EDF, CGNPC create venture to build nuclear reactors in China

France’s EDF and the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Company have created the Guangdong Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company, to construct and operate two European pressurized water reactor nuclear power stations at Taishan, Guangdong.

The EPRs are modeled on EDF’s existing reactor at Flamanville in Normandy, France, EDF will hold 30 per cent of Guangdong Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company (TNPC) for a period of 50 years, which is the maximum permitted for a joint venture in China.

Preliminary work at the Taishan-1 site started in late 2007 and the first concrete pouring is scheduled for autumn 2009, less than two years after the one at Flamanville-3. Some contracts have already been signed with Areva and Alstom for the supply of nuclear and turbine equipment.

The first unit is to be commissioned at the end of 2013 and the second will go on line in 2015. At the height of construction work, over 60 EDF experts will be on-site at Taishan.

Concurrent to the creation of the joint venture, the two groups also concluded a technical assistance contract under which EDF will share its know-how by providing skilled personnel and technical documentation.

AEP, Duke Energy partner to build $1bn power lines in Indiana

American Electric Power and Duke Energy have formed a joint venture to build 240 miles of new transmission lines and related facilities in Indiana at an estimated cost of $1bn.

The proposed deal would be a 50-50 partnership to build and own the extra-high voltage 765-kV transmission lines.

The project, targeted for completion as early as 2014, would link Greentown Station near Kokomo, with Rockport Station east of Indiana town of Evansville.

The joint venture will file in Indiana to operate as a transmission utility and will file seeking rate approval for the project from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in third-quarter 2008.

Google invests $10m in geothermal technology

Google will invest more than $10m in Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) technology, as part of its Renewable Energy ‘Cheaper than Coal’ initiative.

Through its philanthropic arm, Google.org, the internet giant will invest in two geothermal technology start-up companies and give a university grant to study the potential of EGS. As part of this investment, $6.25m will go to Alta Rock Energy to develop innovative technologies to achieve significant cost reductions and improved performance in EGS projects.

Gas Natural raises Union Fenosa stake above 50 per cent

Gas Natural has raised its potential stake in power generator Union Fenosa to over 50 per cent after agreeing to buy a 5.15 per cent stake from savings bank Caja de Ahorros Del Mediterraneo (CAM)

In separate statements, the buyer and seller said Gas Natural had subscribed to an equity swap through UBS in which it guaranteed to pay CAM €18.33 ($26.87) a share, the same price Gas Natural is paying builder ACS for a 45.3 per cent stake in Union Fenosa.

Gas Natural has so far bought 9.9 per cent of Fenosa while it waits for approval from the energy regulator to buy more, though this deal raises its promised stake to 50.4 per cent.

Under Spanish law, Barcelona-based Gas Natural can bid for 100 per cent of Fenosa once its stake exceeds 30 per cent, completing a deal that cuts Gas Natural’s dependency on expensive gas fired power stations, and finally seals a takeover following several unsuccessful attempts to buy Iberdrola.

Oman’s Sohar Power IPO over 20 times oversubscribed

The $34.6m IPO of Sohar Power was more than 20 times oversubscribed.

Oman’s Sohar, in which a unit of French utilities group GDF Suez is the main stockholder, offered a 35 per cent stake to institutional and private investors to raise 13.33m rials ($34.64m).

The IPO drew subscriptions of more than 280m rials, with more than 40 000 investors applying to buy shares. GDF Suez Energy International now owns 45 per cent of Sohar’s equity, while three Omani companies and Oman’s defence ministry pension fund hold 20 per cent.

Sohar is Oman’s largest private power generator with 585 MW.

Iberdrola to spend $1bn on renewable energy projects

Spanish energy giant Iberdrola has said it is developing $1.05bn worth of wind and solar energy projects.

In total, the projects will have the capacity to generate 1.25 GW of electricity, with the bulk of that coming from wind.

In 2007, the Spanish company said it would buy US utility Energy East for $4bn. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval. Should it get the green light, Iberdrola said it would look to further expand Energy East’s wind generation portfolio.

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Come together: Yokogawa has merged the activities of its two main operating companies in the Netherlands – Yokogawa Nederland BV and Yokogawa System Center Europe BV – under the new name of Yokogawa Europe Solutions B.V.

Fuel my fire: Babcock & Wilcox, has agreed to buy Nuclear Fuel Services, Incorporated, a provider of specialty nuclear fuels and related services.

Too much, too young: Southern California Edison’s plans to build a $875m, 250 MW solar project have come under fire from industry trade groups, saying it would give it too much of a monopoly on California’s nascent solar market.

Credit where credit’s due: Czech power company CEZ has signed a contract with the Hunan Liang Renewable Energy Power of China to buy emission credits from a planned biomass plant in the province Hunan, China.

Life’s a (bio) gas: Tokyo Gas has acquired a 4.44 per cent stake in eastern Japan’s Agatsuma Biopower, which was previously a wholly owned unit of Orix, for an undisclosed sum.

Pump up the volume: Tognum Group is to invest an additional €75m ($110m) in capacity expansion in the production of MTU engines, L’Orange high performance injection systems, as well as the extension of the MTU Onsite Energy power generation systems during the current and the coming year.

Everything must go: Dynegy has completed the sale of the Rolling Hills Power Generation Facility, a peaking plant located in Wilkesville, Ohio, to a company managed by Tenaska Capital Management, LLC for $368m in cash. The sale equates to more than $450/kW based on the plant’s summer capacity rating.

Get smart: GE Energy has expanded its smart grid product portfolio with the acquisition of Kelman Ltd. of Lisburn, Northern Ireland, which provides advanced monitoring and diagnostics technologies for transformers.

Sunny day: GE Energy Financial Services and Grupo Corporativo Landon are to invest $350m in Fotowatio, one of Spain’s largest and most successful solar power project developers. Fotowatio is developing almost 960 MW of solar projects in Italy and the USA.