Indonesia Sees Surge in Contracts for New Power Plants. Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s largest economy, but because it is stricken by chronic power shortages that limit economic growth, the nation’s government is pushing for massive infrastructure improvements. A consortium of Japan’s Electric Power Development (J-Power), Itochu Corp., and Adaro Energy, an Indonesian coal miner, on June 2 said they had won a tender to develop a US$3.2 billion coal-fired power plant in Java, Indonesia, for state-owned Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN). The 2,000-MW plant is the country’s first public-private partnership project. The power plant is expected to begin operations in 2017.

On May 31, PLN announced that South Korea’s Hyundai and Indonesia’s PP have secured a $339.4 million contract for the construction of an 88-MW hydropower plant in Sumatra’s Aceh province. That plant is expected to be grid-connected by 2016. Earlier, on May 12, China’s Gezhouba Group said it plans to construct a $1 billion hydroelectric power plant in Indonesia’s Sulawesi Selatan province and sell electricity produced by the plan to PLN. Construction of that plant will begin in 2012 and be completed in 2017. China Gezhouba has also signed a deal to build a coal-fired power plant in West Kalimantan.

The country’s hydropower expansion received another boost in late May as the World Bank approved a $640 million loan to help finance development of the Upper Cisokoan pumped storage project—the first facility of its kind in Indonesia. Construction of 1,000-MW project near Bandung, West Java, is expected to be completed at a total cost of $800 million (PLN will provide the remaining $160 million).

Chilean Government Greenlights Massive Hydropower Project. The $7 billion HidroAysén hydropower dam project proposed by utility Endesa Chile and Colbun on May 9 received environmental approvals from the federal government commission. The 2.75-GW project involves the construction of five dams: two on the River Baker and three on the Pascua River. The first power station will begin operation in late 2019; the complex will be fully operational by 2025. Plant developers have been responding to questions over the three-year environmental permit process, but the plant continues to spark dissent because opponents say it will flood untouched areas and displace communities. A planned 2,000-kilometer (km) transmission line from Patagonia to Santiago has not yet been approved.

Besides Chile, several Latin American countries—including Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina—are developing massive hydropower projects to sustain their growing economies. On June 1, Brazil’s environmental protection agency, IBAMA, issued a final installation license for the 11.2-GW Belo Monte hydropower project, allowing Brazil’s Norte Energia consortium to begin work on the site on the Xingu River, in the Amazon region. Earlier in May, Brazilian iron ore producer Vale agreed to pay US$1.5 billion for a 9% stake in project, giving it the financial clout to proceed.

ABB Develops Energy Storage Solutions for UK, Swiss Renewable Projects. ABB on May 19 commissioned its first DynaPeaQ energy storage installation for utility UK Power Networks at a site north of Hemsby in Norfolk, England. Part of ABB’s family of flexible alternating current transmission systems, DynaPeaQ is a combination of static var compensator technology with a highly scalable lithium-ion battery storage capability. Wind energy from a local village will be fed into the power network, and some of this energy will be kept in reserve to support power supplies in the event of a fault, or to regulate the power flow to compensate for the intermittence of wind power.

The ABB system includes eight stacks of 13 lithium-ion battery modules housed in a 25-square-meter building. The modules will be continually charged and discharged and can store up to 200 kWh of electrical energy, ABB said. The system’s effectiveness will be monitored in collaboration with the University of Durham and potentially be replicated across many coastal parts of the UK.

ABB in May also said it would partner with EKZ, a Swiss distribution utility, on a pilot storage facility in Dietikon, Switzerland. The facility will be integrated into the utility’s power distribution network and evaluated in key areas such as balancing peak loads, intermittent power supply, and the viability of such a solution for grid optimization. ABB will supply and install the 1-MW lithium-ion battery–based solution capable of storing 350 kWh to 500 kWh, providing additional power to the grid on demand. EKZ will evaluate the connection and behavior of grid-linked battery storage and monitor various operational and economic parameters. The pilot is scheduled to be energized by the end of 2011, when EKZ will take over the operations.

E.ON Inaugurates 436-MW Gas Plant in Slovakia. E.ON on May 16 inaugurated a €400 million (US$587 million) modern combined-cycle gas turbine plant at Malženice in Slovakia. The 436-MW plant features an efficiency of more than 59%, the Germany firm claims, and it will be used mainly to compensate for the fluctuating production of electricity from renewable energies. The power station is E.ON’s biggest single investment in Slovakia so far.

Voith Wins Hydropower Equipment Supply Contracts in China. Voith Hydro on May 13 said it won two contracts worth a total €40 million from two Chinese utilities for equipment for new hydropower projects. One contract involves the supply of generators for two 340-MW units for the extension of Da Tang YanTan Hydro Power Co.’s existing Yan Tan plant, located at the Hongshui River in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Voith will also supply three Francis turbines (each with an output of 400 MW) to the Huanghe Hydro Power Development Co., which is building the Yang Qu hydro power plant on the Yellow River. China sources 22% of its power from hydropower, but the government plans to increase existing capacities to 380 GW by 2020 from the current 210 GW.

MHI Starts Operation of Gas Turbine Combustor Plant in Georgia. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ (MHI’s) new gas turbine combustor manufacturing plant in Pooler, Ga., was completed on May 12 and has commenced full-scale operation. MHI, which expects demand for gas turbine combined-cycle (GTCC) systems to increase sharply in North America, is also building two other plants at the company’s Savannah Machinery Works site. One plant will undertake gas and steam turbine rotor servicing, and the other gas turbine assembly. The newly completed 13,000-square-meter combustor plant has advanced production lines similar to those at MHI’s Takasago Machinery Works in Hyogo Prefecture in Japan, the company’s main gas turbine production facility, and it will undertake fully integrated manufacturing, from welding assembly to processing and coating. MHI said in a statement that it will promote increased adoption of GTCC systems around the world, and it intends to secure 30% of the world gas turbine market.

Siemens, EnBW Start Operation of First German Offshore Wind Farm. Siemens Energy and utility EnBW (Energie Baden-Württemberg AG) on May 2 put into operation Germany’s first commercial offshore wind farm. Located in the Baltic Sea, the EnBW Baltic 1 wind farm consists of 21 Siemens wind turbines, each with a capacity of 2.3 MW and a rotor diameter of 93 meters. The 48.3-MW wind farm covers an area of roughly 7 square km about 16 km north of the Darss/Zingst peninsula. Germany, a pioneer in onshore wind power, plans to increase its offshore wind capacity to between 20 GW and 25 GW by 2020.

Siemens is already developing a second offshore wind farm, the EnBW Baltic 2 (formerly known as Kriegers Flak), with EnBW. That project, which will have 80 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 3.6 MW and a rotor diameter of 120 meters, is slated for grid connection in 2013. In addition, Siemens has orders for three other German offshore wind farms: Borkum Riffgat (108 MW), DanTysk (288 MW), and Borkum Riffgrund 1 (320 MW).

Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.