POWER Digest November 2013

RusHydro Completes First Stage of New Far East Hydro Project. The RusHydro Group on Oct. 3 announced it had officially completed the first stage of the 570-MW Ust’-Srednekanskaya hydropower plant on the Kolyma river in the Magadan region in the Far East of Russia. Ust’-Srednekanskaya plant is the second in the cascade of hydropower plants on the Kolyma River. With the first phase of two units (142.5 MW each) operating with temporary Francis runners completed, construction that began in 1991 continues and is slated to wrap up in 2018. The next stage consists of increasing the water head from current to project level of 260 to 276.5 meters and commissioning of the third hydro unit. The plant is expected to provide energy for the developing mining operations in the region and to diversify power resources to the isolated region. About 95% of the region’s power demand was previously covered only by RusHydro’s Kolymskaya hydropower plant.

Turkey Completes Privatization of Distribution Companies. Turkey in September completed privatization of its power distribution sector, following the transfer of distribution company Toroslar Elektrik to the private sector. Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek said a total of $12.7 billion was gained by the government after the country’s 18 state-run companies were privatized. Enerjisa, a joint venture of Sabanci and Germany’s E.ON, acquired the two largest distribution grids, Ayedaş, which operates on the Asian side of Istanbul, and Toroslar Elektrik, operating in the Adana region in southern Turkey, for a total $3.457 billion. İşkaya Doğu paid $387 million for the acquisition of Dicle Elektrik (which operates in the southeastern provinces of Turkey), while Türkerler won the $188 million tender for Van Gölü Elektrik (Van Lake region).

Brazil Supreme Court Reverses Suspension of 1.8-GW Hydro Plant. Brazil’s Supreme Court in October reversed a September 2013 decision by a federal court that suspended construction on the 1,800-MW Tele Pires hydropower project by Companhia Hidreletrica Teles Pires (CHTP). One of five large dams planned for the Teles Pires River, a major tributary of the Tapajós River in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, the $2 billion Tele Pires hydropower project is now on track to come online by 2015. The federal court’s decision, issued in response to civil lawsuits filed by Brazil’s Federal Public Prosecutors’ Office, cited “unforgivable failures” in the environmental licensing of the dam. Judge Ricardo Lewandowski of the Supremo Tribunal Federal ruled in October, however, that CHTP had not breached the concession rules and that delaying the project could cause significant economic damage to Brazil’s Mato Grosso and Para states. CHTP is a consortium of Neoenergia (50.1%), Eletrobras-Eletrosul (24.5%), Eletrobras Furnas (24.5%) and Odebrecht (0.9%).

Spain Plans New Centralized Nuclear Waste Storage Facility. ENRESA, Spain’s state-owned company charged with the safe management, storage, and disposal of radioactive waste, in October said it would begin the construction of a new centralized temporary storage facility (Almacén Temporal Centralizado, or ATC) in 2014. The installation will be located in Villar de Cañas—a site preferred over Asco or Vandellos—and would have a storage capacity of 12,816 cubic meters. The company has set aside $120 million for the project, which could be commissioned in 2018. Spain has seven nuclear reactors that generate a fifth of its electricity. A general plan approved in 1999 to deal with radioactive waste is based on nuclear power plant lives of 40 years and addresses the need to manage almost 200,000 cubic meters of low- and intermediate-level wastes and 10,000 cubic meters of spent fuel and other high-level wastes. ENRESA’s low- and intermediate-level waste storage facility is at El Cabril, Cordoba, and has operated since 1961.

Eskom Officially Reopens Coal Plant Mothballed Decades Ago. South African power utility Eskom on Sept. 24 officially reopened the six-unit coal-fired Grootvlei Power Station, which it had mothballed more than two decades ago when South Africa had surplus electricity capacity. The 1,200-MW Grootvlei plant in Mpumalanga is necessary because demand for power in South Africa has continued to soar over the years, Eskom said. The return to service of the Grootvlei plant began in 2004. After refurbishment and reassembling, all the plant components were started up and returned to running condition. In July 2007, Grootvlei’s Unit 1 was for the first time successfully synchronized with the grid since it had been mothballed in August 1988. The other units were brought into commercial operation at intervals after that, and the station’s last unit to go into commercial operation was Unit 5 in July 2011.

USC Coal Plant Takes Shape in Morocco. Morocco’s Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE) and Safi Energy Co. (SAFIEC) in mid-September entered into a 30-year power purchase agreement for the 1.3-GW Safi coal-fired power project. The project includes the construction and operation of a 2 x 693-MW ultrasupercritical coal-fired power plant in the Safi region. Construction started in April 2013 and commercial operation of the plant is expected to start in 2017. SAFIEC is owned by a consortium of GDF SUEZ (35%), Nareva Holding (Morocco, 35%) and Mitsui (30%), which won the project after an international open tendering process.

First Exported Chinese Reactor to Be Sited in Pakistan. Pakistan on Sept. 12 picked the China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) to build its planned Karachi Coastal Nuclear Power Project on a turnkey basis. The Karachi nuclear project includes two 1,100-MW ACP-1000 units—the first installation of the Chinese reactor design outside China—to be built near Paradise Point in Sindh province. Construction of the $9.6 billion project is expected to begin in 2014. Pakistan currently has three operational nuclear reactor, a 125-MW PHWR in Karachi (Kanupp) and two 300-MW PWR units at Chashma in the Punjab province. The country has plans for two more 300-MW units at Chashma (the capacity of the existing units could also be increased) and for two 1,100-MW units (Karachi Coastal).

Toshiba, Westinghouse, Exelon Partner to Win Saudi Arabia Nuclear Plant Bids. Toshiba, Westinghouse, and Exelon Nuclear Partners (ENP) on Sept. 10 signed a memorandum of understanding to create a joint proposal for the construction of nuclear power plants for King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE), the government body established to develop alternative energy sources in Saudi Arabia. Toshiba and Westinghouse will provide expertise related to their advanced reactors, while ENP will provide operations and associated services for the project. The consortium will target winning multiple orders for nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia, which has plans to build as many as 16 nuclear power reactors by 2032. ■

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