POWER Digest [May 2022]

Czech Republic Chooses Site for SMR Development. CEZ Group, a major conglomerate in the Czech Republic, in late March said it had set aside an area at the Temelin Nuclear Power Plant as a possible location for the country’s first small modular reactor (SMR). Officials said the location would not impact plans to build two more large-scale units at the nuclear plant, which already has two 1,080-MW reactors. CEZ signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for construction of SMRs with NuScale in September 2019, and a second MOU with NuScale in February 2020. The group also has cooperation agreements with GE Hitachi, Rolls-Royce, EDF, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, and Holtec. CEZ said it chose the site because Temelin is a “proven nuclear site” that offers “a stable geological bedrock” and “an abundance of experienced operating personnel.” The Czech Republic has six nuclear reactors, including those at Temelin, that generate about one-third of the country’s electricity. Three more reactors, including two at Temelin, are planned as part of a strategy to provide about 60% of the country’s electricity from nuclear power. Coal-fired power at present is the leading generation source for the Czech Republic, providing about 45% of the country’s electricity.

Kyrgyzstan Adding More Hydropower. The Ministry of Energy of Kyrgyzstan in April said it signed an investment agreement with a Chinese state company to build a 500-MW hydropower plant in Issyk-Kul Oblast. About 90% of the country’s electricity comes from hydropower, and the country exports power to neighboring countries, including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The country last year began construction of the first high-voltage power transmission line for the Central Asia-South Asia project, known as CASA-1000. The project is being designed to carry about 1,300 MW of surplus electricity generated during the summer months from hydropower plants in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan (300 MW) and Pakistan (1,000 MW). The project is tentatively due to launch in 2023. China International Water & Electric Corp. (CWE) has built several hydropower dams in Kyrgyzstan, beginning with the 300-MW Moynak plant in 2012. China state-owned Gezhouba Group Corp. also is developing hydro projects in the country. The China Development Bank, and China’s Exim Bank, have funded several projects in Kyrgyzstan. China’s Dongfang Electric Corp. in 2019 completed construction of a $15.8 million, 11.4-MW hydropower station at the Tuyabugiz reservoir south of Tashkent, with $8.1 million in financing from Exim Bank.

Renewable Energy Gets Support in Brazil. Brazilian energy utility company Neoenergia in March announced it has signed a €200 million ($221 million) loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to finance 715.5 MW of renewable energy projects in Brazil. Neoenergia plans to build a solar power facility in the northeast region of Otis, and also will support a solar plant in the state of Paraíba. The company said the loan also will help finance several wind farms across Chafariz, Paraíba (near the solar PV plant), Piauí, and Bahia. The wind farms in total will have 566.5 MW of generation capacity. Neoenergia CEO Mario Ruiz-Tagle said: “We are going through a time when investment in the energy sector directly impacts a greener future. The financial sector has an essential role in mobilizing the capital needed to develop sustainable projects, as well as ensuring that the company’s activities are responsible and in line with best practices within the ESG [environmental, social, and governance] dimensions.” EIB recently launched its development branch, EIB Global, which will support the group’s activities outside Europe. EIB has supported several Neoenergia projects, including solar and wind power projects in Portugal and Spain.

Gas-Fired Power Plant Online in Uzbekistan; More Planned. Uzbekistan in late March began commercial operation of a 240-MW gas-fired power plant, with government officials also announcing construction has begun on a 220-MW piston gas power plant project. Turkey’s Cengiz Enerji is the lead contractor for both projects. The 240-MW plant is located in the Tashkent region. The second facility, in the Syrdarya region, is expected to come online in September of this year. “The thermal power plant and a gas piston plant, both employing the very latest technology, will contribute greatly to the efficiency and capacity of Uzbekistan’s energy production,” said Azim Akhmedkhadjaev, first deputy energy minister for Uzbekistan. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries recently announced its Mitsubishi Power subsidiary received an order for two H-25 gas turbines for a natural gas-fired cogeneration plant being built in Tashkent. The two units will be the core equipment for the facility, which will be operated by Tashkent HPP, a cogeneration business operator in the city. Turkish firm Calik Enerji has been appointed the project contractor for engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC), with the gas turbine supplied through that company. The plant is scheduled to start operations in 2024. The project is supported by Japan International Cooperation Agency. The H-25 gas turbine will be manufactured at MHI’s Hitachi Works in Ibaraki Prefecture in Japan.

Major Energy Storage Deal Announced. Energy Dome, a global provider of long-duration energy storage solutions that enable renewable energy to be dispatchable, and Ansaldo Energia, a leading international power original equipment manufacturer and service provider, signed a non-exclusive license agreement to partner on the commercialization of long-duration energy storage facilities across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa that will support greater integration and use of renewable energy on the grid. This partnership will help accelerate the transition away from fossil fuel power toward renewable energy to meet climate goals. Energy Dome will provide the “CO 2 Battery” technology, which uses carbon dioxide (CO 2), and Ansaldo will provide equipment, engineering, and construction of new grid-scale energy storage to support the energy transition. Energy Dome is nearing completion of its first commercial CO 2 Battery storage facility in Sardinia, Italy. The company anticipates it could build as many as 30 facilities over the next five years in Italy, Germany, the Middle East, and Africa. These facilities will use Energy Dome’s non-flammable, non-toxic CO 2 -based energy storage solution to store and dispatch power. The companies anticipate the deployment of the first CO 2 Batteries, including performance guarantees, starting in 2023, with Ansaldo Energia acting as EPC. Energy Dome’s technology uses carbon dioxide and off-the-shelf components to charge and discharge power from 4 hours to 24 hours, enabling renewables to serve as fully dispatchable daily energy resources. Energy Dome’s CO 2 Battery uses CO 2 in a closed-loop charge/discharge cycle as a storage agent. Prior to charging, gaseous CO 2 is kept in a large dome structure. During charging, electricity from the grid is used to compress the CO 2 into liquid form, creating stored heat in the process. During discharge, the liquid CO 2 is evaporated using the stored heat, expanded back into its gaseous form, and used to drive a turbine to generate electricity.

Tender Launched for Infrastructure for Offshore Wind Projects. Poland’s PGE and Ørsted recently launched a tender procedure for the construction of onshore infrastructure necessary to evacuate power from both stages of the Baltica Offshore Wind Farm (OWF). Tender results for the 1,498-MW Baltica 2 and 1,045.5-MW Baltica 3 projects are planned to be announced by the end of this year. Preparation for the construction of the land part of the infrastructure and its implementation will occur over the next few years, in parallel with the preparatory work at sea, according to an executive with PGE. Tender results are expected by the end of this year, with the first construction on land expected in the fourth quarter of 2023. The offshore wind farm is expected to come online in 2026, providing power to Poland. The tender proceedings will be conducted by PGE Baltica, and the contract with the general contractor selected in the tender will be signed jointly by PGE Baltica and Ørsted, which form a joint venture developing the Baltica OWF. The onshore connection infrastructure for the wind farm will be built in the vicinity of Osieki Leborskie, in the Choczewo commune, in the Wejherowo district in Pomerania. Two adjacent land stations will be built there, one for Baltica 2 and another for Baltica 3. Construction includes the power stations and power export cable lines on land, along with access and internal roads, water and sewage network for the stations, and lighting and fencing.

Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER.

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