News item | 2011-09-22 | 12:52 PM

Energy News Europe - week 37, 2011

Belgium

Electrabel's nuclear safety interim report approved
L'Echo, 2011-09-16
The Belgian federal agency for nuclear control has approved an interim report issued by the Belgian energy company Electrabel, which is a subsidiary of the French energy company GDF Suez, on the safety of its nuclear power stations. The report was sent by Electrabel, which controls the Tihange and Doel nuclear reactors, to the federal agency for nuclear control on 15 August 2011 and has been unreservedly approved. Electrabel reportedly initially outlined its safety methodology on 15 July 2011 but made alterations to this on the advice of the federal agency for nuclear control. Nothing has been made of Electrabel's decision not to publish information considered classified.
© Esmerk

Czech Republic

RWE suspends Mochov power plant project
Hospodarske Noviny, 2011-09-12
RWE Transgas has suspended plans to build a gas and steam power plant in Mochov in the Czech Republic. Director General Martin Herrmann has said that the project is currently no feasible because electricity prices are too low and gas prices too high. He has added that the project will be assessed again in 2018. RWE Transgas already owns land for the project has passed the environment impact assessment. RWE has also decided thoroughly to assess each investment in the wake of Germany's decision to phase out nuclear power plants by 2022.
© Esmerk

Austria to oppose new nuclear reactors
Financni Noviny, 2011-09-16
Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger has said that the country will use all possible means to prevent construction of new nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic. Environment Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich has said that the Czech Republic did not learn the lesson from the Fukushima disaster, pointing out that the non-nuclear future should be a common goal. Governor of Upper Austria Josef Puhringer has sad that if the Czech Republic goes ahead with its plans, it will poise danger for Upper Austria, Austria and the whole Europe. Lower Austria's Energy Minister Stephan Pernkopf has called the Czech energy strategic irresponsible madness.
© Esmerk

Europe

Biomass demand increasing
Pulp & Paper International, 2011-09-13
The RISI bioenergy team has published the European Biomass Review. The study covers lignocellulosic biomass like wood, energy crops and agricultural residue. The demand for biomass in Europe is predicted to increase by nearly 50 % between 2010 and 2020 to 243 million dry tonnes. Black liquor is included. 77% of the demand growth is coming from the energy sector.

Even if Europe is expected to be able to fully develop its internal biomass potential, it will need to import biomass between 3.5 and 55 million tonnes a year. The imports will mainly be pellets. If Europe wants to become more self-sufficient in renewable energy sources, more energy crops and agricultural residues are needed. Energy plantations will have to be developed.
© Esmerk

Finland

Professor worried about future of wind energy sector
Suomen Kuvalehti, 2011-09-09
According to Professor of Electrical Engineering Olli Pyrhönen of the Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland, wind power is one of the most significant sectors in the field of renewable energy technology in Finland, although there is growth potential also in other renewable energy technologies. According to Pyrhönen, investments are hindered by massive bureaucracy and a general unreadiness in society.

Various authorities are finding new ways to delay wind power projects, in particular. Growth of order books in the energy industry is slowing down, Pyrhönen says, and the domestic wind energy industry needs investments quickly. According to Pyrhönen, there is a risk that industrial companies in renewable energy will wither in Finland.
© Esmerk

France

EDF reports that plants are very safe
L'Expansion.com, 2011-09-16
At the request of the French national nuclear safety authority ASN, EDF has evaluated the level of robustness of its 19 nuclear plants in France, based on criteria set out by the State. It reports that beyond the basic safety requirements, the plants all have a satisfactory margin of robustness in case of an earthquake and flood. Still, the energy group has proposed further measures to avoid a repeat of Fukushima.

These include establishing and emergency intervention force able to act within 24 hours anywhere in France. They also include autonomous pumps as a means of cooling equipment and a reduction in outsourcing. The ASN will review the reports of EDF and those of the nuclear group Areva, which also pronounced its activities as very safe.
© Esmerk

Germany

EnBW has to strengthen capital base
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2011-09-15
German energy group EnBW is worried about its capital resources in the long term after the nuclear phaseout and needs money for the planned conversion into a green electricity provider. EnBW generated a loss of about EUR 590mn (USD 811.03mn) in the first half of 2011. According to internal plans, the reorganisation of EnBW will cost its two main shareholders that is the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg and Oberschwäbische Elektrizitätswerke (OEW) a total of EUR 800mn. The sale of participations and the opening-up of subsidiaries for further shareholders are expected to generate between EUR 1bn and EUR 1.5bn. Another about EUR 750mn is to be generated through cost savings.

EnBW for example intends to sell its stake in Austria-based EVN. The first sales attempt was not successful since the offers were too low. The parcel is now to be sold within several steps. Participations in Poland are to be sold to the former EnBW partner EdF. Furthermore, EnBW considers decreasing its stake in the Swiss-German hydro power plant operator Energiedienst from almost 90% to up to 67%. EnBW employees are to refrain from the increase in pay rates or special payments. Vacant positions will not be filled again. EnBW, which has debts worth more than EUR 8bn, furthermore considers issuing a hybrid bond.
© Esmerk

RWE, Vattenfall bet on biomass for coal power plants
Ruhr Nachrichten, 2011-09-14
RWE and Vattenfall are considering use biomass for coal power plants. Instead of building new power plants, biomass could be co-fired in the plants, which are already part of the energy infrastructure in Germany. The potential for co-firing wood pellets is about 14 million tonnes per year in 2020.
© Esmerk

Local utilities to invest EUR 6.7bn in power plants
Handelsblatt, 2011-09-16
Over the next few years, the local utilities in Germany are to invest EUR 6.70bn (USD 9.30bn) in new power plants with a combined capacity of 3272 MW. By 2020, the local utilities want to increase market share from 9.8% to nearly 20%, reports VKU, the association of local utilities.
© Esmerk

Eon inaugurates Irsching 4 gas power plant
Augsburger Allgemeine, 2011-09-16
Eon has taken into operation the new Irsching 4 gas power plant in Irsching near Ingolstadt on 15 September 2011. The power plant has an electrical output of 570 MW and achieves an efficiency of more than 60%
© Esmerk

Italy

ENI sells 30% stake in South Stream to EDF and Wintershall
La Repubblica, 2011-09-17
Italian oil and gas group ENI completed the sale of a 15% stake in the consortium for the South Stream gas pipeline project in eastern Europe to French energy firm EDF and Wintershall, the oil and gas subsidiary of German group BASF. This brings ENI's stake to 20%, while its Russian partner Gazprom still owns a 50% stake.

Furthermore, ENI agreed to sell a stake in the Elephant oilfield project in Libya to its Russian partner, and signed a deal for the purchase of gas from the Severenergia consortium. The latter includes ENI with a 30%, Yamal Development with a 51% stake and Enel with a 10%.
© Esmerk

Lithuania

Visaginas nuclear plant will be built: PM Kubilius
The Baltic Course, 2011-09-14
Lithuania's planned new nuclear power plant in Visaginas will be built, Lithuania's Prime Minister, Andrius Kubilius, assured. Speaking in an interview with Alfa, Mr Kubilius noted that opposition to the nuclear plant both inside and outside Lithuania was strong. He said there were some energy and oligarch groups who would rather see Lithuania remain dependent on Russian energy.

Mr Kubilius stressed that the nuclear plant would strengthen the energy independence of the whole Baltic region. Earlier, Lithuania's Minister of Energy, Arvydas Sekmokas, said the participation of Lithuania's regional partners in the nuclear plant project had been nominal, given their lack of know-how, and that there had been no progress in the negotiations.
© Esmerk

Poland

Gas power plant to be constructed in Gdansk by Energa
Wirtualny Nowy Przemysl, 2011-09-08
Polish energy company Energa is considering a project of constructing a 450 MW gas power plant or a heat and power plant in the city of Gdansk. The company stresses that it has been interested in the project for quite some time now and it has already received conditions for connecting a 450 MW block. If one of the main heat clinets in the city: Lotos or GPEC expresses interest in the project, it will give Energa an incentive to carry out the planned investment.
© Esmerk

Spain

E.On and Abengoa spend EUR 550mn in solar power plants in Ecija
Expansion, 2011-09-09
The Helioenergy 1 solar power plant launched by E.On of Germany in association with Abengoa of Spain in Ecija (Spain), will feature 50MW of power. Together with its twin power plant Helioenergy 2, they will occupy a 220 hectare surface area, and will cost EUR 550mn (USD 764.12mn) to build. They will save 63,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. Helioenergy 1 is made up of 121,000 mirrors
© Esmerk

UK

Aquamarine Power installs first new Oyster 800 device
Daily Record (Scotland), 2011-09-14
Aquamarine Power has installed the first of three marine turbines at the European Marine Energy Centre off the coast of Orkney. The Oyster 800 turbine will generate 800 kilowatts. The remaining two units will be installed in 2012 and 2013. When installed all three units will have 2.4MW in generation capacity. The turbines will be linked to an on-shore hydro-electric plant. The new Oyster 800 turbine is twice as efficient in generating power as the previous model.
© 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.