News item | 2010-08-17 | 12:35 PM

Energy News Europe - week 32, 2010

Belgium

GDF Suez divestments expected

L'Echo, 2010-08-11
Following the French energy company GDF Suez's take-over of the UK electricity company International Power, GDF Suez is expected to reduce its activities in Belgium. GDF Suez has sold its stakes in the Belgian gas distribution network operator Fluxys and the Belgian electricity grid operator Elia and new divestments are planned. It is believed that Belgium's mixed energy intercommunal power companies will be the main targets of the GDF Suez divestments.
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Germany

14 years more for nuclear power plants

Handelsblatt, 2010-08-09
Reportedly, the German government is extending the life of nuclear power plants by 14 years on average. The minister of environment Norbert Röttgen was not able to put through a much lower extension, reports Spiegel news magazine.
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Accusations in dispute about coal mining subsidies

Die Welt, 2010-08-10
Internal documents of RAG Foundation show that the German Hard Coal Financing Act was never approved by the European Commission. The Act regulates the financing of the closure of hard coal mining in Germany by 2018. In July 2010, however, the Commission decided that it will no longer allow state subsidies for the coal industry from 2014.

While the German government accuses the European Commission of neglect, some suggest that the government was not pushing for the Commission's approval, since it wanted to end the subsidies sooner. This could, however, cost the government parties votes in the 2013 parliamentary elections. Opposition party SPD and IGBCE trade union warn that 10,000 jobs could be lost if coal mining was ended in 2014. RAG doubts whether this early date would be manageable at all.
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RWE to market small wind power generators

Die Welt, 2010-08-13
By the end of 2010 RWE is to start marketing in Germany small wind power units of British company Quiet Revolution, in which the big German power company is a shareholder. Quiet Revolution produces wind power units of 6 kW, which are mounted on house roofs or posts at a height of 5 metres.

Since wind power is not subsidised as much as photovoltaic energy, the small wind power units are feasible only where the electricity is consumed locally and where wind speeds are at least 5 metres per second. Wind energy association BWE criticises the fact that there are no uniform national regulations for the approval of the small wind power units. In the UK, Quiet Revolution has sold 120 wind power units.
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Italy

Enel and Poste Italiane launch their electric vehicle pilot project

La Repubblica, 2010-08-12
Italian energy utility Enel and Italian postal services operator Poste Italiane have launched their joint electric vehicle pilot project with the aim of achieving zero emissions. The Italian municipality of Pisa (which is where Enel's research centre is) as well as Rome and Milan will be used to pilot the use of electric vehicles in carrying out mail delivery.

Poste Italiane is to use nine new electric vehicles, three of which are to be Porter Piaggio Electric-Power units and six are to be Free Duck Ducati Energia units. Enel is to install smart recharging stations at the Primary Distribution Center (PDC) located in Pisa Ospedaletto, where the vehicles will be kept. Also, a recharging station for Pisa residents will be installed at Pisa’s central post office and the possibility of recharging vehicles using RECS (the Renewable Energy Certificate System) is currently being considered.

The first 56 of Enel’s public recharging points for electric vehicles are currently being installed at selected locations and the Italian energy utility will soon install domestic recharging facilities in the garages of Pisa residents who are taking part in the pilot scheme. Enel and Poste Italiane are also set to set up a study group which will look into and possibly develop more initiatives of this kind.
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Lithuania

EC endorses funding to NordBalt

Baltic News Service, 2010-08-06
The European Commission has endorsed the EUR 131mn EU allotment to funding of the NordBalt power link to be built between Lithuania and Sweden. Interlinks, the subsidiary of the power utility Lietuvos Energija, is to implement the power link's project in Lithuania. NordBalt provides for building a 450 km 700 MW capacity cable on the seabed of the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Lithuania. Based on preliminary estimates, the total value of the project is EUR 552mn. NordBalt power link is scheduled to be put into operation by 2016.
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New nuclear plant commissioning postponed to 2018

Baltic News Service, 2010-08-12
Lithuania's government has amended the date of commissioning the new nuclear power plant set forth in the Implementation Plan of National Energy Strategy. The actual date to commission the new nuclear plant is 2018-2020 from the earlier targeted 2015, says Energy Minister Arvydas Sekmokas. Mr Sekmokas says Lithuania will ask potential strategic investors to submit binding bids in September 2010.
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Poland

Poland/Ukraine: Polish companies in talks on importing electricity

Gazeta Prawna, 2010-08-09
It has been revealed that the Electricity and Gas Receiver Forum (FOEEiG) which brings together largest energy buyers in Poland, for example PKN Orlen and KGHM, is negotiating possible electricity supplies with Ukrainian firms. Details with regards to the negotiations are classified but it is known that FOEEiG wants to buy energy for prices 25% lower than the prices on the Polish market.

Experts say that FOEEiG's efforts to buy Ukrainian energy are also connected with the fact that there might be an energy shortage in Poland as demand grows, whilst energy producers are not able to speed up the construction of new capacities. What is more, a number of old coal power blocks will be closed down in 2016.
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First nuclear power block to be opened in 2022

Gazeta Wyborcza, 2010-08-12
According to the updated nuclear power schedule, the first nuclear power block is to be launched in Poland in 2022, not in 2020 as it had been originally planned. The scheduled is to undergo consultations and is to be adopted before the end of 2010. In charge of the nuclear power project will be the Polish state energy group, Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE), which plans two power blocks, each with a capacity of 3,000 MW.
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United Kingdom

EDF to be main beneficiary of new green tax

Telegraph (UK), 2010-08-07
The French-owned energy company EDF is expected to make windfall profits of about GBP 350mn (EUR 420.61mn USD 558.83mn) per year when the UK Government brings in a new green levy. The firm would be the main beneficiary of the Government's plan to artificially boost the price of carbon allowances that are traded in the UK. The Government believes that the move will make it cheaper for companies to operate low-carbon nuclear plants than to run fossil-fuel power plants.

However, separate studies by the Policy Exchange and KPMG have suggested that the move will substantially increase electricity prices. They claim that if carbon were priced at EUR 35 per tonne an increase of GBP 7 per megawatt hour would result in the overall cost to taxpayers reaching GBP 2.5bn. Most of the additional money paid by consumers will be collected by the Treasury but EDF will also benefit because it already owns several nuclear power stations, which generate 13% of the UK's electricity. It will therefore benefit from the increased electricity prices, whilst not having to purchase carbon allowances due to the fact that its nuclear power stations do not produce greenhouse gases.
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UK/France: International Power and GDF Suez reach merger deal

BBC News, 2010-08-10
UK electricity generating company International Power has agreed a merger deal with French energy group GDF Suez, under which GDF's international assets will be transferred to International Power, including GBP 3.7bn (EUR 4.45bn USD 5.88bn) of debt. The combined company will be named New International Power, and it will be 70% owned by GDF shareholders. International Power shareholders are set to receive a special dividend of GBP 0.92 a share, if they choose to approve the deal.
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