Category Archives: ENERGY

First pile marks start of marine construction works on Aqaba LNG project, Jordan

Image courtesy of BAM International bv

Image courtesy of BAM International bv

Netherlands-based BAM International has successfully driven in the first pile at the new LNG (liquid natural gas) jetty in Aqaba, Jordan. The project is proceeding as scheduled and hand-over to client, the Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC), is expected in April 2015.
The scope of work for the new LNG jetty includes a 100-metre trestle on steel piles, a concrete off-loading platform of 20 x 20 metres, four mooring dolphins and two breasting dolphins.

The project further comprises a 700-metre long gas pipeline to the shore tie-in point, as well as associated control equipment and instrumentation.

Image courtesy of BAM International bv

Image courtesy of BAM International bv

The development of the terminal area, including roads and two buildings, also forms part of the contract. The substructure works for the terminal building are nearing completion, and the substructure works for the administration building have commenced.

Together with its sister company, BAM Contractors from Ireland, and its Jordanian joint-venture partner MAG Engineering & Contracting Co, BAM International was originally awarded the Engineering, Procurement and Construction of the LNG jetty in November 2013. BAM Infraconsult is involved in the design of the civil works.
This is the third project for BAM in Aqaba. The joint venture has already successfully completed the New Port in Aqaba for the same client earlier this year and the extension of the Container Terminal for APMT and ADC in 2013.

By Gail Taylor

General Electric to buy Alstom’s energy business for $17bn

The Board of French engineering company, Alstom has given the green light to US energy giant General Electric to purchase its energy business at a price of $17bn. In order to protect the country’s interests and facilitate the deal, the French government will purchase a 20% stake in Alstom from its main shareholder, Bouygues.

Siemens and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries also submitted acquisition proposals, but General Electric’s proposal won unanimous approval from Alstom directors. General Electric will now acquire Alstom’s power grid business, renewable operations, and nuclear steam turbines to form three joint ventures. In doing so, it hopes to open up its operations in China and Africa.

Conversely, General Electric (GE) is to sell its railway signal business to Alstom, who are the manufacturers of France’s TGV high speed trains. The deal is expected to close in 2015.

General Electric’s Chairman and CEO, Jeff Immelt said of the deal: “We will now move to the next phase of the Alstom alliance. We look forward to working with the Alstom team to make a globally competitive power and grid enterprise. We also look forward to working with the French government, employees and shareholders of Alstom. As we have said, this is good for France, GE and Alstom.”

According to a Reuters report, the two companies already have history. In Alstom’s home town of Belfort, 2,500 of its employees have worked for more than a decade ‘building electrical turbines just a few dozen metres away from a GE plant, whose workers they meet each day at lunchtime in a shared canteen’.

The article continues: “GE’s history in Belfort stretches back even further, to 1928, when one of its subsidiaries, Thomson-Houston, merged with the Socieate Alsacienne de Construction Mecanique to form Alssthom, then spelled with an ‘h’”.

Written by Gail Taylor

Balance of Power: The case for renewable energy for Europe

Reinier de Graaf, director of AMO, Research and Design, OMA

“Ukraine’s delay in paying for Russian gas has created a critical situation. In the event of further violation of the conditions of payment, Gazprom will be compelled to partially or completely cease gas deliveries. Undoubtedly, this is an extreme measure. We fully realize that this increases the risk of siphoning off natural gas passing through Ukraine’s territory and heading to European consumers.”

Vladimir Putin in a letter to 18 EU countries, April 10th, 2014

Europe Renewable Energy Blur_Roamdap 2050_Copyright OMA

Five years ago, on the heels of the “failure” of COP15 in Copenhagen, our office participated in a project called Roadmap 2050*, which proposed the wholesale transformation of Europe’s energy infrastructure – away from fossil fuels, towards renewable energy sources – with the aim of cutting Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% in 2050. The idea was simple: the integration of national energy grids into a Europe-wide supergrid would permit the sharing and exchange of different forms of renewable energy between nations. In terms of Europe’s energy supply, this would be nothing short of a revolution. Rather than each nation having to pursue a full mix of energy sources within its own territory, EU nations could be free to engage in extreme a degree of specialization, whereby each EU member state could focus on the type of (renewable) energy best suited to its specific geography and climate, and still be insulated from the supply fluctuations of renewable energy.

Although little more than a footnote at the time, there was another aspect to the project, which, given the current political climate, is perhaps more interesting at the moment: Europe could become self-sufficient in its energy supply. Tied to this is an interesting political trade off: independence from external energy providers in exchange for increased energy interdependence between EU member states. Strangely enough, the byproduct of this essentially technical exercise turned out to be a more compelling case for European integration than any which had ever been made in the political arena. For a while it looked as though European integration, 60 years after the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community, could once again become an industrial project, this time with the building of an integrated energy infrastructure at its center: the transformation of national power sectors into a single integrated mutually reinforcing system of energy provision, turning Europe’s diversity into the ultimate strategic advantage.

Eneropa_Roamdap 2050_Copyright OMA

Much has happened since. A near nuclear disaster has taken place in Fukushima. Germany (largely as a result of Japan’s misfortune) has embarked on an ‘Energiewende’. For a while the Arab Spring seemed to offer the prospect of North Africa becoming the great democratic reservoir that would provide Europe with politically correct (read: solar) energy. But if one calmly takes stock of Europe’s progress, both in terms of the share of renewables in Europe’s energy provision, and the formulation of a truly integrated European energy policy, there is still much left to be desired.

In view of the recent events in Ukraine and the overt threats of Russia to use its gas supplies as a means to impose its will, not only on Ukraine but potentially on Europe (and particularly Eastern Europe), the prospect of a self-sufficient, ‘energy independent’ Europe acquires an acute appeal. Not even in the coldest days of the cold war did the USSR leverage its gas deliveries to gain the upper hand in the battle for global dominance. The ideological balance of power was guaranteed by the accompanying balance of military force. In the world of globalization however, with economic entanglement among otherwise sovereign states, energy has the capability to replace military force as the prime strategic weapon in wielding geopolitical influence, giving its possessors ‘first strike capability’, with minimal consequences in return.

MetroMap_Roamdap 2050_Copyright OMA

At the time of its launch in 2010, Roadmap 2050 was primarily driven by technological and environmental parameters; today, it is first and foremost the political aspect that grants the project a renewed momentum. Roadmap 2050 could provide Europe the necessary energy security, so it can remain firm about its democratic principles. Energy is primarily exchanged between European states that have committed to the same values and the dependence on outsiders is drastically reduced. The beauty of the idea lies in that within the proposed system no single European state can ever claim a monopoly on energy provision. Energy is exchanged for energy; todays suppliers are tomorrow’s recipients.

Dependencies shift, simply on the basis of seasonal or meteorological conditions. The very strength of the project resides in the fact that it ultimately does not assume energy is ever un-political and the profound knowledge that a Europe that relies on energy provided by those who do not share its principles may ultimately well be a Europe unable to afford those principles.

Sun Wind Map_Roamdap 2050_Copyright OMA

*Roadmap 2050 a practical guide to a prosperous, low carbon Europe. The mission of Roadmap 2050 project is to provide a practical, independent and objective analysis how to achieve a low-carbon economy in Europe, in line with the energy security, environmental and economic goals of the European Union. The Roadmap 2050 project is an initiative of the European Climate Foundation (ECF) developed by a consortium of experts funded by the ECF: McKinsey & Company; KEMA; The Energy Futures Lab at Imperial College London; Oxford Economics, E3G; The Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands; The Regulatory Assistance Project and The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).

Reinier de Graaf directs the work of AMO, the research and design studio established as a counterpart to the architectural practice of OMA. He has been responsible for AMO’s increasing involvement in sustainability and energy planning, which has included Zeekracht: a strategic Masterplan for the North Sea, the publication in 2010 of “Roadmap 2050: A Practical Guide to a Prosperous, Low-Carbon Europe” with the European Climate Foundation, and “The Energy Report,” a global plan for 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, made with the WWF.

Written By admin 
May 12, 2014 09:18 am

What’s the future for London’s infrastructure?

John Dickie

On Thursday 27 March, the London Infrastructure Summit, hosted by London First, took place at Kings Place, London. Attended by over 200 delegates from the AEC industries, the full-day conference was a platform for key figures in the infrastructure profession to discuss this year’s theme: Infrastructure fit for a world city.

The first session opened with a brief history about London First. Set up to champion Crossrail 20 years ago, the not-for-profit organisation has a strong grasp on what is happening within the capital’s built environment and its infrastructure in particular.

John Dickie from London First summarised the introductory video interviews and opened the first session What does London need from a long-term infrastructure plan? with the words ’much has been done, there is much to do…’

The 5-strong panel (full details here) were in agreement that London needs a long-term infrastructure plan and that the best way to do that, overall, is to make the procurement system faster and less arduous and that all parties involved need to work together. ’Collaboration is key,’ concluded Jason Robinson of Bechtel.

With regard to the procurement system, Andrew Ridley-Barker from Vinci Construction UK Ltd. argued that ’We need a better procurement process to enable development’ and Robinson agreed, stating that the ’procurement system values low cost, which equals high risk. If investors took on more risk, this could be a game changer’. He went on to say that ’housing…density…urban consolidation around our transport hubs…these are smart cities elements we lack’. GLA Member Val Shawcross was keen to express that there are still parts of London – including her own constituency – that do not have high speed broadband and wished to add extended and improved broadband to the wish list.

The panel were then asked what would be on their shopping list for a long-term infrastructure plan for London. The resulting inventory included Old Oak Common (HS2 Station), Nuclear Power Stations and to fix airport capacity problem. An audience question from a representative at Foster + Partners raised the point ‘Are we future-proofing our Infrastructure Plan? 2050 and beyond?’ The panel were keen to embrace that scenario but concurred that there is enough to do now so that a longer-term plan could be resolved. Ridley-Barker added that we need to invest in the skills set as Vinci Construction (amongst others) are already doing and plan to do.

Panel 1Alexander Jan, Arup, Andrew Ridley-Barker, Vinci Construction UK Ltd., Basil Scarsella, UK Power Networks, Jason Robinson, Bechtel, Isabel Dedring, TfL

The Keynote address, A neo-Victorian age – planning for London’s future growth, was delivered by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London. Amidst suggestions to re-colonise northern France and that Birmingham would become a London borough, Boris gave a rousing and informative speech about what London has achieved and what it can achieve, with some inevitable self-promotion ‘Since I removed the incumbent & became Mayor, life expectancy is accelerating at its fastest rate since Stone Age!’.

Boris praised the work of Transport for London for their progress so far and reducing delays by 40% on the tube and that Crossrail will boost capacity by 10%, adding that ‘We need to integrate the overground with the underground. Transport infrastructure development in London is triggering regeneration of brownfield sites.’

Boris told the summit that we must have Crossrail 2 by 2029 along with more river crossings to greater improve the connectivity within London and announced that the GLA are offering Broadband grants to aid businesses and homes.

He went on to say that ‘London needs better energy infrastructure’ and noted that ‘The Shard consumes as much energy as Colchester.’ London only generates approximately 2% of its energy used and Boris claimed that ‘brown-outs would occur if we do not take action soon’.


The image below shows the answer to the interactive voting session which asked How does London’s infrastructure compare with its competitor world cities?

Interactive Question 1

After a short break (and networking), the summit continued with the question; Where is the money coming from to pay for future London infrastructure? Chaired by Richard Payne of Turner & Townsend there was a mixed response from the panel (full details here) with Pippa Malmgren from DRPM Group stating that the future market was encouraging; ‘Chinese investors are already buying property in Birmingham, manufacturing is returning to the Midlands.’

But we heard a slightly more cautious view from Deloitte’s Nick Prior, who said there is still a lot to do ‘Investors need to know they’ll get money back – must convince Government that London Infrastructure is a priority.’

Where does the money come fromRichard Payne, Turner & Townsend, Dr Pippa Malmgren, DRPM Group, Nick Prior, Deloitte, Sir Adrian Montague, 3i Group, Geoffrey Spence, HM Treasury

Lord Andrew Adonis, Shadow Infrastructure Minister then chaired a lively panel (full details here) discussion Crossrail 2 – how do we make it a reality? Michèle Dix from Transport for London presents the High Level Programme for Crossrail 2, confirming that Boris’ earlier prediction that Crossrail 2 will be completed by 2029.

Crossrail 2 programme

The panel (full details here) agreed that in order to help make it a reality, Crossrail 2 needs what Crossrail had, a champion, a dedicated team as Nicholas Pollard, Balfour Beatty states; ‘We need a strong leadership for Crossrail 2.’

Michèle Dix concluded by saying; ‘There are plans in place for improved links to South East London-extensions to tube, Docklands Light Railway (DLR) & overground.’

During this session Crossrail announced an extension to its route to Reading. Read the full press release here.

Crossrail 2

Lord Andrew Adonis, Shadow Infrastructure Minister, Farshid Kamali, Atkins, Nicholas Pollard, Balfour Beatty, Mark Carne, Network Rail, Michèle Dix, Transport for London

Bechtel’s Lawrie Quinn chaired the next panel discussion (full details here) which looked at the statement Energy and Transport projects as an urban catalyst to sustain economic success and regeneration. Beth West, Commercial Director of HS2, said that they were already in the process of identifying the benefits that the HS2 would bring; ‘We have a team looking at regeneration development around HS2, trying to quantify the benefits’

Reflecting on the previous discussion, Richard Abel from Macquarie Group implied that the confidence in funding is not quite there yet; ‘New infrastructure projects depend on social consent and predictable investment framework’ with Beth West agreeing; ‘Having patient money is one of the biggest challenges’ and added that ‘HS2 will be a ‘release valve’ for businesses to set up in different cities rather than ‘flooding into London’.


Lawrie Quinn, Bechtel, Richard Abel, Macquarie Group, Beth West, HS2, Jason Robinson, Bechtel


Balfour Beatty completes infrastructure works for England’s largest on-shore wind farm

Balfour Beatty completes infrastructure works for England’s largest onshore wind farm

Balfour Beatty has completed infrastructure works which serve as the base for 34 wind turbines for SSE Renewables on the largest on-shore wind farm project in England.

The £30 million contract in Keadby, North Lincolnshire, will bring power to approximately 57,000 homes and includes the construction of a £5 million access bridge and the installation of 23 kilometers of access tracks.

Balfour Beatty used its in-house specialist teams to carry out all piling works and the switchgear manufacture associated with the substation electrical installation.

David Sutton, SSE Renewables Lead Project Manager, said: “The project team have worked hard over the past few months to ensure that the construction process has been carried out on time and with minimum disruption to local residents. We appreciate the co-operation the local community has offered us during the construction process and will continue to work hard to maintain communications.”

Stephen Semple, Balfour Beatty North Central Delivery Unit Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to have reached this major milestone on our project at Keadby wind farm. We have significant experience in delivering complex power schemes with our customer SSE Renewables and we look forward to the successful completion of this unique project for them.”

The pre-construction works commenced in February 2012 with the overall scheme scheduled for completion during the summer of 2014. Balfour Beatty will remain on site completing site landscaping and restoration works whilst SSE Renewables undertakes final testing and commissioning of the wind turbines.

Balfour Beatty has significant experience in delivering large, complex power projects and is currently carrying out its £39 million Beauly to Denny power transmission lines project for SSE, as well as several substation projects.


Written By admin 
February 20, 2014 11:32 am
Posted In ENERGY, Wind

Could parts of northern Europe soon be plugging into Iceland’s geothermal energy?

With its countless thermal springs, geysers and waterfalls, Iceland has long used geothermal and hydroelectric technologies to provide its own energy in a renewable, clean and economical way.

The country’s tiny population of 320,000 uses only about a fifth of the energy generated each day, and so the Icelandic government has big plans to export the surplus and more via a proposed 1,000-mile power cable running along the seabed to the UK. The UK would then act as a hub for at least four other inter-connectors to Denmark, Norway, Ireland and France.

The UK’s Sunday Times newspaper reports that although the concept of plugging into Iceland’s energy plants has been “knocking around for more than half a century”, plans are now looking far more likely to become reality thanks to “newly available green subsidies from the British government, technological advances and the need to replace the legions of coal plants set for closure”.

In order to help realise the plans, top London financier, Edi Truell, has set up the Atlantic Supergrid corporation, and claims to have sufficient backing from a number of large international pension funds to meet the estimated costs of £4 billion. Truell envisages a cable capable of carrying 1.2GW of electricity, enough to power more than 2 million homes.

The cable idea has been through various incarnations, but the latest – named Icelink – entered the frame in 2012 when Conservative MP and then Energy Minister, Charles Hendry, signed a memorandum of understanding for the UK and Iceland to carry out feasibility studies. (The Sunday Times notes that Hendry has since joined the board of Atlantic Supergrid.)

The Icelandic government is enthusiastic about the Icelink plans and will now decide whether to progress the project. If it gets the green light, the next stage would involve detailed studies of the seabed and in-depth talks with Britain regarding subsidies. Importantly, recent UK energy legislation would allow the granting of subsidies for low-carbon projects such as Icelink, even though they are not on Sovereign soil.

Although the UK currently intends to build a major new £16 billion nuclear power plant in Hinkley, Somerset, Truell predicts that Icelink would be a cheaper energy option for households. It could also potentially be in operation sooner, especially in the light of question marks raised over Hinkley by the European Commission last month.

The UK’s National Grid is currently studying plans for the Icelandic power cable. Spokesman for the Grid, Paul Johnson, told the Sunday Times, “If we can get the appropriate regulatory treatment, this is potentially a more cost-effective proposition to the UK economy than other sources of green energy.”

Gail Taylor

Written By admin 
February 17, 2014 16:24 pm
Posted In ENERGY

PPP Center Invites Interested Consultants for PDMF Panel


Representatives from the Rebel Group International BV, DOTC, and PPP Center sign during the Transaction Advisory Services Contract Signing for the Manila-Makati-Pasay-Parañaque Mass Transit System Project held in PPP Center.

The Philippine Public–Private Partnership (PPP) Center invites eligible international and local consulting firms to submit expressions of interest to prequalify to be part of the Project Development and Monitoring Facility (PDMF) panel of consulting firms.

Selection process shall be undertaken in accordance with Asian Development Bank (ADB) Consultant Selection Guidelines. Deadline for submission of EOIs is on 22 March 2014. Details are available at

The Center is currently restructuring the PDMF panel to further improve its technical dimension and facilitate upgrading in terms of the capability, expertise, and experience of the panel members.

From an initial nine (9) consortia of consulting firms in 2011, the panel has expanded to 15 members in 2012.

PDMF prequalified consulting firms shall be retained on non-committal basis for two years to support preparation and transaction of PPP projects in the Philippines.

Total available budget for transaction advisory services for PPP project preparation and management is approximately USD 90 Million.

The PDMF is a revolving pool of funds from the Philippine Government and the Government of Australia under a Capacity Development Technical Assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The PDMF is being used to engage project preparation and transaction support consultants for PPP project preparation and transaction to develop a robust pipeline of viable and well-prepared PPP projects.

Written By admin 
February 12, 2014 15:38 pm

Plans submitted for world’s first tidal lagoon power plant in Swansea Bay

Landward urban visual

Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd (TLP) today took a major step towards realising one of the UK’s most game-changing infrastructure projects: the world’s first tidal lagoon power plant.

After three years of feasibility work and impact assessments, TLP submitted its application – which runs to 5000 pages – for a Development Consent Order (DCO) under the Planning Act 2008.

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon would be the largest tidal power plant in the world.  As a project of national significance, the application, which has been developed through extensive consultation in Swansea Bay, will now be reviewed by the Planning Inspectorate before public examination, and then determination by the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change.

The project would see a 9.5 km long sea wall built to capture enough renewable energy from incoming and outgoing tides to power over 120,000 homes for 120 years. It aims to source at least 65% of content in the UK, kick-starting a new manufacturing industry and future export market.

Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay masterplan

Mark Shorrock, CEO of Tidal Lagoon Power, said that the submission of the application marks a turning point in the development of the UK’s tidal resource.

“Until now, tidal energy has been heavily promoted by governments and environmentalists as an intuitive source of clean and reliable energy for our island nation, but the business response has focused on relatively small-scale tidal stream devices.  The UK has the second highest tidal range in the world and today we are submitting an application for a development that will prove that this resource can be harnessed in a way that makes economic, environmental and social sense.  Tidal lagoons offer renewable energy at nuclear scale and thus the investment of hundreds of millions of pounds in UK industries and coastal communities. Continue reading

Written By admin 
February 07, 2014 11:22 am
Posted In ENERGY, Tidal

Veolia to build and operate a water desalination plant in Iraq


The Iraqi Ministry for Municipalities and Public Works has chosen Veolia to build and operate for five years a desalination plant in Basra, Iraq. For Veolia, this contract represents cumulated sales of $115 million.

Limited water resources and conflict over its use have made water a crucial resource for Iraq’s development, especially in the country’s south. Water in this part of Iraq is mainly sourced from the Euphrates, which has a high salt content, and water from the Persian Gulf.

Under this new contract, won in partnership with Japanese conglomerate Hitachi and Egyptian engineering firm ArabCo, Veolia will build and operate a desalination plant with an ultrafiltration unit and reverse osmosis membranes. It will produce 200,000 cubic meters of drinking water a day. The technology used will reduce the salt content in the drinking water producedfor Basra’s population of 2.3 million people. Additionally, in a country with a chronic shortage of electricity, this desalination plant will be completely autonomous as it will have its own electricity generators to guarantee continuous service.

Construction work on the plant is due to commence in the first quarter of 2014 and should be completed within 30 months. This contract will also create 300 jobs for the construction of the desalination units, provided by ArabCo, and 50 jobs for the facility’s operation for five years.
“This new contract that we have won in Iraq is further proof of Veolia’s ability to deliver concrete and reliable solutions to the scarcity of water resources and the challenges facing large cities, especially in countries where water is crucial to economic development,” said Antoine Frérot, Chairman and CEO of Veolia Environnement.“I am delighted that Veolia has been chosen by the Iraqi authorities to support the modernization of Basra, and that the company is able to provide a solution to the challenges confronted by this city, a leading center for the oil and gas industry.”

As part of its reconstruction, Iraq has launched several national plans aimed at modernizing basic services, such as water, wastewater, waste treatment and energy, in order to support its economic growth. With the country’s sole access to the sea, Basra is the subject of special attention from the Iraqi government, which is modernizing this port city to speed up its economic growth.

“This plant is part of a comprehensive plan to rehabilitate and extend the city’s water treatment plants. The innovative technology and solutions we are providing Basra will enable it to improve its citizens’ access to quality drinking water while protecting its resources,” explains Jean-Michel Herrewyn, Director, Global Enterprises, Veolia Environnement.

Written By admin 
January 31, 2014 10:02 am
Posted In ENERGY

San Diego is the first U.S. City to Adopt GE’s LED Street Lighting Solution

San Diego is the first U.S. City to Adopt GE’s LED Street Lighting Solution with LightGrid™ Wireless Controls for Decorative Downtown Lighting which are expected to save the city upwards of $254,000 annually.


On 28 January, San Diego announced that it will illuminate its downtown district with GE Lighting’s intelligent lighting system, including LED street lighting, making it the first city in the United States to adopt GE’s LightGrid™ technology. The new system, set to be in place by spring of this year, will offer improved and energy-efficient lighting that will save the city more than a quarter-million dollars in energy costs each year.

Highlights of the project include:

-System installation began earlier this month; completed by spring 2014

-Energy savings to San Diego estimated at $254,000 annually

-Full implementation of project to replace 3,000 city lamps

-Innovative technology with GPS location features, allowing for an accurate measurement of energy usage by individual street light

-Custom engineered decorative street lights that embed the wireless controls technology to retain their historic appearance

The new system will not only enhance the city’s street lighting but will also revolutionize urban lighting systems with technology that self-commissions to the LightGrid network and provides accurate energy metering per light pole, allowing municipalities to pay for the energy they actually use.

Continue reading