SSE Starts Up 840-MW CCGT Gas Plant. UK-based company Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) on Dec. 10 said that a new 840-MW combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station at Marchwood, near Southampton, had entered commercial operation. The company said the £380 million plant is expected to achieve a thermal efficiency of more than 58% and that all the station’s output is contracted to SSE.

Marchwood is the first large-scale CCGT power station to enter commercial operation in the UK in five years. It will soon be followed by a number of new gas-fired plants currently under construction to replace aging coal-fired and nuclear power plants that are expected to close at the end of the decade. These include Centrica’s 885-MW Langage plant, ConocoPhillips’ 450-MW Immingham Stage 2 plant, and RWE’s 1,600-MW Staythorpe plant.

Fortum, TVO, and Maersk Partner on Finnish CCS Project.
Danish shipping and oil group AP Moller-Maersk and Finnish utilities Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) and Fortum on Dec. 15 jointly announced they would team up to develop a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at the 565-MW coal-fired Meri-Pori power plant on Finland’s west coast. The project seeks to process about 50% of the plant’s flue gas and capture 90% of emitted carbon dioxide using postcombustion capture technology developed by Siemens Energy. The captured greenhouse gas will then be shipped in liquid form via special semi-pressurized and semi-refrigerated Maersk tanker vessels for geological storage. Maersk Oil said it would investigate the possibility of providing final carbon dioxide storage in the depleting oil and gas fields on the Danish North Sea, as well as the potential use of CO2 for enhanced oil recovery. The project is expected to be operational by 2015.

LADWP Agrees to Refund $112M in Wholesale Power Overcharges.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) on Dec. 18 agreed to refund about $112 million that California regulators and investor-owned utilities say it overcharged consumers during the state’s energy crisis from 2000 to 2001. The agreement was reached as part of a settlement between LADWP and the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Attorney General, the California Department of Water Resources, Southern California Edison (SCE), San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E), and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E).

The parties were forced to resort to litigation rather than follow the normal regulatory process before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) after courts ruled that FERC lacked the jurisdiction to make municipal utilities pay refunds. The FERC-approved settlement will now allow disbursement of the LADWP funds being held in escrow to customers of SCE, SDG&E, and PG&E.

Alstom Wins Contract for Slovenian Coal Plant.
Alstom won a €700 million supply contract with Slovenian state-owned utility Termoelektrarna Šoštanj d.o.o. for the construction of a 600-MW coal-fired steam power plant at Šoštanj in northeast Slovenia. The French company said on Dec. 11 that under the contract’s terms, it would supply the complete power island — including the steam turbine generator set, the water steam cycle, the boiler, and the ALSPA distributed control system to the new Unit 6. This unit, which will be added to the existing Šoštanj units, will be the country’s first power plant with supercritical steam parameters, allowing it to achieve the highest possible efficiency using local fuel, Alstom said. The new plant is expected to be operational by the end of 2014 and to account for about a third of Slovenia’s power production.

Foster Wheeler Awarded CFB Generator Contract for Vietnamese Plant.
Foster Wheeler was awarded a contract last December by Wuhan Kaidi Electric Power Co. for the design and supply of two circulating fluidized-bed (CFB) steam generators for Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Group’s Mao Khe Thermal Power Plant Project located in northern Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam. The company will design and supply the two 220-MW CFB steam generators and auxiliary equipment and provide site advisory services for the project. The CFB steam generators will be designed to burn anthracite coal cleanly and efficiently while meeting all environmental requirements, Foster Wheeler said. Commercial operation of the new generators is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2012.

Wärtsilä to Operate and Maintain Indian 160-MW Coal Plant.
Indian zinc and lead producer Hindustan Zinc, a Vedanta Group company, in November awarded Wärtsilä a five-year operations and maintenance contract for a 160-MW coal-fired power plant in Rajpura Dariba, near Udaipur in Rajasthan. The contract covers coal- and ash-handling facilities and the demineralized water plant, and it is of significance because it involves running and servicing generating equipment not supplied by Wärtsilä, the Finnish company said. When fully completed, the plant will supply electricity to the Dariba Mines mining and smelting complex. The first phase of the power project is expected to be commissioned on March 1, 2010, and the final phase by August 2010.

—Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.