European – Electric Power News Briefs

Seeboard, the electricity supplier based in the Southeast of England may shortly be sold by current owner American Electric Power (AEP). There is likely to be interest in the company from French state-owned power group Electricit௿½e France which already has three million UK customers and neighbouring supplier, Scottish and Southern. AEP acquired Seeboard when it merged with Central and South West and the sale is expected to net AEP à‚£1.3 bn-à‚£1.5 bn ($1.8 bn-$2.1 bn).

Northern Electric, the power supplier based in the north east of England is being sold by Berkshire Hathaway-controlled Mid American Energy. Texas power group TXU, which already has significant UK power distribution interests, is rumoured to be a possible bidder. TXU denied any interest in a statement on Sunday.

Nordanvind, the Swedish family-owned wind farm developer, has teamed up with Windforce Energy Development UK to construct new wind energy facilities. Nordanvind has developed wind parks with total output of some 600 MW and says 300 projects are currently awaiting approval. Banks and financial institutions will largely finance the SKr6 bn ($550 million) project although Nordanvind will also apply for 15 per cent investment contribution from the Swedish state.

Montedison’s rejection of a 5 bn Euro takeover bid by Italenergia was dismissed by Fiat, which along with Electricit௿½e France controls the bidding consortium. The Italian energy and agro-industrial company last Wednesday claimed that the request by Italenergia for a shareholders meeting to discuss the 2.82 Euro per share bid was improper, but Fiat believes Montedison’s arguments are “without merit”.

Siemens has been awarded a contract to supply three natural gas turbines to Israel’s state-run Electric Corporation (IEC). Purchasing and setting up the three turbines, each capable of generating 370 MW of power, would cost $550 million, with the first turbine to become active at the end of 2003 or start of 2004, IEC said in a statement. The turbines would help the IEC prevent a repeat of the situation last summer when record demand for power led to power reserves reaching zero, IEC said.

EU Energy commissioner, Loyola de Palacio has called for an increase in imports of electricity from France to her home country Spain, in order to reduce the risk of power cuts this summer. She reassured the public that the lights would stay on. Palacio also announced her support for nuclear energy, stating that it had a key role to play in meeting Spain’s Kyoto commitments.

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