Europe

British carbon price floor set at à‚£16/tonne, à‚£30 by 2020

Britain has introduced a carbon price floor to the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) of à‚£16/tonne ($26) in 2013, rising to à‚£30/tonne by 2020.

As PEi went to press, EU ETS carbon allowanceswere trading at €17/tonne ($24). “We estimate that wholesale electricity prices may be around à‚£5-à‚£6/MWh or 10 per cent higher by 2020 given the levels of carbon price floor announced,” said Duncan Sinclair, director of Redpoint Energy, which undertook supporting analysis for HM Treasury and the Department of Climate Change (DECC) on the Carbon Price Support (CPS).

“This will have a significant impact on the earnings of power generators; with renewables and nuclear generators benefiting from the higher prices, while coal and older, less efficient gas plant will be hit by higher carbon costs, potentially accelerating closure.”

Although the CPS may stimulate investment in low-carbon generation, feed-in tariffs announced in DECC’s December consultation are likely to have a great effect, he added.

à„Å’EZ, Skoda Praha to build a 840 MW CCGT power station at lignite plant

Czech utility CEZ has launched construction of a 840 MW gas fired plant in northern Bohemia, expected to cost CZK20bn ($1.16bn) and to complete in 2013.

The plant will have an efficiency of 57 per cent, said CEZ. It will operate mainly at peak times and will be on the premises of the 1 GW Pocerady lignite plant.

Skoda Praha is building the facility, which will have Siemens and Skoda Power turbines. Natural gas generates about 1.5 per cent of Czech electricity, a share the plant could raise to about 5 per cent.à‚ 

BritNed interconnector goes liveà‚ 

The BritNed interconnector, the first power line linking the UK and the Netherlands has gone live, said National Grid.

The transmission system operator said the 1000 MW high voltage connection between the Isle of Grain in Kent and Maasvlakte near Rotterdam will transmit power in both directions, driven by supply and demand and by price differentials. BritNed was completed on time and within the à‚£500m ($802m) budget, said National Grid.à‚ 

Britain drops $5bn CCS levyà‚ 

Britain has dropped plans to impose a levy on consumer bills to fund a à‚£3bn ($4.9bn) scheme to develop three carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects.

Last year the British government announced it had set aside à‚£1bn for at least one CCS pilot scheme, saying it would use either a levy on bills or public money to fund at least three further projects in the future ” at the cost of another à‚£3bn.

A levy has now been ruled out, as the coalition shies away from imposing fresh costs on the British public at a time of severe austerity. That decision is likely to raise fresh questions over how the three further projects will be built given the large upfront costs and the fact that CCS is still an untested science.

According to industry and government sources the levy idea has been superseded by the electricity market review at the end of last year which will impose a new “carbon floor price” to subsidize all forms of renewable energy ” including nuclear power.à‚ 

‘Super grid’ found unlikely to solve volatility issuesà‚ 

The creation of an offshore ‘super grid’ and a major upgrade of energy interconnections are not silver bullet solutions to Europe’s energy needs, an independent study has found.

The report by Pàƒ¶yry found that improved connectivity would only partially alleviate volatility of greater renewable energy generation.

While better interconnectivity between countries could help protect supply, often several countries across Europe experience similar weather and so could face shortages at the same time. The study sees demand-side management as an effective way to mitigate wind’s intermittency.à‚ 

GE gas turbines picked for 440 MW CCGT in Germanyà‚ 

An association of four German utilities has selected GE to build a 440 MW CCGT power plant near Bremen, Germany.

GE and consortium partner, Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios S.A. have signed contracts of over €300 ($426m) for the Mittelsbàƒ¼ren plant, due to operate in 2013. The project includes a 9FB gas turbine, 109A-17 steam turbine, 450H generator, heat recovery steam generator and Mark VIe distributed control system.

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Bulgaria: GDF Suez is planning to invest €100m ($142.2m) in building biomass power plants in four towns. Bulgaria is preparing a new renewable energy law with incentives aimed at achieving 433 MW of biomass by 2020.

EU: Emissions from factories and power stations in the European Union carbon market rose 3.5 per cent in 2010 as freezing weather boosted energy consumption. Emissions increased to 1.754bn tonnes in 2010, the first gain in three years, from 1.695bn tonnes for the same installations in 2009.

Germany: RWE Power has made a legal appeal against the three-month decommissioning of its Biblis A and B nuclear reactors, on the grounds that they meet all relevant safety requirements.

Ireland: A report by grid operator EirGrid and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland claims that wind generation lowers wholesale prices by €70m ($99m), offsetting the cost of the Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy.

Italy: Rome has slapped a one-year moratorium on plans for a new generation of nuclear reactors amid a wave of anti-nuclear sentiment after the Fukushima accident in Japan.

Italy: From 2012 there will be no annual solar power capacity limits under a new incentive scheme, but the government will instead cap cash for subsidies.

Netherlands: The wind energy department of the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands has been commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs to carry out a four-year programme to gather data for new offshore wind farms in the North Sea.

UK: Coal plants may close earlier than planned following the introduction of a carbon floor price, said Matrix Group analysts. Four plants ” E.ON’s Kingsnorth plant, RWE’s Tilbury and Didcot power stations and Iberdrola’s Cockenzie facility ” may close by 2013 rather than 2015.

UK: The Scottish Government has approved ScottishPower Renewables’ plans for a 10 MW tidal power array in the Sound of Islay on Scotland’s west coast.à‚ 

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