Sunday, January 24, 2010

We have Moved!

Hey Everybody!

Asian Power has a new Website! As such, all updates and news articles will be made available at the
Asian Power website

Please visit our website and bookmark it for future use!

Thank you!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Is carbon capture truly viable for power generation companies?

Carbon-Capture Costs Delay Projects, Hamper CO2 Goals

Rising costs for carbon dioxide capture and storage are delaying new projects that use the technology and jeopardizing plans to meet emission-reduction targets, the International Energy Agency said.
Costs for carbon capture and storage, or CCS, have increased "significantly" in the past five years, the Paris-based agency said in its Energy Technology Perspectives 2008 report. CCS must account for almost a fifth of the world's emission-reduction effort to meet a planned 50 percent cut in all greenhouse gases by 2050, it said.
"We must step up our activities or lose this opportunity," IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka told reporters at a press conference in Paris. "The technology must be proven within the next decade."
This year, Group of Eight industrialized countries have supported an IEA proposal to begin developing 20 large-scale demonstration CCS projects by 2010 to prove the technology can be commercially viable. Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc, Europe's largest oil companies, have said CCS is the most realistic way to reduce emissions and have called for regulatory measures to make projects feasible.
"Current spending and activity levels are nowhere near enough to achieve these deployment goals," according to the IEA's report. "In the absence of suitable financial mechanisms to support" the technology, "high costs have precluded the initiation of large-scale CCS projects."
Energy Generation
CCS gathers carbon dioxide during power generation and pipes it into underground storage instead of venting it into the air.
About 69 percent of the world's carbon dioxide output and 60 percent of all greenhouse-gas emissions are related to energy generation, the agency said. Emissions are set to more than double by 2050 if nations neglect carbon-reduction measures, leading to an increase of 4 to 7 degrees Celsius in global temperatures, according to an e-mailed summary of the report.
"CCS offers a viable and competitive route to mitigate CO2 emissions," the IEA said.
To stabilize carbon emissions, 5.1 gigatons of the gas needs to be captured every year by 2050 at cost of $50 a ton, according to the report. To cut global carbon emissions in half by 2050, 10.4 gigatons must be captured annually at a cost of $200 a ton, it said.

Cost considered, is retrofitting carbon capture technology to existing plants still more practical than other ground-up technologies like nuclear energy?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Will the growth of nuclear power cost more money and grief than it's worth?

IAEA Says Aging Reactors, Weak Regulation May Be `Ticking Bomb'

Old nuclear reactors and weak government regulation could be a "ticking bomb" in some countries, Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said .
"We see a troubling combination of old reactors and weak regulators," the head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog told a conference in Paris, without naming any countries.
ElBaradei's warning comes amid renewed interest in atomic energy among governments and utilities around the world as power demand increases and fossil-fuel consumption threatens to boost the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Some 50 countries are considering introducing nuclear generation and a dozen are "actively preparing" new programs, ElBaradei said.
Nuclear plants may produce more than a fifth of global electricity by 2050, according to a report published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. To reach this level, some 54 reactors would have to be built each year between 2030 and 2050, the OECD said. There are 439 such generators operating worldwide.
"A single nuclear accident anywhere in the world could severely undermine the prospects for nuclear energy everywhere," ElBaradei said. "Failures of either safety or security can have consequences stretching well beyond national borders, as the Chernobyl accident demonstrated."
A reactor at Ukraine's Chernobyl complex exploded in April 1986, spewing radiation across the country, as well as Belarus, Russia and northern Europe.
Weapons Risk
Turkey, Egypt, Vietnam and Nigeria are among countries preparing new nuclear-power ventures, ElBaradei said. The spread of atomic material to new areas increases the risk that it could be "diverted to make nuclear weapons," he said.
Countries that can enrich uranium and separate plutonium for nuclear fuel are "de facto nuclear weapons-capable states," which could build such arms if they left the Non-Proliferation Treaty, he said. "This is too narrow a margin of security."
ElBaradei reiterated his call for multinational control over the nuclear fuel cycle to prevent the spread of atomic weapons.

Will the spread of nuclear power result in a rise in nuclear weapon fuel proliferation as well?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Will gas continue to be in demand for power plants despite rising costs?

Gas-Fed Power Plant Costs Double in Four Years, Developer Says

The cost of building natural-gas-fired power stations has soared in the past four years on a lack of competition in the market for generation equipment, according to a developer.
"Costs have more than doubled since 2004," Martin Giesen, chief executive officer of Zug, Switzerland-based Advanced Power AG, said at a conference in Amsterdam. "The lack of competition has been a real problem."
Gas-fed stations, which emit about half as much carbon dioxide as coal-fired units, are increasingly favored by European utilities adding new capacity. As many as 61 percent of plants under construction or proposed in 15 western European markets will burn gas, according to a Prospex Research Ltd. study published Sept. 29.
The market for new plants is dominated by General Electric Co., Siemens AG, Mitsubishi Corp. and Alstom SA, Giesen said in a subsequent interview.
The big four have "all the smart equipment, the high-tech hardware," he said. A 400-megawatt gas-fired plant now costs about 300 million euros ($409 million) and an 800-megawatt station costs about double that, according to Giesen.
GE Energy's Bart Stoffer, a delegate at the conference, declined to comment on whether a lack of competition among equipment providers is helping to keep prices high.
Advanced Power is developing gas-fired electricity generation in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the northeastern U.S. Giesen is also looking at projects in the U.K., he said, declining to be more specific.

How will this affect development in gas-dependent countries like Singapore and Malaysia?

Friday, October 10, 2008

How will North Korea react to 'hosting' a proposed gas pipeline between Russia and South Korea?

South Korea Seeks $90 Billion of Russian Natural Gas

South Korea plans to import $90 billion of natural gas from Russia via North Korea, with which it shares one of the world's most heavily fortified borders, to reduce its reliance on more expensive cargoes arriving by sea.
State-run Korea Gas Corp. signed a preliminary agreement with OAO Gazprom, Russia's largest energy company, to import 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas over 30 years starting in 2015, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in a statement. The accord was signed in Moscow during President Lee Myung Bak's three-day visit.
Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller said after talks between Lee and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that the exact delivery route hasn't been determined and that shipments could begin as early as 2015.
The attempt to secure North Korea's consent to build a pipeline on its territory comes as six-nation talks aimed at disarming the country's nuclear capabilities have stalled. South Korea will seek guaranteed Russian gas supplies, whether the fuel is delivered via pipeline or otherwise, said Lee Jae Hoon, vice minister for trade and energy.
"Russia suggested a pipeline via North Korea, which is expected to be more economical than other possible routes," the minister said in a news briefing. "Russia will contact the North to discuss this."

'Long-Term Deliveries'
Miller said the two sides agreed "to start working on identifying the route for gas deliveries to South Korea," and that "work will be focused on preparing the basic principles for long-term deliveries."
The $90 billion estimate for the gas contract is based on current prices, which Russia and South Korea are likely to renegotiate every year, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said.
"Transporting gas through North Korea could be risky for South Korea," said Kim Jin Woo, a senior research analyst at Korea Energy Economics Institute. "But the project will ease tensions on the Korean peninsula if Russia successfully persuades North Korea" to accept the plan.
North Korea could earn $100 million a year from the gas- pipeline project, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said.

Energy Cooperation
In a statement following their talks, Medvedev and Lee said they support joint energy projects in Russia, South Korea and other countries. They agreed to cooperate on developing hydrocarbon deposits on Russia's continental shelf, particularly the West Kamchatka shelf. Russia welcomes South Korea's plans to participate in auctions for the right to develop energy reserves and to build petrochemical facilities in Russia's Far East, the statement said.
The volume of trade between Russia and South Korea may reach $20 billion this year, up from $15 billion in 2007, and "this isn't the limit," Medvedev told reporters after the meeting.
Six-way nuclear talks involving the U.S., Russia, China and Japan stalled last month when Kim Jong Il's regime said it stopped disabling the Yongbyon reactor, the source of its weapons-grade plutonium. North Korea complained about delays in being deleted from the U.S. terrorism blacklist and removing sanctions imposed under its Trading With the Enemies Act.
While North and South Korea share a border, they lack a standard diplomatic channel because their 1950-1953 war ended without a peace agreement. Around 1.7 million troops face each other across a demilitarized zone.

Biggest Reserves
"Russia will supply the fuel in the form of LNG or compressed natural gas if negotiations with North Korea do not work out," according to the ministry's statement. South Korea and Russia will sign a final agreement in 2010 when a study on the route is completed.
South Korea is turning to Russia, holder of the world's biggest proven gas reserves, as it faces intensifying competition for energy resources from China and Japan. Asia's fourth-largest economy depends on gas for 16 percent of its power generation.
Under the agreement, a pipeline to South Korea will be laid via North Korea from gas fields on Sakhalin Island in Russia's Far East. The pipeline would initially carry 10 billion cubic meters of gas a year, or about 20 percent of South Korea's annual consumption. The cost of the gas link's construction is estimated at $3 billion, the ministry said.

LNG Shipments
Last year, South Korea imported 25.5 million tons of gas and all of it arrived in a liquefied form by sea. Qatar, Indonesia, Oman and Malaysia accounted for 93 percent of its LNG shipments. The cost of gas delivered via pipelines was $410 a ton in the global market last year, while LNG was $499 a ton, according to the ministry.
Domestic demand for the fuel may climb 8.3 percent to 27.7 million tons in 2008, Korea Gas said on Sept. 9. The utility has entered into agreements to buy 25.8 million tons of gas for delivery this year.
LNG is gas that has been chilled to liquid form, reducing it to one-six-hundredth of its original volume, for transportation by ship to destinations not connected by pipeline. On arrival, it's turned back into gas for distribution to power plants and other buyers.
Under a February 2007 disarmament accord, North Korea said it would disable its nuclear programs in return for normalized diplomatic ties with the U.S. and Japan and energy assistance. It agreed to disable the 5-megawatt Yongbyon reactor last October and blew up a cooling tower there in June.

Nuclear Bomb
The Bush administration says North Korea, which tested a nuclear device in 2006, must allow international inspectors to verify the extent of its atomic program before the nation can be struck off its terrorism list.
North Korea, which tested a nuclear bomb in October 2006, has complained about the slow pace of energy assistance. The Communist country said it has received 390,000 tons of fuel aid, with another 100,000 tons yet to be delivered.
"South Korea and Russia may provide energy assistance through the pipeline," said Kim at Korea Energy Economics Institute.

Will the proposed pipeline be affected by the bogging down of nuclear talks with North Korea?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Does Singapore's electricity needs justify the plans for a coal-fired power plant?

Tuas Power Plans Singapore's First Coal-Fired Plant

Tuas Power Ltd., the Singapore electricity producer sold in March to China's Huaneng Power International Inc., plans to spend S$2 billion ($1.4 billion) to build the nation's first coal-fired cogeneration power plant.
The project on Jurong Island will also include a desalination plant and a waste-water treatment facility, the company said in a statement on its Web site yesterday. The complex is expected to start operations in 2011, it said.
Singapore is diversifying its fuel mix from predominantly cleaner gas-fired power plants to cheaper, although dirtier, coal. The country releases 12.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide per capita compared with a global average of 4.3 tons, according to the World Bank Web site.
"The new owners are a coal company, but they have to deal with imported coal and large yards to store it and that may drive costs higher than a gas-fired station," said Tony Regan, a consultant with Nexant Ltd. "A coal-fired plant is a much bigger footprint and there's also the issue of the environment."
Tuas Power's planned plant will be 80 percent fueled by coal, with the rest from biomass, chiefly woodchips and palm kernel shells, the company said.
In March, Beijing-based China Huaneng agreed to pay S$4.24 billion for Tuas Power, the smallest of three generators that supply 90 percent of the island-state's electricity. Tuas Power and Senoko Power Ltd. have been sold by state investment fund Temasek Holdings Pte, while PowerSeraya Ltd. may be disposed of before the end of the year.
Gas, Coal Prices
Prices of liquefied natural gas rose to a record $25 per million British thermal units this year while Asian coal prices have more than doubled to records on rising consumption and transport bottlenecks in Australia and South Africa.
The introduction of coal into the country's energy mix comes after the government accelerated the conversion of oil-fired plants to gas-fueled combined cycle power plants in the 1990s.
Senoko Power, the country's biggest utility, invested $600 million in 1999 to convert three oil-fired units of 120 megawatts each into gas generators.
The move increased the efficiency of generation to more than 40 percent from 36 percent and reduced carbon-dioxide emissions by about 2.5 million tons a year. Singapore generated 38 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2004.
Tuas Power's existing plant consists of four blocks of gas- fired combined cycle plants and two units of steam plants with a total generating capacity of 2,670 megawatts, according to the company's Web site. It accounts for more than one-fourth of Singapore's electricity output.

Being a China-based coal-dependent company, is China Huaneng truly considering the environmental impact a coal-fired plant can make in tiny Singapore?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Considering the Indian government's handling of power matters, is privatisation of nuclear power in India a good option?

Reliance Power Plans Atomic Plants After Rules Change

Reliance Power Ltd., the energy company controlled by billionaire Anil Ambani, is in talks with General Electric Co. and Areva SA to build nuclear plants after India changes rules to allow companies to invest in atomic energy.
The utility plans to build nuclear stations at two sites, Chief Executive Officer Jayarama Chalasani said by telephone in Mumbai. Reliance Power is also in talks with Toshiba Corp.'s Westinghouse Electric Co. and Russia's Rosatom Corp., he said.
India may end a government monopoly on nuclear power generation after winning the backing of a 45-nation suppliers group this month to trade in atomic fuel and technology. Reliance joins state-run Nuclear Power Corp., GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd. and GMR Energy Ltd., which said last week they are in talks with overseas companies to set up atomic plants.
"Private sector presence in India's nuclear business has a long way to go," said Girish Solanki, an analyst at Angel Broking Ltd. in Mumbai "Entering the business may be a positive for Reliance and other private sector companies but it's too early to talk about the impact." He has a "neutral" rating on the stock.
Reliance Power shares climbed 3.7 rupees, or 2.4 percent, to 160.65 rupees at the close in Mumbai trading. The stock earlier dropped 17.2 percent to the lowest since July 23, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. India's 30-share, benchmark Sensitive Index declined 0.1 percent.
Private Companies
The government may unveil a policy to allow private companies access to the nuclear market after national elections due by May, Rajendra Pachauri, an adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on climate change, said. Pachauri also chairs a United Nations panel of climate scientists who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore.
The setting up of nuclear projects may be opened up to include private and other state-run companies, India's Planning Commission has said. The effect of allowing private companies may become visible after 2011, the panel said.
India, the world's second-fastest growing major economy, won a waiver of a ban on trade from the Nuclear Suppliers Group as part of a U.S.-backed deal. The South Asian nation plans to add 40,000 megawatts of nuclear power capacity by 2020, a third of the current total output, to beat shortages of as much as 17 percent during peak hours.
The NSG endorsement may give France's Areva and Russia's Rosatom a head start on Indian orders because U.S. companies need congressional approval to participate in supplying technology and fuel. U.S. President George W. Bush has submitted the agreement with India to Congress for final approval, seeking to win ratification before it adjourns.
'Small Team'
Nuclear Power plans to start talks with General Electric and Areva this month while waiting for Congress to clear the deal, Chairman Shreyans Kumar Jain said. The state monopoly, which may buy $14 billion of equipment in 2009, operates 17 reactors that produce 4,120 megawatts of electricity.
Mumbai-based Reliance Power has hired 10 people, some of them former employees of Nuclear Power, Chalasani said.
"We've been preparing for the last two years," Chalasani said yesterday. "There is a small team in place that is studying the market." As many as 200 people may be hired to manage its planned nuclear power business, he said.
Reliance Power wants land to be assigned for nuclear projects. The government should decide where the new plants should be located after conducting studies, Chalasani said.
Generation Capacity
The company, which raised $3 billion in India's biggest share sale, plans to spend $28 billion on building 28,200 megawatts of coal-fired and water-based electricity generation capacity in the next five years. Reliance currently generates 941 megawatts.
The generator may build 3,000 megawatts of nuclear capacity, according to Chalasani. The cost to build one megawatt of nuclear power may be as much as 80 million rupees and isn't included in the spending plans already announced, he said.
The utility is currently building two so-called ultra-mega power projects at Sasan in central India and Krishnapatnam in the south. Each coal-fired plant will be capable of generating 4,000 megawatts.
The company "has a lot on its plate in terms of implementation," Angel Broking's Solanki said.

Will privatisation really make an impact on India's nuclear power program?