Dewa to launch feasibility study for coal-fired plants

17 October 2008

Germany’s Lahmeyer in line to assess potential sites at Hassyan and Lehbab.

Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (Dewa) is to launch a feasibility study of coal-fired power plants in the emirate in the coming months, having selected the consultant to carry out the work.

Dewa sources tell MEED that Germany’s Lahmeyer will undertake the study, although the final details of a contract have yet to be agreed.

The study will evaluate the suitability of several sites in the emirate to host coal-fired plants.

It will also assess the long-term fuel and maintenance costs associated with a coal plant, comparing them with those for a combined-cycle gas-turbine plant.

Total power-generating capacity at Hassyan planned by Dewa9,000MW
Total power-generating capacity at Lehbab planned by Dewa5,000MW
Generating capacity of coal-fired plants under consideration1,500MW

Hassyan is one site Dewa has selected to produce 9,000MW of generation capacity and 600 million gallons a day (g/d) of desalinated water.

Dewa says its planned Q Station at Hassyan could become the first in Dubai to use coal feedstock. The first phase of Q Station was to be tendered in January 2010, as a combined-cycle, gas-fired plant, which was to be operational by January 2013.

If Lahmeyer’s study shows a coal-fired plant at Hassyan is feasible, however, the original tendering timetable for the first phase of the plant will be significantly delayed.

Hassyan, close to the Abu Dhabi border, is not the only site being evaluated. Dewa is also considering installing coal-fired capacity at Lehbab, between Dubai city and the Oman border. Lehbab has already been selected to host 5,000MW of open-cycle generating capacity to meet peak demand.

If the coal plants go ahead, they will use steam turbines with a capacity of 300-1,000MW. Each plant will in turn have a capacity of about 1,500MW (MEED 24:2:08).

The contract for the study was not openly tendered. Dewa selected Lahmeyer to carry out the work, based on its experience as the consultant on phase two of the planned P Station project at Hassyan.

Dewa has had difficulties developing the P Station project. Bidders submitted proposals for both phases of the scheme in April, but Dewa scrapped the tenders after deciding the prices were too high.

The first-phase plant will have a power-generating capacity of 1,500MW and 120 million g/d of desalination capacity, while the second phase will have a power-generating capacity of 1,300-1,500MW and desalination capacity of 100-120 million g/d (MEED 22:07:08).

Dewa retendered the first phase of the scheme in May, and fresh bids were submitted in July. But the authority is still unhappy with the prices being offered by bidders.

With the exception of two bids, the offers submitted in July were either the same or higher than those in April. If the first unit of the project is to become operational by 2011, as planned, Dewa will need to award the project by the end of October.

However, it is unclear whether Dewa will proceed on the basis of the current bids or opt for a different route.

“We have other choices and we are seriously considering them,” says one source at Dewa.

Retendering the project would result in further delays to the scheme and could lead to even higher prices being submitted in any future bid round.

Alternatively, Dewa could decide to split the project into a series of smaller packages, which would then be carried out by a pool of contractors, in an effort to secure the lowest overall price.

The authority has also retendered the second phase of P Station, with bids due on 30 December.

The plant is due to start pro-ducing power in 2012, despite originally being planned to come to the market at the same time as the first phase of the project in 2011 (MEED 13:10:08).

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