POWER Digest (September 2015)

ABB Snags $450M Contract for Norway-UK Undersea Link. ABB on July 14 won a $450 million contract to supply high-voltage direct current (HVDC) converter stations at both ends of the North Sea Network (NSN), a 730-kilometer line that will link the United Kingdom (UK) and Norway. When completed (expected in 2021), the NSN will be the world’s longest subsea power interconnection. The line is designed to transmit power from the UK (when wind power generation is high and power demand is low) to reservoirs in Norway. When demand rises and wind power isn’t sufficient, power from Norway’s hydropower plants will flow to the UK. ABB will design, engineer, supply, and commission two±525 kV, 1,400-MW converter stations, using its Voltage Source Converter technology called HVDC Light. One station will be situated in Blyth, UK, and one in Kvilldal, Norway. ABB recently won a contract for the 1,400-MW NordLink interconnection rated at±525 kilovolt (kV) to connect Norway and Germany.

Alstom to Provide Turbines for Nigeria’s 700-MW Zungeru Hydropower Project. Alstom will supply 175-MW Francis turbine generator sets and related equipment for the 700-MW Zungeru Hydropower Project, Nigeria’s largest hydropower plant under construction, under a $54.3 million contract with China National Electric Engineering Co., Ltd. finalized this July. Alstom Hydro China (AHC) is responsible for the equipment design, manufacturing, supervision of the installation, commissioning, testing, as well as site services. The hydropower project that is part of the power-short country’s energy master plan is located on the middle and upper reaches of River Kaduna near Zungeru in Nigeria. Nigerian officials are confident of the plant’s completion even as the government faces criticism for stalling construction of the 3,000-MW Mambilla hydropower plant on the Donga River in Taraba State by more than three decades. Newly inaugurated President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to redefine agreements for that project.

Sarus Solar Moves to Build 500-MW PV Facility in India. Sarus Solar, a joint venture between three Canadian firms, plans to invest more than $1 billion in a 500-MW solar facility on about 16 acres of land in India’s Maharashtra state. The consortium includes photovoltaic panel maker Canadian Solar; engineering, procurement, and construction firm Guycan Solar; and investment firm Mackie Research Capital Corp. Sarus Solar has also partnered with domestic solar firm Neelkanth Solar Energy to enter the Indian market. The companies are awaiting approval from the Maharashtra state government for the project. Last year, the Odisha government rejected a similar deal by the company. If approved, after the project is completed within its 30-month construction timeframe, the consortium hopes to develop a similar 500-MW park in Jharkhand, where it has already received the state’s approval.

BHEL Commissions 500-MW Unit in Tamil Nadu. India’s state-run power plant equipment manufacturer Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL) in mid-July commissioned a second 500-MW unit at the Tuticorin Thermal Power Station, a project situated near the Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) port on the shore of the Bay of Bengal. BHEl commissioned the first 500-MW unit of the project owned by NLC Tamil Nadu Power Ltd. on March 10. The company says it exceeded capacity addition targets of 6,914 MW set by the Indian central government for the 2014/2015 financial year by 19%, commissioning 8,230 MW. Recently, the company commissioned a second unit at NLC’s 250-MW circulating fluidized bed combustion power plant at Neyveli, Tamil Nadu.

Exelon Breaks Ground on 1-GW GE CCGT Plant. Exelon Generation on July 8 officially broke ground on the construction of a 1-GW combined cycle gas turbine plant (CCGT) at the utility’s Colorado Bend Generating Station in Wharton, Texas. The unit will add capacity to an existing 498-MW natural gas power plant. Exelon is also developing a 1-GW CCGT at its existing Wolf Hollow Generating Station in Granbury, Texas. Both units, which will use GE’ s air-cooled 7HA.02 gas turbines, are expected to achieve commercial operation in 2017. Alstom Power will provide the heat recovery steam generators, and Zachry Holdings will provide engineering, procurement, and construction.

Project to Produce EOR Steam in Oman Advances. Petroleum Development Oman, a joint venture of the government of Oman, Shell, Total, and GlassPoint Solar, announced that it would develop a 1,021-MW solar thermal power project in South Oman. When commissioned (expected in 2017), the project will harness the sun’s rays to produce steam using a GlassPoint steam generator. The steam will be used in thermal enhanced oil recovery (EOR) to extract heavy and viscous oil at the Amal oilfield. The project, named Miraah (meaning mirror in Arabic) will save 5.6 trillion Btu of natural gas each year, which is currently burned for EOR steam.

SkyPower Signs $2.2B Deal for Solar in Kenya. Utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) energy project developer SkyPower signed a landmark $2.2 billion agreement with Kenya’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum for the development of 1 GW of solar projects to be built in four phases over the next five years. The agreement will include 200 MW of fabrication and assembly facilities, as well as a commitment of $173 million toward education, training, and research and development. ■

—Sonal Patel, associate editor

Sonal Patel is a POWER associate editor