POWER Digest (December 2014)

EU Adopts Energy, Climate Targets for 2030. European Union (EU) leaders on Oct. 23 endorsed a binding target that will require all of the bloc’s 28 members to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. That target will be met with a reformed carbon emissions scheme. It also adopted a goal for 2030 that is binding at an aggregate EU level (but voluntary for individual member states) to increase energy efficiency and renewables by at least 27% compared to 1990 levels. The renewables goal would mean a big boost to the current EU-wide share of 14%, though it was watered down from a proposed 30%.

A special flexibility clause was added to the Oct. 23 final text, however, making it possible for the European Council to revisit the GHG and other targets at any time. EU leaders also reached agreement on renewing a 2002 commitment to increase energy trading through electricity connectors to 10% by 2020 (and later increase that amount to 15%), as well as endorsing actions to reduce the EU’s energy dependence and implement gas sector projects such as the North-South corridor, the Southern Gas Corridor, and a new gas hub in Southern Europe. A new commission will translate the 2030 targets into EU legislation in 2015, ahead of the United Nations summit in Paris, where a final global agreement on climate change to replace the Kyoto Protocol is expected.

Pakistani Provincial High Court Blocks Chinese-Built Reactor Project. The high court of the Pakistani province of Sindh on Oct. 16 stayed plans by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) to build two reactors on the outskirts of Karachi. Pakistan and China completed a $9 billion agreement last year for the reactors, which Pakistan anticipates will alleviate its chronic electricity crisis. But the court ruled that the project was granted an environmental impact assessment without fully complying with environmental protection laws. Petitioners argued that PAEC intended to build the K-2 and K-3 reactors using China National Nuclear Corp.’s advanced ACP-1000 design, even though it has not been built or tested anywhere in the world. More-recently completed Chinese-built reactors are of an established 330-MW design. Petitioners also contended that no public hearing had been held to address public concerns, and that PAEC had refused to hear their concerns about plant safety. The court ordered PAEC and other relevant Pakistani nuclear and environmental agency heads to respond to the complaints by Nov. 11.

Turkey to Build Third Nuclear Plant. Turkey will build a third nuclear power plant by 2018 or 2019, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced on Oct. 22. The nuclear power newcomer has two ongoing nuclear power projects. Earlier in October, the government announced it would speed up construction of the Akkuyu project, being built by Russia’s Rosatom in the Mediterranean region of the country, starting construction in 2015 so that it is likely to go online in 2020. The second project, to be developed by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Itochu Corp. in coordination with France’s GDF Suez, is expected to be operational by 2023. That 4.8-GW project proposed for the Black Sea coastal city of Sinop will use AREVA Atmea1 reactors.

U.S., Vietnam Sign Civilian Nuclear Agreement. An agreement reached between the U.S. and Vietnam on civilian nuclear energy cooperation on Oct. 3 establishes the terms for commercial nuclear trade, research, and technology exchanges between the two countries. Vietnam intends to develop up to 10 GW of nuclear energy capacity by 2030, and the agreement will enable U.S. suppliers to compete against Russian and Japanese suppliers that have already established themselves in the country’s market.

1-GW Manjung Supercritical Plant Is Synchronized to Malaysian Grid. Alstom and Malaysian firm TNB Janamanjung Sdn Bhd on Sept. 20 achieved synchronization of the 1-GW Manjung supercritical coal-fired power plant in Perak to the Malaysian grid. The single largest unit in Southeast Asia, the plant is expected to help diversify gas-heavy Malaysia’s power mix. Alstom and partner China Machinery Import and Export Corp. were awarded a turnkey engineering, procurement, and construction contract for the plant by the subsidiary of Tenaga Nasional Berhad in 2011.

Germany’s TSOs Cut EEG Fee, but Announce New Surcharges. Germany’s renewable surcharge will be cut by 1.1% to 6.17 euro cents/kWh from 6.24 euro cents/kWh in 2014, but it still means receipts under the fee to bolster subsidies provided to developers of renewable energy as part of Germany’s Energiewende are estimated to be €21.8 billion ($27.23 billion). Meanwhile in October, Germany’s transmission system operators (TSOs) also published an electricity grid surcharge for 2015 that will be used to settle grid charge changes due to regulations, a separate 0.006 euro cent/kWh surcharge for costs incurred related to contracts on interruptible loads, and an offshore surcharge for 2015 to compensate offshore wind power operators due to delays in grid connection and power line failures.

2.3-GW HVDC Link Advances in Manitoba, Canada. Under a C$800 million contract signed in late October, Siemens Canada and consortium partner Mortenson Construction will design, supply, and install the high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) equipment for two converter stations that are part of Manitoba Hydro’ s 2.3-GW transmission line, which is slated to come online in the summer of 2018. Siemens will use thyristor HVDC technology and Mortenson will be responsible for the construction of the converter stations. The line is expected to be about 1,400 km long and connect the Keewatinohk Converter Station in northern Manitoba near Hudson Bay with the Riel Converter Station in south Winnipeg by a +/-500-kV overhead line. The HVDC link is expected to enhance Manitoba Hydro’s overall system reliability, helping to transport power generated by hydro stations in the northern part of Manitoba to southern load centers and Winnipeg.

First Phase of Indian 1.4-GW Coal Plant Comes Online. Indian infrastructure conglomerate GMR in early October completed the first 685-MW unit of a 1,370-MW supercritical coal-fired power plant in the state of Chhattisgarh. The project was implemented by South Korea’s Doosan. ■

Sonal Patel is a POWER associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel).