POWER Digest [December 2019]

Here’s our roundup of important power ongoings from around the world over the last month.

Israeli Group Supports Construction of 1.3-GW Gas-Fired Plant. The Israeli National Infrastructure Committee on Nov. 4 approved a plan to build Israel’s largest privately run power plant, saying the facility is crucial to the power supply in the central part of the country. The 1,300-MW gas-fired plant, known as the Eastern Station, is sited in central Israel near Kfar Saba. It will be built by Reindeer Energy Ltd., a joint partnership between Germany’s Siemens AG and Israel-based Phoenix Insurance Co. Ltd. The plant is considered a national infrastructure project and would supply about 10% of the current generation capacity of Israel Electric Corp., the country’s largest power supplier. The largest private plant operating in Israel today has a 910-MW capacity. Siemens, along with Reindeer Energy founders Itay Rochman and Moshe Kriester, holds a 60% share in Reindeer. Phoenix Group holds the remaining 40% stake. Phoenix is controlled by private investment groups Centerbridge Partners and Gallatin Point Capital.

$1 Billion Added to Green Energy Fund. The Australian government is handing the government-backed Clean Energy Finance Corp. (CEFC) another $1 billion to invest in projects to boost power grid reliability. The money, which is in addition the group’s existing capital, is earmarked for power generation, energy storage, and transmission projects. Battery storage, natural gas, and pumped hydro projects are among those eligible for funding, but projects involving coal-fired generation are not eligible. Eleven of the 12 new generation projects on a list for government support—six pumped hydro power stations and five natural gas-fired plants—could receive funds; the other project, which is not eligible for funding, is a proposed upgrade to an existing coal-fired power plant in New South Wales. The additional money comes after an investment mandate to CEFC late last year to focus on grid stabilizing technology. Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said the money should go to projects with “zero emissions electricity, deliverable by renewables plus storage including pumped hydro,” and “electrification of the economy [especially] transport, heating, cooling.”

Groups Join to Fund Renewable Projects in India. Singapore-based Temasek is joining with Swedish private equity group EQT to launch a new renewable energy platform for India. The platform will include new-build solar and wind farms, and upgrades to acquired assets. Four senior executives from ReNew Power, including Parag Sharma, CEO of the India-based renewable energy company, are leaving that company to direct the new group. Temasek and EQT reportedly have promised an initial equity commitment of $500 million as the seed capital. The company plans to fund greenfield and brownfield ground-mounted wind and solar projects, in addition to supporting battery storage and other clean energy initiatives. EQT, the second-largest buyout group in Europe, in 2017 teamed with Temasek, which is Singapore’s sovereign investment company, to explore investment opportunities in Asia.

Kenya Seeks Private Investment in Geothermal Plant. State-owned electricity producer Kenya Electricity Generating Co. (KenGen), which supplies about 75% of Kenya’s power generation, in November said it wants to form a venture with an external investor to move a geothermal project forward, with the venture “responsible for the development, design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the project.” KenGen wants the investor to take a majority 75% stake in the project. The company said in a statement, “KenGen has drilled and tested all production wells required for the project and will be responsible for the operation, maintenance, and management of steam supply to the project. KenGen will be a shareholder in the SPV [special purpose vehicle] with a shareholding of 25 percent.” The 140-MW plant is sited in Olkaria, Naivasha. KenGen said it will enter into a long-term power purchase agreement with Kenya Power as off-taker. The Olkaria site already is home to a major Kenyan geothermal installation and was named a POWER Top Plant in 2015 after it completed a previous expansion (see “Olkaria Geothermal Expansion Project, Rift Valley Province, Kenya” in the December 2015 issue of POWER and online at powermag.com). For more on geothermal power in Kenya, see “Geothermal Generation Growing by Leaps and Bounds in Kenya” in the April 2018 issue of POWER.

GE Division Will Supply Turbines for China Wind Farm. GE Renewable Energy has signed an agreement with China Huaneng Group, a state-owned power generation company, to build a 715-MW wind farm in Puyang, Henan Province. The groups signed the deal at the China International Import Expo in early November. GE is expected to deliver 286 of its 2.5-132 wind turbines, along with 130-meter-high steel towers, to the project, which is expected to commence by July 2020. GE said it’s the largest order the company has secured in the Asian region. The company also said it’s the single-largest onshore wind contract that has been awarded to any non-Chinese wind turbine manufacturer. China Huaneng will develop the wind farm.

MHI Vestas Turbines Chosen for Offshore Project. MHI Vestas has been selected by Hibiki Wind Energy to supply model V174-9.5 MW turbines to the 220-MW Hibiki-nada offshore wind farm off Japan. MHI Vestas confirmed the order. Hibiki Wind Energy won a tender run by the government of Kitakyushu City in 2017 to develop the project. The developer is a consortium of Kyuden Mirai Energy (30%), J-Power (40%), Hokutaku (10%), Saibu Gas (10%), and Kyudenko (10%). Construction is planned to start in 2022. ■

Darrell Proctor is a POWER associate editor.