News item | 2010-01-19 | 15:00 PM

Energy News Europe - week 02, 2010


Dong Energy aims to reduce CO2 emissions

Ingeniøren, 2010-01-09
Danish energy group Dong Energy wants to reduce its CO2 emissions from electricity production by 50% by 2020, and further CO2 reductions by 2040 are also included in the company's new ambitious strategy plan. The reductions are to be made by closing down two coal power stations in Denmark and by dropping the planned construction of all four coal power stations abroad. Dong will, instead, focus on wind energy, natural gas and biomass to bring down CO2 emissions. Dong Energy's CEO Anders Eldrup says the company is not planning to build new coal power stations before there is commercially viable technology to control them with CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) methods.
© Esmerk

Bio-gas in natural gas network from late 2010

Jyllands-Posten, 2010-01-11
Danish energy transmission system operator hopes being able to distribute bio-gas through the countrywide natural gas network before the end of 2010. According to the Danish Government's plan for green energy, worked out in 2009, 50% of manure from Danish farm should be used for bio-gas production by 2020. This means a five-fold increase in the bio-gas production, to correspond to 10% of current consumption of natural gas in Denmark, states in a new plan.
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Record breaking wind power capacity reached in 2009

Jyllands-Posten, 2010-01-11
The Danish Wind Industry Association (Vindmølleindustrien) reports the Danish windpower expansion in 2009 to be the biggest seen since 2002. Total annual production capacity rose 8% compared to 2008 reaching a record breaking 3,410 MW, with over 100 new turbines erected. The opening of offshore wind farm Horns Rev 2 was the biggest contributor with a capacity of 209 MW. This compares to the 38 MW capacity of new onshore turbines. The major expansion of offshore wind farms will continue in 2011 as Rødsand 2 is due to open by October.
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Helsinki Energy to invest EUR 3bn in the next 20 years

Helsingin Sanomat, 2010-01-13
In Finland, power company Helsinki Energy is planning to renew all energy production. The EUR 3bn investment plan will be carried out in the next 20 years. In 2030, the CO2 emissions of energy are to be 98% lower than in 1990, and the share of renewable energy is to be 38%. The changes are expected to raise the price of district heating by 40%-50%. According to Helsinki Energy, the reform will have a strong negative effect on the company's profitability and on its its ability to pay revenue to the city of Helsinki. The company transfers about EUR 200mn a year to the city.

This corresponds to two percentage points in tax revenue in the city budget. In the first phase of Helsinki Energy's plan in 2014-2018, new equipment will be installed in the coal power plants of Hanasaari and Salmisaari so they will be able to use biofuels, that is wood, in practice. The aim is that the share of biofuel is 40% of all fuel. The technology to be used is biomass gasification. Also the purchase and delivery logistics of biomass have to be organised.

Wind power production is to be increased by as much as 600 gigawatt hours, raising the share of renewable energy to 21%. In the second phase of the plan after 2020, the company plans to build a gasification plant for forest residue adjacent to a natural gas pipeline together with a cooperation partner. The gas will be used in the natural gas power plant of Vuosaari and in gas-powered heating plants. A new multi-fuel power plant will be built in Vuosaari that will replace the Hanasaari coal power plant that is to be closed in 2025. An energy tunnel will be built from Vuosaari to the city centre. Helsinki Energy is also proposing carbon capture and storage in the new multi-fuel power plant and in Salmisaari around the year 2030.
© Esmerk


Electricity exports fell by 47% in 2009

Les Echos, 2010-01-13
According to the French electricity grid manager RTE, net exports of electricity from France fell by 47% to 24.6TWh in 2009 compared to 2008. This is the lowest amount exported since the mid-1980s. France imported electricity for 57 days in 2009 compared to six days in 2008 with a peak of 140GWh on 16 December 2009. In October 2009, France imported a full month of electricity for the first time since 1982. According to RTE, the reason for the increase in electricity imports is due to lower electricity production in France, which fell by 5.5% in 2009.
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Hydroelectricity capacity to be increased by 900 MW

Les Echos, 2010-01-13
In line with renewable energy targets (23% of all energy production by 2020), France needs to increase hydroelectric energy production by 900 MW. France is already the leading European producer of hydroelectricity with a current capacity of 24,000 MW and 12% of its energy comes from dams, with the rest coming from nuclear plants. Wind energy alone is far from enough to reach the 2020 target. In fact, this sector is slowing because of local opposition to wind turbines so the aim to increase wind energy production from 4,300 MW to 25,000 MW by 2020 may not be attained.

On the other hand, many are against dams because of their effect on the ecosystem. Hydroelectricity capacity may be increased by simply renovating current facilities rather than building new dams. Environmental associations have obtained the assurance from the government that two dams on the Sélune will be removed, and there was an agreement to remove one in Poutès, but local deputies are battling against the plan as they consider the cost of dismantling it unreasonable. Until this is solved, the national convention for the sector will not be settled. The Ecology Ministry should finalise it by the end of January 2010, say energy producers, though the Minister would not confirm the date.
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Government to strengthen Federal Cartel Office

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2010-01-11
By means of a law, the German government intends to strengthen the Federal Cartel Office, which is to get the right to make statements about drafts' effects on competition, and - above all - the right to break up dominating groups such as energy groups.
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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2010-01-11
By means of a law, the German government intends to strengthen the Federal Cartel Office, which is to get the right to make statements about drafts' effects on competition, and - above all - the right to break up dominating groups such as energy groups.
© Esmerk


Rise in solar capacity leads to calls for feed-in tariff cut

Economist, 2010-01-11
The German government has been urged to reduce feed-in tariffs for solar power developments. The calls for a cut are in response to a near doubling in the country's solar power capacity after the cost of building a solar farm fell by around 25%. The increase in capacity also followed a government declaration to increase the pace by which the tariff is cut each year from 5% to around 10%. Cuts in the price paid for solar power have been proposed by the industry, which has suggested a 5% reduction in June and a further cut of 5% to 10% at the end of 2010. Steeper cuts have been called for by others aware of the high costs of producing electricity from solar developments, costs that are currently passed to consumers in the form of higher electricity bills.
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NPP operators meet head of Federal Chancellery

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2010-01-13
On 21 January 2010 board members of nuclear power plant operating companies in Germany are meeting the head of the Federal Chancellery Ronald Pofalla. The representatives of Eon, RWE, Vattenfall and EnBW officially discuss technical issues. It is more likely that they will discuss the prolongation of runtime of NPPs, because two of the power stations would have to be closed in 2010. As a change of legislation cannot be made at a short notice, the discussion will be about the transfer of runtime from old power stations to newer ones. However, the power generation companies will have to pay a political price for the transfer.
© Esmerk


Renewables produce a fifth of nation's electricity

Il Sole 24 Ore, 2010-01-08
Electricity generated from renewable sources in Italy supplied a fifth of the nation's requirements in 2009. The production of electricity from renewable sources increased by 13% from the 58.16 TWh recorded at the end of 2008 to the estimated 66 TWh expected to recorded for 2009. According to Claudio Scajola, the Minister for Economic Development, the aim is for 25% of Italy's electricity requirements to be supplied through renewables.

In 2009 the production of electricity from photovoltaic plants increased from 193 GWh to around 1,000 GWh, marking an increase of over 400%. Also, electricity generated by wind farms increased from 4,861 GWh to around 6,600 GWh, marking an increase of 35%. Also, production of energy from biomass plants increased by 10% from 5,966 GWh to an estimated 6,500 GWh. Moreover, electricity production from hydroelectric plants increased by 13% from 41,623 GWh to around 47,000 Gwh. In 2008 electricity generated from renewable sources supplied 16.5% of the nation's needs.
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Netherlands: Government unsure of Barendrecht CO2 storage

NRC Handelsblad, 2010-01-13
Dutch government is not unanimously in favour of CO2 storage underground at a site in Barendrecht. Coalition parties CDA and PvdA have told Maria van der Hoeven, Minister for Economic Affairs, that underground storage can go ahead in Barendrecht only if she seeks an alternative location for a second, larger project. The Dutch cabinet had granted Shell permission to conduct a trial project at Barendrecht, which was to be followed by a larger project in the area if successful. Underground storage of CO2 forms part of Dutch plans to reduce emissions. However, this particular strategy has encountered opposition.
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Statnett opens new power market region

Finansavisen, 2010-01-11
Norwegian state power distribution company Statnett has introduced a fourth market region in Norway, splitting the Southern Norway power region into two - South-East Norway (most of eastern and western Norway north of Bergen) and South-West Norway (From Bergen and southward). The new organisation is set up to better handle bottleneck problems between the north-west and the east. The bottleneck will last until a better network capacity is set up across the Oslo Fjord, however.
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Decision about new form of Enea's privatisation announced

Gazeta Wyborcza, 2010-01-13
Polish state treasury has officially confirmed that the privatisation of the Polish energy group Enea will be carried out in two stages. The first stage will involve the sale of 16% of Enea's shares via capital market, while in the second stage, over 50% of Enea's shares are to sold to an investor from the energy sector. The state expects that Enea's shares will become more liquid after the first stage is completed and it will be easier to objectively estimate Enea's value. The previous attempt to sell Enea failed as investors claimed that the price was too high.
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State plans auction of stake in power producer ZE PAK

Puls Biznesu, 2010-01-13
The Polish Treasury is planning an auction of 50% of the shares of the power generating group ZE PAK, by the end of January 2010. Unofficially, it is said that overseas buyers are wary of Zygmunt Solorz-Zak, the Polish businessman who controls 46% of the state's stake in ZE PAK through his company Elektrim, and there are not likely to be any takers. The Treasury would like to sell a majority stake in the two brown coal mines which supply ZE PAK to the same bidder.
© Esmerk

United Kingdom

Investment in gas-fired power stations prompts concerns of supplies

Financial Times, 2010-01-11
The Government has approved plans to develop more gas-fired power stations in the UK but this has raised concerns over the increasing pressure being placed on the country's future gas supplies. According to the industry journal, New Power, the Government has approved approximately 14,000MW of new gas-fired power generation. National Grid points out that the UK's gas-fired capacity has stood at approximately 25,000MW this winter.

The Government is keen for more gas-fired plants to be developed in order to support its plans for new offshore wind turbines. This is because the recent period of cold and still weather has highlighted the potential problems of relying too much on wind power. However, the Energy Intensive Users Group has warned that the UK's future gas supplies could be at risk as demand increases and as the UK's gas production from the Irish and North seas diminish.
© Esmerk

Disclaimer: The newsletter "Energy News Europe" contains an overview of energy-related news published in European media. It does not represent the views of Vattenfall or its management.