PlanetWire: Highlighting transmission news around the world

TransmissionHub takes a look at transmission news around the world in this monthly feature. This month’s installment includes a report from Brazil about the country’s reassurance of adequate power supply expected during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which will be held in the South American nation. Also, upgrades are sought in Myanmar, where the power transmission system is more than 30 years old.

No power shortages expected during 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil

Brazil’s government has ruled out the possibility of power shortages during the FIFA World Cup, to be held in the South American nation in 2014, BNamericas reported on April 9.

Mining and Energy Minister Edison Lobão said none of the 12 World Cup host cities would endure energy interruptions during the event, which lasts a month, the report said.

The national grid operator, ONS, said in its latest monthly bulletin that the risk of rationing next year has gone up from 5% to 9% due to generation and transmission project delays.

BNamericas also reported that the federal energy planning company, EPE, said that any delays only involved projects not included in the government’s power-sector expansion plan.

Lobão said that the country’s drought-stricken hydroelectric reservoirs are returning to normal levels after recent heavy rainfall, adding that thermoelectric plants would remain key, according to the report.

The qualification stage for the World Cup continues, with the United States’ next two games scheduled for June 7 and 11 against Jamaica and Panama, respectively, according to FIFA.

The U.S. beat Costa Rica 1-0 amid heavy snowfall in Colorado on March 22, and tied long-time rival, Mexico, 0-0, at Mexico City’s Azteca stadium on March 26.

The five-time champion, Brazil, as the host, automatically qualifies for the World Cup, which, according to FIFA, will run from June 12 to July 13.

Abengoa chosen to carry out new 115-kV line in Mexico

Mexico’s Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE; Federal Electricity Commission) has chosen Abengoa to carry out the new, US$14m, 115-kV “SLT 1321 North East Distribution” transmission project, the company said on April 5.

The project includes construction of two substations and the transmission line in the states of Hidalgo and Veracruz in northeast Mexico.

Abengoa also said it will be responsible for the engineering, construction and commissioning of the line and substations, noting that the work is expected to be completed within one year and handed over to the commission in March 2014.

The company will not retain any investment in the new infrastructure.

Abengoa said it has more than 20,000 kilometers of these types of transmission projects in Latin America, and has participated in developing more than 2,600 kilometers of electricity transport infrastructure in Mexico.

In March, Abengoa said it will develop a new electric transmission project in the state of Sonora in northwest Mexico for US$54m. The contract, awarded by CFE, 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.

Renewable energy in Europe means more coal, gas needed

PennWell’s Power Engineering International reported on April 5 that according to the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), the proportion of renewable power entering service by 2020 means that more coal and gas power plants will be needed to guarantee energy security.

The report noted that 40% of Europe’s power capacity will be provided by renewable energy by that time.

According to ENTSO-E, renewable sources will account for 512 GW of the total generating capacity of 1,185 GW in 2020, an increase of about 50% from now and more than the 471 GW estimated for coal, natural gas and oil plants.

Europe will need 38 GW of “reliably available capacity” in addition to already confirmed investments to maintain the balance between supply and demand, Power Engineering International added.

Germany is considering preventing closures of unprofitable plants to ensure the lights stay on, and along with the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Poland and Belgium, is among member states considering compensating fossil fuel-fired plants for low or negative returns caused by increased renewable energy usage, weak demand and depressed prices, the report added. 

Transmission upgrades sought in Myanmar

The Bangkok Post reported on April 4 that the Yangon Electricity Supply Board is expected to receive a loan to upgrade transmission lines in the former Myanmar capital to serve rising electricity demand.

The Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Agency (NEDA), which is based in Bangkok, coordinates initiatives aimed at upgrading neighboring countries infrastructure.

The report also said that NEDA signed a memorandum of understanding on April 3 with Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), which will study the details of upgrading transmission lines in Yangon’s North Okkalapa and North Dagon townships.

Myanmar’s power transmission system is more than 30 years old, resulting in 30% energy loss through inefficiency as well as frequent energy blackouts across the country, the Post added.

According to PEA, only 30% of Myanmar’s residents have electricity access.

The report also noted that the study is expected to be completed within six months.

Joint venture agreement signed to modernize Russia’s grid

Alstom Grid and Soyuz Holding have signed a joint venture agreement to manufacture and commercialize high voltage switchgear as part of continuing efforts to modernize the electrical grid in Russia, with Alstom Grid owning 51% of the joint venture and Soyuz Holding owning 49%, PennWell’s PennEnergy reported on April 15.

The agreement follows a memorandum of understanding signed in 2011. PennEnergy also reported that the manufacturing deal includes the continued manufacture of 110-220 kV circuit breakers and an extension of the range up to 500 kV. It also foresees the introduction of a wider range of products, including disconnectors and gas-insulated substations, PennEnergy said, adding that this equipment will be produced at a Soyuz factory near Moscow.

The products, designed to cope with severe climate conditions, will contribute to the upgrade undertaken by Russia of its electricity transmission and distribution system, which spans more than 2.1 million kilometers across the country.

In 2012, the total volume of electricity transmitted by the network in Russia, including the lines from 0.4 kV to 750 kV, was more than 1 trillion kWh. PennEnergy also reported that the Russian grid market represents €1.5bn with an annual average growth of 10% due to the country’s increasing demand for electricity capacity and its need to upgrade existing equipment.

Permit sought in Chile for transmission line that will transport wind

PennWell’s Electric Light & Power reported on April 12 that Chilean firm Aprovechamientos Energeticos has requested an environmental permit for a 220-kV transmission line in the Atacama region that will transport electricity from Spanish firm Ibereolica’s 204-MW wind energy project.

The line will run 34.2 miles between the Domeyko and Maitencillo substations. It will connect Ibereolica’s Cabo Leones II project and future wind power projects to the existing network, the report added.

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.