European Smart Grid spend must hit $93bn says thinktank

Investment in transmission grids will need to almost double in the next 20 years if European Union decarbonisation targets are to be met, according to an energy thinktank.

The European Climate Foundation estimates that €68bn ($93bn) will need to be spent on Smart Grid work, including offshore wind connections, between 2020 and 2030 to bring online an extra 109 GW of capacity.

In its report Power Perspectives 2030, the ECF states that most additional interconnections will be cross-border, such as between the UK and Ireland, and France and Spain. However it singles out Germany as a country in need of large domestic transmission upgrades.

Johannes Meier, ECF chief executive, said: “The grid is the glue that will hold together our decarbonised power system. We must be more efficient to deliver this in the most effective way.”

Meanwhile another report, by Oracle utilities and consultancy The Future Laboratory, claims that the successful deployment of Smart Grids could save the European Union €52bn annually. The report states that energy security, cutting carbon emissions and economic growth are all dependent on an efficient Smart Grid.

Smart Grid experiment starts on island

A Smart Grid project involving some of the world’s biggest technology companies is underway on the Isle of Wight in the UK.

A consortium called EcoIsland is setting up a Smart Grid on the island, which is England’s largest.

Wind, solar, tidal and geothermal power are being utilised, alongside battery and hydrogen energy storage.

The consortium comprises six companies: IBM, Toshiba, SSE and Cable & Wireless are working on the grid upgrades, ITM Power will provide hydrogen energy storage and clean fuel technologies, while Southern Water is responsible for the island’s water supply.

Lithuania targets date for nuclear plant

Lithuania hopes to sign a deal with a Hitachi-GE joint venture by the end of 2012 to build a 1,300 MW nuclear power plant.

It is hoped that the plant would be completed by 2020 and is intended to cut the country’s power dependence on Poland, the Baltic states and Russia, said Shozo Saito, chairman of Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy.

Lithuania’s energy minister Arvydas Sekmokas said Latvia, Estonia and Poland were all interested in taking a stake in the plant.

CEZ invites Temelin bids from shortlisted nuclear companies

Czech power company CEZ has invited three organisation to submit bids to build a new nuclear power plant at Temelin.

The trio are Areva, Westinghouse and a joint venture between three design engineers, Czech firm Skoda, Russia’s Atomstroyexport and Polish company Gidropress.

The tender to build the plant will not only be the biggest ever awarded by CEZ but also the largest public contract in the Czech Republic.

The deal is for the supply of two complete nuclear power plant blocks on a full turn-key basis, including nuclear fuel sets for nine years of operation.

CEZ chief executive Daniel Banes said the bid invitations marked “an important step to ensure a reliable supply of electricity to Czech customers in the upcoming decades”.

Separately, Banes also told news agency AFP that “the development of nuclear power is a fundamental priority”.

He said: “If we lose nuclear power, we will find ourselves at the mercy of Russian gas. There’s no other way. Renewable sources won’t cover our [energy] needs.”

EDF fleet passes UK stress tests

EDF Energy’s nuclear fleet in the UK has passed EU stress tests introduced in the wake of Fukushima.

All 143 reactors across the EU had to be tested and the results submitted on a country-by-country basis.

EDF said it had submitted thousands of pages of documents to the Office for Nuclear Regulation and had also taken into account any recommendations made by the Weightman Report, the UK’s own post-Fukushima report.

EDF chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said results proved “that we are very robust under the most extreme scenarios, even those far beyond what could ever be plausible in the UK”.

Reform of energy market is key to Greek economy

The International Energy Agency says that Greece could ease its economic woes by increasing competition and reducing the state’s role in its energy sector.

The IEA has published a review of Greek energy policies which concludes that reforming its electricity and gas markets “is a policy imperative that should add efficiency and dynamism to the Greek economy”.

The report said Greece has huge renewable energy potential which, if exploited, could provide “new industrial development”.

Denmark: President of the Nordic Investment Bank, Johnny Akerholm, told a Copenhagen energy forum that the attractiveness of green energy projects in Northern Europe would be enhanced if Nordic countries worked together on a “joint vision and timetable” for green energy projects that was “realistic enough to be credible”.

France: A new approach to assessing the safety of nuclear power plants has been devised by France’s Institute of Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety. The safety plan is based around a “hard core” of systems, structures and components crucial to containing an accident.

Germany: Work is underway on a 91 MW solar park that will be the largest in Europe, says photovoltaic firm Q Cells. The park, being built on a former military airbase, will comprise three arrays and will provide electricity to 22,500 homes in the Brandenburg-Briest area.

Italy: Grid operator Enel Distribuzione is building Italy’s first Smart Grid. The €10m ($14m) project will feature devices to estimate the electricity generated by renewable energy, particularly wind and solar, and sensors to monitor grid volume and regulate power flow.

UK: A 180 metre-long wave machine has set sail from Leith in Scotland to Orkney, where it will undergo trials at the European Marine Energy Centre. The P2 Pelamis 750 KW wave machine was built for ScottishPower Renewables, part of Spain’s Iberdrola, and converts the motion of waves into electricity via hydraulic cylinders.

UK: A report by European experts concluded that it was “highly probable” that drilling for shale gas in Lancashire, England, by Cuadrilla Resources caused earth tremors. The report stated that the events in April and May were due to “an unusual combination of geology at the well site coupled with the pressure exerted by water injection as part of operations”.

Ukraine: A Polish company has carried out shale gas ‘fracking’ in Ukraine. Kulczyk Oil Ventures executive vice-president Jock Graham said the company was “very excited” by initial results of the exploration. “By proving that the reservoirs in our license areas respond to modern [fracking] technology, we have opened the door to substantial upside to our Ukraine project.”

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