NTPC Commissions First Unit of Lara Project. The first unit of the 4,000-MW super thermal power project in Chhattisgarh in India was commissioned in late March by NTPC. The coal-fired plant, a $4.62 billion facility in the Raigarh district, has five 800-MW units. The project, based on supercritical technology, is being developed in phases, with the first two units commissioned in the first stage. It is sourcing coal from the Talaipalli coal block in the Mand Raigarh Coalfield. Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction signed a $558 million contract in late 2012 to supply the boilers for the first phase of the project. NTPC in early March completed the first phase of its $2.9 billion Kudgi super thermal power plant, another 4-GW plant, located in Bijapur district in the south Indian state of Karnataka. The first phase of that project involved commissioning of three units, each with 800 MW. The second phase will include two more 800-MW units.
MHPS Launches Construction of Furnace for Japan IGCC Plant. Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Ltd. (MHPS) and Nakoso IGCC Power GK on March 16 launched onsite construction of a coal gasification furnace that will form the core of an integrated coal gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture. Nakoso IGCC Power’s 540-MW plant, which is expected to come online in September 2020, will generate power using a high-efficiency combined cycle format integrating gas and steam turbines. While the system features higher efficiency and significantly lower carbon emissions than conventional coal-fired plants, few IGCC plants have been built worldwide, owing to technical concerns that boost costs. According to MHPS, however, because the technology provides both efficient resource use and offers environmental benefits, “demand for IGCC plants is expected to grow worldwide, especially in countries such as Japan which lack abundant resources.” The plant under construction in Iwaki is unique because it provides “outstanding reliability and short lead time in manufacturing component modules for coal gasification furnaces that offer superlative durability against high temperatures and pressures,” the company said. “This capability derives from MHPS’s welding and other core technologies cultivated through the manufacture of boilers for conventional coal-fired power generation.”
TVO and Olkiluoto 3 Consortium Reach Settlement to Resolve Cost Dispute. AREVA has settled a longstanding dispute with Finland’s Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) for cost overruns stemming from delays at the Olkiluoto 3 EPR, a first-of-its-kind nuclear plant that the company set out to build under a 2005 fixed-price turnkey contract as part of a consortium that included Siemens. Under the comprehensive settlement agreement, which became official on March 28, AREVA agreed to pay TVO €450 million ($554 million) in two installments. TVO and the supplier consortium, which were embroiled in a lengthy legal fight at the International Chamber of Commerce arbitration court, also agreed to withdraw all legal actions related to the nuclear project. TVO agreed to pay back up to €150 million if the plant is completed by May 2019, but if the supplier consortium fails to complete the project by then, they will pay a penalty of up to €400 million. TVO said in a statement on March 11 that it expects its total investment in Olkiluoto 3 to be around €5.5 billion ($6.8 billion).
EDF Unveils 10-GW Energy Storage Expansion. As part of ambitions to become fully carbon-free by 2050, French utility EDF on March 27 unveiled a plan to develop 10 GW of energy storage around the world through 2035. The plan represents an investment of €8 billion—much of which will be dedicated to research and development—and it responds to a “changing energy landscape,” the company said. EDF, which also said it wants to become the “European leader” in the storage field, already has 5 GW of storage. It will target residential sectors in France and across Europe, along with African markets, where it plans to expand from operations primarily in Ivory Coast to Ghana. The development is notable for the state-run utility, which derives the core of its revenues from a massive nuclear power fleet in France. Last year, following its 2016 acquisition of groSolar, the company launched a distributed energy and storage business unit in the U.S. In December, EDF Renewable Energy won a contract from California’s Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) to build, own, and operate a 40-MWh portfolio of behind-the-meter battery storage projects for PG&E’s commercial and industrial customers. The projects will help PG&E’s customers reduce demand charges, maximize consumption during off-peak hours, and collect revenue from wholesale market participation. Martin Wyspianski, PG&E’s senior director for Energy Portfolio Procurement and Policy, in a December statement said the contracts and storage capacity would help PG&E “better integrate our growing renewable generation sources, and bring increased reliability to the grid.”
Canada Backs Transmission Connecting Remote First Nations Communities in Ontario. The Canadian federal government on March 22 announced CA$1.6 billion in funding for a transmission project to connect 16 First Nations, serving 14,000 individuals, in Northern Ontario to the provincial grid. The two-phase project spearheaded by Wataynikaneyap Power LP—a transmission company owned 51% by 22 First Nations and 49% by Fortis—will first build a new line to Pickle Lake, Ontario, by late 2020 and then connect remote First Nation communities north of Red Lake and Pickle Lake by 2023. The line will eventually be fully owned by the First Nations. Wataynikaneyap Power said it is currently constructing a line to Pikangikum First Nation on an “expedited basis” to address a critical energy shortage. The Pikangikum grid connection was announced in August 2017 and is scheduled for completion by late 2018. The remote First Nation communities currently rely on diesel generation. Ontario Minister of Energy Glenn Thibeault said the project is “an important step in Ontario’s journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.”
ACWA Power Completes 445-MW Omani Gas Plant. Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power on March 8 said it inaugurated the 445-MW Greenfield Salalah 2 Independent Power Plant to supply power-hungry Oman. The plant, which consists of four gas turbines with four heat recovery steam generators and two steam turbines, was completed ahead of schedule with zero hours of lost time due to injury. The greenfield plant has been designed for a lifecycle of 30 years and adds to the capacity of the existing plant in Raysut, which has a capacity of 273 MW. The project is owned by the Dhofar Generating Co., and it was developed by a consortium of Mitsui, ACWA Power, and Dhofar International Development and Investment Holding Co. ■
—Darrell Proctor and Sonal Patel are POWER associate editors.