ANDRITZ to Rebuild Oldest Egyptian Nile Dam. Austrian firm ANDRITZ HYDRO on Dec. 22 won a $138.4 million contract from the Egyptian Ministries of Energy and Water Resources for the supply and installation of four bulb turbines, generators, and the electrical and hydro-mechanical equipment to rebuild the Assiut barrage—the oldest dam in the Egyptian section of the Nile River. The rebuild is expected to improve conditions for irrigation and shipping as well as produce up to 32 MW when completed by 2017. ANDRITZ said the Assiut project uses Kaplan runners with only three blades, perfectly suiting the low design head and its variation margin from 3 to 6.5 meters (9.8 to 21.3 feet).

CapX2020 345-kV Line Completed in Minnesota. Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy in late December said a 345-kV, 28-mile-long segment of the CapX2020 transmission project between the new Quarry Substation near St. Cloud and the existing Monticello Substation in Minnesota was placed into service. The project is double-circuit capable, which allows for future capacity expansion on existing structures. CapX2020, a $2 billion joint initiative of 11 investor-owned, cooperative, and municipal utilities in Minnesota seeks to expand the grid over a distance of more than 700 miles. In addition to the newly completed line, projects in the first group include two other 345-kV lines: between Alexandria and St. Cloud (construction to begin in early 2012) and between Brookings County and Hampton (to begin April 2012). Construction of a 230-kV line from Bemidji to Grand Rapids is under way and expected to be complete in late 2012.

Wärtsilä to Build Its Biggest Power Plant, in Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic’s largest power generation company, Empresa Generadora de Electricidad Haina, granted a $194 million turnkey contract to Wärtsilä on Dec. 27 for a complete dual-fuel power plant that uses Wärtsilä’s proprietary Flexicycle technology. In the Flexicycle concept, the unique dynamic features of combustion engines are maintained as the combined cycle can be shut on and off individually for each generating set. The Quisqueya II power plant will feature 12 Wärtsilä 50DF generating sets in combined cycle mode running primarily on natural gas, but with the capability to switch to heavy fuel oil, as needed, when fully operational during the second half of 2013. The project is to be built as an identical plant, on the same site as the Quisqueya I plant, which was ordered by Barrick Gold in September 2011. Though the plants will have separate owners, they will be operated from one control room. The 430-MW complex will be “the biggest power plant in the world, delivered by Wärtsilä,” the Finnish company said.

GE Refurbishes Spanish Cogen Plant. GE completed a major repowering upgrade of its LM2500-PE gas turbine at Cogen España’s Tortosa Energía cogeneration plant in Tarragona, Spain. The project that spanned five weeks—one-third of the time expected—entailed converting the existing natural gas–fueled GE LM2500-PE gas turbine to the more efficient, cleaner, and more powerful GE LM2500+ DLE model. GE helped increase power output from 26 MW to 29 MW at 37% efficiency in simple cycle mode/61% efficiency in cogeneration mode. The plant’s control system was updated, but there were no changes to main structural items, and the existing foundations were reused. The $12.5 million project, known as a “repowering-in-place,” is a first for Spain and enables Tortosa Energia to qualify for 10 years of cogeneration feed-in tariff while complying with the latest environmental requirements. It took place under Spain’s Plan Renove plant rejuvenation program, which incentivizes efficiency upgrades on existing cogeneration plants.

MHI to Build 1,600-MW GTCC Plant for Thai Firm. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on Dec. 13 said it received a full turnkey order to build a 1,600-MW gas turbine combined cycle (GTCC) power generation plant from Gulf JP NS Co. (GNS) in Thailand, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gulf JP Co., which is 90% owned by a local subsidiary of Japan’s Electric Power Development Co. (J-POWER) and 10% owned by Gulf Holding Co., a major local power development company. The plant, which GNS is to build and operate in Nong Saeng district, Saraburi Province, will consist of two 800-MW power trains. The large-scale project is aimed at responding to increasing power demand associated with the country’s robust economic growth. The two units are slated to go online in June 2014.

Rolls-Royce to Modernize I&C Systems for EDF Nuclear Fleet. Rolls-Royce on Dec. 19 announced it had won a $323.4 million contract with AREVA to supply safety instrumentation and control (I&C) technologies and systems for the French nuclear reactor modernization program. The systems will be installed in the 20-strong French fleet of 1,300-MW nuclear reactors operated by Electricité de France (EDF). The project will ensure that the reactor fleet continues to meet safety and licensing requirements through the deployment of the latest I&C technologies, systems, and components provided by Rolls-Royce. This I&C project is being carried out by AREVA as part of the third round of 10-yearly planned reactor outages managed by EDF.

Alstom to Build 728-MW Gas Plant for Iraq. The Iraqi Ministry of Electricity on Dec. 11 granted Alstom a $517.4 million contract to build the 728-MW Al Mansuriya gas-fired power plant in the Diyala Governorate, northeast of Baghdad. The plant will consist of four units, based on Alstom’s GT13E2 gas turbine and will be constructed under a turnkey contract, covering delivery of equipment and civil works. The plant will generate power for the entire Diyala Governorate and a part of Baghdad, located 80 km (50 miles) away from the plant. The first unit of the plant is scheduled to be operational in early 2013.

Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.