News item | 2010-11-03 | 14:30 PM

Energy News Europe - week 43, 2010

Austria

E-Control criticises energy companies

Die Presse, 2010-10-28
According to the Austrian energy regulator E-Control, 375,000 Austrian households switched to a different electricity supplier and 50,000 to a different supplier of gas between 2001 and 2010. This saved customers a total of EUR 44mn (USD 61.35mn). Would all Austrians change to the cheapest supplier, this could save them a total between EUR 220-250mn annually.

E-Control has pointed out that some Austrian suppliers make it harder for customers to switch and hopes that the new and third EU liberalisation package comes into effect as this would allow E-Control to demand penalties of up to 10% of the company's turnover. In addition, E-Control criticised the fact that wholesale prices for natural gas have dropped to the lowest level in a long time since 2009, however, the end customers do not benefit from that, except wholesale customers who have seen an average 10% fall in gas prices.

E-Control expects that the oversupply of cheap liquefied gas will continue for at least three to four more years. The regulator thus demands that suppliers pass on the low prices to their household customers. According to E-Control, there is also a potential to lower the electricity prices.
© Esmerk

Czech Republic

State to sell 17mn emission credits

iDNES, 2010-10-27
Czech Environment Minister Pavel Drobil has said that the state plans to sell another 17mn emission credits to fund its environmental programme 'Zelena Usporam' (Green Light to Savings) used to fund insulation and use of renewable energy in residential buildings.

Drobil has added that he set prices for negotiations of two to three packages of credits. However, he has declined to disclose the price for which the government intends to sell the credits. The Czech Republic has already raised CZK 19bn (EUR 770.73mn USD 1.07bn) from the sale of credits at an average price of EUR 10 (USD 13.84) per unit. The latest sales, worth CZK 300mn was to Mitsui & Co. of Japan.
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Denmark

Minister wants to replace coal with biomass

Børsen, 2010-10-25
Danish Climate and Energy Minister Lykke Friis says the government is ready to take measures to replace coal with biomass at power stations in major population centres in Denmark to reduce CO2 emissions. Katherine Richardson, who is head of the government's climate commission, claims that biomass is not a long-term solution as in 10-20 years' time, the price of biomass will be so high that we could not afford to buy it. A total of 87% of the wooden pellets used at Danish thermal power stations are imported.
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European Union

EC launches consultation on carbon reduction roadmap

Press Release, 2010-10-27
The European Commission has begun a public consultation in preparation for the publication of its roadmap to reaching a low carbon European economy by 2050. The roadmap is expected to be produced in the first six months of 2011 and should lay out a strategy for lowering greenhouse gas emissions by between 80% and 95% compared to 1990 by 2050.
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Finland

Fortum gives up CCS project at Meri-Pori

Press Release, 2010-10-27
Finnish power company Fortum has decided to give up the carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at the Meri-Pori power plant in Finland. The Finncap project will thus not apply to become part of the European Union's CCS demonstration programme. The other participant in the project, Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), withdrew from the project earlier in the autumn of 2010. Fortum's decision is based on the technical and financial risks of the programme.

Acceptance into the EU programme would have covered only a portion of the costs of the about EUR 500mn project. In addition to EU funding, the project would have needed national funding and significant investments from the companies participating in it. According to Matti Ruotsala, Executive Vice President of Fortum's Power Division, Finncap has been one of the biggest and most progressive CCS research projects in the world.

According to Fortum's updated strategy, coal condensing is not in the core of the company's operations. According to Fortum's strategy, the company will focus on carbon dioxide-free hydropower and nuclear power, as well as resource efficient combined heat and power production. Fortum will, however, actively monitor the development of CCS technology.
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Germany

Parliament passes government's energy plan, nuclear tax

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2010-10-29
The German parliament has approved the new Nuclear Energy Act, which extends the operating permits of nuclear power plants by between eight and 14 years. A new tax will be introduced which is likely to cost the operators up to EUR 30bn (USD 41.83bn). The parliament also passed the government's energy programme, which entails a 50% reduction of energy consumption and the raising of renewable energy share to 80% by 2050. Carbon dioxide emissions are to be reduced by 80%.
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Renewable energy promotion to raise power prices

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2010-10-29
Electricity suppliers in Germany are said to be planning price increases of up to 10% or EUR 0.02 (USD 0.03) per kWh in 2011. While prices on the electricity exchange are likely to remain stable, the 70% increase of subsidies for renewable energy to EUR 13bn (USD 18.13bn) will affect power prices.

The association of industrial energy consumers VIK estimates that the renewable energy tax will increase industry's electricity bills by EUR 2bn. About 500 of the 110,000 industrial enterprises will benefit from energy price benefits, which are to apply for energy-intensive industries.
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Netherlands

EC approves carbon capture plan state aid

Press Release, 2010-10-27
Following EU state aid rules, the European Commission has approved the Netherlands' decision to offer a grant of EUR 150mn (USD 207.67mn) to a CO2 capture and storage project. The project is a joint venture between GDF Suez and E.ON and will see the construction of a CO2 capture plant near to Rotterdam port.

The plant is expected to capture part of the E.ON coal-fired power plant's CO2 emissions. The gas will be transported to the North Sea for storage. The plant is expected to capture 1.1mn tons of CO2 annually.
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Nordic

Energy ministers agreed to expand electricity cooperation

Børsen, 2010-10-26
Nordic energy ministers have agreed to increase Nordic electricity cooperation to enable the countries to reduce energy consumption. All Nordic countries' interests are to be taken into account when expanding the countries' power grids. The Nordic countries should also be the driving force in converting the EU energy supply system into green energy, in particular to show that it is possible to combine climate and energy aspects with economic growth, Danish Energy Minister Lykke Friis said.
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Poland

Kulczyk Holding gets exclusive access to Enea negotiations

Wirtualny Nowy Przemysl, 2010-10-28
The Polish Ministry of Treasury has picked investment group Kulczyk Holding, as the sole negotiator in the bid for the state-owned energy company Enea until 3 November 2010. If Kulczyk Holding, acting as the guarantor, and its unit Elektron, acting as the buyer, are not successful in the negotiations, the Treasury will turn to another potential investor.
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Spain

CNE believes domestic coal subsidies will cost EUR 503mn in 2011

ABC, 2010-10-22
The National Energy Commission (CNE) in Spain believes that the domestic coal subsidies, which have been authorised by the European Commission but appealed against by electricity firms before the European Court of Justice (ECJ), will cost the State EUR 89mn (USD 124.24mn) in 2010 and EUR 503mn in 2011.

The estimates are based on the premise that the restriction mechanism to guarantee supply will begin in November 2010 and that every year, there will be 23 TWh of electricity generation scheduled at coal-fired power plants using domestically mined coal. This will use 10.1mn tonnes of Spanish coal and the energy will make up 9% of the 263.6 TWh electricity demand estimated for the country in 2011
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Sweden

Power firms urged to raise prices to meet investment costs

Dagens Nyheter, 2010-10-28
Power companies must raise its grid charges to afford much-needed investments, the Swedish Energy Markets Inspectorate (Energimarknadsinspektionen) has said. Tony Rosten, action general director at the Inspectorate, said that the power grid must be improved to allow for that variations in production bulk and locations an expansion of alternative energy sources would bring. The fees that power companies charge its customers were not enough to cover these investments, Rosten said.
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United Kingdom

Fall in planning approvals for wind farms

Independent, 2010-10-28
A report to be published by RenewableUK highlights a 50% decline in planning approvals for wind farms in England in the 12 months to September 2010. The report, which also notes a decline in wind farm approvals in Scotland, revealed that the economic downturn had contributed to a 30% decline in the number of wind farms becoming operational.

RenewableUK claims wind farm applications take an average of almost two years to be approved by local councils, adding that as many as 75% will be unsuccessful. Feasibility or planning issues contributed to 18 projects being considered and rejected for every completed wind farm development, according to RenewableUK.

The fall in wind farm planning approvals has raised doubts about the UK achieving targets to generate a fifth of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. The prospect of meeting this target could be hampered further by the success of groups campaigning against wind farms in their areas, the abolition of the Planning Inspectorate and the awarding of more power to local councils to make planning decisions in their area.
© Esmerk