Press release | 2010-08-11 | 08:55 AM

Energy News Europe - week 30-31, 2010

Czech Republic

Country faces lack of biomass for power plant

Hospodarske Noviny, 2010-07-27
Chairman of the Czech Energy Regulatory Office (ERU) Josef Firt has warned that the country may face a lack of biomass for power plants if their development is not regulated. Electricity generation from biomass is subsidised by the state in a similar way as other renewable sources. Power and heating plants currently use mostly waste biomass but rising consumption means that it is expected to run out in about three years. It could be replaced by grown biomass but Firt has warned of using the arable land of biomass instead of food crops. Some experts warn that transportation and storage of biomass may actually use more energy than it generates.
© Esmerk


Decentralised electricity generation on the advance

Die Welt, 2010-07-29
According to a study carried out by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) called "Toward a Distributed-Power World", the business model of the large energy suppliers based on large power plants is somewhat outdated in its present form. Decentralised small plants will significantly influence or even dominate the electricity generation offer in only a few years time. Michael Kofluk of BCG forecasts an increase of decentralised electricity generation to 40% of the installed power plant capacity in the EU member states by 2020. Renewable energies and combined heat and power generation might provide more than half of the consumed electricity in the EU by 2020.

It is expected that renewable energies and intelligent networks will completely revolutionise the energy landscape. Particularly photovoltaic plants are on the advance. According to BCG energy expert Frank Klose, the installed capacity of decentralised solar modules in Europe will increase from at present about 10 gigawatt (GW) to at least 90GW by 2020. According to the BCG study, a new computer-aided energy infrastructure will become necessary in order to cope with the altered energy landscape. The experts therefore expect that large IT groups such as IBM, SAP or Google will enter the electricity market.
© Esmerk


Renewable energy subsidies to cost EUR 100mn in 2011

Helsingin Sanomat, 2010-07-26
In Finland, the subisidy package for renewable energy will be one of the government budget's key points for 2011. According to Hannu Mäkinen, Director General of the Budget Department at the Ministry of Finance, the amount of the subsidy package may rise to almost EUR 100mn. The Ministry has calculated that, in total, the energy subsidies will cost about EUR 340mn a year by 2020. The aim of the subsidy package is to company with the EU requirement of raising the share of renewable energy to 38% by 2020.
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EDF announces delay for EPR reactor in Flamanville

Le Figaro, 2010-07-31
EDF announced that the nuclear European pressurised reactor (EPR) in Flamanville would be operational in 2014 rather than 2012 and that it could cost EUR 5bn (USD 6.53bn) rather than the original estimation of EUR 3.3bn (USD 4.31bn).

There is increasing criticism for the project, which has had construction problems and must change its computerised control centre to ensure security. Without drawing lessons from Flamanville and the EPR in Finland, it seems unlikely that EDF and Areva would be able to sell the 250 units they hope to sell worldwide by 2020.

An unnamed Minister reportedly called the EPR 'impossible to sell', anti-nuclear energy activists call the EPR 'an industrial and financial disaster' and even the Roussely report on the French nuclear sector qualified the reactor as complicated and lacking in credibility. The report recommends that EDF create a priority action plan to finish the project.
© Esmerk


Photovoltaic boom continues

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2010-07-28
In the first half of 2010, solar panels with a combined capacity of 3.4 GW will be installed in Germany. This compares to 3.8 GW for the twelve months of 2009. The boom is driven by the planned reduction of subsidies, which were reduced by 13% in July and are to be cut by another 3% in October 2010.
© Esmerk

Installed wind capacity to rise by 1,900 MW in 2010

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2010-07-30
The German wind energy association is expecting the installed wind energy capacity in Germany to rise by 1,900 MW in 2010 after it grew by 1,917 MW to 26,387 MW in 2009. The number of wind turbines installed in Germany rose by 952 to 21,315 in 2009. Despite the increase in installed capacity, wind power generation in Germany decreased by 6.9% to 37.8bn kWh in 2009.
© Esmerk

RWE allowed to operate Biblis B almost one year longer

Darmstädter Echo, 2010-08-04
German energy group RWE confirmed that 8,100GWh of residual electricity has been transferred from the shut-down nuclear power plant Müllheim-Kärlich to the nuclear power plant Biblis B. RWE may thus continue to operate Biblis B almost one year longer. Originally, RWE would have had to shut down Biblis B in January 2011. With the transfer of residual electricity, RWE intends to avoid the shut-down of the reactor before a political decision regarding longer operating times of nuclear power stations has been taken.
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 Nuclear power plant construction to cost more than estimated

Rzeczpospolita, 2010-08-02
Experts estimate that the value of the construction of a 3,000 MW nuclear power plant in Poland will exceed EUR 11bn (USD 14.49bn), including costs connected with land purchasing and the connection of the plant to the energy system. This means that the construction of a 1,000 MW unit will be EUR 1.5bn higher than it had been originally estimated. Currently, talks with three potential partners for the project, GE Hitachi, Westinghouse and EDF, are in the final stage, and are expected to be finalised soon. The opening of the plant is due for 2010.
© Esmerk

CO2 emission rights sold will fund green energy investments

Gazeta Wyborcza, 2010-08-03
The Polish National Environmental Protection and Water Management fund (NFOSiGW) has advertised the first four competitions for financial backing for green projects, available as a result of the sale of unused CO2 emission rights. Biogas, biomass and electric power station projects are all eligible to apply, as are schemes to improve heat efficiency in public buildings and to adapt the electricity network to enable links to wind energy sources. The total sum available is almost PLN 300mn (EUR 75.28mn USD 99.04mn), and grants can be between 20 and 30% of the total cost incurred by companies applying.
© Esmerk


Electricity demand hits 23,291GWh in July 2010

Cinco Dias, 2010-07-30
According to Red Electrica de Espana (REE) figures, electricity demand in Spain rose 3.3% to 23,291GWh during July 2010. Renewable energy accounted for 28.3% of total electricity production, compared to 21.8% in July 2009. Wind energy production rose 14.6%. Demand for the first seven months of the year grew 3.5% to 152,358GWh. Renewable energy accounted for 38.2% of total electricity production during this period.
© Esmerk

Gas Natural Fenosa and Enel to split Eufer and end alliance

Cinco Dias, 2010-08-03
Spanish and Italian energy firms, Gas Natural Fenosa and Enel, have ended their 50/50 renewable energy alliance which they had through Eufer in Spain, with an agreement that will be put in place before the end of 2010 once it gets approval from the competition authorities.

Eufer's assets will be split into equal packets, as will the firm's net debt and ebitda. Enel had operated the alliance in Eufer through its Spanish unit, Enel Green Power Espana. Gas Natural Fenosa has said that the decision to end the alliance came so that both companies can aid their own business strategies in Spain.

If the asset split is approved, then both firms will get around 550 MW of installed capacity each (both operational and under construction) of wind, mini-hydro and cogeneration. They will also get an equal share in the project portfolio (wind, biomass and thermosolar), which will be almost 2,000 MW each.
© Esmerk


Sweden plans for climate coalition to offer good examples

Dagens Nyheter, 2010-07-28
Swedish Minister for the Environment Andreas Carlgren writes that Sweden is planning to set up a Forerunners Climate Coalition this autumn that will comprise countries that have ambitious climate targets. In a full-page op-ed in the newspaper, Carlgren says Sweden is also planning to initiate cooperation with several developing countries in order to obtain the best possible gains from USD 30bn (EUR 23.10bn) in climate subsidies. He hopes these good examples will put pressure on the US and China to accept a legal binding climate agreement at a global level.
© Esmerk

United Kingdom

EDF Networks to be acquired by CKI for GBP 5.8bn

Financial Times, 2010-07-30
Hong Kong-based Cheung Kong Infrastructure (CKI) is to buy EDF's UK electricity business for GBP 5.80bn (EUR 6.93bn USD 9.05bn), which is 45% more than the price originally suggested for the deal.

The sale of EDF Networks was announced as the French electricity group revealed its half year results. CKI outbid a consortium consisting of Canada Pension Plan, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Macquarie to acquire the UK networks business.

EDF's chief executive in the UK, Vincent de Rivaz, has previously opposed the plan to sell the business, which had been put forward by previous chief executive Pierre Gadonneix, but it is thought the price offered may have convinced him to change his mind. The sale price for EDF Networks represents a 27% premium on the regulated asset value of the business.
© Esmerk

Power station emissions fall 13% in 2009

Utility Week, 2010-07-29
Data from the UK government shows that there was a 13% drop in emissions from power stations in 2009 compared to a year earlier due to generation falling 5% and coal-fired generation being replaced by nuclear generation returning to the grid.

The share of generation held by gas stayed at 39%, while nuclear was up four points to 19%, coal was down to 31% and renewables was up 5.6 points to 6.7%. Gas prices doubling and electricity prices rising 61% also meant that fuel poverty increased. With around 4mn households in the country needing to spend over 10% of their income on fuel for heating during 2007, the forecast for 2009 is 4.6mn households in England alone, up from 2.8mn in 2007.
© Esmerk