Italy, Switzerland, Germany forego the nuclear option
Italy, Germany and Switzerland have each taken legal steps that rule out nuclear power as a source of new power generation in the same calendar month.
In Italy, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi waved goodbye to nuclear power as Ministry of the Interior figures confirmed that the turnout for a national referendum was sufficient to repeal a law setting out plans for new plants.
On the nuclear question, 54.79 per cent of citizens responded, and 94.05 per cent of these voted against Enel’s plans to build four Areva EPRs. Berlusconi said: “Following the decision of the Italian people…we must say goodbye to the possibility of nuclear power stations and we must strongly commit ourselves to renewable energy.”
Switzerland decided to phase out nuclear power by 2034 after the Japan disaster shook public confidence in the industry, but said it would not shut any existing power plants prematurely. The cabinet agreed to build no more nuclear reactors once the current power plants reach the end of their lifespan, with the oldest set to come offline in 2019, while the newest would remain in operation until 2034.
Meanwhile, Germany’s coalition government announced a policy reversal that will see all the country’s nuclear power plants phased out by 2022. Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said the seven oldest reactors – taken offline for a safety review after the Japanese crisis – would never be used again.
An eighth plant – the Kruemmel facility in northern Germany, which was already offline and has been plagued by technical problems – would also be shut down for good. Six others would go offline by 2021 at the latest and the three newest by 2022, he said.
Alstom launches upgraded version of its GT26 gas turbine
Alstom has launched its latest upgrade to its GT26 combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) featuring a higher efficiency, topping 61 per cent, with a capability of generating 350 MW in less than 15 minutes from low load.
Alstom says its low load operation capability allows a 500 MW-plus GT26 CCGT power plant to be ‘parked’ at a much reduced minimum load point – around 100 MW – so as to provide fast responding stand-by and significantly reduced fuel consumption during such low load periods.
The latest upgrade of the sequential (two-stage) GT26 gas turbine is the fourth evolutionary development since the product’s initial introduction back in the mid 1990s.
From a technological standpoint, the upgrade is based on the development of the compressor, the second combustor and the low-pressure section of the turbine.
UK revises feed-in tariffs for large solar PV installations
The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced the new feed-in tariff (FiT) rates for large solar PV installations following its recent ‘fast-track review’ into solar subsidies.
From 1 August 2011, new entrants into the FiT scheme will receive amended tariffs: £0.19/kWh ($0.31) for 50–150 kW total installed capacity (TIC); £0.15/kWh for >150–250 kW TIC; £0.085/ kWh for >250 kW–5 MW TIC and stand-alone installations.
The fast-track review looked at reducing the tariffs for large scale solar to protect the money available for small-scale projects and the range of technologies supported under this scheme. The review was launched following initial evidence showing the number of large scale solar projects in the planning system to be much higher than anticipated.
Spain to raise capacity payments for coal and gas
The Spanish government has ordered energy regulator CNE to increase how much generators are paid to build and operate gas and coal fired plants.
A draft ministerial order showed an increase in capacity payments of €230m ($332m), with current payments up by 30 per cent, or €150m, and an additional €80m set aside for new build.
Nuclear bids received for Lithuania project
Lithuania has received bids from Westinghouse and GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy to build a nuclear power plant in Visaginas.
Westinghouse offered AP1000 reactor technology with a proposed capacity of 1154 MW. Lithuania previously said that a strategic investor could be offered as much as 51 per cent of the new plant. The agreement would require parliament’s approval.
The government is due to select the winning bidder this summer.
Bulgaria: AES has brought online a €1.2bn ($1.7bn) coal fired power plant at Galabovo. The plant, part of the Maritsa East mining and power generation complex, has two units and total capacity of 600 MW. The plant starts operations at 420 MW output and will reach full capacity by the end of 2011.
France: Vattenfall is prepared to invest up to €1bn ($1.5bn) when France offers hydropower concessions later this year, said the Swedish state utility. France is offering renewal of hydro concessions for 5300 MW until 2015.
Germany: Berlin is considering cutting incentives for solar PV by an additional 6 per cent, said Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen. The feed-in tariff for solar PV is already scheduled to be cut in July 2011 and January 2012.
Netherlands: RWE has agreed to reduce its stake in the 485 MW Borssele nuclear plant from 50 per cent to 30 per cent, raising the shareholding of plant operator Delta from 50 to 70 per cent.
Norway: DP CleanTech will deliver a 56 MW biomass boiler for Hafslund Fjernvarme’s district heating project in Oslo. The biomass boiler will burn wood pellets and the plant is expected to be on line in late 2012.
Poland: PGE has started production testing at its 858 MW lignite unit at Belchatow power plant, synchronizing it with the national grid. The utility said the plant would start operating in the third quarter.
Serbia: Elektroprivreda Srbije, the Serbian power monopoly known as EPS, and RWE Innogy have signed an agreement worth €352m ($496m) to set up a joint company that will build five hydro plants on the Velika Morava river with a total capacity of 150 MW. They should be completed in about six years,
UK: Real Ventures is investing £260m ($423m) in building two wood fired biomass plants in the Port of Immingham and on the Isle of Wight. Each plant will have a electricity capacity of 50 MW and a heat capacity of 130 MW.
UK: Scottish Power plans to build a 950 MW CCGT power plant near Bristol. The Infrastructure Planning Commission said it had received pre-application information for the plant, known as Avon.More Power Engineering International Issue Articles
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