POWER Digest (February 2016)

RWE Abandons Hard Coal Construction Project. RWE scrapped plans to complete the 800-MW Block D of the Hamm hard coal plant in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia on December 18, citing damage and delays caused during the installation of a steam generator. The German utility began building the two-unit plant in 2008, and the first unit came online in July 2014. In the summer of 2013, however, a chemical leak allowed contaminants—including hydrochloric acid—to get into the boiler of Block D.

India Gears Up Nuclear Liability Fund. India’s central government has approved the creation of a Nuclear Liability Fund of $300 million in the event damages from a nuclear accident exceed the legal limit specified for plant operators. The operator’s liability is capped at $226 million under the 2010 Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act. The fund is required by a number of foreign companies mulling new nuclear plants in India because the 2010 law gives state-run operator Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd. the right to seek damages from suppliers in the event of an accident. News media reported in December that India is close to closing a deal with Westinghouse Electric for six reactors. Russia, meanwhile, has reportedly offered India a new range of reactor units—the VVER-Toi design—for the third and fourth units of the Kudankulam project in Tamil Nadu.

GE to Supply Turbines for $15.5B Hydro Plant in China. General Electric (GE) on December 24 said it won a contract to supply six 850-MW Francis turbine-generator sets for the 10.2-GW Wudongde hydropower plant being built by China Three Gorges Corp. The project recently garnered approvals from the Chinese government after a reported 18 years of research and preparation, state-owned China Three Gorges said on December 16.

Ramagundam Plant Gets OK for Hefty Expansion. India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests has approved a 1.6-GW expansion of the 2.6-GW coal-fired Ramagundam power plant in Telangana’s Karimnagar district. The Ramagundam plant was a 2015 POWER Top Plant.

Australia Lifts Ban on Wind Farm Investments. Australia’s federal government on December 13 suspended a decree introduced by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in June 2015 banning the nation’s A$10 billion green bank from investing in wind power. A new mandate allows the Clean Energy Finance Corp. to invest in wind projects, as long as they incorporate “emerging and innovative” systems. The move is expected to give the wind industry a boost and inject confidence into the renewable sector.

EPC Agreement for Texas CCS Project. Summit Power Group, developer of the Texas Clean Energy Project (TCEP)—an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) carbon capture, utilization, and storage project backed by the federal government—on December 8 signed an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract with China Huanqiu Contracting & Engineering Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corp., and SNC-Lavalin Engineers & Constructors. The contract covers engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning, and performance testing of the chemical and carbon capture block, which will be integrated with a Siemens combined cycle power block. Siemens is also expected to supply the coal gasification equipment for the chemical block. TCEP, which is planned for construction near Odessa, Texas, has received more than $450 million as part of the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy Clean Coal Power Initiative. The project has also received $811 million in investment tax credits, awarded to qualifying advanced coal projects that generate at least 400 MW of power and capture a minimum of 65% of their carbon dioxide. TCEP’s financial closing is targeted for spring 2016. (For more on the TCEP, see “Is Polygeneration the Future for Clean Coal?” in the March 2014 issue.)

Sonal Patel is a POWER associate editor.