CREG accuses gas suppliers of manipulating prices
François Possemiers, the President of CREG, the Belgian gas and electricity regulatory commission, has accused gas suppliers and electricity utility Electrabel of manipulating prices to keep them at an artificially high level. Possemiers said that even at the European level there is very little competition between utilities due to cartel behaviours. He also said that in the last 10 years, CREG helped reduce electricity transport costs by 40%, gas transport costs by 35% and distribution costs by 25%.
Wind power project developers expect improvement for wind power sector
Several Danish wind power project companies, that invest and develop wind farms for investment purposes, forecast an upturn for wind power projects in 2010 mainly as a result of better prospects for bank lending. Greentech Energy Systems' Finance Manager Mark Fromholt for example says the prospects for solid wind turbine producers and wind project developers to obtain funding from banks are considerably better compared to newly-established Chinese wind turbine producers. Green Wind Energy's manager Poul Lind says he is very optimistic regarding the European wind energy market as the sector forecasts a 15-21% growth over the next 10-20 years at the same time as wind turbine producers are offering better conditions and lower prices and access to bank lending is improving. International Wind Energy (IWE), that is among the smallest wind power project developers, on the other hand, is dissatisfied with lending at Danish banks. According to the IWE's manager Peer Rasmussen, the company has been able to obtain a Danish bank loan since 2007, but relies on banks abroad.
Government intends to safeguard all nuclear power plants
Die Welt, 2010-01-25
Representatives from the German energy industry and the German government allegedly agreed on 21 January 2010 to continue to operate all 17 nuclear power plants in Germany for the time being. According to information obtained by the German daily Die Welt, the German government also plans to secure the further operation of Biblis A and Neckarwestheim 1, which are on the brink of being shut down. A decision as to the general conditions of an extension of operating times of all 17 reactors is to be taken in autumn 2010. The German government allegedly suggested the nuclear industry to transfer unused amounts of current of the already shut-down nuclear power plant Stade to the reactors Biblis A and Neckarwestheim 1. The operating times of these two reactors might thus be extended by several months. The two reactors are operated by RWE and EnBW.
Investments in wind power facilities in 2009 - capacities installed
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2010-01-27
A survey of the German Wind Energy Institute (DEWI Deutsches Windenergie-Institut) says almost 950 new wind power facilities with overall 1.9 MW were erected in Germany in 2009, up 15% from 2008. At the end of 2009, the total number of such facilities exceeded 21,000 with overall 25,800 MW.
EU parliament approves funds for Lithuanian-Swedish power link
Baltic News Service, 2010-01-25
The European Parliament has approved EUR 131mn in support for a project to build an underwater power link between Lithuania and Sweden. Lithuania's power transmission operator, Lietuvos Energija, is now negotiating about agreements with the European Commission and Sweden's grid operator, Svenska Kraftnät. The EU has allocated altogether EUR 175mn for the project, of which Lithuania will receive EUR 131mn and Latvia the remaining EUR 44mn. Total investments in the project will amount to an estimated EUR 522mn, including EUR 200mn in Lithuania.
Government agrees to Barendrecht CO2 storage
NRC Handelsblad, 2010-01-26
The lower house of Dutch government has agreed to go ahead with the trial of CO2 storage underground in the Dutch community of Barendrecht. The project is regarded as a stepping stone towards mass storage of CO2 underground in a bid to boost Dutch environmental efforts. Parties were still divided over the project at the start of 2010, and the agreement was made depending on the fulfilment of certain conditions. These include the establishment of a damages fund for possible implications on health and the devaluation of local property. Meanwhile, Dutch cabinet is also required to confirm the necessity of the project and of the method of CO2 storage to other house members.
URE agrees to 5-6% energy price increase in 2010
Gazeta Wyborcza, 2010-01-24
Poland's Energy Regulatory Office (URE) has announced that it has completed the process of 2010 energy tariffs establishment, allowing Polish energy companies to increase their prices by 5-6%. The price increase is small compared to demands of energy firms which wanted an energy price increase of over 20%.
Tender for privatisation of ZE PAK and coal mines in Jan/Feb
State treasury of Poland has announced that a tender for the acquisition of a 50% stake in the Polish energy generating group ZE PAK and for the takeover of two brown coal mines, Adamow and Konin, will be called on the turn of January and February 2010. Investors will be able to make their offers until March 2010.
Outputs of Iberdrola Renovables up by 26.4% in 2009
Cinco Dias, 2010-01-28
During 2009, outputs of the Spanish energy firm Iberdrola Renovables increased by 26.4% on 2008 to 21,490mn kWh, while the firm's installed capacity grew 16% to 10,752MW. Of the total outputs, 20.909bn kWh were produced by wind farms, 560mn by mini hydro-power plants and 21mn by other types of technologies. In terms of wind energy production, 9,628mn kWh were produced in Spain; 7,731mn in the US (42.9%); 1,764mn in the UK (.8%); and 1,786mn in the rest of the world (.2%). In addition, during the fourth quarter, Iberdrola reached a new output high record at 6,438mn kWh and by the end of December, 50% of the firm's total installed capacity was outside Spain. Wind energy accounts for 97% of that total. Iberdrola prevents 9mn tonnes of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere while its total outputs could power the needs of 22mn people.
Significant investments planned for ageing hydropower plants
Dagens Nyheter, 2010-01-24
Significant investments are required in the Swedish hydropower sector over the next few years as stations built in the 1940s-1960s near the end of their lifespan. Vattenfall is to invest up to SEK 15bn (EUR 1.47bn USD 2.08bn) in renovating hydropower stations in Sweden by 2023. E.ON is to invest SEK 6bn between 2007 and 2015 and Fortum about SEK 500mn per year over the coming years. Despite the investments, capacity at the hydropower stations will not increase substantially, as most of the work will be simply replacing existing equipment.
Steel industry wants more nuclear power to guarantee supply
Dagens Industri, 2010-01-29
ELisabeth Nilsson at Jernkontoret, the trade association for the steel sector in Sweden, says the industry needs more nuclear power production in order to guarantee a stable electricity supply and to enable Swedish steel to compete with international players. She says she believes Swedish steel companies are interested in investing in new nuclear power plants, in a similar way to Ovako and Outokumpu in Finland.
Disclaimer: The newsletter "Energy News Europe" contains an overview of energy-related news published in European media. It does not represent the views of Vattenfall or its management.