POWER Digest (March 2013)

China Begins Operations at 150-MW Offshore Demonstration Farm. China Longyuan Power Group, a subsidiary of the state-owned China Guodian, in November began commercial operations at its 150-MW offshore demonstration wind farm in the East China Sea. The project consists of two phases: a 100-MW Phase I, when 21 Siemens wind turbines, each 2.38 MW, and 17 Sinovel wind turbines, each 3 MW, were erected at the end of 2011, and Phase II, completed in November, consisting of 20 Goldwind wind turbines, each 2.5 MW. The Longyuan Jiangsu Rudong project is China’s first offshore wind power project and was approved by the National Development and Reform Commission in December 2010.

Abengoa Solar Starts First South American Solar Thermal Plant. Abengoa Solar began construction of its first concentrating solar power project to be installed in the Atacama Desert in Chile. The parabolic trough plant will be integrated into a copper mine operated by Minera el Tesoro, a subsidiary of Antofagasta Minerals. The solar field will have 1,280 parabolic trough collector modules, and the plant incorporates thermal energy storage. Abengoa will be responsible for the engineering, design, and start-up of the new solar thermal plant.

Tata Starts up Fourth 800-MW Mundra Coal Unit. Tata Power, India’s largest integrated power utility, in January said it had started up the fourth 800-MW unit at its coal-fired power plant in Mundra in Gujarat state. The supercritical plant is owned and operated by Tata subsidiary Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd. The company commissioned the plant’s first unit last March, the second unit in July, and the third unit in October.

Alstom Signs Contract for Africa’s Largest Hydro Project. Alstom in January signed a $325 million contract with Metals & Engineering Corp. for the supply of turbines and generators that will be outfitted at the 6-GW Grand Renaissance hydropower project on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia. Alstom will supply and supervise the installation of all electromechanical equipment for the plant, including eight 375-MW turbines and eight generators for the first phase. The contract includes engineering and power plant commissioning. Commissioning will start in late 2013 and take place in successive steps over a three-year-period.

When completed, the project will be the largest hydro project in Africa. It is expected to quadruple current electricity production capacity in Ethiopia, a country faced with an electricity demand increasing at an annual rate close to 10%. With an estimated potential hydropower capacity of 35,000 MW, Ethiopia is looking to become a key regional player in power generation and the leading supplier of power to neighboring countries.

Dominion Begins Development of 15-MW Fuel Cell Plant. Dominion Resources has begun developing its 14.9-MW Dominion Bridgeport Fuel Cell park in Connecticut. Under a 15-year fixed power purchase agreement, the electricity generated at the fuel cell power station will be sold to Connecticut Light & Power, a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities. The project, which will use a reactive process that converts natural gas into electricity, is expected to be completed and placed into operation in late 2013.

Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel).