News item | 2010-05-12 | 10:30 AM

Energy News Europe - week 18, 2010

Belgium

Solar panels costs rise
De Standaard, 2010-04-30
The cost of solar panels to grid operators is expected to rise from EUR 45.60mn (USD 60.49mn) in 2009 to EUR 100mn in Flanders in 2010 as consumers and businesses continue to invest in photovoltaic cells. Flemish authorities issue green certificates for every 1,000 kWh of produced electricity which grids are then required to purchase from consumers for an elevated price of EUR 350 while the market price is just over EUR 100.
© Esmerk

Bulgaria

Possible cooperation in building of nuclear plant
Danas, 2010-04-29
Trajco Trajkov, Bulgaria's Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism, has reported that Serbia expressed interest for construction of the second nuclear power plant Belene. Belene plant will be built in Belene on the Danube river, northern part of Bulgaria. He said that so far several foreign investors expressed interest in the new nuclear power plant. Details of potential cooperation with Serbia have not been disclosed.
© Esmerk

Denmark

Dong Energy's new price policy comes under criticism
Jyllands-Posten, 2010-05-01
Danish state-owned power company Dong Energy's new price policy involving an introduction of a system with advance payment of electricity bills for its customers has come under criticism from various quarters. The Danish Radical Liberal Party for example says it is indecent of Dong to introduce prepayment for 900,000 of its smallest customers at the same time as it has announced that it will pay dividends worth a total of DKK 2.20bn (EUR 295.57mn USD 393.74mn) to its shareholders in 2010.

Dong expects to make a profit of DKK 500-700mn from the system of advance payment when it is introduced in mid-2010. The system will affect private households and small companies, whereas large companies will be excluded from the system. The Radical Liberal Party is calling for Finance Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen to take measures to stop Dong from introducing the new invoicing system. The minister says, however, that as a state-owned public limited company, Dong Energy has the responsibility to make its own decisions based on businesslike considerations.
© Esmerk

Energy industry foresees big subsidies with opposition's climate plan
Jyllands-Posten, 2010-05-05
The Danish opposition's (Social Democrats, Socialist People's Party, the Social-Liberal Party and the Unity Party) plan to phase out all fossil fuel in Denmark by 2050 will require major investments in renewable energy sources concludes Lars Aagaard, director of the Danish Energy Association (Dansk Energi). As a result the opposition's plan has generated positive reactions from the energy industry, which foresees major government subsidies for biomass production, offshore wind power, solar power and other energy technologies.
© Esmerk

Finland

Nuclear electricity to be exported in future?
Kansan Uutiset, 2010-05-02
Researcher Pekka Sauramo of the Labour Institute for Economic Research writes in the newspaper's viewpoint column that the granting of two permits for the building of nuclear power plants in Finland was a significant victory for the Finnish and international nuclear energy industry and lobbyists. The Confederation of Finnish Industries has also voiced the aim that Finland could well export electricity that has been generated by nuclear power.

According to Finland's Minister of Economic Affairs, Mauri Pekkarinen, the new nuclear power plants will replace imported electricity from Russia. Experience has shown that this is not the case, however. Electricity will most likely be imported also in future, if it is cheaper to get it from Russia. Sauramo hopes that Finland's Minister of Finance is right in saying that taxpayers will not have to pay anything for the new nuclear power.

Taxpayers will, however pay any damage exceeding EUR 200mn in case of a nuclear power accident. On top of this, there are huge environmental risks. Sauramo wonders at the risks Finland's political elite is prepared to foist on Finns. © Esmerk

Government approves building permits for nuclear power plants
Helsingin Sanomat, 2010-05-07
In Finland, the Government voted on the building of additional nuclear power on 6 May 2010 because the Greens of Finland proposed rejecting the building permit applications. The view of the majority of Government was that a permit will be granted to two nuclear power plants. Next, the permits will come before Parliament that will make the final decision. The aim is for Parliament to vote on the permits at the end of June 2010.

The Government's initial timetable had been readjusted because Finnish Broadcasting Company Yleisradio's TV2's current affairs programme stated in early May 2010 that Director General Taisto Turunen of Finland's Ministry of Employment and the Economy may have been legally incompetent to participate in making decisions concerning the permits. Turunen was on the Board of Directors of metal company Outokumpu when the Fennovoima power consortium was established.

Fennovoima is one of the two companies that were granted a permit for a new nuclear power plant. According to Chancellor of Justice Jaakko Jonkka, there was no impediment to the Government making its decision so the process could continue.
© Esmerk

Wind power feed-in tariff to be paid to all producers
Helsingin Sanomat, 2010-05-07
According to Finland's Minister of Economic Affairs, Mauri Pekkarinen, the wind power feed-in tariff will be paid to all wind electricity producers in Finland. The guaranteed price will most likely be set at EUR 83.5 per magawatt hour. At the moment, the market price is about EUR 50 per magawatt hour. The Ministry of Finance has criticised the feed-in tariff and said it will become an automated subsidy.

Costs will fluctuate unpredictably and it will be impossible to estimate how much should be allocated for the subsidy in the budget. According to the Ministry of Finance, the subsidy is not sufficiently market-based. According to Pekkarinen, the subsidy will, however, have an upper limit to the targeted production volume so costs will not rise limitlessly. The target level will most likely be set at building output of 2,500 megawatts. This should ensure 6 terawatt hours of production. The act on feed-in tariffs is subject to approval by the EU commission.
© Esmerk

France

Verbund plans bid for hydroelectric power plants
Wirtschaftsblatt, 2010-05-07
Austrian energy company Verbund is planning to buy hydroelectric power plants in France. According to Verbund's general director Wolfgang Anzengruber, the company is planning to place bids for plant licenses put out for tender by French energy companies Edf and Gdf-Suez.

The plants are located in the Alps and the Pyrenees. For Verbund, it would be of interest to acquire 10% of the 5,000 megawatts. Regarding Verbund's 46% stake in French alternative energy supplier Poweo, the company is contemplating on withdrawing from the supply market and focussing on generation instead. This is due to losses of EUR 42mn (USD 54.02mn) in 2009.
© Esmerk

Germany

RWE to extend Biblis A NPP's operating period - talks with E.ON
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2010-05-04
To extend the Biblis A NPP's operating period, German RWE is said to be in negotiations with E.ON about the transfer of the Stade NPP's remaining operating period. The latter nuclear power plant had been decommissioned ahead of time in 2003.
© Esmerk


Experts on energy supply
Financial Times Deutschland, 2010-05-06
The Council of Environment Experts, an advisory board of the German government, recommended to bet on renewable energy. They say Germany's electricity demand can be covered completely by renewable energy in 2050. They do not recommend to prolong operation of nuclear power plants and the construction of new coal power plants.
© Esmerk

Vattenfall, Eon cancel plans to sell their Gasag stakes
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2010-05-10
German energy companies Vattenfall and Eon have cancelled their plans to jointly sell their stakes in German Berlin-based gas supplier Gasag since the bids they received did not meet expectations. According to a media report, they had expected around EUR 800mn (USD 1.03bn) for their stakes in Gasag.

Vattenfall had intended to sell its 32% stake and Eon had put up for sale its stake of 37%. A spokesman for Vattenfall said that Vattenfall would keep its 32% stake in Gasag for the time being. According to sources, GDF Suez, which owns the remaining 31% in Gasag, had only submitted a bid for Eon's stake.
© Esmerk

Italy

Enel to build EUR 1.5bn coal-powered electricity plant
Milano Finanza, 2010-05-06
Italian energy firm Enel has announced that it will build a new coal-powered electricity plant in Rossano Calabro, worth an almost EUR 1.50bn (USD 1.92bn) investment. The plant will also include a biomass facility and a solar thermal energy one. Enel will reconvert an old fuel oil based electric plant.
© Esmerk

Norway

Joint electricity certificate system discussed
Nordisk Industri, 2010-05-03
Norway and Sweden may soon share an electricity certificate system policy. On 28 April 2010, Sweden's Secretary of State, Ola Alterå, met with his Norwegian counterpart, Sigrid Hjörnegård, to discuss a possible cooperation. The two countries had reached an agreement to shared an energy market policy on 7 September 2009, which is to be introduced 1 January 2012. The electricity certificate promotes renewable and alternative energies. It financially supports measures taken by companies to improve more environmentally friendly energy production.
© Esmerk

Russia

Market Council proposes to restrict power companies' market revenues
Kommersant, 2010-04-23
Market Council organization regulating the wholesale and retail electricity markets has offered FAS to restrict the market revenues of power companies in 2011 at most of the Russian territories.

Pointing out that competition between generating companies only exists in the centre of the European part of Russia except for Moscow and the region, the regulator proposes to introduce power capacity price cap for the rest of the country. The figure is to be close to the current tariffs. Dmitry Ponomarev, head of the Market Council, says if FAS agrees to the restrictions, the competitive capacity outtake is to take place with prices close or equal to the current price cap.
© Esmerk

Sweden

OKG to raise power production at Oskarshamn 2 reactor
Nordisk Industri, 2010-05-03
The Swedish government has approved an application by OKG to raise power production at the Oskarshamn 2 nuclear reactor. The decision follows a study by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (Strålsäkerhetsmyndigheten), which is to make necessary safety demands on OKG before it can raise power production at the plant.
© 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.