Press release | 2011-11-29 | 14:11 PM

Energy News Europe - week 47, 2011


GDF Suez CEO criticises the Government
L'Echo, 2011-11-18
Gérard Mestrallet, the CEO of the French energy company GDF Suez, has said that the decisions taken by the Belgian politicians negotiating the 2012 budget will have severe consequences for GDF Suez and its competitors E.on, SPE and EDF. Mestrallet claims that the industrial sector will also suffer as a result. Mestrallet has said that the decision will have severe consequences for Belgium too. The decision means that a 2009 agreement between the State and GDF Suez will not be respected.

This agreement called for the ten-year extension of the lifespan of three nuclear reactors in exchange for a financial contribution. Mestrallet has stated that GDF Suez will demand compensation from Belgium.
© Esmerk

Energy Minister states that energy policy is correct
L'Echo, 2011-11-19
The Belgian Energy Minister Paul Magnette has stated that the Belgian Government believes that its energy policy is moving in the right direction and that the Government will continue to defend its interests before all competent judiciaries. Magnette has also said that the agreement reached between the French energy company GDF Suez and the Belgian Government was a gentleman's agreement, which was not followed up by any legislation and so is obsolete.
© Esmerk


Government presents its proposal for energy action plan
Politiken, 2011-11-25
The Danish government presented its proposal for a green energy action plan "Our Energy" today. The proposal aims to make the Danish energy and transport systems 100% CO2-free by 2050. The government will spend DKK 5.60bn (EUR 753.12mn USD 1bn) in efforts to make the country's energy systems more climate-friendly. This includes measures to enable companies and households to make investments in energy saving and to converting electricity and heating production gradually to renewable energy. The transport sector will be geared to using renewable energy, which comprises both electric cars as a long-term solution and increased use of bio fuels as a short-term solution.

The energy plan extends until 2020, and Climate ane Energy Minister wants to initiate concrete talks with the parliamentary parties about the energy package as soon as possible. The energy proposal means an extra cost of around DKK 1,700 (EUR 228.63 USD 304.72) in 2010 for Danish households.
© Esmerk

Expansion of North Sea grid needed
Ingeniøren, 2011-11-25
Martin Lidegaard, Denmark's Energy Minister, claims that Denmark should lead the way for the electricity grid expansion in the North Sea. This was a topic of debate in regards to the European Climate Foundation's release of Power Perspectives 2030, which received support from DONG Energy's CEO, Anders Eldrup, and Head of Dansk Energi Lars Aagaard. Lidegaard, Eldrup and Aagaard expressed that the expansion must become a priority, as distribution capacity has not been enhanced in line with production capacity increases in the North Sea.

In Germany, for example, transmission cables are expanded at a rate of 20 km per year, despite the need for 1,000 km. The men also feel that Denmark, with 50% wind power, is in the position where it should lead the expansion of the grid in this region.
© Esmerk


Fortum is looking for growth
Kauppalehti Optio, 2011-11-24
According to Finnish power company Fortum's CEO Tapio Kuula, the company is expanding East because it has to grow and the Russian government guarantees revenues. Fortum has acquired the rights to an investment programme worth EUR 2.5bn. A so-called capacity fee has been guaranteed for the energy generated by the programme for the next 10 years. In addition, the company has acquired existing capacity with EUR 1.2bn, and other production facilities for EUR 100mn.

Fortum operates in Russia mainly because of a financial incentive, and the company's programme is based on the aim of raising the facilities' capacity by 85%. The programme promises an annual return on the investment of 12%-14% for the next 10 years. As a listed company, Fortum has to look for growth and there is little opportunity for that in the Nordic countries, Poland, or the Baltic countries.
© Esmerk


TenneT must meet investment obligations
Het Financieele Dagblad, 2011-11-18
According to Bundesnetzagentur, the German Federal Network Agency, Dutch electricity grid operator TenneT will not be able to withdraw from obligations to connect offshore wind farms the the German grid. TenneT recently expressed alarm over the high investment tempo in Germany and stated it did not have sufficient finances and personnel to cover the investment requirement
© Esmerk

Eon consolidates operations
Handelsblatt, 2011-11-23
Eon gave details of the plan to reduce workforce from currently 80,000 people by up to 11,000. About half of the job cuts will be made in Germany. The subsidiaries Eon Energie (Munich) and Eon Ruhrgas (Essen) will be dissolved. At Munich, the number of jobs will fall from 2,500 to about 1,000. Munich will remain the headquarters of Eon Bayern, the regional power supplier for Bavaria. Maybe Munich will become the headquarters of gas and electricity distribution in Germany.

At Düsseldorf the number of jobs might shrink from more than 2,000 to 1,300. Düsseldorf is the headquarters of Eon group, and at Düsseldorf Eon will consolidate its wholesale business by merging Eon Energy Trading with the wholesale activities of Ruhrgas. Düsseldorf might become the headquarters for renewable energy.

At Essen, Ruhrgas will be dissolved. However, the number of jobs might be between 1,500 and 2,100, compared to currently 2,000. A new company called Eon Deutschland, which comprises parts of Eon Energie, might be headquartered in Essen. Hanover remains the headquarters of power generation, but workforce might shrink from 2,500 to between 1,500 and 2,000. Currently power generation in Germany and outside Germany are managed separately. These will be combined.
© Esmerk


Government has one month to amend golden share rules by EC
Milano Finanza, 2011-11-24
Italy has been given a month before it is deferred to the European Court of Justice by the European Commission (EC) over its golden share regulation. Golden shares grant special powers to the state in privatised companies that operate in strategic sectors, including energy utility Enel, oil and gas group ENI, defence and aerospace group Finmeccanica, and Telecom Italia. The EC said that thanks to latest contacts with the Italian authorities, it believes that the government will shortly conform with requirements to modify its golden share rules, that affect free capital circulation and right of establishment in their present form.
© Esmerk


Council of State permits Eemshaven plant construction
Het Financieele Dagblad, 2011-11-24
The Dutch Council of State has rejected the attempt of environmental organisations Greenpeace and Stichting Natuur en Milieu to put the construction of a new coal-fired power station in Eemshaven in the Netherlands on hold. German energy company RWE may therefore continue with its construction.
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Statoil's Centrica deal gives funding for new investments
Dagens Næringsliv, 2011-11-22
Statoil's large sale of holdings on the Norwegian continental shelf to UK player Centrica gives the Norwegian oil giant cash to continue its hunt for major discoveries both in Norway and abroad. The deal with Centrica, which also includes a long-term gas delivery contract, gives Statoil a total of over NOK 100bn (EUR 12.79bn USD 17.25bn). Analyst Magnus Smistad in Fondsfinans speculates the Statoil is now going to focus on large fields, leaving smaller and mature fields to others.

It faces large investments in Norway, in the form of the Aldous/Avaldsnes discovery and Skrugard, but also in the US and it is expected to continue to expand on the global market.
© Esmerk


Three potential locations for nuclear power plant named
Parkiet, 2011-11-25
Polish state-owned energy giant, PGE, has chosen three potential locations for the construction of a nuclear power plant. These are: Zarnowiec, Gaski and Choczewo. Final decision about the location will be taken at the end of 2013.
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Conservative Alliance split over cross-party talks on nuclear power
Dagens Industri, 2011-11-24
The Swedish Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) and Christian Democrats are in favour of cross-party discussions about an agreement on nuclear power, while the Moderate Party (Moderaterna) and Centre Party (Centerpartiet) say they are not interested in talks. Anna-Karin Hatt, the Minister for Information Technology and Energy, says the ruling Conservative Alliance continues to support its energy agreement, adding that the Social Democrats can instead support this agreement.
© Esmerk


Cost of nuclear power decommissioning will be CHF 20bn
Tribune de Geneve, 2011-11-24
The Swiss Federal Office for Energy (OFEN) has revised the costs of decommissioning nuclear power stations in Switzerland and believes that it will cost 10% more than previously thought. This means that the cost of decommissioning Switzerland's nuclear power stations will be at least CHF 20.65bn (EUR 16.82bn USD 22.45bn). This cost includes the management of radioactive waste and will be financed by two independent funds which in turn are financed by the energy companies which controlled the nuclear power stations in question.
© Esmerk

United Kingdom

Businesses to see energy bills rise by 19% by 2020
Financial Times, 2011-11-24
The UK Government's annual energy statement has revealed that medium sized companies will see their annual gas and electricity bills increase by an average of 19% by 2020 and by 28% by 2030. The report states that electricity bills will increase by 34% by 2020 and rise by 45% by 2030. According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, these predicted increases are lower than those forecast 12 months ago.

It attributes this to various decisions made by the Government, such as to use general taxation to fund the renewable heat incentive instead of imposing a tax on fossil fuel suppliers. In July 2010, the Government had estimated that bills would increase by 26% by 2020.
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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.