News item | 2011-07-25 | 17:10 PM

Energy News Europe - week 29, 2011

Belgium

Energy regulator law criticised for limiting Creg's competences
L'Echo, 2011-07-22
The Belgian Council of Ministers has adopted the draft of a law that would enforce the EU directive on electricity and gas market liberalisation. While the text is said to be aimed at stressing the market regulator Creg's strengthened independence, there has been some criticism that the law would in fact limit Creg's competences. For instance, the draft stipulates how Creg must calculate network operators' costs. Due to the summer break Parliament will not be able to discuss the draft before September 2011.
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Central and Eastern Europe

Regional power exchange to be formed by Q2 2012
Portfolio, 2011-07-19
The Hungarian electricity transmission system operator Mavir has announced that a project has been launched by the Czech, Hungarian and Slovak electricity transmission system operators CEPS, SEPS and Mavir in cooperation with their national power exchanges OTE, HUPX and OKTE and their national energy offices ERU, MEH and URSO on forming the regional power exchange by the second quarter of 2012.

A letter of intent has been signed regarding the issue at the end of May 2011. The regional power exchange is planned to be connected to the Central and Western European region CWE. The countries of the regional power exchange expect that other countries will also join in the future. Plans are in line with the European Council's efforts to form the Internal Electricity Market (IEM) by 2014.
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Czech Republic

EU starts investigation against CEZ
Press Release, 2011-07-15
The European Commission has started a formal investigation against the Czech electricity producer CEZ. The company is believed to have abused its dominant market position in its home country and stymied the entry of new players. There is no proof for the allegations yet.
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European Union

Commissioner Günther Oettinger on final nuclear waste storage
Die Welt, 2011-07-19
According to the European Union's Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, the 14 EU states that are running nuclear power plants will have to present national work schedules by 2015 that say when the latter states will make their final decisions on their sites for the final storage of nuclear waste. Oettinger's directive is to be approved by the EU Council on 19 July 2011 - and would come into force in September 2011.
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France

Opening up of hydroelectricity market delayed
La Tribune, 2011-07-19
The French government has delayed plans to open up the hydroelectricity market to competition. Until now it has been dominated by EDF, which controls 75% of production and the change is designed to bring the sector into compliance with European regulations. The first tenders, which were set to be launched in 2009, will now not be launched until the end of 2011, with the concessions not being handed over in the next three years. It is estimated that each year it is delayed represents a lost potential revenue of EUR 150mn for the state and local authorities.
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Gov't preparing calls to tender for solar power projects
Les Echos, 2011-07-19
On 1 August 2011 the French government will issue a call to tender for solar power projects covering peak capacity of 120 MW. Pricing will be the only criteria, and unions claim that this will encourage the use of foreign imports. A second call to tender will cover 450 MW over four batches. These are reserved for innovative projects such as sun-tracking and thermodynamic systems. The aim is to test out different technologies until a winner emerges. Renewable energy union SER has welcomed the call as an opportunity for niche companies such as Exosun. Unions claim that the calls will do nothing to save ailing solar power companies due to the small volumes.

Between 2011 and 2012 France will launch projects covering less than 600 MW, versus 7,000 MW per year in Germany. The calls are announced at a time when the French solar power industry is impacted by a moratorium designed to rein in speculative activity. To maintain quality after technical shortcomings were reported, SER is about to launch an 'Alliance qualité photovoltaïque' seal of approval for solar installations focussing on hardiness and after-sales service.
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Germany

Network Agency starts process for grid expansion
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2011-07-20
The German Federal Network Agency, Bundesnetzagentur, started the public consultation process for the expansion of the national electricity transmission grid on 19 July 2011. Three different scenarios for renewable energy generation drawn up by grid operators serve as the basis for the consultations. All parties concerned, including the public, have the opportunity to give their comments by 29 August 2011. The results will be published on the web site of the Network Agency. Detailed planning of the routing of new power lines is scheduled to start at the beginning of 2013, and construction of the lines could begin in 2016, according to the Network Agency's president Matthias Kurth.
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Hungary

State intends to increase its power in the energy market
Portfolio, 2011-07-15
The Hungarian governing party Fidesz's head, Janos Lazar, has told the press that the Hungarian state intends to become an active market player in the energy market. According to Lazar, this aim can be achieved with the help of the Hungarian oil and gas firm Mol and the national electricity works Magyar Villamos Muvek (MVM) which are expected to increase their role in the domestic and regional markets.

The Hungarian state may carry out acquisitions or make agreements in order to hold a strong position. Lazar has added that domestic market players will have to carry on with paying crisis tax after 2012 but the amount to be paid will be reduced.
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Italy

Constitutional Court annuls hydroelectric license extensions
Milano Finanza, 2011-07-21
Italy's Constitutional Court has annulled the extension to hydroelectric licenses established by the government's 2010 budget law. Extensions ranged from a five to seven-year period. Italian utilities Edison and A2A could be the most affected companies as their licenses are due to expire shortly. Whereas concessions for Enel and other peer utilities are up for renewal in 2029. This could also affect the ongoing negotiations involving A2A French energy group EdF on the shareholding reorganisation of Edison.
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Norway

Agreement on 67.5% renewable energy in Norway by 2020
Aftenposten, 2011-07-21
Norway and the EU have agreed that renewable energy is to account for 67.5% of the Norwegian energy production by 2020. This corresponds to an increase of 10% compared to 2005. The goal of 67.5% renewable energy reflects Norway's ambitious policy according to Minister Ola Borten Moe but environmental organisation Bellona is disappointed.
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Poland

Enea Operator agrees PLN 3.80bn development plan for 2012-15
Gazeta Wyborcza, 2011-07-19
A development plan covering the period 2012-15 with a total investment outlay of around PLN 3.80bn (EUR 946.38mn) has been agreed by Enea Operator and the Polish energy regulator URE. According to Enea Operator's Deputy President Przemyslaw Zaleski, investments will total PLN 899.9mn in 2012, PLN 971.76mn in 2013, PLN 973.67mn in 2014, and almost PLN 953.2mn in 2015. Around 30-35% of these sums will be allocated to making new connections with customers and with new sources and creating associated grids, and some 52-56% to upgrading and reconstructing existing assets.
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Slovenia

New legislation to allow HPPs at Soca river
Delo Slovenia, 2011-07-15
New legislation has been passed in Slovenia which would allow the construction of hydroelectric power plants (HPPs) at Kobarid, Kamno and Ucja. Legislation would also allow a series of plants to be built at Idrica. The only HPP with construction plans would be built at Ucja at a cost of EUR 55mn, with conditions to be fulfilled by 2015.
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Sweden

Government wants roadmap to make Sweden free from emissions by 2050
Svenska Dagbladet, 2011-07-21
The Swedish government is to begin work creating a roadmap in order that Sweden can become completely free from climate emissions by 2050. Andreas Carlgren, Sweden's Environmental Minister, writes that the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) is to lead work drawing up basic data needed to describe how Sweden can achieve this cost-efficiently. The report should indicate how emissions can be reduced in different sectors by 2050, should provide an analysis of the long-term changes in societal structure necessary to achieve this target, suggest incentives to encourage new technology or infrastructure, and to discuss the market for climate emissions and international instruments for reductions in climate gas emissions.

The Agency is to present its final report in December 2012. Carlgren writes that the development of sustainable energy sources will reduce Sweden's dependency on fossil and nuclear energy, and that the full potential of biogas should be utilised in order to reduce the transport sector's dependency on petrol and diesel. He also wants substantial investments in extending and modernising the railway system in Sweden.
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United Kingdom

New planning guidelines for green energy projects approved by MPs
LetsRecycle.com, 2011-07-19
New government guidelines for new large-scale renewable energy infrastructure projects have been approved by MPs. The National Policy Statements (NPS) for Energy will help speed up the planning process for renewable projects. The approval came despite opposition from some Labour and Green MPs who expressed concerns that energy-from-waste incinerators have been included in the NPS. They argue such facilities can contribute to carbon emissions and should therefore be considered under existing guidelines for fossil fuel applications.

Energy minister Charles Hendry said any such exclusion would have caused havoc. At present, two energy-from-waste incinerator projects will be subject to the new guidelines, one project in Bedfordshire and another in South Wales, both have been proposed by US-based Covanta.
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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.