Future of electricity supply uncertain
The Chairman of the Belgian energy market regulator Creg, François Possemiers has stated that Creg is concerned about where Belgium will find the electricity resources it needs. In the short term covering the country's electricity needs will be difficult as 1,800MW of electricity coming from nuclear power and 800MW of electricity coming from coal powered stations will be cut in 2015. Possemiers has said that back-ups are necessary in order to cover sustainable sources' shortfalls in production.
Creg is calling for the electricity grid management company Elia to operate part of the back-up supplies itself. In Belgium projects for power stations which could produce 7,000MW of electricity are under consideration. Possemiers has said that it is time for clear decisions on these dossiers.
GDF Suez to take legal action against the next Government
Le Soir de Bruxelles, 2011-11-15
The French energy company GDF Suez is to take legal action against the next Belgian Government. GDF Suez claims that in refusing the ten-year extension to the lifespan of the Doel 1, Doel 2 and Tihange 1 nuclear reactors and in imposing a EUR 550mn (USD 742.86mn) nuclear tax the Belgian State is failing to live up to its commitments made in 2009.
Dong Energy to reduce the use of coal
Berlingske Tidende, 2011-11-14
Danish state-owned power company Dong Energy has decided to stop using coal at its Avedøreværket CHP plant after the Danish Nature and Environment Protection Board of Appeal decided to revoke Dong's license for this. Dong will instead speed up the phasing out of coal as fuel. The company's new plans include converting two coal-power plants to biomass plants. As a result of the new plans the company's combined CO2 emissions will be more than halved from 11 tonnes a year.
Building of Estlink2 started
Helsingin Sanomat, 2011-11-17
In Estonia, the inauguration of the second undersea connection Estlink2, linking Estonia's power system with Finland's was held at Püssi, NE Estonia, on 16 November. The cornerstone was placed at the Püssi substation, the base of one of the converter stations for Estlink2 submarine cable. The investment in the 145 km long submarine cable reaches EUR 320mn and it is funded by the transmission grid of Estonia and of Finland, approximately EUR 100mn each, and by the EU (EUR 100mn). Estlink2 is scheduled to be put into operation in 2014.
A similar power link between Lithuania and Sweden is expected to be put into operation in 2016 and a link between Lithuania and Poland by 2020. The combined investments in the power links are estimated to surpass EUR 1bn. Estonia expects the completion of Estlink2 as well as the power links between the Baltics and Sweden and Baltics and Poland, to warrant energy supply security for Estonia.
Demand for wood chips forces up timber price
The growing demand for wood chips, to grow by an estimated 2.5fold in the next few years in Europe, will force up timber price in Estonia. Jaanus Arukaevu, a member of the board of Estonian Energy Industries Union, says biofuels export accounts for a considerable share of Estonia's export. Arukaevu says wood processors are forced to consider the needs of energy generation industries.
Biomass fuels have become a standard issue in electricity generation and several European fossile fuels-fired power plants have switched over to combined or full biomass fuelling. Arukaevu says the switch-over to biofuels-fired power plants is the speedest as well as cost-effective way to reduce the share of oil shale in fuelling power plants. Estonia, a biomass fuel providing donor country is generating over 90% of electricity from oil shale. Estonia exports biomass fuel to other countries where it is used for reducing CO2 pollution.
Finnish Energy Industries says joint energy market is endangered
Managing Director Juha Naukkarinen of Finnish Energy Industries warns of the large EU countries' plans that may destroy the target of a joint electricity market. A common market is in everyone's interest so now is the time to prevent restrictions, Naukkarinen says.
The French law on the new organisation of the electricity market, NOME, is in conflict with the aim of creating a joint and efficient electricity market. With its law, France wants to ensure the old price advantage for nuclear power for French customers. Naukkarinen sees a worrying development also in the UK because also the UK has presented measures that aim at ensuring investments in electricity generation. Also Germany may start to look for its own national solutions.
According to Naukkarinen, the development of the markets is also endangered by the EU renewable energy system that is dispersed through member countries. Subsidy systems should be quickly unified. Naukkarinen also demands a joint EU comment that the subsidy systems are only temporary. The development of the EU markets should be considered more carefully also in Finland.
EPR nuclear reactor in Flamanville halfway to completion
Le Monde, 2011-11-10
On 10 November 2011 EDF announced that its EPR nuclear reactor under construction in Flamanville (Manche) is halfway to completion. Its opening date remains 2016, four years later than planned. Some EUR 3bn (USD 4.14bn) have so far been spent on the project, out of a total budget of EUR 6bn (USD 8.27bn). This overshoots the 2005 estimate of EUR 3.30bn (USD 4.55bn). In terms of construction, 86% of the concrete is in place, the perimeter wall has reached its full height and 18% of electromechanical setup is in place.
The roof is due to be put in place in summer 2012. In total, the undertaking will have required 400,000 m3 of concrete, 120,000 tonnes of metalwork et 400 km of pipework.
The EPR reactor under construction in Olkiluoto, Finland, is two thirds completed. The opening is slated for 2013, five years later than planned, and there could be a further delay. Areva, the firm which designed the reactors, has learned from the setbacks in Flamanville and Olkiluoto. The group hopes to save EUR 1bn (USD 1.38bn) on the construction of future units, and shorten the timeline by 20 months.
Socialist party and Greens reach partial agreement
France's Green and Socialist parties have reached a tentative agreement to form a parliamentary coalition in the event of the victory of the left in the 2012 general election. However, the deal does not include the participation of the Green party in government for the moment. Both parties agree on plans to rein in the banks, and develop a new model of economic, social and ecological development.
A more comprehensive agreement is being held up by the thorny nuclear power question, which has been the object of disagreements between the two parties, with notable differences in opinion over what to do about future nuclear reactor being built at Flamanville.
The Socialist Party has agreed to cut nuclear power's share in the country's energy mix from 75% to 50% before 2025, by closing 24 out of a total 58 reactors. This would include the immediate halting of the Fessenheim plant, the oldest in France. There would also be no new studies launched into new nuclear plant openings. The Flamanville site would, however, still go ahead, which is a major sticking point for the Greens. The agreement has yet to be formally endorsed by the Green party.
EnBW records EUR 551mn loss
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2011-11-12
In the first nine months of 2011, EnBW recorded a net loss of EUR 551mn (USD 759.58mn). Turnover increased 6% to EUR 13.7bn. EnBW blames the fuel tax and the forced shut down of two nuclear power plants, which amounted to EUR 563mn. EnBW also had to write down its stake in EWE (EUR 300mn) and Austrian EVN (EUR 245mn).
EnBW announced that it will reduce costs by EUR 750mn per year by the end of 2014. One fourth of the reduction will be staff costs. The company has yet to present a new strategy which takes into account the change of energy policy in Germany and the change of the government in Baden-Württemberg, which is a major shareholder of EnBW.
Gazprom takes over electricity supplier Envacom
Frankfurter Rundschau, 2011-11-12
Russian Gazprom is to enter the German consumer market. Gazprom Germania confirmed that London-based Gazprom Marketing & Trading has acquired the German company Envacom Service, a supplier of electricity and telecommunication services. The company based in Walluf has about 500,000 clients. Germany's Federal Cartel Office is said to have approved the deal.
E.on complaint at constitutional court
Die Welt, 2011-11-15
E.on has filed a case with Germany's constitutional court against the Federal Republic of Germany. It maintains that the July 2011 amendment to the atomic energy act is unconstitutional, since it provides no compensation to nuclear power plant operators. The change of energy policy with the phase-out of nuclear power corresponds to expropriation, E.on argues. E.on is the first power plant operator in Germany to go to court on the nuclear phase-out.
Agreement on LiPol Link to be signed in 2011
Baltic News Service, 2011-11-15
Lithuania and Poland are planning to sign an agreement on power interconnection, LitPol Link, by the end of 2011. The deal may be signed as soon as Poland's government carries out administrative reform and specifies the responsible ministry for signing the deal with Lithuania. Initial agreement on investments in the LitPol Link has already been approved by Poland's Polskie Sieci Elektroenergetyczne (PSE) and Lithuania's Litgrid. The power link between Lithuania and Poland will be launched in 2015.
NVE acquits power companies from accusations of market abuse
Teknisk Ukeblad, 2011-11-16
A report from the Norwegian water and energy resources directorate NVE acquits the hydropower industry from accusations of having manipulated the market. NVE has analysed the reservoir data from the last two winters without finding any indications of abuse of the limited supply of water. However, NVE believes the possibility for market improvements should be investigated. Possible measures would include introducing more pricing zones and improvements of the reservoir data.
Inter RAO UES, Alpiq sign memorandum of cooperation
Russia's Inter RAO UES and Switzerland's Alpiq AG have signed a memorandum of cooperation in the project to lay an underwater DC cable that will connect grids in the Kaliningrad region, Russia, and Germany. Alpiq becomes a potential partner of Inter RAO UES is the underwater electric cable project along with the Nord Stream gas pipeline project.
By the end of 2011, the parties will agree on draft contracts to supply electricity from Russia to Europe via the cable. After it, they are planning to start construction project development. The Swiss party can act as a project partner or a buyer of electricity to be supplied. The source of financing will be determined after conditions of electricity supply contracts are agreed.
Svenska Kraftnät calls for fast decision on South-West power link
Dagens Industri, 2011-11-15
A government decision on the South-West power link project must be made by the start of 2012 to avoid delays, Mikael Odenberg, General Director at Svenska Kraftnät, has said. The first stage of the power link is hoped to be in operation by December 2014, while the link to Norway would be in operation by 2018. Odenberg said that the power link would raise the transmission capacity to the south part of Sweden by 25% which could virtually eliminate the price differences between the north and south of the country.
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