Press release | 2010-07-20 | 09:25 AM

Energy News Europe - week 28, 2010

Baltic States

Ownership of planned nuclear plant clear in autumn 2010, 2010-07-12
The Baltic States and Poland will agree in autumn 2010 about the division of shares in a new nuclear power plant planned in Lithuania, said Andrius Kubilius, Lithuania's Prime Minister.

Speaking after a meeting with his Estonian counterpart, Andrus Ansip, Mr Kubilius refused to speculate whether Lithuania would insist on retaining 34% of shares in the new nuclear plant. He stressed that the planned nuclear plant was a regional project. Mr Ansip said the new nuclear plant was needed, given that Finland, which is building new nuclear reactors, does not intend to export electricity. Moreover, the EU will not open its electricity market to third countries, he pointed out.
© Esmerk


Belgium: EC to review Electrabel nuclear agreement

Le Soir de Bruxelles, 2010-07-10
The European Commission is reviewing the nuclear protocol agreement between the Belgian Government and Electrabel, the Belgian energy utility subsidiary of the French energy company GDF Suez.

The European Commission's intervention is the result of complaints made by the environmentally friendly electricity producers Electrawinds and Eneco. The Commission will review the agreement to see if Electrabel is abusing its dominant market position and will consider whether the argeement reinforces the dominant position of Electrabel, as the other companies claim. Electrabel is expected to see a EUR 2bn (USD 2.53bn) net profit from the agreement.
© Esmerk

Estonia/ Finland

European Commission accepts investment for Estlink 2

Baltic News Service, 2010-07-12
The European Commission has officially approved an investment of EUR 100mn (USD 126.38mn) for the construction of Estlink 2, the second undersea power cable between Estonia and Finland, worth EUR 320mn. The rest of the financing will be provided by the Estonian grid operator, Elering, and Finnish grid operator, Fingrid, in equal amounts. The projected capacity of the cable is 650 MW. The power link will be complete in early 2014.
© Esmerk


Emission allocation cap determined

Press Release, 2010-07-09
A decision determining the emission allowance ceiling available under the EU Emissions Trading System in 2013 has been adopted by the European Commission. The ceiling, or cap, will be 1,926,876,368 and has been worked out following a formula which applies a 1.74% annual drop in allowances allocated through national allowances between 2008 and 2012 with the aim of a 21% reduction by 2020.
© Esmerk

Belgian Energy Minister calls for debate on energy liberalisation

L'Echo, 2010-07-13
Paul Magnette, the Belgian Energy Minister, has urged the European Parliament to launch a debate on the result of the liberalisation of the energy sector in Europe. The liberalisation took effect in 2007. It was intended to lower prices, bolster the European competitiveness and improve efficiency. Magnette said that these objectives have not been reached.
© Esmerk


Finnish Sawmills not satisfied with proposed feed-in tariff

Maaseudun Tulevaisuus, 2010-07-09
In Finland, the association Finnish Sawmills is not satisfied with Finland's Government's proposal for a feed-in tariff for renewable energy. In its statement to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Finnish Sawmills says that as the subsidy is to be paid only to wood chips that are made from wood directly from forests, by products will be excluded from the subsidy. If the feed-tariff is introduced as proposed, bark and sawdust will have to compete against subsidised fuels in the market. The market will naturally purchase the subsidised product first.
© Esmerk


Eon signals interest in nuclear power plants

Financial Times Deutschland, 2010-07-12
German energy group Eon signalled its interest in the acquisition of stakes in French nuclear power plants. Eon France chairman Luc Poyer told the French newspaper Les Echos that it is important that Eon has the possibility to invest together with existing market players i.e. particularly EDF. Poyer referred to the planned construction of new EPR nuclear power plants as well as to the necessary investments into the 58 existing reactors.

An Eon spokesman stressed that the company believes in the liberalisation of the French markets and intends to participate in it. According to the spokesman, representatives of the group from Germany have already held constructive talks with EDF managers. The company is examining options to invest into nuclear energy generation in France. This does not only include the modernisation of existing power plants but also a minority stake in the most recent new construction project for a nuclear power plant in Penly. EDF holds the majority in the project but includes partners for the first time. Up to present, EDF intends to include GDF Suez, Total and Enel.
© Esmerk


EnBW to invest EUR 250mn into pumped-storage power station

Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 2010-07-10
EnBW Kraftwerke intends to invest about EUR 250mn (USD 315.95mn) into the expansion of its pumped-storage power station in Forbach. The existing pumped-storage power station is to be modernised and expanded. Capacity is to be increased from at present 60MW to 300MW through two additional power plants. The regional planning procedure is to be initiated still in 2010. Construction works might start in 2014 and might be completed in 2019.
© Esmerk

New draft for carbon capture and storage act

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2010-07-14
The German government is making a new attempt at legislation to allow underground carbon capture and storage (CCS). Compared with the first attempt in 2009 which stumbled on resistance by Schleswig-Holstein, where large CCS facilities were planned, the present draft allows merely small, 'demo' facilities and enables the federal states to charge levies and municipalities to get compensation.

The details of new draft correspond largely to the CCS planned by Vattenfall in Beeskow. The annual volume of CO2 stored in a facility must not exceed 3mn tonnes. For all storages together, the upper limit is 8mn tonnes. The operators have to make provisions for the long-term risks of the storages.
© Esmerk

Record-breaking solar power stations by Unlimited Energy

Die Welt, 2010-07-12
Berlin-based project developer Unlimited Energy announced that a 93-MW solar park is to be built near Senftenberg. Another solar power station, with a capacity of 81 MW, is to be completed near Finsterwalde by autumn 2010. Currently the largest photovoltaic power station in Germany has a capacity of 53 MW.
© Esmerk

EnBW no longer among the bidders for Steag

Financial Times Deutschland, 2010-07-15
According to information obtained by German daily Financial Times Deutschland (FTD), German Evonik Group has shortlisted potential partners for its power plant unit Steag. Financial sources speculate that Czech EPH and a consortium of German municipal utilities will make it to the second bidding round. Industry sources expect EPH to team up with Czech power plant operator CEZ in the second bidding round.

By contrast, German energy utility EnBW is no longer among the bidders. A spokesman for EnBW confirmed that the Karlsruhe-based energy utility is no longer involved in the bidding process as Evonik made it clear that it wanted to sell a stake in Steag rather than individual Steag assets. A spokeswoman for Evonik refused to comment on details on the process. She stressed, however, that Evonik has received numerous interesting offers.
© Esmerk

Nuclear industry might have to pay further fees for lifetime extension

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2010-07-16
According to coalition circles, the German nuclear industry is to pay between EUR 4bn (USD 5.17bn) and EUR 5bn annually in return for a lifetime extension of nuclear plants. Next to the already announced fuel element tax with an annual volume of EUR 2.30bn (USD 2.97bn), the German government allegedly plans the introduction of a further fee in a similar range. Whereas the fuel element tax is to be imposed to restructure the household budget, the additional fee is to be used for the promotion of renewable energies.
© Esmerk

United Kingdom

Fishing experts want large-scale offshore wind farm schemes banned

Aberdeen Press and Journal, 2010-07-12
Fishing experts are concerned that salmon may not be able to reach Scottish rivers to reproduce because the power cables used in wind farm developments could affect their sense of direction. The marine experts state that the underwater cables interfere with Earth's magnetic signals, which the fish use to navigate during their migration.

A joint submission has now been sent to the Government by the Salmon and Trout Association, the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards, the Sea Trout Group and the Atlantic Salmon Trust, urging it to ban any large-scale offshore renewable energy developments in the future.
© Esmerk

Only two takeover bids remaining for EDF's power distribution business

The Australian, 2010-07-14
Since the consortium comprising of Canada's Borealis Infrastructure and Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) had pulled out from the takeover bidding for the electricity distribution operations of UK-based EDF, only two bids are remaining. One bid is by the consortium that includes the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) of the UAE, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Australia's Macquarie Group; while the other bid is by a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Cheung Kong Infrastructure.
© Esmerk

SSE launches CCS feasibility study

HeraldScotland, 2010-07-13
Scottish and Southern Energy has begun a carbon capture and storage (CCS) feasibility study at its Peterhead gas-fired power station. The utility indicated that it could be minded to enter the competition to build clean power stations if this was extended to encompass gas. The GBP 1bn (EUR 1.19bn USD 1.52bn) competition launched by the government is centred at present on coal-fired facilities. SSE noted that the Aberdeenshire operation is in an ideal location, in terms of carbon emission transportation, as well as for storage.
© Esmerk