POWER Digest (May 2011)

ABB, BHEL to Deliver $1.1B Multi-Terminal UHVDC Line in India. Zurich-based ABB and Indian state-owned company Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL) said on March 23 that they had been selected by Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd. (PGCIL) to deliver an ultrahigh-voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission system to convey hydropower from northeastern India to the city of Agra over a distance of 1,728 kilometers (km). The $1.1 billion project (ABB’s contract is valued at $900 million) will have an 8,000-MW converter capacity, which ABB says is “the highest ever built.” The firm also claims that the system will be the world’s “first UHVDC link with three converter stations.” It will include two “sending” stations to convert power from AC to DC for transmission over a single power line that will pass through the narrow Siliguri Corridor and deliver electricity to the third, “receiving” station in Agra, where it will be converted back into AC for distribution to end users.

UK-Netherlands HVDC Link Starts Operating. A 260-km subsea high-voltage DC link between Britain and the Netherlands began operating on April 1. Siemens Energy designed and completed the transmission system for BritNed Development, a joint venture of UK grid operator National Grid and Arnhem-based TenneT, the Dutch grid operator. The connection, with a transmission capacity of 1,000 MW, links the 400-kV grids in southern England and in the south of the Netherlands (via converter stations on the Isle of Grain in Kent and Maasvlakte near Rotterdam). The new line is expected to better compensate major fluctuations in generation from the planned expansion of wind power in the UK as well as improve competition in northwestern Europe’s grid.

NTPC Starts Up New 500-MW Coal Unit. India’s National Thermal Power Corp. (NTPC) on March 5 began operation of a 500-MW unit of the Indira Gandhi Super Thermal Power Project at Jajjar, Haryana State. The project, a joint venture with Indraprastha Power Generation Co. and Haryana Power Generation Corp., was built within the stipulated 44 months, making it eligible for a 0.5% extra return on equity throughout its lifetime. Power generated by the plant will be supplied in equal measure to Haryana and Delhi. Two other 500-MW units are under construction at the Indira Gandhi power plant. NTPC, which operates close to 30 power stations across India (with an installed capacity of more than 33,000 MW), has nearly 16,000 MW under construction, most of which is coal-fired.

Dominion Launches Study for East Coast High-Voltage Subsea Line. Dominion Virginia Power in late March said it has begun studying what it would take to build a high-voltage underwater transmission line from Virginia Beach into the Atlantic Ocean to support potentially multiple offshore wind farms. The study will be completed later this year and it will evaluate the best options to support multiple offshore wind projects off the coast of Virginia. In addition to working with PJM Interconnection through its Regional Transmission Expansion Planning process, the Virginia State Corporation Commission would have to approve any power line project.

New Jersey BPU Greenlights Three New Gas Plants. New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities on March 29 approved standard offer capacity agreements for three gas-fired projects to be located in Newark, Old Bridge, and Woodbridge. Hess Newark LLC will build a 625-MW gas plant near Newark to go online in 2016; NRG’s New Jersey Power Development LLC is expected to begin operating the 660-MW Old Bridge Clean Energy Center, a combined-cycle gas plant, in 2015; and CPV Shore LLC will build a 663-MW gas plant near Woodbridge, also to be operational in 2015. The projects, with a combined capacity of 1,948.5 MW, were approved under the state’s new Long-Term Capacity Agreement Pilot Program law.

Peru Awards $1.8B Hydropower Concessions. Peru on March 24 awarded hydroelectric power concessions valued at US$1.8 billion to three different consortiums in a bid to expand its power production, mainly from the Amazon basin, to meet the needs of its mining and manufacturing sectors. Empresa de Generacion Huallaga, a subsidiary of Brazilian firm Odebrecht, will build the 460-MW Chaglia hydroelectric power station in the central Huanuco region; Consorcio Generadora Pucara —owned by the Peruvian firms Graña y Montero and Egecusco —will construct the Pucara project in the southeastern Cuzco region, and Cerro del Aguila S.A., part of Israel’s Kallpa, will develop a 400-MW project in the southwestern Huancavelica region. The plants are expected to come online in 2016.

Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.