Jordan shortlists utilities for nuclear plant construction

The Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) has shortlisted a Russian company and French-Japanese consortium in its final shortlist as it decides on who best to construct the company’s first nuclear power plant.

Russia’s state-owned Atomstroy-export and the ATMEA consortium of Areva SA and Mitsubishi Corporation are in the running.

The commission will now continue discussions with the two selected bidders to resolve outstanding technical issues, including the site selection process, which is scheduled to be decided by the end of the year.

Jordan is planning further nuclear power projects and aims to have 60 per cent of its energy needs supplied by nuclear power by 2035. The first power from the new project should be fed into the grid by 2019.

The country is more than 90 per cent dependent on imported oil and natural gas from Arab countries in the region. This dependancy has motivated a $15bn investment plan for renewable and nuclear power.

The kingdom hopes to use some of its estimated 65 000 tonnes of uranium deposits for the plant. Areva had in 2010 signed a joint venture with Jordan to mine uranium in the centre of the country under a 25-year concession.

ABB wins $16m Qatar microgrid deal

Qatalum has awarded ABB an order worth $16m to upgrade the power distribution network, or a microgrid, at its aluminum smelting site in Mesaieed Industrial City, 50 km south of the capital, Doha.

The project includes re-engineering and reinforcing the existing distribution system to help increase the availability and reliability of the on-site power supply.

ABB is responsible for the design, engineering, supply and commissioning, including civil work. The project is due for completion by 2013. Qatalum is a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and Norway’s Hydro Aluminum.

Dubai seeks Smart Grid strategy bidders

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has invited consulting firms to submit proposals for implementing a Smart Grid strategy in the UAE.

Saeed Al Tayer, managing director and chief executive officer, said Dewa recognised that “utilities are still facing barriers such as the need to change consumer behaviour, ensure cost-effectiveness and overcome financial constraints, perceived infrastructure complexity and make necessary advances in technologies”.

Saudi sets soaring solar target

Saudi Arabia is turning its attention to solar power in an effort to generate a third of its electricity by 2032.

It’s part of a $109bn plan and the Kingdom is now seeking investment to fulfill the objective, according to officials at the agency developing the plan.

The Middle Eastern nation aims to have 41 000 MW of solar capacity within two decades, said Maher al-Odan, a consultant at the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy.

Meanwhile, Khalid al-Suliman, vice-president for the organization known as Ka-care, said in Riyadh that nuclear, wind and geothermal would contribute 21000 MW.

“We are not only looking for building solar plants,” al- Odan said in an interview in Riyadh yesterday.

“We want to run a sustainable solar energy sector that will become a driver for the domestic energy for years to come.”

For solar panel manufacturers such as First Solar Inc and SunPower Corp, the Saudi Arabian market would open a huge new market as European countries reduce subsidies to keep a lid on installations.

Saudi Arabia currently has just 3 MW of solar installations.

Jordan secures funds for grid upgrade studies

Utilities in Jordan are to explore Smart Grid upgrades across the electricity network after the US Trade and Development Agency awarded grants of more than $1m for feasibility studies.

The studies will include plans for a smart meter roll out and are part of the Jordanian government’s target to improve grid reliability while reducing costs.

The funding will help the Electricity Distribution Company, Irbid District Electricity Company and the Jordanian Electric Power Company to explore smart grid options for their networks.

Iraq’s power plan boosted by $363m gas plant in Baija

Orascom Construction has signed a $363m contract to build a 1014 MW power station in Baija, Iraq.

The plant will utilise six Siemens 169 MW gas fired units that Iraq bought in 2008. The project is scheduled for completion within 21 months.

The Baija project is part of a $15bn investment Iraq plans to make in the power sector to increase installed capacity by 20,000 MW to 27,000 MW. In 2011, peak demand reached 15000 MW.

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi will invite bids for a new independent water and power project, its ninth facility, by September. In April the Abu Dhabi Executive Council approved Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority’s plan to build a new IWPP at Mirfa.

Africa: General Electric has predicted double-digit revenue growth in its Africa business over the next few years as it targets rising demand for heavy equipment and power projects. Jay Ireland, GE’s Africa chief executive, also said the company sees more opportunities in frontier African markets such as Ethiopia, Cameroon, Zambia and Mozambique.

Bahrain: International Power sold a 40 per cent stake in Bahrain’s Hidd Power Company to Malakoff International for $113.4m. The plant, which has a total capacity of 929 MW, was originally sold to a consortium of International Power, GDF SUEZ Energy International and Sumitomo Corporation in 2006.

Morocco: A consortium led by EDF and Mitsui has been chosen as preferred bidder by the Moroccan national electricity office for the Taza wind project, which has a capacity of 150 MW. EDF has also formed a local subsidiary, EDF EN Maroc, which will drive the group’s further development in Morocco.

Qatar: The Qatar Investment Authority has bought a stake in energy giant Shell. The share is believed to be around 3 per cent.

Russia: Vladimir Putin has said that Russia’s power stations and grids need investment of $101bn over the next three years. “We need efficient measures to increase competitiveness of the retail power market,” he said. “At the same time, companies need sustainable, predictable demand, guarantees of return of investment.”

South Africa: The Industrial Development Corporation has put $12m into a joint venture between the University of Johannesburg’s Photovoltaic Technology Intellectual Property company and listed German renewable energy firm Singulus Technologies to boost South Africa’s renewable energy industry.

Saudi Arabia: Siemens has begun work on a manufacturing facility and training centre for gas turbines and compressors in Dammam, as part of a massive expansion of its activities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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