General interest news briefs, May 24

Canada Ministry of Foreign Affairs ... Calpine Corp. ... Babcock & Wilcox ... Public Service Co. of Colorado ... Utility Engineering Corp. ... GreenMountain.com ... National Wind Power ... Nordex GMBH ... Whirlpool Corp.


Ottawa says it wants stronger legislation to ensure that Canadian companies behave responsibly in foreign operations. Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy says he wants to toughen Canada�s Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA). The act now authorizes the government to apply economic sanctions, but only if they are authorized by an international body, such as the United Nations. The question of sanctions was raised earlier this year when Calgary-based Talisman Energy Inc. became involved in a controversy over operations in Sudan (OGJ, Jan. 17, 2000, p. 38). Axworthy said the current legislation gives the government no leverage for unilateral action over Canadian companies that may be acting contrary to government policy. Axworthy said he would still prefer a voluntary code of conduct in which the private sector would police its own activities in foreign operations. The minister recently led a UN Security Council debate that called for more effectively targeted sanction powers.

Independent power producer Calpine Corp., San Jose, Calif., has acquired the development rights to build, own, and operate a 540-Mw natural gas-fired electricity generating facility to be located near Fremont, Ohio. The facility will be capable of generating over 700 Mw of electric power during peak periods. Scheduled to begin operation in mid-2003, the proposed Fremont Energy Center will involve a $340 million investment. The project will use two advanced-technology combustion turbines in combined cycle with a single steam turbine. Calpine acquired the development rights from Buckeye Energy Projects LLC.

Babcock & Wilcox Co., Barberton, Ohio, a subsidiary of McDermott International Inc., has been awarded a $27 million contract by Utility Engineering Corp. to supply to Public Service Co. of Colorado environmental control equipment for the utility's Cherokee and Valmont generating stations. Under the contract, B&W will provide vertical-flow dry scrubbers for Cherokee Station Units 3 and 4, and Valmont Unit 5. Dry scrubbing involves spraying a highly atomized slurry or aqueous solution of an alkaline reagent into hot flue gas to absorb sulfur dioxide emissions.

Iran has allocated 9.5 billion rials to its power sector during the current Iranian year to supply rising electric power demand. Energy Minister Habibollah Bitaraf noted the country's current economic development plan (2000-05) predicts 7.2% average annual growth in electricity consumption over the period, while the volume of electricity demand is projected to rise to 156 billion kw-hr by 2004, with peaking needs increasing 6%/year. Addressing a Tehran conference on cooperation among government, universities, and industries in national development, Bitaraf said, during the past 20 years, electricity generation in Iran has grown 6.32%, installed capacity 3.7%, per-capita energy production 3.25%, and the number of cities supplied with electricity 9.5%.

Green Mountain Wind Farm, Garrett, Pa., a project that will produce as much as 25 million kw-hr/year�or enough to serve the average needs of about 2,500 Pennsylvania homes�began operations earlier this week. The Green Mountain Wind Farm is owned and operated by National Wind Power, one of the UK's leading wind power developers. GreenMountain.com will market the power. The eight wind turbines, towers, and blades were manufactured by Denmark's Nordex GMBH. Electricity produced by the wind turbines will flow through underground cables to a nearby substation owned by Somerset Rural Electric Cooperative.

Energy and water efficiency standards covering new clothes washers that could save consumers an estimated $25 billion in utility costs and cut water usage by 6 trillion gal over 30 years have been agreed to by the appliance industry and environmental and energy efficiency groups, the Whirlpool Corp., Benton Harbor, Mich., said Tuesday. The agreement, which is subject to approval by the US Congress and the Department of Energy, includes an integrated package of increased energy-efficiency standards, new energy labeling and energy reporting requirements, and manufacturer's tax credits for producing high-efficiency clothes washers. Whirlpool Pres. Jeff Fettig said the company plans to develop both clothes washers and refrigerators that exceed the new energy-efficiency levels in exchange for hoped-for tax credits as a part of the agreement.

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