POWER Digest [October 2018]

Gasification Plant Under Construction in Saudi Arabia. A Pennsylvania company has partnered with two Saudi Arabian energy firms on construction of a gasification-to-power plant project in Saudi Arabia. The joint venture (JV) includes Saudi Aramco, ACWA Power, and Air Products, headquartered in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. The group was formed to purchase the gasification assets, power block, and associated utilities—all currently under construction—from Saudi Aramco for more than $8 billion. The facility is located at Jazan Economic City in Saudi Arabia and is scheduled for startup in 2019. The JV will own and operate the facility under a 25-year contract for a fixed monthly fee. Saudi Aramco will supply feedstock to the JV, and the JV will produce power, hydrogen, and other utilities for Saudi Aramco. Air Products is the majority owner with 55% of the JV. The facility will supply 75,000 metric tons per day of oxygen and nitrogen to Saudi Aramco’s integrated gasification combined cycle power station and refinery in Jazan, Saudi Arabia. Seifi Ghasemi, Air Products chairman, president, and CEO, said the project builds on the success of his company’s $1.3 billion JV with the Lu’An Mining Group in China. Under that deal, Lu’An supplies coal, steam, and power, and sends back syngas to the mining firm.

Offshore Wind Farm Comes Online Off Scottish Coast. An offshore wind farm operated by Sweden’s Vattenfall that began sending power to Scotland in mid-summer was officially inaugurated in early September. The 93-MW European Offshore Wind Energy Deployment Centre (EOWDC) is connected to the national grid by more than four miles of high-voltage underground cable between Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ (SSEN’s) substation in Dyce and the wind farm’s onshore substation at Blackdog. The farm’s 11 turbines are about 1.5 miles offshore. The project’s startup was delayed by a court challenge from U.S. President Donald Trump, who said the turbines negatively impacted the view from his golf course at Balmedie. The EOWDC’s turbines, designed by MHI Vestas, are considered among the world’s most powerful. The project includes nine V164, 8.4-MW turbines, and two V164, 8.8-MW turbines.

China Group Will Build Coal-Fired Plant in Egypt. A Chinese consortium formed by two power generation equipment makers has been awarded the $4.4 billion engineering, procurement, and construction contract for a coal-fired power plant in Egypt. The Egyptian Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy in early September said Dongfang Electric Corp. and Shanghai Electric Group will provide six ultrasupercritical, low-emission coal-fired power generating units with total capacity of 6.6 GW for the Hamrawein power plant. At present, the plant when finished would be Africa’s largest coal-fired power plant utilizing ultrasupercritical technology, according to Zou Lei, chairman of Dongfang Electric. He said the plant, located about 800 kilometers from Cairo, would be a landmark for Chinese high-end power generation equipment manufacturers, marking the first export of the country’s advanced ultrasupercritical clean coal power generating technology.

Australia Utility Developing Solar-Plus-Storage Virtual Power Plant. The Microgrid Demonstration Initiative of the state government of Victoria in Australia is giving financial support to Origin Energy’s first virtual power plant (VPP). The VPP, with 5 MW of generation capacity, will aggregate about 650 home solar-plus-battery storage systems to provide electricity to the local grid. The project is backed with an estimated AU$10 million ($7.18 million) in grants, part of more than AU$37 million of funding for microgrid projects. More projects are expected to be announced this month. Electricity delivered to the grid will be part of the National Electricity Market, the wholesale market structure governing spot market power sales in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania.

Wind Power Plant Enters Service in Mexico. The 183-MW El Cortijo wind farm in Tamaulipas, owned by ACCIONA, came online in early September as the first renewable energy facility to enter commercial service under Mexico’s new Energy Reform plan. The plant was awarded a clean energy certificate in the first long-term electric power auction organized under the new plan, and was awarded a power guarantee in the third auction. The wind farm took 15 months to build. “We are very pleased that an ACCIONA wind farm is the first energy facility of any technology to make its full entry into commercial service under the new Wholesale Electricity Market in Mexico, and that it is also the first renewable plant awarded in long-term auctions to complete its start-up. This reflects our company’s commitment to finish its projects on schedule, something we consider essential for the development of renewable energies in Mexico,” said ACCIONA Energía México CEO Miguel Angel Alonso. The wind farm is equipped with 61, 3-MW rated power Nordex wind turbines. El Cortijo is the fifth wind farm under ACCIONA’s ownership in Mexico, with a total of 740 MW of installed capacity: 557 MW in Oaxaca and 183 MW in Tamaulipas. The company has also installed 303 MW of wind power capacity for third parties. ACCIONA is also constructing a 404-MWp photovoltaic solar plant in Sonora that will come online in the first quarter of 2019. ■

Darrell Proctor is a POWER associate editor (@DarrellProctor1, @POWERmagazine).