Nigeria redraws licence rules to stop power project delays

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) will no longer issue power generation licences without clear evidence that the developer has all necessary inputs in place to ensure projects will reach commercial operation and deliver electricity.

The regulator has been repeatedly criticised for the many non-performing power licences that it has issued, with licensees often blaming their inactivity on inability to access fuels, such as gas, or finances, or even transmission infrastructure.

NERC’s declaration was made by its chairman Sam Amadi.

He said: “We are now building a system that allows for systematic planning of power. This means that we are no longer going to be licensing people except where the feedstock, transmission and everything else is in place.”

NERC has so far issued over 40 licences to potential independent power producers for the supply of new grid-connected generation capacity totaling more than 10 000 MW.

Amadi is confident the new regulation will result in a cheaper cost of power, because licences would be granted only to an entity with the most efficient plan for producing that power.


ABB signs $40m Saudi switchgear deal

ABB has won an order worth over $40m to install high voltage insulated switchgear for a leading engineering and construction company in Saudi Arabia.

The Al Toukhi Group made the order to ABB to supply the 420 kV GIS equipment that will form an integral part of the New Muhayil West and Al Omran substations being built for Saudi Electricity Company, the country’s national power transmission and distribution operator.

The substations are scheduled to be energized in June 2014.

Al Omran is part of the Qurayyah Independent Power Project.


Eskom Uganda invests $20m into hydro

Eskom Uganda is to invest $20m in two hydroelectric power plants in Uganda over the next five years.

The company will operate and maintain the plants located at the Owen Falls Dam complex in Jinja, Uganda.

The move follows Eskom’s previous investment of $15m to carry out refurbishment work at Nalubaale Power plant to extend its lifespan.

Eskom sells the hydropowered electricity it generates to Uganda Electricity Transmission Company.


Middle East tops nuclear poll

Despite the disaster at Fukushima last year, nuclear power will become more prevalent in the future, according to a new report by energy analysts GlobalData.

Research carried out by the company found that emerging nuclear countries are expected to add more than 95 000 MW in global nuclear installed capacity by 2030.

The Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific are highlighted regions set to substantially bolster their nuclear power production.

GlobalData states: “These countries have traditionally been dependent on fossil fuels to maintain energy security, but with depleting reserves billed at higher prices and the impracticality of introducing large-scale renewable energy plants, many are increasing their reliance on nuclear power.”

GlobalData says the Middle East and North Africa is the top emerging nuclear region, with 42 000 MW of planned and proposed nuclear capacity to come on line by 2030.

Of these countries, the United Arab Emirates will increase nuclear power capacity the most, with 20 000 MW by 2030, generated by 14 new reactors.


Kenya gets $200m for grid upgrade

The World Bank has allocated a $200m loan to Kenya Power to develop the country’s power grid.

Kenya Power is the only transmission and distribution utility in East Africa’s largest economy, where blackouts are common due to generation shortfalls and an ageing grid.

Chief executive Joseph Njoroge said the first tranche of $50m would be invested in and around Nairobi because “there is compelling and urgent need for electricity network improvement”.

Kenya Power connected its 2 millionth customer in June this year.


Bahrain poised for solar park and Smart Grid

US-based Petra Solar is to build a 5MW solar energy project and wireless Smart Grid network in Bahrain, with the enterprise also bringing together Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) and the National Oil and Gas Authority.

BAPCO’s Awali township and the University of Bahrain will benefit from the project.

Petra Solar president Shihab Kuran said the project formed “the building blocks for command and control of smart cities”.

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Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority has issued a request for qualification to developers to build an independent water and power project at Mirfa.

Egypt: Failures at two power plants caused blackouts in Cairo and surrounding areas this month.

Ethiopia: Ethiopia has started a test run of electricity supply to neighbouring Sudan. The testing started following the completion of the Ethiopia-Sudan Transmission Line, which cost $41 million and is 296 km long.

Kuwait: Kuwait’s Ministry of Electricity & Water has awarded a contract to build a substation at Sabah al-Ahmed to Saudi Arabia’s National Contracting Company. The contract is worth KD19.32m ($68m).

Morocco: Morocco’s Office National de l’Electricite has received 16 statements of qualification to build five wind farms with a total capacity of 850MW, with Chinese companies dominating the list.

Nigeria: The genset market in Nigeria was worth $450m in 2011 and will hit $950.7m by 2020 according to analysts at GlobalData, who also predict growth in South Africa, Egypt, Angola and Algeria.

Russia: RusHydro has commissioned a new unit which has added 640 MW in capacity to the company’s Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant, the largest hydro plant in Russia and the sixth largest in the world.

Russia: Power Machines has produced and tested a 330 MW steam turbine to upgrade the second power unit of Ryazanskaya coal fired power plant in Russia.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Electricity Company has awarded two bulk supply point substation contracts to local company Al-Toukhi. The first, worth $89m, is for a 380/115kV substation at Al-Omran in the country’s eastern region while the second is for a 380/132/13.8kV substation at Muhayil West in the south.

UAE: Australia has signed a deal to supply uranium to the United Arab Emirates’ fledgling nuclear programme. The deal will see Australia supply uranium to power four planned reactors through 2020 and beyond, with the first reactor due on line in 2017.