Ministers present 2020 energy strategy
Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, 2010-03-12
Austrian environmental minister Niki Berlakovich and economic minister Reinhold Mitterlehner have presented their 2020 energy strategy. Energy efficiency must be increased by 20% and the percentage of renewable energies out of total energy consumption from 23% to 34%. CO2 emissions must be decreased by 16%. Buildings and transport will be the focus for improving efficiency. In addition, use of renewable energy sources such as water, wind and solar will be developed. The percentage of oil products out of total energy consumption should be reduced from 44% to 32%. Energy consumption in 2020 should not be higher than in 2005. The increase in mineral oil tax should decrease energy consumption and emissions from transport. A CO2 tax is also under consideration. Subsidies will be provided for improving the efficiency of buildings. Buildings renovated for energy efficiency should increase from 1% to 3% per year by 2020. A total of 80,000 new jobs should be created and maintained through the new strategy. The strategy requires government approval.
Future of Belene plant remains uncertain
Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Boyko Borisov, has said that the project to build a nuclear power plant in Belene is at a crossroads, adding that there are two option remaining. One would be to abandon the project which has already cost BGN 800mn (EUR 409.05mn USD 563.16mn) in advance payments for technology and project preparation. If the government pulled out of the project, it would have to pay a BGN 1bn fine to technology producers and other sanctions worth BGN 0.5bn. The second option is to look for foreign investors. Borisov has said that talks are under way but declined to mention which companies are interested in the project. Furthermore, the contract with Atomstroyexport of Russia will expire on 31 March 2010 but the Prime Minister did not say if it would be extended.
Greenhouse gas emissions down in 2009
The Danish CO2 and total greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 4.1% and 2.7% respectively in 2009 compared to 2008, according to the latest statistics from the Danish Energy Agency. Oil consumption in the country dropped by 5.3%, whereas natural gas and coal consumption declined by 4.2% and 2.8% respectively and renewable energy consumption rose by 1%. The share of renewable energy of the correctly gross energy consumption rose to 17.4% in 2009 from 16.5% in 2008. Total energy consumption in Denmark dropped by 4% in 2009 compared to 2008.
EUR 170mn offer made for electricity company Kymenlaakson Sähkö
In Finland, electricity companies Porvoon Energia, Kotkan Energia, Haminan Energia, Lahti Energia, and KSS Energia have made an offer of EUR 170mn to the 14 municipalities that own electricity company Kymenlaakson Sähkö. Accepting the offer would lead to a major reorganisation in the sector. In the transaction, Kymenlaakson Sähkö would continue as a separate company and its ownership would be divided evenly between the buyers. The buyers' electricity retail sales would be concentrated in Kymenlaakson Sähkö. In future, the price of electricity would be uniform in the operating area of Kymenlaakson Sähkö. Transmission prices, on the other hand, would be regional. If the transaction goes through, Kymenlaakson Sähkö will become a major operator in the Nordic energy markets. It would be the third largest electricity seller in Finland with net sales of over EUR 200mn. According to the companies that have made the offer, the company would be well positioned for profitable business also in the increasingly competitive environment.
EC accepts EDF's commitments regarding open electricity market
The European Commission has accepted EDF's commitments for opening the French electricity market up to competition. According to the terms, large industrial contracts will not exceed five years. Based on these, the group must free up 60% of its contracted volume for rival suppliers. The group has also pledged to allow its clients to sign non-exclusive contracts. These commitments will be mandatory for a ten-year period. If EDF breaches them, the penalty could reach 10% of its turnover. However, they will not apply if EDF's market share dips below 40% for two years running.
Cartel Office President supporting municipal utilities
According to Andreas Mundt, President of Germany's Federal Cartel Office, an extension of the operating times of nuclear power stations in Germany should be linked to a partial liberalisation of the power generation market as it should not bolster the oligopoly of Eon, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall. According to Mundt, the four nuclear power plant operators could e.g. be obliged to turn in generation capacity in exchange for an extension of the operating licences for nuclear power stations. Mundt is thus supporting a demand by the German municipal utilities. According to the plans by the German CDU/CSU and FDP parties, the nuclear power plant operators should pay for an extension of the operating licences for nuclear power stations. To date, the parties have no plans to intervene in the power generation market. However, German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen said he would meet with the municipal utilities in order to discuss the government's energy policy concept
RWE cuts down holding company
Financial Times Deutschland, 2010-03-17
German energy company RWE is cutting down the holding company to change the structure of the group. 50% of the 840 jobs at the holding company will be lost. The final structure of RWE has yet to be decided. One idea is to separate domestic and foreign activities under company law. This would allow the municipal shareholders of RWE to hold stakes in the German operation only. Municipal shareholders currently have a stake of more than 20%. Transferred to the German operation only, the stake would rise to more than 25%, which means a blocking minority and securing commercial tax advantages. The domestic market accounts for 70% of RWE's electricity sales, 62% of turnover and 67% of operating profit.
Endesa and Enel to merge renewable energy divisions
Cinco Dias, 2010-03-18
Endesa and Enel's boards have approved the merger of their renewable energy divisions in Spain and Portugal. The newly merged division, which is expected to be completed by 31 March 2010, will be controlled by Enel Green Power (with 60%) and Endesa (with 40%). Endesa currently operates its renewable energy activities through Endesa Cogeneracion y Renovables, whilst Enel operates these activities through Eufer.
Barendrecht CO2 storage to fall under crisis law
De Telegraaf, 2010-03-18
Locals in the Dutch community of Barendrecht have criticised the behaviour of central government, after the Dutch upper House allowed a controversial CO2 storage project to fall under crisis- and economic recovery laws. This effectively denies the community the right to appeal against the move in a court of law. Central government plans to store CO2 emissions underground at the site. It has faced robust local opposition.
Five companies make bids to buy ZE PAK and 2 coal mines
Gazeta Wyborcza, 2010-03-16
It has been announced that the Polish state treasury has received five offers for the acquisition of a 50% stake in the Polish power producer ZE PAK and 75% stakes in two brown coal mines which supply ZE PAK, Adamow and Konin. The confirmed bid has been made by the Polish energy group Enea. Four other bidders, according to unofficial information, are: the boiler producer Rafako, the Czech energy concern CEZ, the mining Czech firm New World Resources and an investor from Slovakia of an undisclosed name. According to experts' estimations, the value of the 50% stake in ZE PAK should reach PLN 2bn - PLN 2.50bn (EUR 642.25mn USD 878.34mn).
Major global players eye EUR 10bn nuclear power contract
Gazeta Prawna, 2010-03-15
According to the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita, major global players in the nuclear power industry are out to obtain the EUR 10bn (USD 13.77bn) contract to build Poland's first nuclear power plant, with GE Hitachi of the US at the forefront, along with Electricite de France and the French Areva. There has been delay in choosing a location for the plant construction, which is to begin in January 2016.
Wind farm installations to fall by 60% in 2010?
Diario de Leon, 2010-03-19
The Spanish wind energy sector has calculated that the installation of new wind farms will go down by 60% during 2010. Businesses within the sector report direct job losses of 5,000 for 2009.
Axpo, Alpiq and BKW agree on nuclear power cooperation
Basler Zeitung, 2010-03-12
Swiss electricity companies Axpo, Alpiq and BKW have agreed to collaborate on the development and operation of two new nuclear power stations. The new stations will replace the old ones at Beznau and Mühleberg. The new power stations will be owned by all three companies, and other interested parties may also acquire shares. It is probable that a joint venture company will be formed to operate the stations. Shares between the three companies will be based on their current production. Each company will hold a share representing their current quota of produced and imported nuclear electricity and may claim the same amount of produced electricity.
Sustainability of biomass and biofuels on the government's agenda
New Energy Focus, 2010-03-11
Following the publication in February 2010 of the European Commission's report on sustainability criteria for biomass and biofuels, the UK government has said that before the end of March it will set out the sustainability criteria required by these fuels in the country. The actions will be led by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The report published by the European Commission touched on suggestions such as monitoring of the origins of biomass so as to prevent the import of biomass grown on land which has seen a change of use which is not environmentally sound, such as from forestry. The Commission's report has been challenged by environmental groups as not going far enough. A report by the Renewable Fuels Agency in the UK highlighted that just 4% of imported biofuels in the country come from sustainable production and for 40% of imported biomass, it is unknown what the land was previously used for. Some criteria has already been put in place through the Renewables Obligation in April 2009, with reporting required for all electricity generators over 50 kW using biomass on country of origin, environmental standards met and land use change. Bioliquids used for heat and electricity production must also adhere to certain criteria so as to receive financial support, such as land use control and minimum greenhouse gas savings for new installations from 2017 (35% rising to 50% and then to 60% by 2018).
E.ON and ScottishPower receive funds for CCS project designs
New Energy Focus, 2010-03-12
The UK government has awarded funding for carbon capture and storage demonstration plant design projects to E.ON and ScottishPower at their respective power plants in Kingsnorth (Kent) and Longannet (Fife). The money will be used to support engineering and design work and comes from a GBP 90mn (EUR 100.84mn USD 137.27mn) scheme which formed part of the 2009 Budget. The exact figures awarded to the two firms have remained confidential. The final CCS competition winner will be chosen once the work has been finished, expected within a year. ScottishPower is designing a retrofit project at Longannet, working in partnership with Shell and National Grid.
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