Siemens Gets $1 Billion Order to Build Gas Power Plants in Thailand. Siemens on Aug. 17 said it received two orders worth $1 billion from Thailand for the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of combined cycle power plants. The firm will build Chana Block 2 in the province of Songkhla and Wang Noi Block 4 in the vicinity of Bangkok with Japanese partner Marubeni. Chana Block 2, an extension to the Chana Block 1, will be the first single-shaft power plant built in Thailand based on the Siemens field-proven design, whereas Wang-Noi will be of multishaft configuration. The two plants, built for state-owned utility Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, will each have an installed capacity of about 800 MW and are scheduled to come online in the summer of 2014.

In addition to EPC, Siemens will supply the main components, namely, an SGT5-4000F gas turbine, an SST5-3000-series steam turbine, an SGen5-2000H generator, all electrical equipment, an SPPA-T3000 instrumentation and control (I&C) system, and the ancillary and auxiliary systems. Marubeni will be responsible for supply of the heat-recovery steam generator, the main transformers and switchgear, and for erection and installation of the overall plant.

The Wang Noi Block 4 combined cycle power plant will be built as an extension to the existing complex Wang Noi Blocks 1 to 3. The plant will be of multi-shaft design consisting of two SGT5-4000F gas turbines, an SST5-5000 steam turbine, three SGen-1000A generators, the entire electrical and I&C (SPPA-T3000) equipment, and the ancillary and auxiliary systems.

Thailand is the largest per capita power consumer in Southeast Asia—owing to high consumption by its steel, textiles, and rubber industries—and currently has an installed power plant capacity of approximately 39 GW. Demand is expected to grow at 3.5% per year, and the government has plans to increase the country’s total installed capacity to 52 GW by 2020. Gas-fired power plants, which already have a major share of the country’s capacity profile, are expected to supply 5% of the country’s power by 2015. Siemens recently posted several orders from the country for the supply of 20 industrial gas turbines.

GE Energy Completes $3.2 Billion Deal to Acquire Converteam. In early September, GE completed its $3.2 billion acquisition of Converteam, a provider of power conversion and automation systems and high-efficiency power electronics, motors, and generators. The acquisition will enable GE to better replace or improve mechanical processes with high-efficiency electric alternatives, the company said. Converteam’s portfolio includes variable-frequency drives and other power electronics that are widely used in the renewable energy sector, turning intermittent and variable power from solar, wind and, tidal sources into power.

NRG Solar Begins Operations at New Mexico’s Roadrunner Facility. NRG Solar, a subsidiary of New Jersey–based NRG Energy, on Aug. 31 began producing power at its 20-MW Roadrunner Solar Generating Facility, a photovoltaic (PV) project in Santa Teresa, N.M., about 10 miles from El Paso, Texas. The plant, the first operated by the company outside California, uses First Solar’s advanced thin-film PV solar modules, which are mounted on single-axis trackers. First Solar, which was the project’s EPC contractor, will also be the operations and maintenance contractor for the 210-acre facility. Power generated by the Roadrunner facility will be sold to El Paso Electric under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA).

GDF SUEZ to Expand Brazilian Hydroelectric Plant. GDF SUEZ and International Power, a company owned 70% by GDF SUEZ, on Aug. 18 announced that it would expand the already massive 3,300-MW Jirau hydroelectric project on the Madeira River in Brazil to 3,750 MW, adding six units to the original concession of 44 units. The announcement comes on the heels of new PPAs as a result of the A-3 energy auction held in Brazil on Aug. 17. GDF SUEZ said in a statement that power from the six additional units—a total of 209 MW—would be sold at a regulated market price of 102 reals/MWh ($64/MWh) for 30 years, starting in 2014. About 73% of the power that will be produced by the project has been contracted under long-term PPAs, and the balance will be sold in the free market—mostly to industrial customers. GDF SUEZ and International Power are building the plant (50 units of about 75 MW each) with Energia Sustentavel do Brasil and will transfer the project to Tractebel Energia when fully complete.

Voith Wins Order for 1,850-MW Hydropower Plant in Brazil. Brazil’s per-capita electricity use is expected to rise by almost a third, prompting the South American nation to add 6,920 MW of generating capacity—much of which is hydropower—every year during the next decade. The country’s environmental agency, IBAMA, in August granted an environmental license to the 1,850-MW Teles Pires hydropower plant on the border of the Mato Grosso and Para states. Following the approval, on Aug. 22, Voith Hydro said it signed a €220 million ($312 million) contract for the supply of 404-MVA generators for the plant’s five Francis turbines, as well as its control and automation systems, its substations, mechanical and electrical balance of plant, associated transmission system, and the project’s detailed engineering.

MHI, CTCI to Build Three Supercritical Coal Plants for Taiwanese Firm. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) and CTCI Corp. —Taiwan’s largest EPC firm—said on Sept. 1 they received a full turnkey order from state-owned Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) for a project to construct three coal-fired supercritical-pressure power generation units at Taipower’s Linkou Thermal Power Plant. The three units (1, 2, and 3), each rated at 800 MW, will replace existing facilities at the plant based on Taiwan’s energy source development plan. Units 1 and 2 are scheduled to come online in November 2015 and November 2016 respectively, and Unit 3 will go online in November 2020. The Linkou Thermal Power Plant is located in northern Taiwan, approximately 12 miles west of central Taipei. Each power generation unit consists primarily of a boiler, steam turbine, and generator. MHI will be responsible for the manufacture and supply of the three boilers and three steam turbines. The three generators will be produced by Mitsubishi Electric Corp.

Taiwan’s electricity needs have been increasing every year, along with continuous economic growth supported by robust external demand. Although Taiwan’s power generation business has been liberalized since 1994, Taipower continues to generate near 75% of all electricity. The company transmits and distributes energy by purchasing electricity produced by independent power producers. In 2010, Taiwan’s total power generation capacity was 40,250 MW.

E.ON Commissions Russian Gas Turbines. E.ON in July officially commissioned two new combined cycle gas turbine units, each 400 MW, at its Surgutskaya GRES-2 power station in West Siberia, Russia. The German company said it is now one of the largest buyers of Russian gas and also the biggest foreign investor in the Russian power market. E.ON said in a statement that the efficiency of each unit at Surgutskaya GRES-2 is 55.9%.

Alstom Signs Contract for 125-MW Solar Steam Turbine. Alstom in August signed a contract with U.S. firm Cobra Thermosolar Plants to supply a 125-MW steam turbine and a generator for a thermal solar plant in Tonopah, Nev., using tower technology. The turbine will be delivered in September 2012 and the solar plant will be commissioned by the end of 2013. The project is the application of an innovative solar energy storage technology and will produce 500,000 MWh per year to be sold to Nevada utility NV Energy.

Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.