POWER Digest (August 2011)

The Tide Turns for Marine Energy Devices. Siemens Energy recently secured a 10% stake in Marine Current Turbines, the UK company that owns SeaGen, a 1.2-MW tidal power plant, which was commissioned in 2008 on the Irish Sea. Marine Current Turbines is planning to build a larger, 8-MW plant off the coast of Scotland by 2014.

In June, Alstom announced it took a 40% equity share in Scottish marine energy company AWS Ocean Energy. Alstom will be a shareholder alongside Shell Technology Ventures Fund 1 and Scottish Investment Bank, which continue their support of AWS. Alstom is currently developing a 1-MW commercial-scale tidal turbine prototype (the BELUGA 9) in Nantes, France. AWS Ocean Energy is focusing on the development and delivery of its AWS-III wave energy converter, a 12-sided floating device with a rated power output of 2.5 MW.

Even Pelamis Wave Power, manufacturer of the semi-submerged snake-line Pelamis wave energy device, has found a more committed backer. Sweden’s Vattenfall said that it recently revised the strategy of its ocean energy development program after evaluating a variety of technologies and markets, and while it is interested in tidal-stream technology, it will focus its research and development on devices such as the Pelamis converter that harness power from deep sea waves.

CPS Energy to Buy Power from TCEP IGCC Project. Summit Power Group’s Texas Clean Energy Project (TCEP), an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) 400-MW power/poly-gen plant with carbon capture, will sell half its power to San Antonio’s CPS Energy. The municipal utility said on June 20 it expects to enter into a 25-year power purchase agreement with project owners.

Summit Power said the company will capture 90% of the carbon dioxide, 99% of the sulfur, more than 95% of the mercury, and more than 90% of nitrogen oxides produced by the generation process.

TCEP has marketed its other two major commercial products—urea fertilizer and compressed carbon dioxide for use in enhanced oil recovery in the West Texas Permian Basin—and plans to break ground in Penwell, Texas, outside Odessa by the end of the year. Commercial operations could begin as early as late 2014.

The project last year received a final air quality permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. In 2010, the Department of Energy awarded the project $450 million, an award that comprised funds from both the Clean Coal Power Initiative and the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Russian, Chinese Giants Partner to Build Power Projects in Siberia. Russia’s largest independent power producer, EuroSibEnergo, and China Yangtze Power Co., the largest Chinese listed hydroelectricity producer, on June 17 signed a framework agreement that provides for joint investment in a number of power plant construction projects in Eastern Siberia.

Projects prioritized include the Lenskaya Combined Heat and Power Plant (which may have a nameplate capacity of up to 1,200 MW) in the Ust-Kut, Irkutsk region; the 600-MW to 1,500-MW Nizhne-Angarskaya hydropower plant on the Angara River; and the 400-MW to 900-MW Trans-Sibirskaya hydropower plant on the Shilka River.

The first two projects are expected to power gold producers in the north of the Irkutsk region and an aluminum smelter currently under construction. The third project is expected to meet power demand from mineral resource recovery projects in the Trans-Baikal Territory. The companies are currently performing feasibility studies and securing financing for the projects.

Punj Lloyd Wins EPC Contract for Indian Reactors. Engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) company Punj Lloyd Group on June 13 said it had won a 6.78 billion rupees ($150 million) EPC nuclear power contract from India’s state-owned Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd. for critical nuclear piping at four 700-MW pressurized heavy water reactors. Two of the four reactors are located at the Kakrapara Atomic Power Project (KAPP 3 and 4) near Surat in Gujarat and the other two are at Rajasthan Atomic Power Project (RAPP 7 and 8) near Kota in Rajasthan. The contract is scheduled to be completed in four years. India’s government wants to expand the country’s nuclear capacity from the current 4,385 MW to 63,000 MW by 2032.

South Korean Firm Commits $3B to “Green” Coal Plant; Foster Wheeler to Supply CFB Generators. Korea Southern Co. on June 10 announced it would spend 3.2 trillion won ($2.96 billion) to build and begin testing of two Advanced Thermal Power Plant-1000 (ATP-1000) model turbines (1,000 MW) at Samcheok Green Power Plant by December 2015. The plant is designed to use low-grade coal and includes a carbon capture and storage system, and a closed-loop cooling system. The plant’s power output is expected to be increased to 5,000 MW by 2020.

Switzerland-based Foster Wheeler in early June said a subsidiary of its Global Power Group received limited notice to proceed from Hyundai Engineering and Construction for the design and supply of four 550-MW supercritical circulating fluidized-bed (CFB) steam generators for the project. Scheduled to begin operation in June 2015, the generators will be designed to burn coal mixed with biomass while meeting all environmental regulatory requirements.

Solar-Gas Hybrid Plant Is Australia’s Flagship Solar Project. The Solar Dawn solar thermal project owned by a consortium consisting of AREVA Solar, CS Energy, and Wind Prospect CWP was this June selected as the preferred solar thermal project in Round 1 of the Australian government’s Solar Flagships Program.

The 250-MW solar thermal–gas hybrid power plant, located in South West Queensland, will combine Solar’s Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector solar thermal technology with a gas boiler backup system, so that it will be able to deliver power around the clock.

The Australian Commonwealth and Queensland governments will contribute AU$464 million (US$484 million) and AU$75 million ($78 million), respectively, to the project. The consortium will now work closely with key government and commercial stakeholders to finalize permitting and financing arrangements, as well as engineering, procurement, construction, operation and maintenance contracts, by the end of 2011.

Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.