ABB wins prime contractor agreement in NordBalt
Lithuania's power grid operator Litgrid and the Swedish counterpart, Svenska Kraftnät, pooling forces in the NordBalt power link project between Lithuania and Sweden, have signed a LTL 932mn (EUR 269.93mn USD 357.34mn) contract with ABB in Vilnius. The Swedish ABB will be responsible for the manufacture and the installation of the 300 kV HVDC cable for NordBalt transmission project. NordBalt, to integrate the power trade markets of the Baltics and Scandinavia will be put into operation in 2016. The EC will contribute EUR 175mn to the NordBalt project, with EUR 131mn designated to cover the power link building costs and the rest for improving power transmission in Latvia. Litgrid's LitPol link, a power link between Lithuania and Poland will be unveiled in 2015.
Electrabel opens EUR 400mn plant in Ghent
Electrabel, a Belgian electricity utility, has opened a new EUR 400mn (USD 527.95mn) power plant in Ghent on an ArcelorMittal site. The plant will produce electricity from blast-furnace gas, reducing CO2 emissions by 70,000 tonnes per year. Separately, Electrabel said that it is not in a position of dominance. It accounts for 62% of production in Belgium but only 8% in the area comprising the Benelux, France and Germany. In 2010, the company invested EUR 1.5bn.
Subsea power cable between Germany and Denmark replaced
The direct current cable between Germany and Denmark that has been out of order since November 20, 2010 has been replaced and the current is now back. The replacement is estimated to have cost DKK 300mn (EUR 40.25mn USD 53.85mn)-350mn, costs which will be split between Danish grid operator Energinet.dk, German 50Hz Transmission Transmission and Swedish Vattenfall, which doe not own the cable but helped finance it. The new cable will help stabilize the electricity price, which has soared in recent weeks.
Energinet.dk says gas will have a central role in future energy system
The Danish national transmission system operator for electricity and natural gas Energinet.dk states in its latest Strategy Plan 2010 that the gas system will have a central role in the future Danish energy system involving large amounts of wind energy. The gas in the system will be produced on the basis of renewable energy. In the short term, it will be produced in the form of bio gas, and in the long term, in the form of methane, produced on the basis of hydrogen from electrolysis, driven by wind energy or by gasification of bio mass, says Søren Dupont Kristensen, who is head of Strategic Planning at Energinet.dk. Energinet.dk wants to expand the gas infrastructure to make it possible to import gas to Denmark to offset the declining natural gas production from the Danish gas fields. The authority also aims to develop an efficient gas market that price-wise can meet the northern European gas market. Efforts to improve flexibility in the electricity system will also be taken. Finally, Energinet.dk aims to contribute to the implementation of Smart Grid solutions by providing for intelligent communication between electricity consumption and electricity production.
Gas energy could save Europe EUR 450bn in the next 20 years
BBC News, 2010-12-10
The European Gas Advocacy Forum says that the European nations could save EUR 450bn (USD 595.83bn) in the next 20 years by switching from coal to gas power, as well as cutting emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). Coal fired plants emit 70% more CO2 than modern gas plants, and it is expected that gas could reduce emissions by as much as 80% by 2050. However, sceptics argue that renewables, not gas, is the way forward for energy, as gas is not a zero carbon technology. Another reason for sceptics concerns is security of supply, as Europe could become largely dependent on gas imports from Russia, a scenario deemed undesirable, given the rows that Russia has had with the Ukraine in recent years.
Fortum CEO wants the firm to enter the Asian energy market
Finnish power company Fortum's CEO Tapio Kuula wants the company to enter the energy market in Asia in a couple of years' time. This results from the fact that electricity consumption will increase in many parts of Asia by 250% by 2030, while in Europe the growth will be 25% and in Russia 50%. According to Kuula, Fortum is yet to decide on the issue, but if the company in fact enters the Asian market, the production is likely to be cogeneration with demanding fuels, such as waste or biofuels.
Fennovoima's decision on nuclear plant's location to be delayed
Pohjolan Sanomat, 2010-12-10
Finnish power consortium Fennovoima was to choose the location for its nuclear power plant by the end of 2010, in Finland. Now, the company says the decision may be delayed until the mid-summer of 2011. Fennovoima explains this with careful preparations.
Evonik Steag to be sold to municipal utilities
Die Welt, 2010-12-14
The management board of Evonik Industries selected a consortium of German municipal utilities as the buyer for the 51% stake in Evonik Steag, the operator of coal-fired power stations. The supervisory board is to decide on the management board's choice on 16 December 2010. According to sources, Evonik Industries' management board also decided for a put option to sell the remaining 49% stake in Evonik Steag to the consortium of municipal utilities, including the municipal utilities of the cities of Duisburg, Dortmund, Bochum and Essen, at a later date. The consortium of municipal utilities could become a competitor of the leading power generation companies E.on and RWE on the German market due to the acquisition of Evonik Steag.
EnBW stake could cost Baden-Württemberg EUR 5.9bn
Financial Times Deutschland, 2010-12-15
The finance committee of the parliament of Baden-Württemberg has approved guarantees worth EUR 5.90bn (USD 7.89bn) for the re-nationalisation of a stake in Energie Baden-Württemberg (EnBW). The state of Baden-Württemberg is to buy the 45.01% stake of Electricité de France (EdF) and has to make an offer to further owners who hold just under 10% of the stock. The acquisition will take place through a state-owned company and be financed by L-Bank. The latter will charge an interest of less than 2.5%.
EDF given exclusive negotiating rights for stake in Enea
French energy group Electricite de France (EDF) has been given exclusive negotiating rights regarding the purchase of a 51% stake in the Polish state-owned energy group Enea. It was also announced by the Polish Treasury Ministry that it intends to complete the privatization of Enea by the end of the first quarter of 2011.
Fortum and Russia's energy office to cooperate
Press Release, 2010-12-10
Finnish power company Fortum and Russia's energy office have signed a letter of intent on energy efficiency and innovation cooperation. According to the agreement, both parties will aim to plan and implement projects together in the fields of cogeneration, environmental issues, and energy efficiency technology. Fortum's Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations and Sustainability, Anne Brunila, says the partnership will offer Fortum better opportunities to develop energy efficiency and sustainable development in Russia.
Poland rejects power link to Kaliningrad: Lithuanian minister
Baltic News Service, 2010-12-13
Poland has rejected a Russian invitation to join a project to build a power line between Poland and Russia's Kaliningrad region, said Lithuania's Minister of Energy, Arvydas Sekmokas. Earlier, Russia's Minister of Energy, Sergei Shmatko, said Russia and Poland planned to sign a memorandum on the expansion of power grids in Kaliningrad. Speaking in an interview with Lietuvos Zinios, Mr Sekmokas expressed doubts that Russia would be able to build a nuclear power plant in Kaliningrad by 2016 as planned. The whole project has been politicised, yet the nuclear plant was not on the Russian government's nuclear development plan, Mr Sekmokas pointed out.
Fortum divests heat operations outside Stockholm to Macquarie
Helsingin Sanomat, 2010-12-13
Financial services provider Macquarie is to acquire Finnish power company Fortum's district heating operations and heat production facilities outside the Stockholm area in Sweden. The transaction values at approximately EUR 200mn. Most of the operations are owned by Fortum's subsidiary Fortum Värme. Fortum will divest the operations in order to focus better on combined power and heat production and the development of its district heat business in the Stockholm area.
Energy market players positive to broad energy agreement
Dagens Industri, 2010-12-16
Representatives for the three main electricity market players in Sweden, E.ON, Fortum, and Vattenfall, are positive to a broad energy agreement that offers the market a stable energy policy. The Social Democratic party has said that it is now willing to discuss this type of cross-party agreement, and is willing to discuss the future of nuclear power in Sweden. E.ON says it could be interested in building new nuclear power facilities, but a final decision on an investment will not be made until the next period in office. Fortum says it is interested, but also wants a discussion about production taxation on nuclear power. Vattenfall is the least positive of the three, stating that it is not sure that new nuclear power is needed within the next 15 years as Sweden expands its wind power capacity, in addition to the new nuclear facility in Finland.
Speculation that E.On may make offer for SSE
There has been recent speculation that the energy company E.On may make a takeover offer for the UK utility Scottish & Southern Energy. The rumours caused Scottish & Southern Energy's shares to rise by GBP 0.16 (EUR 0.19 USD 0.25) to GBP 11.66.