News item | 2010-12-15 | 08:40 AM

Energy News Europe - week 49, 2010

Belgium

Creg to end setting electricity tariff parameters
L'Echo, 2010-12-08
The Belgian energy market regulator Creg has announced that it is to end setting tariff parameters on electricity in Belgium. This is despite believing that suppliers' charges are artificial and inflated. The National Bank of Belgium has also expressed concern over energy market prices in Belgium, as they are more volatile than in neighbouring countries.
© Esmerk

Denmark

Denmark: Life expectancy of wind turbines exceeds 20 years
Ingeniøren, 2010-11-26
Life expectancy of a wind turbine is likely to exceed the 20 years they are designed for, the journal states. In Denmark, there are 2,663 wind turbines that have been in operation for more than 20 years and still are producing electricity, according to data from the Danish energy authority (Energistyrelsen).

Dong Energy expects the average life of wind turbines installed at its latest wind farm Horns Rev 2 to be 20-25 years. However, technical consultant Strange Skriver of wind power association Danmarks Vindmølleforening believes future 'super optimisation' of wind turbines to reduce their weight will make them more sensitive, and their life risks becoming shorter.
© Esmerk

Europe

Governments promote large North Sea electricity grid
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2010-12-07
The governments of different states in Europe promote the construction of a large electricity grid on the bottom of the North Sea. Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK signed a respective letter of intent under the aegis of the European Commission on the weekend of 4/5 December 2010.

Within the course of three years, the participating countries intend to develop a plan on how the project could be realised. Several thousand kilometres of high voltage submarine cables in the North Sea are to link wind farms off the German and British coasts with hydro power plants in Norway, tidal power stations on the Belgian and Danish coasts as well as with wind and solar power plants on the European mainland. Experts estimate that the costs for the project might amount to up to EUR 30bn (USD 39.86bn).
© Esmerk

EC proposes new rules to prevent wholesale energy insider trading
Press Release, 2010-12-08
The European Commission (EC) has proposed new rules to prevent insider trading and market manipulation in wholesale energy markets. Energy traders will have to follow clear market rules. The commission said that market abuse in a member state often disrupts prices in another state. ACER, the European Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, will be responsible for the detection of abuse cases.
© Esmerk

Germany

Federal state intends to acquire 45.01% stake in EnBW from EDF
Press Release, 2010-12-06
The federal state of Baden-Württemberg announced on 6 December 2010 that it intends to acquire the 45.01% shareholding in Energie Baden-Württemberg (EnBW) held by Electricité de France (EDF). According to EnBW CEO Hans-Peter Villis, the federal state's planned share purchase and the associated announcement that it intends to return the shareholding to the capital market following the acquisition opens up further opportunities for the company's growth.

Baden-Württemberg is well known to EnBW as a shareholder. The federal state held a shareholding in EnBW until February 2001. EDF has been a shareholder in EnBW since 27 February 2001. EDF increased its shareholding to 45.01% in several steps over the period until January 2005.
© Esmerk

Eon Ruhrgas CEO rules out complete sale of the company
Financial Times Deutschland, 2010-12-08
It is unclear whether German energy group Eon will keep all stakes in its subsidiary Eon Ruhrgas. Eon Ruhrgas CEO Klaus Schäfer would not make a clear statement regarding speculations according to which parts of the company are up for sale.

According to Schäfer, there exists a target to make divestments worth EUR 15bn (USD 19.87bn). However, there exists no list with the divestments. He stressed that a complete sale is not planned in any case.
© Esmerk

President approves longer running times for nuclear plants
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2010-12-09
The German President Christian Wulff has signed the legislative package regarding the extension of the life-span of the 17 nuclear plants in Germany by on average 12 years. Several German federal states governed by the SPD party now intend to file a lawsuit with the German federal constitutional court against the extension of the life-span of nuclear plants.

Wulff signed four laws of the climate and energy package of the German government among them the new nuclear tax and the fund for the expansion of renewable energies
© Esmerk

Netherlands

Gas policy will generate 13,600 jobs by 2020
Het Financieele Dagblad, 2010-12-08
Research bureau Brattle Group has investigated the affects of the Dutch government's policy of positioning the Netherlands as a centre of gas trading and transport. It concludes that the policy would generate 13,600 jobs between 2010 and 2020 and an economic benefit of EUR 21.40bn (USD 28.34bn).

The Netherlands would also benefit from a good trading system, an expanded national grid and good connection with neighbouring grids. Investment would would stand at EUR 7.7bn and be carried by the corporate sector. The report notes that increasing gas production gives the biggest economic gain and accounts for half the jobs created. Risks centre around the fact that other countries are also positioning themselves in this way.
© Esmerk

Norway

Norway/Sweden: Joint target to give 26 TWh of green energy by 2020
Dagens Nyheter, 2010-12-09
Sweden and Norway have set a joint target for 26 TWh of renewable energy by 2020. Swedish Minister for Energy, Maud Olofsson, and her Norwegian counterpart, Terje Riis-Johansen, signed the agreement which included a joint market for renewable energy certificates by 2012. The agreement was hoped to generate increased competition and more stable electricity prices.
© Esmerk

Lowest filling level in hydro power reservoirs in 20 years
E24.no, 2010-12-08
The filling level in the Norwegian hydro power reservoirs fell to 57.6% in the week starting on 29 November 2010. Until then, the lowest measure in the last 20 years was 60.6%, and the median level for the corresponding week was 80.5%. The reduction was 3.4% from the week before, compared to a 3.0% decline in the previous week.
© Esmerk

Poland

First bill regarding nuclear power plant project ready
Gazeta Prawna, 2010-12-06
First of the key bills with regards to the preparation and the implementation of a nuclear power plant construction project has been prepared and has been sent to undergo consultations. All bills necessary to build a nuclear power plant in Poland have to be passed by mid-2011 so that a tender for the supply of nuclear power technology can be announced at that time and the first power block can be opened in 2020.
© Esmerk

Spain

Changes to wind and solar energy feed-in tariff approved
Energias Renovables, 2010-12-06
The royal decree heralding changes to the feed-in tariff for wind and solar energy in Spain has been approved, which will reduce the wind energy premium by 35% from now until 2012 (they will then recover the value of the premiums from the start of 2013), while for solar thermoelectric facilities, during the first year of operation they will have to be part of the regulated tariff and will not have the option for a premium.

The changes will allow cost savings for the electricity system of EUR 1.10bn (USD 1.48bn) up to 2013. Both types of energy generation will also have the hours which they can operate under the feed-in tariff limited.
© Esmerk

Sweden

Call to change wind power veto rights for local authorities
Svenska Dagbladet, 2010-12-06
76% of wind power contractors say new regulations introduced by the Swedish government in 2009 to speed up the application process for new wind power have made it more difficult to build turbines at good wind power locations. This is according to a survey by Swedish Wind Energy (Svensk Vindenergi).

The main problem with the new regulations is that local authorities have been given the right of veto for wind power plans, and are not required to explain why they oppose new wind turbines. 380 wind turbines, with a total capacity of 1,000 MW, have to date been stopped by this new veto and another 750 wind turbines, with a total capacity of 2,000 MW, are under threat of being stopped. According to Annika Helker Lundström, chief executive at Swedish Wind Energy, many of these turbines were planned in areas that have previously been highlighted as suitable for wind farms.

Lundström is concerned that this greater uncertainty will also make it more difficult to finance wind power projects, and has called on the government to change these regulations. She wants local authorities to explain why they are opposed to specific projects and if this is not possible then the current veto should be replaced by the reintroduction of building permits for wind farms. She believes this would simplify the applications process at the same time as offering a cheap source of renewable energy.
© Esmerk

United Kingdom

CCC reveals ambitious emission reduction goal
Guardian, 2010-12-07
UK greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by 2030 by 60% under plans revealed by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). The target, which is relative to emission levels for 1990, would become the world's first legally binding target for 2030, if it becomes law, and is geared to allowing a legally binding reduction by 2050 of 80%.

The UK electricity market would need to undergo a total revamp to attain the 2030 goal, rendering it more or less zero carbon, while 11mn hybrid or electric vehicles would need to replace petrol-driven models. The CCC's chair Lord Turner says that nations taking action to address emissions will create benefits in economic terms, saying that considerable risks are posed by not taking action.

The body's chief executive David Kennedy says that the 2030 goal is ambitious, saying that power sector emissions will need to be reduced by 90%, with new nuclear, wind and clean gas and coal power totalling 40GW being delivered to offset this.
© Esmerk