PPL to buy E.ON’s UK grid network for à‚£3.5bn

US utility power PPL is to acquire E.ON’s UK power networks for à‚£3.5bn ($5.7bn) in cash to create one of the largest electricity distributors in Britain.

Reuters reports that PPL would also assume à‚£500m of debt in the deal, which is expected to close in early April to create the largest network of electricity delivery companies in Britain in terms of regulated asset value, at a combined $7.8bn.

E.ON’s business, Central Networks, is the UK’s second-largest electricity distributor and delivers power to over 5m customers. It would add to PPL’s existing pool of 2.6m customers in Southwest England and South and West Wales.

The acquisition furthers PPL’s move into steadier, regulated power provision and away from the competitive business of power generation. Units with regulated returns made up just 27 per cent of earnings in 2010, but are already forecast to make up half of this year’s earnings after PPL’s purchase of E.ON’s Kentucky-based power unit last year for $6.7bn in cash.à‚ 

RWE expects nuclear tax and stalled prices to shrink profit by 30 per centà‚ 

German utility RWE expects its profits to fall about 30 per cent this year because of a nuclear power plant tax and stagnating power prices.

Bloomberg reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to raise €2.3bn ($3.2bn) each year over six years through 2016 with a tax on her country’s nuclear stations. RWE also faces slowing earnings as fuel costs outpace wholesale power prices in the region. RWE said it plans to reduce debt by selling assets to raise as much as €8bn by 2013 and will cut investments through 2013 by €3bn to €18bn.à‚ 

Nigeria privatization sparks interestà‚ 

Six power stations and eleven electricity generation firms being offered as part of a multi-billion dollar privatization plan have generated great interest, said the Nigerian government.

Four thermal and two hydro power stations had attracted 174 expressions of interest, while 11 distribution firms had garnered 157, said country’s privatization agency. Nigeria expects to need $10bn investment over the next decade to meet its energy needs.à‚ 

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy to work with Lockheed Martinà‚ 

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and Lockheed Martin are to work together to design and build digital control systems and nuclear reactors.

Lockheed Martin’s nuclear systems and solutions division will design and manufacture the main reactor control room systems for GEH’s Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactors (ESBWR).

Lockheed Martin will also provide GEH with related simulation and training support, as well as services and replacement equipment.

The ESBWR is a frontrunner to become one of the first next-generation models to be fully certified for US construction by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is expected to complete its final rule making of the design by the autumn of 2011, said GEH.

The design was recently recommended for approval by the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) with no open items.à‚ 

RWE to invest €900m in East Europe, Turkeyà‚ 

RWE, the German power generator and distributor, plans to invest €900m in central and eastern Europe, including Turkey, by 2013, said Andreas Radmacher, chief executive of the company’s Turkey unit, reported Bloomberg.

The figure included a €500m investment in a 775 MW gas fired power plant in Denizil in Turkey, due on line in 2012, Radmacher told a press conference in Istanbul. RWE has 70 per cent and Instanbul-based Turcas Petrol 30 per cent in the joint venture. RWE also aims to start an electricity sales business in Turkey soon, he added.à‚ 

à„Å’EZ buys Romanian hydropower firmà‚ 

à„Å’EZ Romania, a subsidiary of Czech-based energy group à„Å’EZ, has bought a 100 per cent stake in TMK Hydroenergy Power, which operates the hydroelectric system in the Caraà…Ÿ-Severin country in western Romania.

TMK Hydroenergy Power has four reservoirs with dams as well as four hydro plants. Its total installed capacity is about 18 MW. à„Å’EZ’s acquisition is in line with a policy of focusing on its core businesses in countries with existing operations.

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E.ON: An assessment by The Great Place to Work Institute has picked E.ON as the fifth best company to work for in Germany, within the category of firms with more than 5000 employees.

EUAS: Four thermal plants owned by EUAS, Turkey’s state electricity generation company, are to be privatized in the first phase of process aimed at transferring 16 GW in capacity.

FirstEnergy: The firm has closed its merger with Allegheny Energy Inc, which is intended to introduce the operating names Mon Power, Potomac Edison and West Penn Power to Allegheny’s customers.

GE: The firm has completed its purchase from Wind Tower Systems of technology aimed at enabling taller towers and cutting installation and transport costs.

Jaiprakash Power Ventures: The Indian company has merged itself with two of its subsidiaries ” Bina Power Supply Company and Jaypee Karcham Hydro Corp ” to consolidate the group's power generation “under one umbrella”.

Japan Steel Works: The company plans to start building larger, 102-metre-diameter wind turbines with a 2.7 MW output in a bid to attract overseas demand. The first turbine is due to be built by the summer of 2012.

Mott MacDonald: The global consultancy is to open an office in Boston, US, to expand its renewable energy presence in North America. Tremain Tanner ” vice president, Renewable Energy ” has been appointed to oversee the iniative.

Wärtsilä: Bjoern Rosengren is to take over as president and CEO on 1 September when Ole Johansson retires. Rosengren, who is based in Shanghai, works as senior executive vice president of Atlas Copco and business area president for Atlas Copco Construction and Mining Technique.

Westinghouse: The firm has entered small modular reactors with a 200 MWe integrated pressurized water reactor, which applies lessons learned from its AP1000 plant under construction in China, said the company.à‚ 

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