Hydropower agreement forged

Tajikistan and Iran have signed an agreement for a joint project to complete construction of the Sagtudinskaya hydropower plant in Tajikistan. The initial construction phase of the 670 MWe plant on the Vakhsh river has been completed. It has been estimated that another $350 million is required to complete. Iran is expected to contribute $150 million of this.

Tenaga to bid for Saudi contract

Malaysia’s biggest power producer Tenaga and the Malaysian IPP Malakoff, along with a Saudi investor, have formed a consortium to bid for a 60% stake in a project to build a 700 MWe power and water desalination plant in Shoaiba in Saudi Arabia. If Tenaga is successful, it would be its second overseas investment, following the 235 MWe Liberty Power plant in Pakistan.

Grid deal closed

Lithuania has recently closed the sale of 77% of the shares in the Vakaru skirstomieji tinklai (VST) power grid to NDX Energija, founded by nine owners of the Lithuanian trade network VP Market. The sale was for $200 million in the country’s second biggest privatisation. The new owner has said that it will invest $150 million in the power grid, to preserve its profile and safeguard at least 70% of existing jobs. It is not allowed to sell the shares without permission from the government. VST was one of the five enterprises created from the national electricity utility Lietuvos Energija five years ago. The reorganisation created two grid operators – VST which is the western grid, and Rytu skirtsomieji tinklai (RST), the eastern grid.

Quebec-Ontario line on hold

A planned transmission line to allow greater flow of electricity from Quebec to Ontario has been placed on hold. Ontario’s main transmission company, Hydro One, said that “Hydro-Québec is not interested in proceeding with the project at this time.” The proposed link would be capable of carrying 1250 MWe, enough to supply about 5% of Ontario’s demand.

MHI in first overseas IPP

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has signed agreements with AES Energia Cartagena of Spain under which MHI will invest $4.6 million in an IPP project being undertaken by AES of the USA. This marks MHI’s first equity participation in an overseas IPP. MHI will supply the Cartagena power plant with: three gas turbines, three steam turbines, and three HRSGs. MHI has also signed a long-term service agreement with AES Energia Cartagena, under which it will carry out maintenance work on the gas turbines for eight years after the plant goes into operation.

UES to acquire distributors

Unified Energy Systems (UES) of Russia has come to an agreement with the Ukrainian Energy Standard and Interpipe groups to acquire 33% of the stock in a joint holding which will own assets of ten Ukrainian power distributors, Dniproenergo, Zaporizhzyaenergo, Luhanskenergo, Lvivenergo, Mykolaiyvenergo, Poltavaenergo, Prikarpatyeenergo, Sumyenergo, Ternopilenergo, and Chernihivenergo. These make up about one third of the Ukrainian market.

Foreign interest in Slovak tender

Slovakia’s economy minister Pavol Rusko has revealed that five foreign investors have submitted bids for a minority stake in Slovakia’s main power producer, Slovenske elektrarne (SE), while three firms have dropped out of the tendering process. The bids will now be assessed by the privatisation advisor. Two of the bidders are interested in SE as a whole, included its nuclear power plants. CEZ of the Czech Republic has confirmed that it has submitted a bid for a 49% stake in SE. Other parties that have expressed interest in SE include Russia’s RAO UES, AES, Verbund (Austria), E.On, Electrabel, and International Power. Binding bids for SE are due by July 2004. Rusko said that he believed the entire transaction would be completed by early 2005.

UES to export power to N Korea

Unified Energy Systems (UES) of Russia is negotiating with North Korea on exporting electricity. North Korea has previously said that an energy shortage was forcing it to restart its nuclear reactor for generation purposes, though the USA has claimed that the power output from North Korea’s only operational reactor would be negligible, and would only be sufficient for the facility itself.

Moldova to sell two distributors

Moldova is to sell 75% stakes in two power distribution companies in privatisation tenders during 2004. The Moldovan government said it would accept bids until 7 April 2004. Foreign and Moldovan energy companies that have more than 100 000 customers and annual sales of over $100 million are permitted to take part in the tender process. Moldova has five power distribution companies; three have been sold to Spain’s Unión Fenosa, but the remaining two have attracted little interest to date.