POWER Digest (January 2012)

South Korea, China Poised to Make Colossal Investments in Wind Power. South Korea, a nation that recently announced it would spend 1 trillion won ($884 million) on feed-in tariffs for wind and solar projects, on Nov. 10 said it planned to invest 10.2 trillion won ($9 billion) in a 2.5-GW offshore wind farm that could come online by 2019. The government-led project will be led by Korea Electric Power Corp., which will procure turbines from eight local suppliers, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said. The project could be located off the southwest coast of the Korean peninsula in Jeollabukdo and Jeollanamdo provinces. It will include construction of 100-MW and 400-MW demonstration farms by 2014 and 2016 respectively, where eight Korean suppliers—including Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Co., Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., and Hyundai Heavy Industries —will test 3-MW to 7-MW turbines.

Also in November, China’s National Development Reform Energy Research Institute published its 2050 wind power plan, a report that predicts total installed wind capacity in the country will hit 400 GW by 2030 and 1,000 GW by 2050. China intends to back its wind industry with investments of up to $12 trillion yuan ($1.8 trillion) to supply 17% of domestic demand with wind by 2050. China, which offers a fixed pricing mechanism for wind power and offers subsidies, has already become the world’s biggest wind power market. It installed nearly 19 GW of new capacity in 2010, bringing total capacity to 44.7 GW.

GE, MetCap to Build New Gas Plant, Extend Novel Integrated Renewables Gas Project. GE and Turkish energy company MetCap Energy Investments on Nov. 18 announced their investment in the 878-MW Eurostar project, a gas-fired plant that will help, starting in 2014, to power Istanbul, supporting Turkey’s efforts to modernize its aging energy infrastructure and meet its growing electricity requirements.

MetCap also announced approval from the Turkish government to nearly double the output of what it calls the world’s first integrated renewables combined-cycle (IRCC) plant by 2016. The initial phase of the Dervish IRCC plant in Karaman, Turkey, was announced in June and is based on GE’s breakthrough FlexEfficiency 50 combined cycle technology (see our Dec. 2011 feature story on this turbine). The license extension allows energy output to be increased from 570 MW to 1,080 MW. GE’s FlexEfficiency IRCC plant includes a next-generation 50-hertz 9FB gas turbine, a steam turbine, a generator, 22 MW of GE wind turbines, and 50 MW of eSolar concentrated solar thermal tower technology. The Dervish license extension also paves the way for a second plant using GE’s FlexEfficiency technology and eSolar’s concentrated solar power technologies.

UK Opens Largest CCS Pilot. The UK formally opened its largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project on Nov. 30 at the Ferrybridge Power Station in West Yorkshire. The £21 million ($33 million) project was built by Sweden’s Vattenfall, technology supplier Doosan Power Systems, and UK utility SSE, which is also owner and operator of the Ferrybridge coal-fired power plant. The pilot uses an amine solvent to capture about 100 metric tons of carbon dioxide per day from a flue gas slipstream corresponding to 5 MWe. This makes the scale of the project ideal for bridging the gap between the various laboratory-scale trials that are under way and larger-scale demonstration projects, Vattenfall said.

NTPC Puts Second of Three 500-MW Coal Units Online. India’s state-owned NTPC group —also the country’s largest power company—on Nov. 5 inaugurated Unit 2 of the 500-MW Indira Gandhi Super Thermal Project at Jhajjar and said its capacity has now risen to 35,354 MW. The Indira Gandhi project is a 1,500-MW coal-fired plant under development in Haryana State and comprises three units. Unit 1 came online in November 2010; Unit 3 is scheduled to be completed in January 2012. NTPC, set up in 1975, now has 15 coal-fired, seven gas-fired, and six shared projects across India. Though recently stricken by a critical coal shortage, NTPC said it is working on projects to boost its capacity to 128,000 MW by 2032.

Siemens Hands Over 870-MW Dutch Gas Plant. After a construction period of only 30 months—and 20 days ahead of schedule— Siemens Energy on Oct. 21 officially handed over the 870-MW Enecogen combined cycle power plant in the Netherlands to a joint venture company created by Dutch utility Eneco and the Danish company DONG Energy. The plant is located in the industrial zone in the port of Rotterdam. It consists of two single-shaft units and attains an efficiency “significantly above 59.5%,” Siemens claimed.

Siemens erected the plant as a turnkey project and supplied two SGT5-4000F gas turbines, two SST5-5000 steam turbines, two hydrogen-cooled generators, and the entire electrical and SPPA-T3000 instrumentation and control equipment. The plant’s units are designed for 290 starts per year and reach full load after approximately 50 minutes. In tandem with CO2-free wind turbines, whose feed-in fluctuates with wind availability, the plant can quickly compensate the required capacity, the company said.

Mongstad CCS Technology Bidders Chosen. Norwegian companies Gassnova and Statoil in November revived the full-scale carbon capture project at the existing Mongstad combined heat and power plant in Norway. Companies selected to participate in the technology qualification program include: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Alstom Carbon Capture GmbH, Siemens AG, Aker Clean Carbon, and Huaneng-CERI Powerspan Joint Venture. The purpose of the technology qualification program is to qualify at least one technology and demonstrate that it can be scaled up. The qualification program will be divided into three phases: a feasibility study, demonstration, and a concept phase for design of full-scale capture. Selection of the final technology could be made as soon as 2014. Norway’s parliament is expected to review and approve a final investment decision in 2016.

Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.