News item | 2010-07-23 | 16:00 PM

Energy News Europe - week 29, 2010

Austria

Government plans to rise wind energy by 1,570 MW by 2020

Wirtschaftsblatt, 2010-07-21
Austria is said to have a plan to increase its national wind power output by 1,570 MW by 2020. However, according to Stefan Moidl, head of IG Windkraft, the Austrian Wind Energy Association, this is very unrealistic as this would mean an annual increase of 170 MW. The government's eco-power fund, however, only allows a rise of 80 MW per year but only if 50% of the fund are being invested in wind energy.

Austria currently has a wind power output of 1,000 MW which equals the energy output of one nuclear reactor. A total of 620 wind power stations nationwide generate 2.1bn kW h, supplying 580,000 Austrian households.
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Bulgaria

Enel in negotiations to sell stake in Maritsa East 3 TPP

Novinite, 2010-07-22
Enel, the Italian utility company, is in negotiations for the sale of its 73% stake in Bulgaria's Maritsa East 3 Thermal Power Plant (TPP) to Austria's EVN. Enel has said that it is also discussing the sale of the stake to other companies, with UK firm International Power, Russian Inter RAO and US firm AES all reported to be interested in the majority stake.

It is thought that the buyer of the majority stake will eventually target full ownership of the plant by acquiring the remaining 27% stake held by the Bulgarian government.
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Denmark

'No incentive for grid investments'

Berlingske Tidende, 2010-07-21
Danish electricity company association Dansk Energi has warned that periods with power failure risk becoming more frequent in future, as the national grid becomes older and more wind energy are distributed through the network.

There are no incentives to invest in renewing the grid, Dansk Energi claims, referring to the legislation which states that companies are not allowed to charge for such investments. The legislation is supposed to protect consumers against high prices, but may instead damage supply security, according to the association
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Europe

Countries to develop smart-grid systems, conserve energy

Asahi Shimbun, 2010-07-20
The US, Japan and China, together with 20 other countries, which include some from Europe, have made an agreement to jointly work on the development of smart-grid systems and conservation of energy at buildings and plants. This is part of their efforts to reduce up to 2.2bn tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year by 2050.

The US and Japan will be promoting technology on energy conservation at buildings and plants. The 23-country alliance is to take on basic policies that cover 10 areas of cooperation and submit their agreement the first Clean Energy Ministerial Meeting on 26 and 27 July 2010.
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Finland

Residential area in Helsinki to test smart energy systems

Helsingin Sanomat, 2010-07-19
In Finland, the new residential area of Kalasatama in Helsinki will become a test area for smart energy systems. The area will have buildings that utilise wind and solar power, and connect the energy with building service technology and surrounding electricity and data networks. Power company Helsinki Energy believes that a revolution can be expected in electricity generation and use as decentralised electricity production increases.

According to the company, the new services will make it easier for residents to connect their own solar and wind power units to the grid. The smart grid is also a way to prepare for the increase in the number of electric cars. The simultaneous charging of tens of thousands of electric cars would cause the load to rise too high momentarily. The smart grid would, however, be able to distribute the load to a moment when electricity consumption is low, such as night time, for example.
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France

Government announces 500 new wind farms a year until 2020

La France Agricole, 2010-07-20
In an attempt to allay concerns in the wind energy sector over measures put forward in the Grenelle 2 bill making wind farms subject to regulations covering 'industries classified for the protection of the environment' and stipulating there must be a minimum of five turbines in each plant and they must be at least 500m from land destined for inhabitation, Jean-Louis Borloo, the French environment and energy minister, has announced plans to install at least 500 wind turbines a year until 2020.

In a letter dated 7 July 2010, he gives a regional breakdown, citing Picardie (67 wind farms a year), Champagne-Ardenne (53 a year) and Poitou-Charantes (37 a year) as the three most concentrated areas of development, followed by Languedoc-Roussillon (35), Auvergne, Bourgogne and Haute-Normandie (28) and the Pays de la Loire (27). The move is in line with the goal of achieving 19.000 MW of wind energy by 2020.
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Germany

Majority of citizens against lifetime extension of nuclear plants

Die Welt, 2010-07-22
According to a study carried out by TNS Emnid on behalf of the German weekly newspaper Zeit, more than 75% of the Germans are against the lifetime extension of nuclear power plants by more than ten years. 48% are even of the opinion that the running times of nuclear power plants should not be extended at all.

47% of the Germans believe that the lifetime extension of nuclear power plants would slow down the expansion of renewable energies. 58% would be willing to pay about 10% more for electricity from renewable energies.
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Italy

Renewable energy grows by 19% in 2009

La Repubblica, 2010-07-18
According to a Confartigianato study, in 2009 renewable energy in Italy grew by 19% and exceeded the amount of electricity consumed by families. In 2008 renewable energy covered 85% of household consumption. Clean energy represents over 10% of the total energy produced in Italy, a figure which is expected to rise to 17% by 2020.
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Netherlands

Delta and Eneco merger back on the cards

Het Financieele Dagblad, 2010-07-16
A merger between the third and fourth biggest energy companies in the Netherlands Eneco and Delta is back on the cards, according to unnamed advisers. This comes following the announcement that the companies do not have to split off their networks, a huge benefit to the companies as the income from the networks provide some financial stabilization.

A merger will benefit both companies as they would combine Delta's large generating capacity with Eneco's large customer base. On the other hand, Delta are concerned that the new headquarters of the company would be located in Rotterdam as opposed to its current location in Zeeland, and Eneco worries that its green character could be impacted by Delta's ambitions towards nuclear energy. The two companies deny merger plans.
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Norway

Shortage of electricity could hinder production in winter 2010/11

Dagens Næringsliv, 2010-07-16
Norway's national main grid operator Statnett has opened talks with several industrial companies who consume large electricity quantities about reducing volumes in the winter of 2010/11. Fears that a cold, dry winter may set in over the country, as in 2009/10, meaning a shortage of electricity in the country.

Statnett estimates that 1,100 WGh could saved if companies agree to reduced energy consumption. The regions believed to be hit hardest by a potential shortage are Vestlandet and Midt-Norge.
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Poland

Deadline for offers to buy energy producer Energa extended

Wirtualny Nowy Przemysl, 2010-07-20
On request of potential investors, deadline for submitting offers with regards to the privatisation of the major Polish energy producer Energa has been moved to 16 August 2010, which is due to the holiday season. The original deadline was set at the end of July or the beginning of August 2010.
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Romania

Enel invests in 272 MW wind park in Dobrogea

Wall Street, 2010-07-16
Enel Green Power Romania, controlled by Enel, has reached an agreement with Elcomex, a supplier of services and products for the energy sector, to develop a wind park with a capacity of 272 MW in Dobrogea region. The wind farm, located in Constanta county at around 30 kilometres of the Black Sea coast, will be connected to the national energy transmission network once it becomes operational.

The value of the project was not revealed. Under the agreement, Enel Green Power Romania has the option of buying the project company when all the construction permits are obtained.
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United Kingdom

New nuclear builds will not go ahead without subsidies - KPMG

Telegraph (UK), 2010-07-19
KPMG has reported that the new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK will not be built unless the government offers more support to firms that are willing to build them. RWE npower, for example, says that it is simply uneconomic for utilities firms to invest billions in nuclear power. The government has not promised direct subsidies, but has imposed a minimum price on carbon permits, making the cost of fossil fuel generation more expensive instead.

However, KPMG's report says that a carbon 'floor price' will not be enough to force utilities firms to commit billions toward nuclear spend instead. KPMG suggests that a variable premium tariff for low-carbon technologies be introduced instead, to make sure that enough new power generation is built before the UK starts to run short on capacity.
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GDF Suez makes GBP 6.4bn offer for International Power

This Is Money, 2010-07-18
International Power, the UK-based generating firm, has received an all-cash offer from the French energy firm, GDF Suez, worth GBP 6.40bn (EUR 7.59bn USD 9.79bn). GDF has the backing of the French government, which owns 35% of its shares, to make the move. GDF has a market value of GBP 46bn, and has proposed a merger with International Power for some time.

Originally, the proposed merger had fallen through, as the firms could not agree on how much each side would own in a merged company, while some of International Power's shareholders wanted a cash sweetener. The new offer could be attractive to shareholders.
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SSE insists it is not vulnerable to takeover

HeraldScotland, 2010-07-23
Ian Marchant, the chief executive of Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), states that although the firm has recently seen a weaker share price performance, it is not vulnerable to takeover. In the past few weeks SSE's shares have fallen to as little as GBP 10 (EUR 11.84 USD 15.29), after peaking at GBP 16.79 in January 2010.

On 22 July 2010 they recovered slightly to close at GBP 11.69, giving the company a market value of GBP 10.8bn. The company has been viewed as a potential takeover target since it purchased the wind farm company Airtricity for GBP 1.1bn in 2008, with foreign firms like Sweden's Vattenfall mooted as potential buyers.

In 2009 SSE attempted to ease concerns regarding its financial strength by reducing its dividend growth targets and by launching a GBP 479mn fundraising. SSE's finance director Gregor Alexander states that the company's weak share price has resulted in pressure to buy back shares but the company's chairman,Sir Robert Smith, states that SSE is going to prioritize capital spending.
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