Rolls-Royce SMR Design Gets Research Center’s Technology Support. Efforts to bring a proposed small modular reactor (SMR) developed by Rolls-Royce to the UK market will have the backing of the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC), a collaboration of academic and industrial partners underpinned by the University of Manchester, and other industry partners, including Amec Foster Wheeler, Nuvia,and Arup. Nuclear AMRC said on January 16 that it will carry out desktop studies on potential methods of manufacture for the new design as well as assess the UK supply chain’s capabilities to ensure the reactor can be built to required standards. Rolls-Royce’s SMR could have a capacity of between 220 MWe and 440 MWe depending on configuration but would still be compact enough to be transported by truck, train, or barge. Over 75% of the design by cost is modular, Nuclear AMRC said. In its 2016 budget, the UK expressed support for SMRs and is reportedly seeking to identify the best-value design through an open competition. The 2016 budget also included an allocation of at least£30 million for an SMR-enabling advanced manufacturing research and development program to develop nuclear skills capacity.
ABB Bags Contract for 800-kV UHVDC Link in India. ABB will supply an 800-kV ultra-high-voltage direct-current (UHVDC) transmission link for a $640 million project spearheaded by India’s national electricity grid operator Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd. The 1,830-km two-way link connecting Raigarh in central India to Pugalur in the southern state of Tamil Nadu will have a capacity of 6,000 MW. For ABB, the turnkey project is expected to be completed in 2019. The contract encompasses design, engineering, supply, installation, commissioning, and supply of major equipment, including complete UHVDC stations, transformers, converter valves, cooling systems, as well as control and protection technology.
India Puts Online 648-MW Solar Facility. The Adani Group has inaugurated a 648-MW solar photovoltaic project in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu. One of the world’s largest solar power plants in a single location, the $661 million Ramanathapuram plant, which extends over 10 square kilometers (km), was built by 8,500 workers over eight months. It comprises 2.5 million solar panel modules, 576 inverters, and 6,000 km of cables, the company said.
EnerNOC Signs First Commercial Contract for Demand Response in Japan. EnerNOC, a firm that provides energy intelligence software and demand response solutions, on February 2 signed its first commercial-scale contract with Kyushu Electric Power Co. for 60 MW of turnkey demand-response capacity starting this summer. The company said that the deal follows “successful pilots” with several Japanese utilities. The company has partnered with Japanese conglomerate Marubeni Corp. (their joint venture company is EnerNOC Japan) to scale up demand-response operations in Japan, where the government in April 2016 implemented energy reforms that liberalized electricity markets traditionally dominated by 10 regional monopolies. EnerNOC noted that revenues from the global demand-response market are expected to soar from less than $2.5 billion in 2017 to more than $6.5 billion in 2025, driven by activity in Asia Pacific.
GE Snags Orders in Iraq, Bahrain. GE on January 28 struck lucrative deals—valued at more than $1 billion—with the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity for a set of technological solutions and upgrade projects to add 700 MW to the national grid in time for the summer period. The technology upgrades include, among others, heavy fuel oil conversions (due to the scarcity of natural gas resources), advanced controls software, and an “Advanced Gas Path” solution, which entails hardware design and materials improvements to the components of GE’s gas turbine hot gas path system. In January, GE Power also announced an order from Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) for a turnkey 1,792-MW combined cycle power plant, including three GE HA gas turbines, which will power the world’s largest single-site smelter. The so-called “Line 6 Expansion Project” to expand the smelter is currently underway. When complete in early 2019, it is expected to add 540,000 metric tons per annum (mtpa) to Alba’s current production, bringing its total production capacity to 1,500,000 mtpa.
Switzerland Starts Operations of Expanded Pumped Storage Unit Project. Two new pumped storage units added to the four-unit Forces Motrices Hongrin-Léman (FMHL) power station in Veytaux, Switzerland, began operations in early January, after more than 10 years of planning and construction. The project doubled the FMHL pumped storage station’s capacity from 240 MW to 480 MW and includes a 60-MW reserve. It entailed installing two 120-MW turbines in a new cavern. The pumped storage plant will help balance fluctuations triggered by renewables, said the project’s partners, which include Romande Energie, Alpiq, Groupe E, and the City of Lausanne. At peak times, the water from the Hongrin reservoir will be channeled through the turbines at the power station, which is located 800 meter lower, while during off-peak times, excess energy will be used to pump water from Lake Geneva up to the Hongrin reservoir.
Major Nuclear Vendors Indicate Interest in New South African Nuclear Builds. About 27 companies intend to provide a response to a request for information (RFI) issued by Eskom for its proposed nuclear new build program, the South African utility said on February 1. Major nuclear vendors that responded include China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Co., France’s EDF, Russia’s Rosatom Overseas, and South Korea’s Korea Electric Power Corp. While a response to the RFI does not commit companies to submit future proposals, “the quantum of the response to Eskom’s RFI shows the level of competitive interest in the South African Nuclear New Build Program,” Eskom noted.
Solar Plant in Chile’s Atacama Desert to Supply Google. Spain’s ACCIONA Energia has signed a long-term supply contract with Internet giant Google for power from its 196-MW El Romero Solar Photovoltaic (PV) plant in Vallenar in the Atacama Desert, an area that reportedly has some of the world’s highest insolation. The $343 million project, which comprises 776,000 PV modules and boasts a solar capture area of more than 1.5 million square meters, entered service at the end of 2016. ACCIONA will supply power to Google until 2030 with an option for a five-year extension. The contract covers the supply of up to 80 MW of power per annum through Chile’s main power grid, the Central Interconnected System, to which the photovoltaic plant and Google’s data center in Quilicura are both connected. It is one of 13 Google data centers worldwide. Google is looking to supply all its operations worldwide with renewables by 2017. ■
—Sonal Patel is a POWER associate editor.