POWER Digest (November 2012)

Global Companies Take on Nigeria’s Newly Privatized Plants. Nigeria’s $1 billion liquidation of five government-owned thermal and hydropower generation companies—part of a wider privatization effort that includes transmission and distribution assets to encourage investment in the power shortage–stricken country’s electricity sector—has attracted a number of global companies and investors. Eight firms bid a total of $707 million for the 434-MW Gerugu plant, 832-MW Ugheli plant, 1,020-MW Sapele plant, 600-MW Shiroro plant, and 760-MW Kainji plant, but five consortia were picked as preferred bidders for the successor companies created from the divestiture of Power Holding Co. of Nigeria.

Among the highest bidders was a consortium listing Nigerian conglomerate Transcorp and U.S. firm Symbion Power, which offered $300 million for the gas-fired Ugheli plant. Another consisted of a Chinese firm and Eurafric, a Nigerian oil and gas firm, which bid $201 million for the thermal Sapele plant. And one listing was for Forte Oil, Shanghai Municipal Electric Power Co., and BSG Power, which bid $132 million for the gas-fired Gerugu plant. Management contracts for the two hydropower plants went to consortiums that included several Nigerian firms, Russia’s RusHydro, and China Three Gorges Corp.

Two CFB Contracts for Foster Wheeler in South Korea. Foster Wheeler in September won a contract from South Korea’s Yeosu Cogeneration Corp., a subsidiary of Hanwha Corp., for the design and supply of a 60-MWe circulating fluidized-bed (CFB) steam generator located in an industrial complex in Yeosu City, South Korea, that is slated to go online in the first quarter of 2015.

In October, the global engineering and construction company Foster Wheeler received a full notice to proceed on a separate contract with Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co., Ltd. for cooperation in the design of a 350-MWe CFB steam generator for the Yeosu Thermal Power Plant 1 Project for Korea South East Power Co., Ltd. Doosan will supply the major equipment, including the CFB boiler and turbine generator for the Yeosu 1 project, which will replace an existing heavy oil–fired unit. That project is also expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2015.

Demand for CFB boilers is increasing in South Korea and other countries, pegged on the growing use of low-quality coal, of which there are large reserves, a Doosan official said in a statement.

Coal Gasification Power Plant Developer Secures Construction, Financing Contracts. Seattle-based Summit Power Group on Sept. 12 signed a memorandum of understanding with representatives of China’s Sinopec Engineering Group for an engineering, procurement, and construction contract, and with the Export-Import Bank of China to secure financing for the $2.5 billion Texas Clean Energy Project (TCEP), a large-scale commercial coal gasification power/polygen project that the company is developing near Odessa, Texas.

Siemens Energy is expected to provide a high-hydrogen combustion turbine for the project, which proposes to remove carbon dioxide, sulfur, and mercury from the project’s gas stream prior to combustion, leaving only a high-hydrogen/low-carbon clean “syngas” as the sole fuel that is burned. The project will capture 90% of its carbon dioxide emissions for use in enhanced oil recovery by producers in the Permian Basin of West Texas. TCEP will also produce more than 700,000 tons per year of urea as fertilizer, which will be bought entirely by Minnesota-based CHS Inc., and Houston-based Shrieve Chemical Co. will purchase TCEP’s output (about 50,000 tons per year) of sulfuric acid. CPS Energy, San Antonio’s municipal electric and gas utility, will buy 200 MW of the plant’s power.

About $450 million of TCEP’s costs will be covered by a Department of Energy cost-sharing program under the federal Clean Coal Power Initiative.

RWE Opens 2-GW CCGT Plant in West Wales. RWE AG opened its 2,160-MW Pembroke combined cycle gas turbine plant on Sept. 19, handing over the fifth and final unit of the station to its UK subsidiary RWE npower and culminating three years of construction during which more than 10,000 contractors worked 7.4 million man hours to complete the $1.6 billion facility. The new plant was built on a site formerly occupied by a 2,000-MW oil-fired power station. The station was outfitted with five Alstom GT26 single-shaft gas turbines, five drum-type heat recovery steam generators, five STF30C steam turbines with axial exhaust, and five TOPGAS turbo-generators. Swiss company ABB supplied the automation system and the Shaw Group put up five heat recovery steam generator boilers.

The power from the new plant in west Wales is badly needed by the UK: About 40% of the country’s existing generation facilities were built before 1975 and are expected to be shuttered over the next 10 to 15 years. Several fossil fuel–fired plants—including RWE’s own 2,000-MW coal-fired Didcot A power plant and the 1,000-MW oil-fired Fawley plant—will be shut down in line with requirements of the European Union’s Large Combustion Plant Directive. Many nuclear power plants are also reaching the end of their operational lives. Meanwhile, power demand in the UK is expected to surge, forcing the country to increase generating capacity by 35 GW by 2020 to ensure energy reliability.

SunPower Corp. Completes 1.3-MW Rooftop Solar Project in San Francisco. California firm SunPower Corp. on Sept. 19 completed a 1.3-MW solar system on the roof of the Exploratorium, a massive science museum under construction at Pier 15 in the heart of San Francisco’s waterfront district. The system will generate as many kilowatt-hours of power as the facility needs when it opens in the spring of 2013. It uses 5,874 SunPower solar panels, which the company says are up to 50% more efficient than conventional panels, and a performance-monitoring system that displays system performance, updated every 15 minutes, in the lobby of the new 330,000-square-foot facility. Any energy unused by the Exploratorium will be fed into the utility grid for use by other Pacific Gas & Electric customers.

FENOC Plans to Expand Nuclear Fuel Storage Capacity at Beaver Valley. FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co. (FENOC) on Sept. 19 announced plans to expand used nuclear fuel storage capacity at its two-unit Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport, Pa. The FirstEnergy subsidiary plans to install six above-ground, airtight steel and concrete canisters that provide cooling to used fuel assemblies through natural air circulation starting in the fall of 2012, but it says at least 47 additional canisters may be added as needed after that project’s completion in 2014. The canisters will be stored on a thick concrete pad located within Beaver Valley’s highly secured protected area, providing additional safety assurance. The storage system will be monitored closely by trained personnel and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to ensure its integrity.

Beaver Valley began operation of Unit 1 in 1976 and Unit 2 in 1987, and its used fuel assemblies have been stored in an indoor, steel-lined pool within the power station. Approximately 40% of each unit’s 157 fuel assemblies are replaced and then stored in the pool following each 18-month operating cycle. But the fuel pool is expected to reach full storage capacity by 2015, and “because a national repository for used nuclear fuel has not yet been developed, Beaver Valley must plan for additional storage space,” the company said.

Plant Barry CCS Demonstration Begins Underground Injection. A carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) demonstration project jointly under way by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) and Southern Co. in September began underground injection of carbon dioxide (CO2) recovered from flue gas emissions of a carbon capture facility built at Southern Co.’s Plant Barry in Alabama. The demonstration test, which began last June, is the world’s largest in scale, capturing 500 metric tons per day (mtpd) with a CO2 recovery efficiency of above 90%.

Injection is being performed in a saline formation at a depth of 3,000 to 3,400 meters in the Citronelle Dome geologic structure, which is approximately 12 miles west of the plant. The sequestration aspect of the project is being conducted as Phase III of the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships program, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The carbon capture facility consists primarily of a flue gas scrubber, flue gas CO2 capture/regeneration system, CO2 compression machinery, and electrical components. For CO2 recovery the facility adopts MHI’s KM CDR Process, which uses a proprietary KS-1 high-performance solvent for CO2 absorption and desorption that was jointly developed by MHI and the Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. MHI said it had previously completed small-scale demonstration testing at 10 mtpd in cooperation with the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth and Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. (J-POWER) and confirmed “uninterrupted stable operation.”

Westinghouse Prepares for Possible AP1000 Construction in Czech Republic. Westinghouse Electric, one of three bidders vying for a multi-billion-dollar tender from Czech utility CEZ to construct two new units at its Temelín nuclear power station, on Sept. 11 said it would cooperate with Czech construction company Hutní montáže a.s. to prepare for potential construction of AP1000 nuclear plants in the Czech Republic and regionally. If Westinghouse is awarded the tender, the Toshiba Corp. unit said Hutní montáže would be responsible for performing the vast majority of the mechanical installation and corresponding construction testing, including assembly and installation of the containment vessel.

Westinghouse has embarked on an initiative to develop a local supply chain to prepare for construction of the reactors at Temelín, including signing memoranda of understanding with major Czech companies, notably I&C Energo a.s., Metrostav a.s., and Vítkovice a.s. Westinghouse’s bidding competitors include AREVA, which has put forward its EPR design, and Russia’s AtomStroyExport consortium, whose bid is based on  Gidropress ’ MIR-1200 third-generation VVER model under construction at Leningrad Phase II and Novovoronezh Phase II.

Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.