Alstom award: Frost & Sullivan has presented Alstom’s Power Service Sector with its Growth Strategy Leadership Award for exhibiting an outstanding growth strategy in the Asian power plant services market. The award is based on criteria such as ability to grow in a mature/saturated market, implementation of a unique sales strategy, technological innovation and penetration of new markets through alliances and growth-oriented reorganization.
Areva reports: Areva has reported a strong first half to the year with sales up by 29 per cent over H1 2003, reflecting the integration of the transmission and distribution business. Its nuclear operations reported a slight decrease in sales, but this was due to an exceptionally strong first half in 2003 and a tendency for nuclear operations to be unevenly spread during the year.
Capstone debut: Capstone Turbine has established an international subsidiary and has opened its first overseas office in Tokyo, Japan. Japan has the largest installed base of Capstone microturbines outside of the USA, and the company is keen to enhance its commitment to this growing market.
Centre for Fuel Cells: US-based Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has announced the formation of a new Centre for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Research, which, under the leadership of Glenn Eisman, former chief technology officer at Plug Power, will focus on basic research essential to the commercial viability of fuel cells and hydrogen-related technologies. Particular areas of focus will include new material solutions to help improve fuel cell reliability, efficiency and cost.
Centrica acquires: Centrica has announced that Direct Energy, its North American subsidiary, has acquired Residential Services Group Inc, a US-based home services business, for $150m. RSG is a provider of plumbing and HVAC installations and of maintenance services in the Texas and Ohio state areas. Centrica believes the acquisition gives it an opportunity to replicate its successful UK model of cross-selling home services to its existing customer base.
TXU pulls out: TXU Energy Company and Credit Suisse First Boston have mutually agreed to not pursue a joint energy marketing and trading venture initially agreed in May 2004. After a detailed review of the proposed venture, the two companies were unable to agree on an economic arrangement that met each other’s strategic objectives.
Von Roll rename: Von Roll Inc., a manufacturer of waste-to-energy plants has been renamed AE&E-Von Roll Inc. The new name reflects the purchase of Von Roll’s Swiss parent company by Austrian Energy & Environment.
GE-Bechtel alliance for clean coal
GE Energy and Bechtel Corporation are to establish an alliance to develop a standard commercial offering for integrated combined cycle gasification (IGCC) projects in North America.
The alliance will integrate the development, marketing, commercialization and implementation of GE’s IGCC process with Bechtel’s engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) expertise. GE Energy is a supplier of gas turbine equipment for IGCC projects, and recently purchased the gasification technology business of ChevronTexaco.
The two companies will work together to execute IGCC projects in the region based on a standard GE IGCC product, initially focussing on establishing successful IGCC ventures for the US power generation market. GE and Bechtel have previously worked together on a number of IGCC projects, including the 100 MW Cool Water plant in California, USA, and the 250 MW Polk power station in Florida, USA.
VA Tech and NxtPhase join forces
NxtPhase T&D Corporation and VA Technologie AG (VA Tech) have signed a joint product development and marketing agreement covering their gas insulated switchgear (GIS) technology. The agreement builds on an existing relationship between the two companies covering air insulated switchgear.
Under the agreement, VA Tech will integrate NxtPhase optical and current voltage sensors into its GIS and supply the technology to power facilities around the world. The integrated product will serve to help VA Tech reduce the footprint of its GIS system, eliminate CT saturation, improve the accuracy of current measurement and increase power system availability.
The deal will enhance VA Tech’s technology offerings to the industry, and also broadens NxtPhase’s served markets.
Sulzer pumps up its assets
Sulzer is to acquire the US pump assets of Precision Castparts Corp. as well as all the shares of its Chinese pump company in a deal worth $36m. The acquisition complements the existing Sulzer Pumps product portfolio and strengthens Sulzer’s position in the power, process and water businesses.
The acquired business units are based in Houston, Texas and Wuxi, China and have a turnover of around $98m. They include the brands of Johnston, Crown and Paco.
The addition of the Wuxi facility to Sulzer’s business will strengthen its position in the Chinese market.
BTU Power buys Meiya interest
PSEG and BTU Power have signed an agreement for BTU to purchase PSEG Global’s 50 per cent equity interest in Meiya Power Company Limited (MPC). BTU Power will pay approximately $220m for the shares in MPC, an Asia-based power producer.
MPC develops, owns and operates electric power and steam generation facilities in China, South Korea and Taiwan. It has an ownership interest in 14 projects.
The sale is in line with PSEG Global’s long-term goal of selling a number of strategic assets. The proceeds of the sale will be used to reduce PSEG’s debts.
The collective capacity of MPC’s projects is 4000 MW, with more than 3400 MW in operation. Twelve of the projects are located in China. The deal puts MPC’s equity ownership in the projects at 2100 MW.
New alternative to UPS batteries
Active Power is claiming to be the first company to market a series of battery-replacement products for uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) based on flywheel technology. It says that it will soon be introducing a new design that connects to a typical UPS exactly like a battery cabinet, providing the same functionality but with improved reliability and environmental impact compared to lead acid batteries.
Active Power anticipates that the new technology will be cost competitive with battery systems, and that a single 85 kW module will provide up to 15 minutes of backup power under full load.
GFI acquires SPL WorldGroup
GFI Energy Ventures, an equity investor in the energy industry, has signed an agreement to acquire the outstanding shares of SPL WorldGroup, the customer relationship management (CRM) system specialist. GFI will merge its subsidiary, Synergen Inc., with SPL WorldGroup’s business under the SPL brand.
Under the SPL brand, the combined company will offer a utility-specific set of products that include customer care and billing, asset management, outage management and distribution management. The deal is likely to close by year-end pending the necessary regulatory approvals.
Synergen is a provider of asset management systems and mobile workforce management solutions to the utility and other asset-intensive industries.