Report finds Germany leading Europe in planned maintenance projects

A recent study of European electric utilities shows Germany to be a leader in planned control system projects and planned outages through June 1, 1997.

Data gathered in telephone interviews indicates 59 control system projects and 103 outage projects valued at (US)$362.52 million are planned between Dec. 1, 1994 and June 1, 1997 (Table 1). No planned projects were found in Armenia, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Poland and Romania.

Control projects account for (US)$150.8 million, according to the report, conducted by CSR Market Data Services of Tulsa, Okla., USA. Planned projects include replacing, adding, upgrading or purchasing new instrumentation and control systems for power generation.

German utilities plan 19 control system projects in the designated time frame, ranking first in number of projects with 32 percent of the total, and ranking second in estimated dollar value. Switzerland ranked first in dollar value with 36 percent, and second in number of projects.

Of the 59 projects, 12 were at facilities of less than 50 MW, 16 at 50-MW to 249-MW plants, nine at 250-MW to 499-MW plants, four at 500-MW to 999-MW sites and 18 at facilities exceeding 1,000 MW.

Maintenance outages

Sixteen countries had utilities planning maintenance outages during the designated 30 months. Leader for both number of projects and dollar valuation was Germany, with 45 percent of the total value of maintenance outages in Europe (Figure 1).

The utilities throughout Europe plan 103 maintenance outages valued at (US)$211.73 million, according to the report. Utilities in the less than 50-MW category plan 29 outages, the 50-MW to 249-MW utilities also plan 29 outages, the 250-MW to 499-MW facilities plan 20, the 500-MW to 999-MW plants expect nine and sites with more than 1,000 MW of capacity plan 16. The 16 projects in the more than 1,000-MW category account for (US)$69.63 million of the total planned outage expenditures.

Fuel types

Generating units using fossil fuels had the clear majority of major planned outages. This is attributed primarily to the large number of plants using coal, gas or oil as primary fuel sources.

“Although there are several thousand hydro generating stations across Europe, the majority of these units are very small and the hydro outage cycles are much longer and do not need as much maintenance as fossil-fueled plants,” the report stated.

Fossil fuel facilities plan 65 outages with a (US)$136.89 million valuation, nuclear facilities plan 19 outages with a (US)$46.3 million valuation, and hydro facilities plan 19 outages with a (US)$28.54 million valuation. Total valuation for upcoming outages is (US)$211.73, according to the report.

Nearly (US)$178 million will be spent during the 30-month survey projection to refuel nuclear generating stations. These units vary from the 350-MW Kerkraftwerk Benzau facility in Switzerland to the 1,350-MW Gemein-schaftskerndraftwerk plant in Germany.

Utilities surveyed were also sorted by reactor type, including pressurized water reactors (PWR), boiling water reactors (BWR), advanced gas cooled reactors (AGR) and the VVER which is the Russian version of the PWR. Of the 14 refueling outages identified in the study, seven are for PWRs, five for BWRs, and AGRs and VVERs had one scheduled outage each.

Breakdown by country

Germany was the leader in both number of outage projects and estimated dollar value. Of the 103 outage projects identified, 29 are German. Switzerland and the United Kingdom were second and third. Belgium reported only three outages, but the projects were valued at more than (US)$14 million, placing it in fourth place when ranking by valuation.

Austria

Austria has only two types of generation–fossil fuel, which produces 33 percent of the country`s electricity, and hydro, which accounts for 67 percent. A nuclear plant was constructed in Zwentendorf, but the public opposed it and the plant has never been operated.

Belgium

This country houses 30 fossil fuel plants of more than 100 MW, of which Electrabel owns all but three. Belgium`s nuclear plants are DOEL 1-4 and Tihange 1-3. The country also has two hydro plants, one with a capacity exceeding 1,000 MW. Nuclear plants provide 59.2 percent of the country`s electricity, fossil fuel facilities provide 39.3 percent and hydro accounts for 1.5 percent.

Czech Republic

Nuclear power accounts for 30 percent of the power in the Czech Republic with four VVER-440 units. Two VVER-1000 units are being constructed with Westinghouse instrumentation and control systems in a project valued at more than (US)$200 million. According to industry sources, Westinghouse will be the first Western company to supply the VVER fuel for these units, as the former U.S.S.R. had previously supplied all fuel.

Denmark

There are 20 plants with a capacity exceeding 100 MW. Coal-fired plants produce 92.4 percent of the country`s power, with the remaining 7.6 percent coming from a combination of oil, natural gas, biomass and wind. Most of the coal-fired production is from large central heat and power (CHP) plants. The Danish Energy Agency reports that small-scale CHP plants use less fuel and produce fewer harmful emissions. Denmark has a history of tough environmental laws and a favorable climate which have combined to bring advances in wind technology. The Danish energy policy aims to reduce consumption by 15 percent and CO2 emissions by 20 percent by the year 2005.

Estonia

A former Soviet satellite, this country is expected to experience gross domestic product growth rates close to 10 percent. Privatization of the country`s industry is 90 percent complete and the country is working to join the European Union. According to the CSR study, Eesti Energia plans to install a distributed control system with an estimated value of (US)$10 million. Eesti is also planning three separate outage projects with a combined valuation of (US)$11 million.

Finland

This country is moving toward a free energy market, and Finnish producers and distributors are working to win industrial and municipal clients outside their previous districts. The report states electricity prices in the country are predicted to fall due to competition. As a consequence, producers and distributors will have to modernize to compete, and substantial amounts of control, instrumentation and metering equipment will be needed as the free market progresses.

France

France is reliant on nuclear energy, but Electricité de France, the national electricity company, has announced that it will not place any more nuclear plant orders before the year 2000. The country now has 56 reactors, plus four more under construction. All are PWRs. Improvements to increase the efficiency of existing plants are expected in the next few years, along with reorganization of the maintenance and engineering services of the utility. France recently passed a law requiring stringent use of the French language in all business and governmental transactions.

Germany

There are approximately 600 power plants in Germany, mostly fossil-fueled. Coal accounts for 57 percent; nuclear, 32 percent; gas, 5 percent; hydro, 2 percent; wind and solar, 1 percent; and others, 3 percent. Most German power plants are equipped with control systems, so few new acquisitions are planned, but numerous projects are scheduled to upgrade and retrofit existing equipment. Several large projects have been canceled or delayed due to an economic downturn in the country. Lower emissions standards are in effect, and a majority of recent utility investments are tied to clean air compliance. Continuous emissions monitoring is mandated in this country for all large fossil fuel plants.

Safety awareness and legal requirements, along with regular government inspections, have produced well-defined maintenance outage programs. Most maintenance is contracted to the equipment`s manufacturer, with only small-scale inspections or repairs performed by plant personnel. Vendors from Belgium and the Netherlands are filling this lucrative maintenance market, according to the report.

Hungary

Electricity generation and distribution are organized in a two-tier system. Magyar Villamos Muvek is nearly 100 percent state-owned and generates 97 percent of the country`s power. The lower tier which produces the other 3 percent is comprised of a group of independent power generators. The government-owned utility coordinates production and some distribution, along with operating the transmission network. Hungary`s power is 46.7 percent nuclear, 30.9 percent coal, 11.6 percent oil and 10.8 percent gas.

Netherlands

Energy production and distribution are separated in the Netherlands. Large-scale power producers work with the Dutch Electricity Generating Board. The number of generating companies has fallen over the last decade to four regional firms. Power in the Netherlands is 54.6 percent gas, 37.3 percent coal, 7.8 percent nuclear and 0.3 percent oil. An experimental coal gasification plant began operation earlier this year.

Distribution companies and private firms are legally entitled to generate electricity. This is a growing power source, and decentralized capacity is expected to reach 3,600 MW by year-end.

Norway

Norwegian production and distribution are separated, with Statkraft responsible for production and Statnet responsible for distribution. There are 47 large hydro plants, all operated by Statkraft. These, together with a 410-MW Svartisen plant, produce 33 percent of the total energy demand. All power plants are connected to a joint control system with only the main center manned. The entire control system is scheduled for replacement over the next two to three years.

Russia

Russia has 25 operating nuclear reactors which produce 12 percent of the country`s power. Generating plants, both nuclear and fossil, are experiencing difficulties, as they produce power but are not being paid in full by customers, which prevents fuel purchases and equipment upgrades. As of 1992, Russia planned to build at least 30 more nuclear stations by 2010, but with depressed construction rates, it is now unlikely, according to the report.

Slovenia

ELES is the public company responsible for production, sale, export and import, and transmission of electric power. In 1993, Slovenia had an electricity export balance of 1,427 GWe. Electric power is 43 percent fossil, 30 percent hydro and 27 percent nuclear.

Spain

Nuclear power from nine operating reactors accounts for 34.6 percent of the country`s power. No new nuclear plants are scheduled before the year 2000, and two reactors that are close to completion are closed. The government is importing natural gas and electricity. Two-thirds of the country`s power is imported.

Sweden

Sweden has 12 operating nuclear reactors, but nuclear production is down to 43.1 percent of the total power production, attributed largely to public opposition. A movement is under way in the country to phase out all nuclear power by 2010. The only other power source in Sweden at this time is hydro.

Switzerland

Switzerland has 460 hydro plants, six nuclear plants and a handful of fossil fuel plants. Most hydro plants are small, more than 20 years old, and have a net capacity of less than 1 MW. The country`s power is 61 percent hydro, 37 percent nuclear and 2 percent fossil fueled.

Control systems on the hydro plants are generally limited to control of water flow. Maintenance is generally performed in the winter months or during vacation times, usually on an “as needed” basis.

Ukraine

The Ukraine has 15 operating reactors and six under construction. Nuclear produces 25 percent of the power, with Russia providing all the needed fuel. The Ukrainian Parliament has declared a moratorium on all new nuclear plant operations, but the need for power is increasing, as is the pressure to lift the moratorium. Apparently the economics of power generation in the Ukraine are worse than those in Russia.

United Kingdom

Power in the United Kingdom is divided into 12 regional authorities and three generating groups. There are 35 operating nuclear reactors, predominantly AGRs and Magnox. AGRs have intermediate refueling and the Magnoxs are natural uranium reactors with on-load refueling. Most new power plants in the United Kingdom are combined-cycle generation.

The European Electric Utility Generating Plant Market Data Report was developed from several sources, including Power Engineering International`s 1994 European Electric Utility Directory and the CSR European Electric SCADA/EMS Market Data Report. Data was gathered through telephone interviews, questionnaires and facsimiles. Foreign budgets were converted into US dollars on Nov. 11, 1994. Further information can be obtained by calling CSR Market Data Services at (918) 831-9590, FAX (918) 831-9599.