PlanetWire: Smart grid efforts advance in the Philippines, Aruba

TransmissionHub’s monthly feature, PlanetWire, this month corrals transmission news from around the globe, including Abengoa’s work on a 367-kilometer line, with a capacity of 500-kV in Brazil, and the Manila Electric Company’s smart grid efforts involving GE (NYSE:GE) and Trilliant in the Philippines.

Abengoa continues transmission work in Brazil

Abengoa said on Nov. 15 that it has been chosen by the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency (ANEEL) to carry out the engineering, design, construction, maintenance and commissioning of an electricity transmission project, which will cover 367 kilometers.

The investment equals an amount of €170m and it is foreseen that Abengoa will directly contribute about €20m.

The 367-kilometer line, with a capacity of 500-kV, will run between the Marimbondo II and Campinas substations, Abengoa added, noting that the project is located in the states of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais in southeast Brazil.

The line will be operational in September 2017.

Earlier in November, Abengoa said it has closed the financing of the 600-kV Porto Velho-Araraquara 2 transmission line, which will connect the states of Rondônia and Sao Paulo in Brazil, by issuing $89m in bonds maturing in 2026.

The transaction, Abengoa said on Nov. 5, means that the company has completed the necessary financing for investment in the project, in which the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) is a creditor with more than $445m. Abengoa is also entering the Brazilian market for secured project bonds, increasing the funds available for investment in infrastructure projects in the country.

The line is 2,375 kilometers long and forms part of the Madeira system, which with almost 5,000 kilometers will be the largest continuous current energy transmission system in the world, Abengoa added.

Abengoa refinances line in Peru

Abengoa also has efforts underway within Brazil’s neighbor, Peru, as the company noted in late October that it has refinanced the 220-kV Carhuamayo – Paragsha – Conococha – Kiman Ayllu – Cajamarca transmission line in northwest Peru by issuing $110m in secured project bonds, improving the financing costs and extending the maturities of the project’s debt.

The bonds have been placed via three issues, of which the third has a maturity of 26 years and a 15-year grace period.

Abengoa also said that the Carhuamayo – Cajamarca 220-kV high voltage line is 572 kilometers long and involves three new substations and enlarging the existing three.

The project was awarded to Abengoa in 2008 under a concession agreement that includes operating the transmission line for a 30-year period. Abengoa also noted that it was one of the first projects awarded under a concession format by the government of Peru using the Guaranteed Transmission System and is part of the action plan designed to strengthen and expand the National Interconnected Electricity System (SEIN).

Furthermore, the line allows part of the region’s energy to be supplied in an efficient and sustainable way, the company said.

India seeks to set up line with Nepal, Bhutan

India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said that India has efforts underway on setting up an energy efficient power transmission line with Nepal and Bhutan as part of its energy security plan, The Indian Express reported on Dec. 5.

India hopes to have power transmission connectivity with such nations as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Myanmar, he said during the World Energy Policy Summit 2013.

The report also noted that Khurshid said India is working on the India-Nepal HVDC link.

In October, Prime Minister Manmohan Signh dedicated to the nation the 71-kilometer Baharampur-Bheramara HVDC transmission link, which connects the electricity grids of India and Bangladesh. The report further noted that the link is designed to facilitate cross-border electricity transfer of up to 500 MW from India to Bangladesh.

With regards to Bhutan, India’s transmission link with that country is already in place, the report added, noting that the government has plans to augment the existing line to import up to 5,000 MW of power from Bhutan by 2020.

Isolux Corsán to build 172 kilometers of 300-kV lines in Kuwait

Isolux Corsán said on Dec. 3 that it has been awarded a contract for the engineering, procurement and construction of 172 kilometers of 300-kV transmission lines in Kuwait, making it the first project that the company implements in that country, at a cost of $105m.

The work will take place under a turnkey contract, within a maximum execution period of 22 months, in the town of Al-Rawdatain. It has been commissioned by the Ministry of Electricity and Water of Kuwait.

The project is divided into three parts, with the first having the company execute the work for the energization of the “RDTN X” substation, building 76 kilometers of lines, which will connect the substation with the existing 300-kV double-circuit transmission line between the Subiya Power Station and the Jahra “X” substation.

In the second part, the company will build 82 kilometers of lines to energize the “RDTN W” substation. Isolux Corsán also noted that those lines will be connected to the existing transmission line between the Subiya Power Station and the Saad Abdulla “W” substation.

Lastly, the company will build another 14 kilometers of transmission lines to interconnect the “RDTN X” and “RDTN W” substations.

The project is critical to Kuwait’s expansion and progress plans, the company added, noting that the new lines will connect the Subiya power plant to several key regions and new cities in Kuwait.

Privatization of Nigeria’s electricity firm

Independent Online, a division of Independent Newspapers, reported on Nov. 4 that Nigeria has formally scrapped its “inefficient and graft-ridden electricity firm” and handed its assets to private investors in a bid expected to improve power supplies in the nation.

The investors who have become beneficiaries of Nigeria’s privatization drive include Korea Electric Power as well as local investors.

The report also included a quote from Power Minister Chinedu Nebo, who said that the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, “has essentially ceased to exist,” adding, “We now have distribution, generation and transmission companies. So, it’s no longer PHCN.”

The privatization of PHCN has been in the works for a long time, the report added, noting that Nigeria experiences blackouts multiple times daily despite its status as Africa’s largest oil producer.

Philippines takes on the smart grid with prepay smart metering

The Manila Electric Company, (Meralco) the largest distribution utility in the Philippines, is embarking on its advanced smart grid roadmap with prepay smart metering as its first service, which involves GE’s (NYSE:GE) Digital Energy business and Trilliant, GE said on Nov. 5.

The first phase of Meralco’s long-term smart grid vision is integrating “smart intelligence” into the electric distribution network to help consumers better manage their electricity consumption.

As part of an overall energy infrastructure modernization strategy, GE will provide electric meters and system integration services. GE added that the project showcases the flexibility of the Trilliant Smart Grid Communications Platform, which enables advanced intelligence in the prepaid metering system today and will serve as a foundational platform for future advanced smart grid capabilities that improve reliability and enhance efficiency.

“This is the first phase of our long-term smart grid roadmap, which will eventually not only focus on prepaid metering, but also the modernization of our electric infrastructure, which will eventually deliver better customer experience, improved energy efficiency and enhanced reliability,” Alfredo Panlilio, head of customer retail services and corporate communications with Meralco, said in the statement.

Aruba’s national electric grid modernized

In other GE news, the company said on Nov. 13 that to create a modernized electrical network and equip Aruba with secure, high-capacity and long-range wireless coverage for its complete network, ELMAR – the country’s power utility company – has turned to GE’s RF Grid IQTM point-to-multipoint (P2MP) advanced metering infrastructure (AMI).

The installation of GE’s AMI solutions will create an all-encompassing wireless metering network, providing ELMAR with crucial electrical usage and power generation data to improve grid efficiency and functionality, while also enabling the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid, GE added.

The wireless AMI network rolled out in Aruba will encompass 170 P2MP meters interconnected through seven access points, each of which is capable of communicating with up to 20,000 smart meters and 64,000 distribution automation devices within a 40-mile radius – about 1,980 square miles, GE said.

Aruba’s seven new access points allow the island’s entire installed smart meter base – 48,000 to date – to communicate crucial data back to ELMAR to be analyzed, GE said. The infrastructure will also allow for network expansion by as many as 140,000 meters and 448,000 distribution automation devices in the future without the need for additional investment, the company said.

Similar to a cellular network, the Grid IQ P2MP AMI uses a star topology to provide an umbrella of coverage once access points are deployed. After access points have been set up, GE added, meters can be deployed as the utility sees fit, whether it be all at once or gradually. Each deployed meter will have the full benefits of GE’s AMI solution available immediately upon joining the network, GE said.

“GE’s Grid IQ P2MP AMI solution provides utilities with important information such as how much power is generated by a country’s wind farms and solar power facilities and when the majority of this power is being generated, helping them to better understand their electrical grid and what can be done to optimize it,” Robert Henriquez, ELMAR director, said in the statement.

Substation completed in Sweden

PennWell’s PennEnergy reported on Dec. 11 that Alstom Grid has delivered the 420-kV electrical substation in Barkeryd, Sweden, after 2.5 years of construction.

The switchyard, located in the municipality of Nässjö in southern Sweden, will be connected to Svenska Kraftnät’s South West Link, which consists of a new alternating current link between Barkeryd and Hallsberg, and a direct current link between Barkeryd and Hurva.

The project includes the delivery of the 400-kV double busbar circuit breaker system, a 130-kV single busbar circuit breaker system as well as engineering, civil works installation and commissioning.  

The substation sits next to the site of the future South West Link High Voltage Direct Current Voltage Source Converter station, which will also be designed and delivered by Alstom, PennEnergy added.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3157 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