News item | 2011-10-18 | 00:00 AM

Energy News Europe - week 41, 2011

Austria

Government commissions report on import ban on nuclear power
Die Presse, 2011-10-10
The Austrian Federal Government has commissioned a report on a potential import ban in Austria on nuclear-generated energy as well as energy generated from unknown sources. This comes after two studies by environmental organisations, Global 2000 and Greenpeace, showed that this could be legally possible. The government has asked the legal service of the European Commission to provide advice to the EU's legal conformity to such an import ban. Some 6% of Austria's energy currently comes from nuclear power.
© Esmerk

Belgium

Electricity price up 8% after plant closures in Germany
Le Soir de Bruxelles, 2011-10-11
According to Creg, the Belgian electricity and gas regulator, the closure of seven nuclear power plants in Germany on 15 March 2011 has increased prices in Belgium. Prices increased by EUR 4.50 (USD 6.14) per MWh, or 8%, on the Endex exchange. The closure of all the German plants by 2022 will result in an electricity price increase of around 20% in Belgium. Germany started importing electricity on 15 March. Previously, it was an exporter.
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Czech Republic

CEZ's overseas assets to bring CZK 50.1bn profit
Hospodarske Noviny, 2011-10-11
CEZ, a Czech power utility, expects EBITDA of its overseas assets to reach CZK 50.10bn (EUR 2.03bn USD 2.77bn) by the end of 2011. At the end of 2010, the combined EBITDA of these units was CZK 38.7bn. The company has said that their performance has stabilised and it expects their EBITDA to grow by CZK 10bn-CZK 11bn per year.

Since 2004, CEZ has invested CZK 70bn and this investment could thus return by 2013. CEZ admits that some markets such as Albania and Romania are problematic, particularly due to high inherited debts. Some analysts say that several investments, such as acquiring shares in the Hungarian oil company MOL or buying 50% of the Mibrag coal mine in Germany, cannot be considered successful.
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Denmark

300 coastal wind turbines proposed in new analysis
Ingeniøren, 2011-10-12
According to calculations by civil engineer Hans Henrik Lindboe, of Ea Energianalyse, some 300 new coastal wind turbines must be built in Denmark if the country is to meet government's target of 50% wind power by 2020. Another 2,100MW of wind power is needed and Lindboe proposes a distribution of 600MW offshore, 500MW onshore and 1,100MW on the coasts. By 2014 the first turbines can be up and running according to Lindboe. Coastal turbines are cheaper than offshore turbines emphasizes Lindboe estimating that offshore turbines cost DKK 17.5mn (EUR 2.35mn USD 3.24mn)/MW compared to DKK 15mn/MW for coastal turbines.
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Minister considers state-owned wind power company
Ingeniøren, 2011-10-13
Denmark's Minister of Climate and Energy Martin Lidegaard has announced that he will consider the establishment of a state-owned wind power company in an effort to reduce prices on offshore wind power in particular. Lidegaard concludes that the current supply model for wind power must be reviewed as something must be done to make private business more willing to bid on new offshore wind power projects. Lidegaard rejects the idea of trying to attract smaller investors by splitting up offshore wind power projects into smaller parts.
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Finland

Energy sector surprised by the cut in renewable energy subsidies
Press Release, 2011-10-12
Finland's Ministry of Employment and the Economy has announced that the fixed electricity production subsidy will end at the beginning of 2012, in Finland.

The sudden change in the subsidy system came as a surprise to the Finnish energy sector. According to the Finnish Energy Industries, there was no discussion with the industry concerning the ending of the subsidy and its impacts on the sector. Finland is committed to raising the share of renewable energy to 38% of energy end-consumption by 2020. To meet this goal requires big investments from energy industry companies. The realisation of these investments in turn requires strong trust in political guidance. Director Jukka Leskelä, of Finnish Energy Industries, says sudden changes are not apt to strengthen trust in the field.
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France

Market in Perpignan becomes Europe's largest solar park
Midi Libre, 2011-10-12
On 13 October 2011 the Saint-Charles covered market in Perpignan will enter service to become the largest solar power plant in Europe. It will have installed capacity of 8.8 MW and generate 9,800 MW per hour, enough to cover 10% of the town's electricity needs. It comprises 97,000 solar panels connected to the EDF National Grid. The EUR 54mn (USD 74.39mn) project was managed by Saint-Charles Solaire. Saint-Charles international is Europe's largest fruit and vegetable redistribution centre, supplying markets across Europe. The location's sunlight levels make it suitable for solar power projects. The site will be inaugurated by Ecology Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet.
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Germany

Another court questions nuclear fuel tax
Die Welt, 2011-10-11
A second court in Germany has questioned in nuclear fuel tax in Germany. A court in Munich suspended a tax declaration concerning the Gundremmingen nuclear power station, which is operated by RWE. The court in Munich doubts whether the nuclear fuel tax is in the legislative competence of the German state.
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Germany buys energy back from Austria that it supplied free
Der Standard, 2011-10-09
Germany's Bild newspaper has reported that Germany is now buying back electricity from Austria, that it once gave Austria for free. When German supply exceeded demand, excess energy was given to Austria and Switzerland, either for free or even for negative prices.

Stephan Kohler, CEO of the German Energy Agency (Deutsche Energie Agentur) has criticised the policy of buying the energy back, claiming that it does not make economic sense. However, Kohler expects the situation to worsen, as the sector continues to expand. Jürgen Großmann, CEO of German energy company RWE, is calling for green energy, which has been financed by German consumers, not to be supplied abroad. For this to be possible, it is necessary for electricity storage facilities such as pumped storage plants to be built.
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Italy

Edison's Italian shareholders' plan may have informal nod by EDF
La Repubblica, 2011-10-12
As part of the ongoing shareholding negotiations in Italian utility Edison, the Italian shareholders led by A2A and Iren have proposed to French shareholder EDF to buy Edipower's hydroelectric assets. Whereas EDF and Swiss Alpiq would receive the combined-cycle power plants. The Italian shareholders are also in talks to create an additional renewable energy vehicle. This way energy production from these renewable sources would be shared by A2A, retaining two thirds, and by Iren, retaining one third, based on their quotas in the company. Reportedly, this proposal has also been informally approved by EDF. The overall plan entails that the Italian shareholders sell their 30% stake in Edison.
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Poland

PGE to announce nuclear reactor tender worth around PLN 40bn
Rzeczpospolita, 2011-10-14
In November 2011 Polish energy company PGE is to call a tender for the supply of nuclear reactors for the nuclear power station worth around PLN 40bn (EUR 9.30bn USD 12.78bn). According to the information gained by the daily Rzeczpospolita, the deadline for submitting bids will be January 2012.

It is said that among the companies most interested in getting the contract are: Areva, GE Hitachi and Westinghouse. However, in the consultations organised by PGE in September there were also other participants taking part: Mitsubishi, Atmea, Atomic Energy of Canada and Kepco. Experts believe that the most important criteria in the tender will be the price, technology and size of the reactor.
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Spain

Wind energy firms criticise new sector regulations proposed by government
El Pais (Spain), 2011-10-13
Wind energy firms in Spain have accused the Ministry of Industry of putting at risk 15,000 jobs as a result of the new regulations which were not discussed with the sector and will from 2013 cut the feed-in tariff premiums by 40% and the time facilities are eligible to receive them from 20 to 12 years, according to the Wind Energy Association (AEE).

The reasons behind the changes include the economic crisis, a drop in electricity demand and gas-fired generation working for less than a third of the predicted hours. The high number of projects, the regulations and actions by regional governments, and speculative investment in the sector, has added to the complicated situation being faced by the government.

However, the new regulations being proposed will choke future investments in wind farms, according to the sector, and banks which are involved in financing such projects have also become involved in the discussions. According to AEE's calculations, where investors demand a profitability of around 7% to 8% for minimum investments of EUR 50mn (USD 68.88mn), the new regulations will mean profitability of 4% to 5.3%. This would mean a slowdown in investment with just 500 MW more wind capacity installed between 2013 and 2015 which will be 88% less than originally expected.
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Sweden

Greenpeace calls for transfer to sustainable energy production
Dagens Industri, 2011-10-13
Greenpeace has published a report entitled "Energy Revolution - a sustainable energy outlook for Sweden", which concludes that Sweden would benefit from a transfer from nuclear and fossil power production to sustainable energy sources.

If energy production was solely from sustainable sources then Sweden would no longer need to pay for fuel costs and would as a result save SEK 375bn (EUR 41.07bn USD 56.58bn) per year, which Greenpeace says would compensate for the initial investment costs. It believes fossil and nuclear production should be phased out over 40 years and funds should be invested in extensive energy efficiency measures to reduce energy demand by 39% in 2050. It has calculated that 92% of primary energy needs in Sweden can be met by sustainable sources by 2050, which would mean CO2 emissions have fallen by 95% compared with 1990.

Greenpeace calls on Anna-Karin Hatt, the Minister for Information Technology and Energy, and Lena Ek, the Minister for the Environment, to adopt a long-term vision of 100% sustainable energy production in order make Sweden a sustainable nation of the future with a green economy.
© Esmerk

United Kingdom

RWE reviewing nuclear plans
Guardian, 2011-10-07
RWE, the German utility that owns Npower, is understood to be reviewing its UK nuclear programme. Sources close to RWE said it is looking at all aspects of its involvement in Horizon Nuclear Power, a joint venture with Eon that would build two atomic power stations in Oldbury in Gloucester and Wylfa in Wales.

RWE's nuclear ambitions have been thrown into doubt following Germany's decision to close all its nuclear plants earlier than expected and Japan's Fukushima disaster. RWE's review is said to include whether to bring in new partners to the joint venture. A decision to abandon or scale down its UK nuclear plans would strike a further blow to the government's low carbon economy plans, which have suffered two recent hits after SSE announced it would not proceed with its nuclear project in Cumbria and rumours that Scottish Power may shelve plans for a carbon capture and storage pilot scheme
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Huhne confirms plans for eight new nuclear power stations
Daily Mail, 2011-10-14
Plans for eight new nuclear power stations have been confirmed by Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary. Huhne said nuclear power should form part of the UK's energy mix as it offers an affordable and important means of providing low-carbon electricity. Huhne indicated that there would be no public subsidy for the construction of the new nuclear plants, adding that energy firms would be responsible for meeting the cost of dealing with nuclear waste. All but one of the UK's existing nuclear power plants is scheduled to be decommissioned by 2023.
© Esmerk

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