News item | 2010-07-05 | 15:45 PM

Energy News Europe - week 26, 2010

Denmark

New report "punctures the myth of the intelligent power grid"

Ingeniøren, 2010-06-29
A new report from the Danish Ministry of Taxation concludes that district heating is the only sensible way to use electricity generated by wind turbines. According to the report, the idea of the intelligent power grid involving the possibility to adjust electricity use with the help of intelligent electricity meters can only be implemented to a very limited extent due to the uneven nature of wind production.

This means that the model will not have any major relevance for electric cars, heat pumps or individual electric heating for example. Henrik Lund, energy professor at Aalborg University, agrees with the conclusions of the ministry's report that punctures the myth of the intelligent power grid.
© Esmerk

Finland

Parliament approves the building of two nuclear power plants

Helsingin Sanomat, 2010-07-02
In Finland, Parliament has approved permits for the building of two new nuclear power plants on 1 July 2010. The permit for power company Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) was approved with 120 votes with 72 votes against, and Fennovoima's permit with 121 votes with 71 against. (Finland's Parliament has 200 seats.)

According to the power companies, building work on the power plants could start in 2012, at the earliest. The new nuclear power plants will not generate electricity before the 2020s.
© Esmerk

France

EDF CEO presents his overall strategy for the energy group

Le Figaro, 2010-07-02
The CEO of French energy group EDF, Henri Proglio, has presented his overall strategy for the company to its directors. He wants to reorganise EDF into three main activities: production, networks and trade. He feels that EDF should adapt its technical and financial offers to meet client needs. Proglio believes that profitability should not impede EDF's industrial activity.

In his plan, there is an emphasis on the group's ability to work on any type of power plant from coal to nuclear to hydro. Proglio wants to boost hydro power from dams. Several French concessions contracts in this segment are to be renewed and EDF wants to maintain the lead in hydraulic power.

Nuclear development will be boosted through international agreements, according to Proglio. EDF is already in discussions with China and Russia. As for networks, Proglio wants EDF's subsidiary ERDF to be able to develop outside France.
© Esmerk

GdF-Suez signs deal for a 9% stake in Nord Stream

Utility Week, 2010-06-28
French energy group GdF-Suez has signed an agreement with Gazprom of Russia to formalise the acquisition of a 9% stake in the Nord Stream project of a gas pipeline linking Europe to Russia through the Baltic sea. Furthermore, a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in energy efficiency and saving was signed. The latter involves supplying energy services to foreign firms working in Russia, and carrying out feasibility studies of energy efficient projects in Obninsk, Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
© Esmerk

Ireland

Levy on power plant carbon credit profits comes into force

Irish Times, 2010-07-02
A levy on profits generated by power stations on carbon credits they do not have to pay for came into force on 1 July 2010. Electricity generators currently earn a windfall as they pass on the cost of the credits to customers despite not having to pay for them until 2012. The tax, which will remain in place until 2012, will generate revenues of EUR 75mn (USD 93.81mn) in one year, according to estimates.
© Esmerk

Netherlands

Essent power station burns 50% biomass

De Telegraaf, 2010-06-29
Dutch energy company Essent has successfully completed a test whereby 50% biomass was added to a coal-fired power station. The higher ratio of wood pellets in the Amer power station exceeded the previous contribution of 30% biomass and is believed to be the highest worldwide biomass contribution in a coal-fired power station.

Following the test at the Amer power station, Essent also intends to add more biomass in its Eemshaven power station.
© Esmerk

Eneco and Nuon register objection to Bard subsidy

Het Financieele Dagblad, 2010-07-01
Dutch energy company Eneco and Nuon are to register their objection to the subsidy awarded to German company Bard Engineering for the construction of two offshore wind farms in the North Sea. The grounds for the objection of the subsidy awarded by the Dutch state have not been disclosed. Bard Engineering signed the definitive contract for the two 300MW wind farms 1 July 2010.
© Esmerk

Norway

Statoil opens for pre-qualification for tenders for Mongstad CCS

Upstream, 2010-06-25
Statoil and its partner Gassnova will start the pre-qualitification process for the full-scale carbon capture facilities at the Mongstad refinery in the end of June. The pre-qualification will be open to suppliers of amine-based technology, informs Statoil, and the process is expected to be completed in August and study contracts will be made around the end of 2010. A final investment decision is planned in 2014.
© Esmerk

Board changes in Statkraft, chairman replaced

Dagens Næringsliv, 2010-07-01
Norway's Minister of Industry and Trade Trond Giske has made changes in the board of state-owned power company Statkraft. Chairman Arvid Grundekjøn, who openly has criticised the government's slow response to Statkraft's request for more capital, is replaced by Svein Aaser who has experience as head of energy firm Hafslund and bank giant DnB Nor. Also Bertil Tiusanen has left the board, while Inge Ryan and Silvija Seres are new members.
© Esmerk

Poland

State treasury announces tender for acquisition of Enea

Parkiet, 2010-06-28
Polish state treasury has officially invited investors to make offers for the purchase of a 51% stake in the Polish energy producer Enea. Deadline for submitting the offers is set for 28 July 2010. The closure of the transaction is scheduled for the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011. At present, the state controls 60.43% of Enea's shares. The second-major shareholder is Vattenfall which holds an 18.67% stake.
© Esmerk

Enea and CEZ decide not to bid for power producer ZE PAK

Gazeta Wyborcza, 2010-06-30
Only two offers have been made for the acquisition of the Polish power producer ZE PAK and its two brown coal suppliers. Behind them are: Rafako, the Polish boiler manufacturer owned by Zygmunt Solorz Zak, and RPG, which belongs to the Czech businessman Zdenek Bakala. The state-owned energy group Enea and the Czech energy concern CEZ have not made their offers although they had planned to. This is because they were not able to reach a satisfactory compromise with Solorz Zak, who also controls 50% of ZE PAK.
© Esmerk

Russia

E.On may sell 3.5% shareholding in Gazprom

Vedomosti, 2010-06-28
E.On may sell a 3.5% shareholding in Gazprom in the near future, unnamed Russian financial sources have reported. According to the sources, a Russian structural unit with direct or indirect state participation will be a counter-agent in the deal. Value of the shareholding is estimated at USD 4.06bn (EUR 3.28bn). Representatives of Gazprom and E.On did not comment on the information.

Earlier, a source close to the Board of Directors of Gazprombank has reported that E.On considers several schemes of the deal, in particular, buying out of the shareholding by Gazprom. The German company Ruhrgas, which was taken over by E.On, acquired a 2.5% shareholding in Gazprom from the government of Russia in 1998. Value of the deal amounted to USD 660mn. In 1999, the company bought other 1% for USD 260mn.
© Esmerk

Spain

Tax on nuclear and hydro power plants under consideration

Expansion, 2010-06-30
The Ministry of Industry of Spain is considering whether to introduce a new tax for nuclear and hydro power stations in an attempt to reduce the running costs of the electricity system. The tax, which could amount to EUR 15 (USD 18.28) per MW, should put some control over the windfall profits from these activities of large power firms such as Iberdrola, Endesa and Gas Natural.

The new tax would offer in exchange to extend the life span of nuclear power plants to 60 years, and it would also end discussions over whether the management of state-owned hydro power plants are awarded to private companies for free.
© Esmerk

Endesa's board agrees to sell high voltage network to REE for EUR 1.41bn

Cinco Dias, 2010-07-02
The board at Spanish electricity firm, Endesa, has agreed the sale of its high voltage network to Spain's grid operator, Red Electrica (REE), for EUR 1.41bn (USD 1.77bn). Although the capital gains from the sale have not been quantified, they are expected to be high due to how long Endesa has owned the lines. The sale is a legal requirement and Endesa has tried to get permission from the sector regulator, CNE, to keep some of the networks, saying they carry out distribution functions despite being high voltage.

The 2007 Electricity Law states that before July 2010, electricity firms have to sell their transport networks to REE as this firm is considered to be the sole legal transport operator for the system. The sale includes not only EUR 1.27bn of network which is already operational, but also EUR 142mn which is under construction.
© Esmerk

United Kingdom

EDF to hold events showcasing opportunities for new nuclear supply chain

Utility Week, 2010-06-24
A series of regional supply chain events are to be held by EDF Energy in the UK targeted at the nuclear energy supply chain. Called 'New Nuclear Opportunities, the events will be used to show the plans EDF has to invest in nuclear power in the country. An event will be held in Bridgwater, Somerset, on 6 July 2010 to show the firm's plans to invest in a new nuclear power facility at Hinkley Point, while another one will be held in Wodbridge, Suffolk, two days later to showcase opportunities at the Sizewell site.

The firm has already started its purchasing process for the new build plans, with around 150 contracts expected to be tendered worth several billions of pounds. The supply chain will not only involve nuclear-related sectors but also many non-nuclear related ones.
© Esmerk