Toshiba inks nuclear power tie-up with Russian state firm

Toshiba has forged a tie-up with Russia’s state-owned Atomic Energy Power in civilian nuclear power operations including power plant construction and fuel production.

Based on the alliance, the Russian firm dubbed Atomenergoprom will enrich uranium produced in Kazakhstan, while Toshiba will undertake nuclear fuel production, and the designing and engineering of nuclear power plants.

To draw up concrete cooperation measures, the two companies are slated to study the feasibility of designing and constructing commercial nuclear power plants in Russia.

They will also conduct similar studies on cooperation in manufacturing and the maintenance of large nuclear power equipment and in the civilian nuclear fuel cycle business, including uranium mining and enrichment. The firms may establish a strategic partnership in the future, Toshiba said.

The tie-up comes as the Japanese firm faces heated rivalry in the USA to win orders to build nuclear power plants.

RWE enters Russia power with TGK-2 stake purchase

Germany’s RWE took effective control of one of three large Russian power producers in the latest round of sales, making it the fourth European utility to become a major player in the sector.

RWE, with junior partner Sintez Group, a Russian utilities investor, paid 9.3bn roubles ($392.6m) for the UES’ 33.5 per cent stake in TGK-2, or Territorial Generating Company No. 2, which provides heat and electricity to regions north and northwest of Moscow.

RWE is reported to have paid $568/kW for TGK-2’s generating capacity, the term in which these assets are traditionally valued. This is far less than the $690/kW that Enel paid for OGK-5, the $753/kW that E.ON paid for OGK-4, and the $767/kW that Fortum paid for TGK-10.

UES said RWE also committed more than 9bn roubles more for the purchase of TGK-2’s new shares to be issued in April, giving it effective control of the firm for a total of around 19bn roubles.

AES and private equity firm create $1bn solar fund

US power company AES and private equity firm Riverstone Holdings will invest up to $1bn in photovoltaic solar projects around the world over the next five years.

AES and Riverstone have each committed up to $500m for the joint venture, which will be called AES Solar.

The venture will initially focus on projects in countries with the most attractive tariffs, and the utility-scale installations will range from fewer than 2 MW to more than 50 MW in size, the firms said.

“Because of its scale, this joint venture has the potential to change the fundamental economics of solar power,” said Ralph Alexander, managing director of New York-based Riverstone.

AES, based in Arlington, Virgia, had previously said it wanted to spend $10bn on renewable energy projects over the next five years.

Russia’s IES buys up big stake in TGK-6

Two Russian power-focused funds, namely Integrated Energy Systems and New Russian Generation, have bought the entire new share issue, or 31.2 per cent, of TGK-6.

They reportedly paid $437/kW for the generating capacity at TGK-6, a regional electricity and heat producer serving parts of European Russia to the east and southeast of Moscow. The sale of TGK-6 has attracted more than 25bn roubles ($1.1bn), which includes approximately 14bn roubles for the new shares.

Abu Dhabi and Spain launch solar power company

Spain’s Sener Grupo de Ingenieria has formed a joint venture with Abu Dhabi’s Masdar iniative to build concentrating solar power (CSP) plants around the world.

Sener owns 60 per cent of the joint venture, with Masdar owning the remaining 40 per cent.

The joint venture, which is to be called Torresol Energy, will design, build and operate the plants and encourage the adoption of CSP technology for power generation. The technology uses lenses or mirrors to focus sunlight into a narrow beam.

The venture’s first solar projects will be three plants, all in Spain and worth a collective $1.25bn.

Vattenfall and Siemens sign wind power deal

Vattenfall and Siemens have signed a two-year framework agreement for the supply of wind power equipment in 2009 and 2010.

Vattenfall will purchase 170 MW of equipment from Siemens in an order worth around $270m.

This project forms part of Vattenfall’s plan to expand wind power production in the Nordic region by 8 TWh within a ten-year period, according to the company.

“The agreement means that we are freeing up the supplier bottleneck for wind power plant,” said Anders Dahl, head of Vattenfall Windpower.

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Brazil firm goes nuts for hydro: Brazilian power generator Tractebel Energia plans to invest 715m reais ($426m) in 2008. Tractebel aims to invest 385m reais of the total in the 1.09 GW Estreito hydro project, 230m reais in the 243 MW São Salvador hydro generator and 100 m reais in maintenance.

California dreaming: Westinghouse Electric Company, a Toshiba Group company based near Pittsburgh, PA, has opened an office in San Jose, CA, to support the growth of its boiling water reactor nuclear power business in the US west coast.

EDP goes big: EDP Renovaveis, the renewables arm of Portugeuese electricity group EDP, is to invest around €20bn ($29.5bn) in the next four years. The bulk of the investment is to be made by Horizon, its US wind power generator.

Equipped for success: Alstom Hydro has acquired all the assets of hydro-mechanical equipment business of SDEM Entreprises, a company based in Isere, France.

Finns are looking up: Finnish utility Fortum has raised its stake in Russian utility TGC-10 to around 76 per cent after it subscribed to a share issue. Full ownership of TGC-10, which supplies power to western Siberia and has a capacity of 2.8 GW, would cost Fortum a total of $4.2bn.

GE to splurge: GE Energy Financial Services has announced plans to invest $5bn outside the United States to grow and help meet soaring energy demand by the end of 2010. This strategy reinforces GE’s company-wide plan to boost international revenues to take advantage of rapidly growing non-US economies.

Pulp fact: Vattenfall has signed an agreement with Finnish/Swedish pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso to supply electricity up to and including 2019, covering around 13 TWh.

Shipped to Siberia: Russian gas monopoly Gazprom and the Siberian Coal Energy Company have signed an agreement detailing the major terms to merge the power and coal assets of both companies by the end of August 2008.

Wind firm sale: Iberdrola Renovables has acquired a 49 per cent interest in wind power firm Eolica 2000, which is developing a 32.3 MW wind farm in Spain’s northern coastal region of Cantabria, with an option to purchase an additional two per cent.