PlanetWire: Roundup of transmission news from around the world

TransmissionHub presents a roundup of transmission news from around the world in this monthly feature. While Abengoa moves forward on projects in Mexico and Peru, Canada-based Manitoba Hydro International gears up to take over Transmission Company of Nigeria.

Company in Dominican Republic warns of risk due to further construction delay

The company, Empresa de Transmisión Eléctrica Dominicana, in the Dominican Republic said on March 4 that installation work on a new 138-kV transmission line in the province of Puerto Plata remains incomplete due to some public opposition.

The line is important as it transports energy from a generating station to the entire province.

The company also said it has taken preventative measures with some towers but those structures run the risk of falling, which threatens the line’s stability and its operation within the national electric system.

Among other things, the company said that if construction on the line is further delayed, there is a risk of losing the line and it would be practically impossible to reestablish service in a short period of time.

Abengoa to develop US$54m project in Mexico

Abengoa said on March 6 that it will develop a new electric transmission project in the state of Sonora in northwest Mexico for US$54m.

The contract, awarded by Mexico’s Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE; Federal Electricity Commission), includes the engineering, construction and start-up of a 201-kilometer, 400-kV transmission line and two substations.

Abengoa will be responsible for the engineering and construction of the line, part of the SLT 1112 Transmission and Transformation of the North West project, as well as putting it into service.

The work is expected to be completed within 16 months and handed over to the commission in May 2014. Abengoa also said it will not maintain an interest in the assets it builds.

Around 500 direct jobs will be created over the course of the project, according to Abengoa, whose current energy transmission projects in Mexico include more than 400 kilometers of transmission lines and more than 750 MVA in transformer capacity.

Abengoa, which has participated in developing more than 2,600 kilometers of electricity transmission infrastructures in Mexico, has more than 20,000 kilometers in these types of transmission projects in Latin America.

Abengoa working on transmission project in Peru

Abengoa said on Feb. 22 that it will carry out the engineering, construction, maintenance and operations of a new, approximately $160m electricity transmission project in the Cuzco region of Peru.

The Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mining, through the private investment promotion agency, ProInversion, selected the company to develop and operate the project, which, according to Abengoa, will contribute to resolving the problems of overloads, instability and congestion on the lines that currently operate in the southeast part of the country.

The project consists of three transmission lines from Machupicchu to Tintaya, covering a total distance of 353.9 kilometers: Machupicchu–Quencoro, 153 kilometers; Quencoro–Onocora, 116 kilometers; and Onocora–Tintaya, 84.9 kilometers, as well as connections to the Quencoro and Quencoro Nueva substations, construction of two new substations in Quencoro and Onocora, and the extension of the substations in Suriray, Quencoro and Tintaya Nueva.

Abengoa also said that the Machupicchu–Quencoro–Onocora–Tintaya transmission line and associated substations are designed to transport electricity to the main demand centers in southern Peru, mainly to the hydroelectric power plants of Machupicchu, Santa Teresa, Pucará and Quillabamba, as well as completing the improvements to the National Interconnected Electricity System.

The works are expected to take 38 months, from the start of the project through to putting the lines into operation, while the concession to manage the lines, which has also been awarded to Abengoa, will be for 30 years.

Abengoa, which has participated in developing more than 2,400 kilometers of electricity transport infrastructures in Peru, also said that it is carrying out other electricity transmission projects in the country, including the Chilca-Marcona-Ocoña-Montalvo line, which covers a total of 872 kilometers.

Ethiopian company to erect 400-kV line

The state utility company, Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, will erect the 400-kV high-voltage electric transmission line that will connect the Gilgel Gibe III hydro power plant with the national grid in the coming month, 2Merkato.com reported on March 4.

The Ethiopian Government and the Chinese Export-Import Bank are jointly financing the project. A Chinese-based company will build the project and another one, Shanghai Electric Group, will install the distribution stations.

2Merkato.com also reported that 89% of the construction has been completed and the project will be completed within a month, citing a company official.

The transmission lines will go operational after the Gilgel Gibe III station begins generating power, 2Merkato.com reported, adding that the station has 10 units with a generating capacity of 187 MW of energy by each unit. Construction of one of the units is expected to be complete in about seven months.

Proposed subsea electric transmission cable between Great Britain and Norway loses investor

PennWell’s PennEnergy reported on March 12 that the company, SSE, has announced that it will no longer have a financial involvement in the NorthConnect project, the interconnector development company looking to build a subsea electric transmission cable between Great Britain and Norway.

SSE’s decision does not affect the project’s deliverability, PennEnergy reported, adding that NorthConnect partners, Vattenfall UK, E-CO Energi, Agder Energi and Lyse, remain fully committed to the project’s development, according to the report.

SSE previously announced its intention to focus on its core markets, Great Britain and Ireland, in order to develop the portfolio of investment options held in those jurisdictions.

PennEnergy also reported that following an internal review of the project it was deemed that a combination of the need to focus on core markets, the number of alternative investment opportunities available and the lack of short-term clarity on the regulatory regime around interconnectors meant that continuing the project was not in the company’s strategic interest.

Manitoba to take over management of Transmission Company of Nigeria

Canada-based Manitoba Hydro International has been issued the schedule of delegated authority that would allow it to take over managing the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) on behalf of the Federal Government, The Guardian Nigeria reported on March 11.

The TCN, which emerged from the defunct National Electric Power Authority as a product of the merger of the transmission and operations sectors in April 2004, was incorporated in November 2005 and issued a transmission license in July 2006.

TCN’s operations include the three functions of market operator, system operator and transmission service provider.  

The Guardian Nigeria also reported that the three-year management contract was signed with the firm in July 2012, “[b]ut scheming within government circles to continue to control” TCN’s office of the market operator led to several attempts to manipulate the contract.

Manitoba will take about eight expatriate managers to run the transmission company for a period of three years in the first instance, The Guardian Nigeria reported, adding that TCN also has some executive directors and key management officials still in place.

According to the report, Manitoba said, “Throughout the term of the contract, one key objective for MHI will be to reorganize TCN such that the transmission service provider becomes a separate entity from the market operator and system operator and thereby allowing it to become a privatized commercial company.”

Separately, citing The Guardian, EBR, part of Progressive Digital Media Group, reported on Feb. 20 that TCN has commissioned the second transmission line from Benin to Onitsha, in efforts to strengthen Nigeria’s transmission grid.

According to TCN, the line, which has linked Benin and Onitsha transmission substations with a double circuit transmission line for the first time, will be able to carry an initial load of 131 MW, the report noted.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3152 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.