POWER Digest

Mexico to Launch Pilot Carbon Trade Program. Mexico will launch a yearlong simulation of a cap-and-trade program this November. The pilot program will involve up to 60 companies, allowing them to adapt a system in which carbon dioxide emitters will be required to offset emissions with tradable certificates. The move is in preparation for a national carbon market, which could officially launch in 2018. Mexico has yet to set a cap on greenhouse gas emissions. As part of the Paris climate agreement, the country pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 22% by 2030.

UK Approves 1.8-GW Offshore Wind Project. UK authorities on August 16 approved Hornsea Project Two, an offshore wind farm proposed by Denmark’s DONG Energy that will put up 300 turbines and have a nameplate capacity of up to 1.8 GW. The project, proposed to be located 89 kilometers off the Yorkshire coast, is an extension of the 1.2-GW Hornsea Project One, which is being developed by DONG Energy subsidiary SMartWind. DONG Energy said that it would now review the development consent order approved by the secretary of state for energy.

Ukraine Picks S. Korea to Complete Construction of Two Nuclear Reactors. South Korea’s Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Corp. (KHNP) and Ukraine’s Energoatom on August 31 signed a memorandum of understanding to continue construction of two reactors at the Khmelnytsky Nuclear Power Plant. Construction of Units 3 and 4 was halted in 1990. KHNP and Energoatom will set up a joint committee for the completion of the two units. Ukraine in September 2015 renounced an earlier intergovernmental agreement with Russia to finish the two reactors.

Japanese Governor Asks for Temporary Shutdown of Sendai Nuclear Plants. Gov. Satoshi Mitazono of Japan’s Kagoshima Prefecture in late August urged Kyushu Electric Power Co. to suspend operation of its Sendai Nuclear Plants in Satsumasendai City, claiming that safety in the event of an earthquake had not been fully determined. The Sendai units were started up last year after clearing safety examination by the Nuclear Regulatory Authority. According to Kyushu, Sendai Units 1 and 2 will be shut down in October and December, respectively, for periodic inspections. Experts note that Japan’s national government requires local consent for restarting a nuclear power plant for the first time following safety checks, but it is unclear if local consent is needed when a plant returns to operation after suspension for a periodic inspection. In related news, Shikoku Electric Power Co. began operating its Ikata-3 reactor on Aug. 15.

Fortum to Operate Tees Plant in the UK. Finnish energy firm Fortum on August 17 said it signed a 10-year operation and maintenance agreement with MGT Teesside Ltd. in the UK. The agreement covers operation and maintenance services for a new 299-MW biomass-fired combined-heat-and-power plant to be located in northeast England. Construction of the power plant is due to start immediately and be completed by 2020.

GE Installs HVDC Converter Facilities in Uruguay. General Electric (GE) on Sept. 1 said it successfully commissioned high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) converter facilities as well as extended and equipped existing substations for Uruguay’s Interconexiones del Sur. The convertor facility in northeastern Uruguay will allow the country to get a third of its power from Brazil via a 500-kV, 420-kilometer-long interconnection transmission line. Uruguay’s power mix, like Brazil’s, comprises mostly hydro and wind. According to GE, Uruguay estimates a potential annual savings of $200 million if the line is implemented. The ability to better use renewable energy sources will also allow both countries to reduce their carbon emissions. Uruguay has an ambitious pledge of a carbon emission cut of 88% by 2017 (the nation has made a major shift away from fuel oil toward wind and biomass), whereas Brazil is aiming for a reduction of 37% by 2025. ■

Sonal Patel is a POWER associate editor.