News item | 2011-10-26 | 12:00 PM

Energy News Europe - week 42, 2011

Austria

Hydro power plants will have to be retrofitted with fish ladders
Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, 2011-10-15
Upper Austria will make it obligatory for local operators of hydro power plants to retrofit fish ladders. According to estimations by Christoph Wagner, Chairman of the association of small hydropower plant owners, Kleinwasserkraft Österreich, this will cost local operators three to four annual turnovers. The new regulation is based on European Union (EU) directives. The federal state of Upper Austria and the Federation will help the affected with subsidies and a phase plan, which gives certain hydropower plants more time to adjust.
© Esmerk

Belgium

GDF Suez may stop investing in Belgium
Le Soir de Bruxelles, 2011-10-18
GDF Suez, the parent company of Electrabel, has said that it will revise its investment, employment, training and sponsorship policy in Belgium if the Belgian state decides to revise its commitments in the sector of nuclear energy. GDF said that it may decide not to extend the life of the Tihange 1 and Doel 1 nuclear power plants. The agreement signed on 22 October 2009 specified a yearly contribution of between EUR 215mn (USD 295.28mn) and EUR 245mn from 2010 to 2014.
© Esmerk

Czech Republic

Nuclear energy plans are branded unrealistic
Hospodarske Noviny, 2011-10-19
President of the Czech Union of Building Entrepreneurs Vaclav Matyas has said that a plan to build 18 new nuclear reactors in the next 50 years, which is included in the State Energy Strategy, is unrealistic. He has pointed out that their construction is impossible if current rules for planning and building permits remain valid. Matyas claims that there may be problems even with building two new blocks of the Temelin plant by 2020. The government's plenipotentiary for completion of Temelin, Vaclav Bartuska, admits that the planning procedure is the weakest link of the strategy because it does not set any deadline and opponents can appeal almost indefinitely.
© Esmerk

Denmark

Dong could lead wind farm expansions as non-profit company for govt.
Ingeniøren, 2011-10-19
The Danish Government is currently considering options to use Dong Energy as a state-owned non-profit company to lead the expansion of wind farms in Denmark, rather than form a new company to carry out this task. In doing so, the government would be able to save billions of Danish Crowns.

The idea has received mixed support from Denmark's political parties, with the Social Democrats and Socialist People's Party supporting the idea. The Danish People's Party and Conservative Party are not as keen on the idea, however, while other parties have acknowledged the plan as "interesting", but do not wish to comment in detail whether they would be for or opposed to bringing in Dong. Martin Lindegaard, Denmark's Energy Minister, states that negotiations for this scenario will be conducted at a fast pace, with the details of this possibility to be mapped out over the course of four weeks, between November and December 2011. Once these have been laid down, more concrete information will become available.
© Esmerk

Denmark/Sweden

EU ruling forces Sweden to transfer cheap electricity to Denmark
Børsen, 2011-10-18
The EU has decided that Swedish authorities will not be allowed to reserve all cheap hydroelectric power for themselves but have to transfer some to Denmark as from 1 November 2011. The EU decision was achieved following a complaint submitted by the Danish government.
© Esmerk

Europe

Asia's wind power generating capacity to surpass Europe in 2012
South China Morning Post, 2011-10-20
The Global Wind Energy Council forecasted that Asia will have the largest wind power generating capacity globally in 2012, surpassing Europe. The wind generating capacity in Europe, North America and Asia is expected to grow at an average 11.1%, 16.3% and 24.7% per year respectively till 2015. China has been mainly driving the growth in Asia, with a capacity of 44.8 gigawatts in 2010.

Steve Sawyer, the Secretary General of the council projected that the wind power consumption in Asia will also be 26% higher than Europe by end-2015. By end-2011, the installed capacity of North America, Asia and Europe is expected to reach 61.2 gigawatts, 107.6 gigawatts and 107.3 gigawatts, constituting an estimated 96.5% of the total installed capacity in the world. Sawyer said previous forecast put the wind power generating capacity of Asia will exceed Europe in 2015 and was later changed to 2014 and 2013.
© Esmerk

EC proposes special status for energy-infrastructure projects
Press Release, 2011-10-19
The European Commission (EC) has proposed to give a 'Common Interest' status to projects that will help the EU reach energy and climate goals. The projects will benefit from a faster and easier permit-granting procedure and they will be eligible for EU funding. A total of EUR 9.10bn (USD 12.50bn) will be earmarked from 2014 to 2020 for the development of energy infrastructure as part of the CEP (Connecting Europe Facility).
© Esmerk

France

Enel set to participate in three hydropower concession bids
Challenges, 2011-10-13
Enel is set to submit offers for upcoming hydropower plant concession calls to tender. The contracts concern Lake Mort and Lake Drac in the French department of Isère and Lake Ossau in the department Pyrénées-Atlantique. The hydropower plants are currently operated by EDF.
© Esmerk

Netherlands

Country must step up renewable energy efforts
Het Financieele Dagblad, 2011-10-20
According to the Dutch environment and infrastructure board RLI, the Netherlands must step up its efforts in the area of renewable energy if it wants its businesses to continue to compete on an international scale. Otherwise, Dutch companies will have to pay more for their energy as fossil fuel prices are increasing. Amongst other things, the Netherlands should increase the development of solar cells, the construction of wind farms and investment in research and development in green energy. The board is calling on the Dutch government to help companies that want to use renewable energy, and for aims to be set for renewable energy after 2020.
© Esmerk

Norway

Fortum divests minority shareholding in Ishavskraft
Press Release, 2011-10-18
Finnish power company Fortum is selling its 24.5% minority share holding in Northern Norwegian electricity supplier Ishavskraft to other shareholders of the company, that is Alta Kraftlag, Ymber, Repvåg Kraftlag, and Luostejok Kraftlag. The divestment will not have a significant impact on Fortum's financial result. The transaction will take effect on 28 October 2011. The divestment is in line with Fortum's aim to focus on its own consumer brand.
© Esmerk

 

Portugal

Three Gorges and Eletrobras submit offers for EDP
Diario Economico, 2011-10-21
The Portuguese Government so far received two non biding offers from Three Gorges of China and Eletrobras of Brazil which are keen to take over the 21% stake held by the state in the Portuguese electricity company EDP. According to inside sources the bid submitted by the Chinese company is the highest. The deadline to submit non biding offers ends on 21 October 2011 and besides these companies also E.On of Germany, Gas Natural/Fenosa and Sonatrach of Algeria are also potential candidates.
© Esmerk

Russia

Power company Fortum's performance still modest
Helsingin Sanomat, 2011-10-21
Finnish power group Fortum's investments in Russia cannot yet be seen in the company's financial results. According to CEO Tapio Kuula, a clear improvement is expected in results in Russia as new capacity is introduced.

After the completion of the investment programme, the aim is to achieve positive financial value added in the Russia division. The first power plants in the programme are now close to completion, and the last is to be completed in 2014. Fortum believes its performance in Russia will improve, as the country's government pays a type of production guaranteed price for new production. In the Nordic countries, Fortum's operating margin has been about 50% for a long time, but in Russia, the corresponding figure was 6% in January-September 2011. Net sales in Russia totalled EUR 646mn, and operating profit EUR 39mn.
© Esmerk

United Kingdom

Longannet carbon capture and storage plant plans collapse
Independent, 2011-10-20
Plans to build a coal-fired power station using carbon capture and storage technology on the Firth of Fourth have collapsed. The government said it will explore alternative projects after failing to reach an agreement with ScottishPower, National Grid and Shell on the level of state support for the Longannet project. The consortium had sought more financial support than the GBP 1bn (EUR 1.15bn USD 1.58bn) committed by the government. Seven more potential carbon capture and storage schemes have been lined up by the government, projects that could secure European Union funding in 2012.
© Esmerk

Npower sale could help RWE raise money
This Is Money, 2011-10-20
Npower is on the market for some GBP 4.30bn (EUR 4.93bn USD 6.79bn) and analysts say it could be sold before Christmas 2011. The firm is owned by RWE of Germany and supplies 7mn households in the UK.

RWE is looking to raise money by selling assets and npower is part of a GBP 17.40bn package on sale. The firm is expected to sell around GBP 9.60bn of the assets on offer. RWE put npower on the market in July 2011 and Iberdrola of Spain was reported to be interested but has now ruled out the deal. Sources says the most likely buyer is Dong Energy of Denmark. Gazprom and International Power could also be interested in npower, while analysts say RWE might be able to raise the funds without having to sell npower.
© 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.