Jordan’s First Nuclear Reactor Gets Construction Green Light. Jordanian regulators on Aug. 20 granted permission for construction to begin at the Jordan Research and Training Reactor (JRTR) at the Jordan University for Science and Technology north of Amman. The 5-MWt version of the Korea Atomic Energy Institute’s 30-MWt Hanaro design is expected to cost $130 million. The reactor is expected to be operational in 2016, built by South Korea’s Daewoo Engineering Construction with involvement from Korea Nuclear Energy Promotion Agency. Jordan is looking to build a 1,200-MW nuclear power plant by 2020 and a second one by 2025. The country’s power demand is expected to double by 2030, and officials say new nuclear will be integral to supplying energy (over 95% of which is currently imported) for the country.
MHI Gets Taiwan Order for 2.6-GW J-Power Gas Turbines. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and CTCI Corp. on Sept. 4 received a full-turnkey order from Taipower for a project to construct a 2,600-MW gas turbine combined cycle (CCGT) power plant in Tunghsiao Township, Miaoli County, Taiwan. The project consisting of three islands of CCGT power generation systems will feature two of MHI’s most advanced M501J gas turbines, one steam turbine, a heat recovery steam generator, and three generators. MHI will be responsible for the manufacture and supply of the gas and steam turbines. CTCI will handle construction and installation at the plant site as well as EPC work for the balance of plant. The generators will be produced by Mitsubishi Electric Corp. The three CCGT islands are slated to begin operations sequentially between September 2016 and June 2017.
Brazil’s Newest Wind Auction Garners Contracts for 66 New Wind Farms. Contracts were secured to purchase power from about 1,500 MW of nameplate generating capacity that is slated to come online by September 2015 in Brazil’s Aug. 23 wind energy auction closed by ANEEL (National Electric Energy Agency). Of the 9 GW proposed, contracts were awarded to companies that offer to sell energy for the lowest price to the country’s electricity distributors. Those prices had an average of R$110.51/MWh (US$46.3/MWh). A total of 66 wind parks successfully bid for contracts to power Brazil’s national grid for a period of 20 years. These will be installed at a total cost of about $2.28 billion in the states of Bahia (28), Ceará (6), Pernambuco (7), Piauí (14), Rio Grande do Norte (7), and Rio Grande do Sul (4).
ADB, Indonesia to Build Cross-Border Link from West Kalimantan to Malaysia. In a key development, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of Indonesia announced on Aug. 28 that they will build an 83-kilometer (km) high-voltage power transmission line linking the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan with Sarawak in Malaysia. The link will allow West Kalimantan—currently entirely powered with costly oil by state-owned power firm Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN)—to receive hydropower from Sarawak. The project entails a 145-km distribution line, distribution feeder extensions, and a new substation to improve the reliability of power in West Kalimantan. The cross-border line and substation will enable 230 MWh to be exchanged every hour between the two systems. The interconnection project is expected to save PLN an estimated $100 million annually in avoided oil generation. ADB is currently preparing a second loan project to finance the transmission line on the Malaysia side. Both countries have agreed to complete the construction by December 2014, and power flow will start Jan. 1, 2015.
Argentina and Peru Announce Hydropower Contracts Worth Combined $6.7B. Argentina and Peru in August separately announced contracts to boost hydropower production. Argentina’s government awarded the construction of two hydroelectric dams to a consortium of Gezhouba (China), Electroingenieria, and Hidrocuyo (Argentina). The two dams located in the province of Santa Cruz in Patagonia, southern Argentina—Néstor Kirchner and Jorge Cepernic—are worth $4.1 billion and will have a generation capacity of 1,740 MW. Construction should end in 2017 or early 2018. Meanwhile, Peru’s minister of energy announced a new bidding process to award projects worth $2.6 billion to generate 1,100 MW from hydropower by 2017–2018. The government is also working with energy regulator Osinergmin on another 250-MW set of renewable energy projects that will be operational by 2016, including the installation of 500,000 solar panels across Peru with the participation of private investors.
Mexico Unveils Major Energy Reform Proposal. Mexico on Aug. 13 unveiled an energy reform draft that proposes to open the energy sector to foreign investors for the first time in 75 years. The measure could restructure Pemex, an oil and gas company owned by the state since the nationalization wave in 1938, into one dealing with exploration and production and the other with industrial reform. The reform could also encourage profit-sharing over production-sharing. The measure will now be reviewed by Parliament.
Poland Begins Extracting Fracked Natural Gas. The Polish deputy environment minister in late August announced that Lane Energy Poland, a company controlled by ConocoPhilips, has been extracting about 8,000 m3/d of gas (2.9 mcm/y) since the end of July 2013. Though a lower yield than at sites in Canada and the U.S., and too small to qualify as commercial production, this volume is the highest in Europe to date. Gas is being extracted at a depth of 3,000 meters using fracking. Poland consumed 18.27 bcm of natural gas—mostly imported from Russia—in 2012. The nation supports shale gas exploration and has issued more than 100 shale gas exploration licenses to various firms.