EUROPE

EDF and GE to develop first of its kind power plant in France

EDF and GE have announced plans to jointly develop and showcase the first FlexEfficiency 50 natural gas fired combined-cycle power plant to be connected to a national grid.

GE’s FlexEfficiency 50 plant is an integrated, highly efficient system that includes the following key components: a next-generation 9FB gas turbine, a 109D-14 steam turbine, an advanced W28 generator, a heat recovery steam generator and a Mark Vle control system that links all of the technologies.

The plant is intended to provide a combination of operational flexibility and efficiency with low emissions. Paul Browning, president of GE Energy’s Thermal Products, told a press conference that the company “used our aviation division to achieve the flexibility required.”

Browning added that the jet-engine technology being utilised will enable the plant to ramp up twice as fast as conventional turbines, so that it would be “capable of going from dead stop to full load in 28 minutes”.

The new combined-cycle plant will be located at Bouchain, an existing EDF power plant site in northern France.

GE will spend an initial $170m in validation of the turbine at its base in Greenville, US.

Gazprom cools on RWE joint venture

OAO Gazprom is stalling on talks to create a European power-plant venture with RWE AG as the Russian firm’s profits in Germany slump, two people familiar with the matter have told Bloomberg.

Gas fired generation only became profitable on 1 December, for the first time in 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg based on year-ahead prices for electricity, fuel and carbon emission permits.

Gazprom and RWE agreed in October to extend their three-month exclusive talks to the end of the year. A deal with Gazprom could enable RWE to negotiate better long-term gas supply contracts, which are currently are linked to oil prices rather than day-to-day gas prices in Europe.

Statkraft may have to shut two gas fired power plants in northern Germany due to the region’s surging wind capacity, according to the energy group’s markets head.

Wind pushes German plants to brink

The company is “checking whether it can keep” the Emden and Landesbergen units in Lower Saxony, Juergen Tzschoppe told the Financial Times Deutschland.

Northern Germany’s expanded wind capacity has cut the plants’ annual operating hours from between 1000 and 2000 to a few hundred.

Ferrybridge leads the way for Europe’s carbon capture hopes

The largest carbon capture pilot plant in Europe has been opened in England by UK energy secretary Chris Huhne.

The facility at Ferrybridge in Yorkshire is operated by SSE, which integrated the plant into a power station that provides 5 per cent of UK power with project partners Doosan Power Systems and Vattenfall.

The project’s importance has risen with the scrapping last month of the Longannet CCS project in Scotland, making Ferrybridge the litmus test for carbon capture schemes not just in the UK but throughout Europe.

Huhne called the opening of the plant a “milestone” and said it was “a critical bridge to the long- term carbon capture ambitions” of the UK. He added that the Longannet outcome had been “disappointing, but we learned a lot”, and added that Ferrybridge was now the “flagship project”.

Ian Marchant, chief executive of SSE, said another CCS facility the company is developing in Peterhead, Scotland, is “completely dependent on the learning” from Ferrybridge.

Eni to buy Nuon Energy assets

Italian energy company Eni is to buy the Belgian power and gas assets of Nuon Energy, which is owned by Sweden’s Vattenfall.

Eni will pay €157m ($227m) for electricity and gas company Nuon Belgium, renewables firm Nuon Wind Belgium, and gas power plant operator Nuon Power Generation Walloon.The deal was granted approval by the European Commission.

Eni already has a presence in Belgium via its ownership of gas distribution company Distrigas.

Vattenfall will continue to own the Dutch assets of Amsterdam-headquartered Nuon Energy.

Ireland leads EC marine energy testing project

Ireland’s University College Cork is to lead a €9m ($12m) European Commission research programme into marine energy.

The university maritime research centre will oversee testing at 28 facilities in 12 European countries.

EC funding will enable companies to undertake free testing of wave, tidal and wind energy devices at the sites. The initiative will run annually until 2015. Countries taking part include Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and the UK.


Bulgaria: Bulgaria plans to float its minority stakes in three power distributors by early next year. The government aims to sell the 33 per cent stakes it holds in electricity supply company EVN Bulgaria, power and gas utility E.ON Bulgaria and energy distributor CEZ Bulgaria.

Italy: The European Investment Bank has granted a €240m ($323m) loan to Italian utility Iren for an offshore regasification plant in Livorno. A floating terminal will be moored 22 km off the coast for the import, storage and regasification of LNG, which will then be sent to the national grid via undersea and overground pipelines.

Netherlands: The country’s largest wind farm is to be expanded to accommodate extra turbines from Hamburg-based REpower. Westereems wind farm in Eemshaven has an installed capacity of 156 MW. Two more REpower turbines will be installed, adding an extra 12.3 MW.

Poland: France’s EDF has confirmed it is to construct a €1.8bn ($2.4bn), 900 MW supercritical coal fired power plant at its existing Rybnik facility. The new plant will utilise both hard coal and biomass.

Poland: Utility PGE has shortlisted three sites for Poland’s first nuclear plant. Choczewo, Gaski and Zarnowiec are all in the north of the country near the Baltic Sea. A final decision is due in 2013.

Russia: EON Russia, the power generator controlled by Germany’s EON AG, plans to boost its power production by about 5″6 per cent next year, up to 67″68 billion kWh from 62 billion kWh this year.

Serbia: Serbia will increase its scale of feed-in tariffs for electricity from renewable sources, according to the Beta news agency. The current range of €6.7 ” 23/kWh will rise by the end of December, the deputy energy minister was quoted as saying.

UK: Six Smart Grid projects are to share à‚£57m ($88m) in funding from Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund, set up to test new technology.

France: Areva is to carry out a €600m ($800m) upgrade of the monitoring and control systems at 20 EDF nuclear reactors. The work will be carried out at the Paluel, Flamanville, Saint-Alban, Cattenom, Belleville, Nogent sur Seine, Golfech and Penly plants and is due to start in 2015.

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