News digest

Austria: A consortium led by Verbundplan along with VA Tech Hydro and Porr Technobau has been awarded a G15m ($17.8m) contract to provide a small-scale hydropower plant at the intake of the Vienna Danube Canal in Nussdorf

Finland: BNFL-owned Westinghouse Sweden and Finnish utility TVO have signed an agreement under which Westinghouse will supply reactor maintenance for TVO’s two nuclear power plants at Olkiluoto for a four-year period starting in 2004.

France: The European Parliament has voted to adopt a directive linking the EU emissions trading scheme to other trading systems and CO2 reduction projects under the Kyoto Protocol. European firms will therefore be permitted to use CDM and JI credits.

Iberia: The introduction of the common Iberian electricity market (Mibel), linking Spain and Portugal’s markets which originally planned to start on 20 April, has been postponed. Legislation was not approved in time and the Portuguese energy market will not be fully open until July.

Italy: Nathaniel Energy Corporation has begun shipping parts of the thermal combustors to Italy under its $2.1m contract to supply two 1800 BHP thermal combustors for a waste-to-energy plant in Cologna Venetta.

Italy: The Italian government has approved 39 new CCGT power stations with a total capacity of 21 398 MW. A further five plants, which will add another 3000 MW are expected to be approved shortly.

Spain: Gas Natural plans to double its share of Spain’s electricity market from its present five per cent by 2007 and is also looking to enter the Italian electricity market. The energy supply group currently has 4700 MW of generation capacity either in operation or under construction.

UK: Scottish and Southern Energy has awarded ABB Power Technologies with a two-year contract to supply equipment to support the refurbishment of its high voltage transmission network, including the supply of 90 MVA 132/133 kV transformers.

UK: Renewable Energy Systems is planning the development of a £58m ($103.6m) onshore wind farm comprising 36 turbine units with combined capacity of 80 MW on the Dunmaglass Estate near Inverness in Scotland.

UK: The International Petroleum Exchange and the Chicago Climate Exchange are to work together to provide a marketplace for emissions trading in the European Union.

EHN and Airtricity seal wind power partnership

The Spanish renewable energy group EHN has acquired a 50 per cent interest in the development company for the Arklow Bank offshore wind farm from Ireland’s Airtricity.

As part of the deal, the Irish renewables utility Airtricity has an option to acquire an equivalent interest in EHN’s planned offshore wind project in southern Spain.

Airtricity and GE Energy are co-developing the 25.2 MW Arklow Bank project, located 9.6 km off the east coast of Ireland, 96 km south of Dublin. It consists of seven GE Energy 3.6 MW offshore wind turbines. The development company, in which EHN now has a half share, will have the right to purchase the facility when testing and demonstration is completed. Erection of Phase 1 (25 MW) was completed in late 2003 and testing is currently ongoing.

EHN has significant interests in renewable power generation in Spain including 55 onshore wind parks but the deal marks its first entry into the offshore wind market. The arrangement enables EHN and Airtricity to extend their interests overseas.

World wind goals

The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has set out its scenarios for global wind energy development in 2007 and 2012, describing the future prospects as “very promising”.

“The total wind power installed worldwide could quadruple from 40 GW to 160 GW by 2012,” said Arthuros Zervos, president of EWEA.

EWEA predicts that the next ten years will also see a broadening of the global wind energy market to engage a spread of new countries across continents. It sees significant growth in the US accompanied by new markets starting in Australia, Japan and South America.

Italian landfill project selects GE Jenbacher units

One of Italy’s most powerful landfill energy plants at Basse di Stura near Turin is to operate six, 1.4 MW GE Jenbacher gensets following the signing of an $8.2m contract between the Austrian-based equipment manufacturer and Amiat Spa.

The turnkey project is being executed by AB Impianti and GE Jenbacher. GE Jenbacher will supply its latest genset model, the JGS 420 GS-L.L (version A21) along with the low emissions Cl.Air system, which allows for the re-combustion of engine exhaust gases.

The gensets will use methane gas to generate electricity and the plant will have an electrical efficiency exceeding 41 per cent.

Dutch research fuel cell plant

Akzo Nobel, a Dutch chlorine and caustic soda manufacturer, and NedStack, a fuel cell development company, are investigating the feasibility of building a 200 MW power plant based on fuel cells.

The plant would be supplied with hydrogen from Akzo Nobel’s chlorine facility at Botlek, Rotterdam and would be the largest of its kind in the world.

“The hydrogen is produced as a by-product of the electrolysis process, so this would be a good way to recycle it and considerably reduce the energy costs at the chlorine plant,” said an Akzo Nobel spokesperson.

The study will involve a partnership of Akzo Nobel Base Chemical, Akzo Nobel Energy, which runs cogeneration plants for the Akzo Nobel sites and NedStack, which develops and manufactures hydrogen-based fuel cells.

Celtic connector

The Irish government has announced plans to develop two 500 MW electricity interconnectors between Ireland and Wales to enhance security of supply and integrate Ireland into the wider European energy market.

Dermot Ahern, Minister for Communications and Natural Resources, said that no public money would be available but that there may be an entitlement to some EU funding.

State-owned electricity utility ESB would not be excluded from submitting a tender. Viridian Group, the Northern Ireland power company, has expressed interest in bidding for the contract.

HRSG market link-up

A new company, Vogt-Ormis Power, has been established to undertake project execution and aftermarket services for heat recovery steam generators (HRSG) in Italy.

The venture is a collaboration between Babcock Power subsidiary, Vogt Power, located in Kentucky and Italian turnkey construction firm Gruppo Ormis SpA.

Vogt Power designs and manufactures HRSGs for gas turbines ranging from 20 to 265 MW as well as providing a full aftermarket capability. With the new venture it plans to combine these services with the local marketing knowledge of Ormis to serve the growing combined cycle market in Italy.