News item | 2010-12-08 | 13:15 PM

Energy News Europe - week 48, 2010

Bulgaria

Fortum, Rosatom, NEK to cooperate in nuclear power project

Press Release, 2010-11-30
Finnish power company Fortum, the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, and NEK (the national Bulgarian utility Natsionalna Elektricheska Kompania EAD) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding concerning cooperation in the development of a nuclear power plant in Bulgaria.

Under the agreement, Fortum's aim is to participate in the Belene nuclear power plant project in Bulgaria by providing competence in nuclear technology and safety. Fortum has also reserved an opportunity to obtain a 1% share of the equity in the Project Company that will be established and will be the owner of the power plant and of the electricity to be generated by the plant. The exact value of the equity capital is subject to negotiations between shareholders. The biggest shareholders will be the national Bulgarian utility company NEK and Rosatom's subsidiaries. The Belene nuclear power plant will consist of two Russian VVER-type pressurized water reactors with a capacity of 1,050 MW each.
© Esmerk

Denmark

Government lacking finances to support biofuel project

Børsen, 2010-11-30
The Danish Social Democrats and Socialist People’s Party have received a negative response from Henrik Høegh, Denmark's Minister of Food, as Høegh states that the government could supply DKK 450mn (EUR 60.38mn USD 79.16mn) towards the development of second generation biofuel. Høegh states that not many countries in Europe would actually have the capacity to pay a grant of that proportion. The Danish Socialist People's Party has decided that it be best to aggressively pursue other options to raise the necessary DKK 450mn by 2019. If this money could be secured, six biofuel production facilities could be erected. The whoe proejcted would create roughly 800 full-time jobs at these locations, with an additionally 8,000 working in connection with construction.
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Europe

EC announces three new energy research infrastructure projects

Press Release, 2010-11-29
The European Commission (EC) has announced three new energy research infrastructure projects representing a total investment of EUR 1.20bn (USD 1.57bn). There will be a wind research facility in Denmark, a EUR 960mn nuclear research reactor in Belgium and an EUR 80mn concentrated solar power plant in Spain. The projects are part of ESFRI, the Roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures. ESFRI covers 50 projects with total construction costs of EUR 20bn and operating costs of EUR 2bn per year.
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Finland

Also off-shore wind farms should be subsidised

Kaleva, 2010-11-27
According to Finnish wind power company PVO-Innopower, the State should subsidise also the building of off-shore wind farms in Finland. The feed-in tariff to be introduced mainly concerns wind farms that are built on land. Investors may not be keen to build off-shore wind power plants if these are excluded from the subsidies. If wind farms are built only on land, the Government's wind power targets will not be achieved. According to PVO-Innopower, wind power should be profitable without subsidies in under 10 years. The price of wind-generated electricity will start to near market prices as the price of other electricity goes up and wind technology develops.
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OL3 nuclear power plant to begin operations in latter half of 2013

Satakunnan Kansa, 2010-11-27
Finnish power company Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) has informed Nordic electricity exchange Nord Pool that nuclear fuel will be loaded into the Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) nuclear power reactor at the end of 2012, in Finland. The nuclear start-up and testing phase will take about eight months, and electricity production will begin in the latter half of 2013. Project Director Jouni Silvennoinen, of TVO, points out that the exchange announcement does not include any essential new information on the schedule. According to Areva NP-Siemens consortium, the turn-key contractor of the power plant, its view on the schedule is similar to that of TVO.
© Esmerk

France

French solar power groups call for 500 MW limit to be lifted

La Tribune, 2010-11-30
The worldwide solar power market was worth an estimated USD 37bn (EUR 28.22bn) in 2008. In 2010 the installed capacity of solar power installations rose from 7,000 to 23,000 MW worldwide. The upturn is expected to continue in 2011 due to reduced costs and increasing performance. EDF Energies Nouvelles (EDF EN) is the French market leader, and its export activity is also performing profitably thanks to its focus on quality. Tenesol (Total-EDF) outputs panels with 85 MW capacity each year, much of which is sold on the French market. Via its new subsidiary Concentrix Solar, Soitec aims to develop the new variant of concentrated photovoltaics, which are popular worldwide for their watertight and aesthetic properties.

Air Liquide, which supplies gases for solar power, has benefited from its existing presence in markets that have become solar power hotspots. In France, domestic uptake has become difficult to forecast due to frequent changes to electricity buy-back prices. French solar power companies have expertise in built-in solar power units, which qualify for a preferential electricity buy-back rate. French solar power companies are against the government's plans to limit new installed capacity to 500 MW per year, in line with the French environmental charter.
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Germany

CDU aiming to slow down solar power boom

Financial Times Deutschland, 2010-11-29
Germany's CDU party is calling for an introduction of an unscheduled reduction in solar subsidies in order to slow down the installation of solar power facilities in Germany. The booming installation of solar power facilities, driven by solar subsidies, is leading to higher electricity prices because the feed-in tariff granted to solar power generators has to be paid by all electricity customers. The rising electricity prices could thus endanger acceptance of renewable energies.

Energy politicians aim to slow down the installation of solar power facilities in order to not endanger acceptance of renewable energies. It is understood that representatives of the solar industry and the Environment Ministry are already in talks about measures to slow down the solar power boom in 2011. Thomas Bareiß from the CDU proposes for example a limitation of new solar power capacity to around 3,000 MW a year.
© Esmerk 

Ireland

SSE may buy energy assets from Government

The Sunday Times, 2010-11-28
The UK utility firm Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), is in discussions with the Irish finance department over purchasing state-owned energy assets such as ESB or Bord Gais. It says that it would make an offer for either firm is the Government decided to sell them to raise money. ESB could sell for up to EUR 4bn (USD 5.29bn) while Bord Gais could sell for up to EUR 3bn.

The Irish Government has indicated in the past that each company's retail business could be sold, with the state to keep control of energy infrastructure assets. However, SSE said that it would want the infrastructure too. It said that it may partner two pension funds, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and the OMERS pension fund, to make its takeover offers.
© Esmerk 

Italy

ENEA unveils nuclear energy projections

Milano Finanza, 2010-11-30
According to a projection by ENEA, the Italian national agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development, the government's nuclear energy reintroduction plan will involve construction of seven power plants by 2050. The project will entail an overall investment of EUR 35bn (USD 45.89bn). Nuclear energy will cut CO2 emissions from energy generation by about 27% between 2010 and 2050. With the reintroduction of nuclear power, the share of gas powered energy production on the overall national energy generation will drop from 49% to 25% at the end of the term.
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Lithuania

KEPCO withdraws from nuclear plant tender

DELFI.lt, 2010-12-03
South Korea's state-owned energy group, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), has withdrawn from the tender to build a new nuclear poower plant in Lithuania. Andrius Kubilius, Lithuania's Prime Minister, immediately contacted South Korea's President for help in convincing KEPCO to stay in the project, but this failed to change the company's decision. The tender commission thus decided that the tender failed. The commission received two bids, one of which failed to meet the requirements. Romas Svedas, Lithuania's Deputy Minister of Energy, hinted that Russian actions may have influenced KEPCO's decision. He assured, however, that this was not the end of the nuclear plant project. The ministry would now engage in direct talks with other potential investors.
© Esmerk 

Netherlands

Advocate general advises RWE Borssele appeal is rejected

De Telegraaf, 2010-11-27
An advocate general of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands has advised that the appeal from German energy provider RWE, the parent company of Dutch counterpart Essent, to gain a stake in Netherlands' only nuclear power station, Borssele, is rejected. Borssele was equally owned by Dutch energy companies Delta and Essent before Essent's acquisition. RWE had hoped to gain Essent's Borssele stake via the takeover, but this was ruled out as Borssele statutes declare that the power station must remain in public Dutch hands. The Supreme Court is expected to publish its appeal results shortly, but in almost all cases, the advice of the advocate general is followed.
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Nordic

'Power transmission cable to the Continent profitable'

Ingeniøren, 2010-11-30
Construction of new power transmission cables between the Nordic countries and the European Continent would not only increase the consumption of renewable energy in Central Europe, but also be commercially profitable, according to a new report by consulting firms Econ Pöyry and Thema for Nordenergi, the association of Nordic power producers. A cable with a capacity of 1,400 MW would generate annual revenues totalling at least EUR 130-180mn (USD 170-235mn) by 2020. Nordenergi would like to see several new cables for exports of renewable energy from Norway and Sweden. If not, the production of hydro power and wind power risk being lost or prices on the wholesale market fall so much that the production would not be profitable.
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Norway

Statkraft's investment plan focuses entirely on renewable energy

Dagens Næringsliv, 2010-11-27
The Norwegian government's NOK 14bn (EUR 1.71bn USD 2.27bn) injection of new capital in state-owned power company Statkraft is conditional on a complete focus on renewable energy. After a long process, the government finally decided to attribute the higher capital demand from Statkraft so that it can carry through its ambitious NOK 82bn investment plan.

All of this should go to renewable energy and a large part to hydro power and energy trade. The investments in wind power will also be substantial, but not as significant as initially suggested, while there will be some smaller investments in district heating and micro power stations. The government has required that no investments will be made in gas power. The investment plans include hydro power projects in Western Europe and wind power projects in Sweden and the UK in addition to domestic investments.
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United Kingdom

Energy firms form NuGeneration nuclear power consortium

Telegraph (UK), 2010-11-30
The UK energy company Scottish & Southern, the French energy company GDF Suez and the Spanish energy company Iberdrola have joined forces to create the NuGeneration consortium, which will aim to build a nuclear power plant in the UK. The firms want to build their nuclear plant adjacent to the Cumbria-based Sellafield nuclear site by 2023. However, they will not a make a definite decision on whether or not to proceed with the plan for another five years, by which time the UK's first nuclear power plant constructed by Centrica and EDF should be three years from completion. Iberdrola's Alfio Vidal will lead the consortium as chief nuclear director, whilst GDF Suez's Olivier Carret will hold the role of chief operating officer.
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Powerfuel to built first almost carbon free gas fired power plant

Financial Times, 2010-12-02
UK mining and power company Powerfuel, in a joint venture with an Australian cement maker Calix, will build an almost carbon-free gas-fired power plant near Powerfuel Hatfield colliery in the UK. The company is also set to construct a 900 megawatts coal-fired power plant which will have Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) near the same location with public subsidy. The new reactor can absorb 90% of the carbon dioxide from the fuel gas before it enters the turbines.

The government's Office of Carbon Capture and Storage's Chief Executive Adam Dawson, said that the office has already assigned GBP 1bn (EUR 1.19bn USD 1.56bn) for CCS demonstration projects, and recently changed its rules wherein the gas-fired projects can also bid for funds. He also commented that if the technology is successful and is initiated on a nationwide-basis, it could create 55,000 jobs. For the construction of the demonstration plant, Powerfuel will receive EUR 180mn (USD 236.22mn) and will be allowed to bid for more funds from the UK and European Union. The GBP 2.4bn plant will need additional funding, if it is to be completed by 2015.
© Esmerk