News item | 2011-07-18 | 12:00 PM

Energy News Europe - week 27, 2011

Austria

New Green Electricity Act and funding approved
Die Presse, 2011-07-07
Austrian government has agreed on a new Green Electricity Act. As a result, the annual funding of green electricity will be increased from EUR 21mn (USD 30.15mn) to EUR 50mn. The sum will however be reduced by EUR 1mn per year for the next ten years. Further funding as part of the new Green Electricity Act inlude EUR 28mn for photovoltaics and EUR 80mn for wind power. The one-off funding is to be used to complete approved projects which are on the waiting list. A new Energy Efficiency Act is to be presented by 2012.
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Belgium

Belgium: Creg calls for a division of Electrabel's activities
Le Soir de Bruxelles, 2011-07-01
François Possemiers, the Head of the Belgian energy market regulator Creg, has stated that it is necessary to split the Belgian energy company Electrabel's electricity production and electricity supply services. Possemiers claims that the energy free market in Belgium has not been successful as the mix of production and sales carried out by companies such as Electrabel works against competition.
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Denmark

Major regional differences in electricity distribution charges
Jyllands-Posten, 2011-07-01
Danish trade magazine Ingeniøren's survey shows that there are major regional variations in the rates charged by electricity distribution companies in Denmark. Some of the distribution companies charged more than two and a half times more than the cheapest companies. Seas-NVE and Dong Energy, that cover the greater part of the Zealand region, were the most expensive among the large companies, whereas Jutland-based companies, headed by Tre-For, were generally cheaper.
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France

Fessenheim nuclear plant operating life extended by ASN
Le Monde, 2011-07-04
On 4 July 2011, French nuclear safety agency ASN announced that France's oldest nuclear reactor in Fessenheim, is fit to run 10 more years, provided that work is carried out on the plant by EDF. The conditions include the reinforcement of the reactor's concrete foundation before 30 June 2013. The decision is subject to government approval, which will not be given before the results of safety tests in mid-November, which were commissioned after the nuclear disaster in Japan.
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Gov't energy review to consider withdrawal from nuclear power
Le Figaro, 2011-07-08
The French Minister of Industry Eric Besson has announced an energy review named 'Energie 2050' that will explore all possible scenarios for France's energy policy going forwards. As such it will not rule out withdrawal from nuclear power. France chose nuclear power in order to become self-sufficient in terms of energy. Nuclear power also limits greenhouse gas emissions and is said to be cheaper for subscribers.

The energy programme will be run by the government along with external experts and advisers. It will include analysis of energy sources and demand in France and the world, with the aim of balancing the mix. Besson stresses that France's attachment to nuclear power is rational rather than emotional.
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Germany

Bundesnetzagentur drawing up power plant capacity register
Financial Times Deutschland, 2011-07-06
Following the closure of eight nuclear reactors as of mid-March 2011, Germany's regulatory authority Bundesnetzagentur is currently drawing up a register of all power plants in Germany in a move to prepare for a possible power supply shortage in the upcoming 2011/2012 winter season, confirmed a spokeswoman.

The register will for the first time also include smaller power plants with a capacity from 20 MW. It will also comprise power stations which are no longer online but which still have an operating licence. Furthermore, Bundesnetzagentur is asking power plant operators for their revision plans. According to a spokesman for power grid operator Amprion, power grid operators currently have to take action several times a day to keep the grid load stable.
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E.ON plans to build 360 packaged cogeneration systems
Press Release, 2011-07-07
By 2020 E.ON intends to install over 360 packaged cogeneration systems in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. E.ON Hanse Wärme intends to invest about EUR 23mn in disseminating this efficient, climate-friendly technology over the next ten years.

The systems are particularly efficient because they produce heat and power at the same time. They also have significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions than separate heat and power production. The systems are designed so that they meet basic heat and hot water needs on the spot. The electricity simultaneously generated can also be used there or is fed into the public grid. Decentralised energy production will play a substantial part in the transformation of energy supply in Germany, said Ingo Luge, CEO of E.ON Energie AG.
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Bundestag adopts draft on CCS technology
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2011-07-08
The lower house of the German parliament, the Bundestag, adopted on 7 July 2011 a draft on the underground storage of carbon dioxide until 2017. With the bill, the German government transposes an EU directive into national law. Under the draft, however, the German federal states are given a kind of veto right on the application of the so-called carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology on their territories. They can determine areas where the underground storage of CO2 emissions would be allowed and areas where it would be prohibited.
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Hungary

Country may cooperate with Italy regarding energy projects
Portfolio, 2011-07-04
The Hungarian Minister of National Development, Tamas Fellegi, has announced that negotiations have been carried out with the Italian Minister of Development, Paola Romani, on future cooperation regarding nuclear and renewable energy projects. Fellegi has added that the Hungarian government supports the building of the South Stream gas pipeline in order to increase the security of supplies.

According to the Hungarian Minister, the country is interested in establishing a north-south gas pipeline in the framework of a European project. As a result, gas could be transmitted to Central Europe through the Nord Stream pipeline and from the Mediterranian region too. Fellegi has announced that Hungary and Italy could also cooperate in utilising solar and geothermal energy in the future.
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Italy

GSE launches renewable energy monitoring programme
Il Sole 24 Ore, 2011-07-02
Italian power management agency Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE) has launched its Sistema Italiano per il Monitoraggio delle Energie Rinnovabili (SIMERI) renewable energy programme in compliance with the 28/2011 decree-law. This initiative will focus on monitoring renewable energy in Italy in the heat, electricity and transport sectors on a national and regional scale.
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Netherlands

Energy subsidy allocation already claimed
Het Financieele Dagblad, 2011-07-06
The new subsidy allowance for sustainable energy has been emptied just days after being opened. Some 600 projects, including solar energy and other relatively expensive technologies, made claims which account for the total EUR 1.50bn (USD 2.17bn) available for 2010-2011. The first tranche of subsidies will pay EUR 0.04 per kilowatt hour.
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Spain

New EUR 127.60mn fund to support renewable-energy projects
Press Release, 2011-07-01
The Spanish IDAE (Energy Saving and Diversification Institute) and EIB, the European Investment Bank, have agreed to create a new JESSICA holding fund to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in 10 regions of Spain. The fund will initially receive EUR 127.60mn (USD 185.88mn). A total of EUR 87.8mn will come from the European Regional Development Fund.
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Sweden

Government presents new electricity certificate law
Nordisk Industri, 2011-07-06
The Swedish government has presented a bill for a new law concerning electricity certificates. The new law aims to enable an electricity certificate market that is common with other countries, that hydropower electricity can be awarded electricity certificates, and that small-scale producers that use the electricity they produce should be exempted from quota obligations. No changes are planned for the objectives and functioning of the certificate system.

The new legislation is to come into force on 1 January 2012. The bill also proposes that an agreement between Sweden and Norway to create a joint electricity certificate market should also come into force on 1 January 2012 if Norway has approved the EU's sustainability directive.
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United Kingdom

Nuclear ambitions in doubt as EDF and RWE rethink plans
Telegraph (UK), 2011-07-06
Britain's nuclear renaissance could be over before it began amid signs that leading French and German utilities are reconsidering their investment plans.

France's EDF Energy, which plans to build the country's first new atomic power station in decades by 2018 in partnership with Centrica and a second by 2020, has admitted its timetable could be adjusted. EDF chief Vincent de Rivaz, speaking at an industry conference, said an upcoming report by chief nuclear inspector Mike Weightman may recommend more time be spent on safety issues following Japan's nuclear crisis. Rivaz said EDF will evaluate the Weightman report and make any necessary changes to its plans in the autumn.

Separately, fresh doubts about two nuclear power stations proposed by German utilities RWE Npower and E.ON by 2020 and 2025 have also surfaced. German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung has reported the utilities have largely abandoned their plans.

It is said Germany’s decision to withdraw from nuclear power means the utilities see the business as no longer viable. It was also reported that RWE has hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to review its options for Npower, its UK arm, a move that suggests the unit could be sold. RWE Npower said it has made no changes to its plans. Meanwhile, the UK government re-iterated its support for nuclear power. It is understood the government will shortly publish a proposal that would provide utilities with new subsidies.
© 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.