VW Chooses MHPS to Modernize Cogen Plant. Volkswagen AG (VW) in early July said it chose Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Europe (MHPS Europe) to build a gas-and-steam power plant in Wolfsburg, as part of the modernization of VW's Heizkraftwerk Wolfsburg-West cogeneration plant. The new units will be constructed on a turnkey basis. The two coal-fired blocks currently in operation at the plant will be replaced with a gas-fired double block. The new gas-and-steam plant will be designed to produce 288 MW of electricity and 265 MW of heat, and is expected to begin commercial operation in 2022. The engineering, procurement, and construction agreement between VW and MHPS Europe includes construction and commissioning, and the delivery of two H-100 class gas turbines, two waste heat recovery boilers, two steam turbines, and generators and ancillary systems. A long-term service contract is also part of the agreement.
GE, Chinese Group Will Build Hydro Plant in Africa. Zimbabwe and Zambia in June chose General Electric (GE) and Power Construction Corp. of China (Power China) to build a $4 billion hydropower project that straddles the border of the two countries. Zambia and Zimbabwe have planned the 2.4-GW Batoka Gorge plant for several years. The countries have struggled with electricity shortages due to prolonged drought, which has limited hydropower output. GE and Power China are in a consortium that was shortlisted in February to build the facility. The project is being watched closely because it is located on the Zambezi river, where water flows this year are near the lowest in 100 years, according to government officials. The downstream Kariba hydropower dam in June was at less than 30% of its storage capacity, and producing less than half its expected electricity. The cost of the project includes earmarks for construction, turbines, and civil works, according to GE. The African Development Bank last year said it was attracting investment for the project.
A First: Korean Group Will Build Guam Gas Plant. Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) on June 19 said it has been selected as a preferred bidder for the construction and operation of the 200-MW Dededo gas-fired combined cycle power plant in Guam, for the Guam Power Authority. The selection is the first time a Korean company won an order for the construction of a U.S. thermal power plant through international competitive bidding. KEPCO will build and operate the power plant, and sell its electricity under a 25-year power purchase agreement. The plant's ownership is a consortium between Korea East-West Power (40% stake), which has experience in operating a diesel power plant, and KEPCO (60%), which will operate a 60-MW solar power plant in Guam in addition to Dededo. Construction is expected to begin in May 2020, with the plant expected to begin commercial operation in October 2022. The thermal plant and solar facility when operational will account for about 55% of Guam's total power generation.
World's Largest Solar Plant Comes Online. A solar power installation that's considered the world's largest single solar plant came online in late June in Abu Dhabi. The Noor Abu Dhabi plant in United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a 1,177-MW plant with 3.2 million solar panels, according to the Abu Dhabi government. Emirates Water and Electricity Co. (EWEC), which operates the plant, said it encompasses about 8 square kilometers. EWEC said the project set a record for the world's most-competitive tariff at 8.888 fils/kWh, which at present equates to about 2.4 cents/kWh. The Noor Abu Dhabi plant is a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi government and a consortium of Japan's Marubeni Corp. and China's Jinko Solar Holding. EWEC already is planning a second large solar project, which would have about 2 GW of generation capacity. Government officials said nearly 50 companies expressed interest in building the second facility, and about two dozen are still in the running to build it. The winning bidder will hold a 40% stake in the project, with the rest of the ownership divided among local interests. The new solar plant is scheduled to begin commercial operation in early 2022.
Norwegian Utility Partners with UK Group. Statkraft, the state-supported Norwegian utility, in June announced a 15-year partnership with independent power producer Statera Energy, as Statera prepares to bring 1 GW of flexible generation assets to market. The assets will be incorporated into Statkraft's multi-gigawatt virtual power plant (VPP) in the UK, as Statkraft continues to increase the scale of the VPP. Statera as part of the agreement will develop 1 GW of power from high-efficiency gas reciprocating engines and energy storage, with the storage capable of discharging power during periods of peak demand, or to compensate for under-production of other electricity resources. Statera initially will integrate its 50-MW Creyke Beck battery storage facility, among the largest utility-scale battery storage projects in the UK, into the VPP. Statkraft said it would provide market optimization, trading platform support, and risk management services as part of the deal. Statkraft, with has contractual agreements for about 3.8 GW of renewable UK power generation, earlier this year announced plans to double the generation capacity of the VPP to about 2 GW by the end of this summer. ■
–Darrell Proctor is a POWER associate editor.