agreement. The remaining 105 MW of the plant’s output will be made available to third party industrial customers. The facility is expected to go into operation in November 2001.

Bajio is the fifth of ten power stations which the Mexican government has put out to tender since 1997. Electricity demand in the country is growing at a rate of seven per cent per year and the country needs to put into operation about 3000 MW per year to meet this demand.

British Energy to lease Canadian nuclear site

British Energy, the UK nuclear power company, is take a lease on Canada’s biggest nuclear power complex in a deal expected to cost more than $1.5bn.

British Energy said the lease of Bruce A and B power stations, on the shores of Lake Huron, represented the biggest nuclear transaction in terms of power output.

It has agreed to lease the Bruce complex from Ontario Power initially until 2018. The $1.5bn cost comprises an initial purchase price of $418.5m to Ontario Power and annual rents up to 2018.

Under the deal, the Canadian group is required to reduce its share of the state’s generation market from 85 per cent to 35 per cent within 10 years of electricity industry liberalization.

Ontario is expected to introduce full retail competition for electricity next year. State power sales are worth about $6bn.

Siemens Westinghouse power plant deals

Siemens Westinghouse has secured gas turbine orders in the US and the Dominican Republic.

In the US, the PG&E Generating Company has awarded the company a contract to supply three power blocks for the 1000 MW combined cycle Athens Generating plant to be built in Athens, New York. The power blocks will each be equipped with a W501G gas turbine. Commercial operation of the plant is expected in the summer of 2003. Meanwhile, in Chicago, the company will supply a 308 MW turnkey simple cycle power plant. This plant will use two Siemens V84.3A gas turbines which will provide peaking power to the Chicago area and is expected to go into operation in June 2001.

In the Dominican Republic, Siemens will build a 300 MW combined cycle power plant in an industrial plant in the vicinity of San Pedro de Macoris.

The plant will be the biggest in the country and will supply power to meet increasing economic growth and growing tourism.

The plant will be owned by a US/UK consortium under the leadership of private power producer, Cogentrix Energy of North Carolina, USA.

The plant will comprise three 100 MW oil fired blocks and is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2002.

AEP gains approval to buy Texas utility

The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved American Electric Power (AEP) Company’s $4.5bn acquisition of Central and South West Corp.

The acquisition will create a giant 11-state utility stretching from Virginia to Michigan and down to Texas. It will own 38 400 MW of generating plant and will be the second biggest wholesaler of electricity after Enron Corp. It will also be connected to 45 other utilities.

The acquisition will give AEP a scope and scale not seen since the 1935 Public Utilities Holding Company Act broke up the multi-state “power trusts”.

Argentina-Brazil power link

A $250m contract to build the second phase of a transmission system connecting the power networks of Brazil and Argentina has been awarded to ABB.

ABB will build a 1000 MW link which comprises 490 km of AC lines and an HVDC converter station to link the two systems. The link is scheduled to go into operation at the beginning of 2002. The contract follows an order for the first phase of the project in 1998.

Brazil has postponed the sale of 2800 km of the north-south interconnection expansion, and the northeast-southeast interconnection transmission lines.

News digest

Bermuda: Bermuda Electric Light Company Ltd. (Belco) and Mott MacDonald have announced that a 28 MW extension to the Pembroke East power station has entered full operation. At 168 MW, Pembroke East is now one of the world’s largest diesel power stations. The extension was constructed at a cost of à‚£25m ($37.6m) and consists of two 14 MW medium speed diesel generators. It will allow Belco to replace some of the power station’s older, less efficient plant.

Bolivia: Enron has announced plans to build a thermal power plant in Bolivia and export the power produced to Brazil. The 150 MW plant will be constructed in Porto Suarez and will sell its output to Elektro, an Enron subsidiary that operates in Brazil. Natural gas prices in Bolivia are one-third of those in Brazil, according to Enron, making it more economic to build the plant on Bolivian soil. Meanwhile, NRG Energy’s 87 MW gas-fired power station at Carrasco in Bolivia has entered commercial operation. The Bulo Bulo facility will operate under a 30 year generation license.

Brazil: AES Brasil has inaugurated its first natural gas fired power plant in Uruguaiana, the border city between Brazil and Uruguay. AES invested some $310m in the power plant, and is hoping to invest a further $2bn over the next few years in the country’s power sector. The company hopes that other projects will gain the support of the IBD, IFC and other institutions, and says that it is awaiting new legislation to facilitate this.

Ecuador: Samedan Power of Houston, Texas, has placed an order with GE Power Systems for two 6FA gas turbines for a new power plant to be built in Machala, Ecuador. The new plant will enter simple cycle operation in October 2001, and will be converted to combined cycle operation by August 2002 to produce over 200 MW for the Ecuadorian grid.

USA: PG&E Corporation has announced that it is to bring a barge-mounted power plant to the San Francisco Bay area to help meet the high power demand. The company is finalizing agreements with the California ISO and hopes that the facility will start delivering power by mid-August. The power barge will house four gas turbines operating in simple cycle and generating a total of 95 MW. The barge-mounted plant will travel from Freeport, Texas.

USA: S&S Energy Products is to provide two GE-5 gas turbine generator sets to Vanderbilt University, Tennessee, for a new cogeneration plant. Each unit will be site rated at 5.5 MW and will be used in conjunction with a 45 360 kg/h heat recovery steam generator. The plant will provide power and heat for the campus and medical centre.

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