News digest

AES enters wind market: AES Corporation is making an equity investment in the privately held wind energy project development company US Wind Force, as a first step into the US wind market.

CFCL plant agreement: UK-based Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited has signed an agreement with ceramics consultancy Ceram Research Ltd. to design the manufacturing plant to put its fuel cells into mass production.

Dief takes West Control: Instrumentation and control firm Dief A/S has bought fellow Danish firm West Control, which specialises in supplying wind turbine controllers and frequency converters for the international market.

Elsam and Dong talk: The Danish energy groups Elsam and Dong have entered into discussions concerning a possible merger of the two companies.

Elliot and Wood form alliance: The Elliot Company and Wood Group Heavy Industrial Turbines Division have signed an MOU to form an alliance in the provision of repair services for rotating equipment in the United States.

Entergy-Koch Trading sold: Entergy Corporation and Koch Industries have sold their US and foreign energy trading businesses of Entergy-Koch to Merrill Lynch. The firms also announced plans to sell Gulf South Pipeline.

Fluidex goes to GE: GE Energy has completed its acquisition of substantially all the assets of Fluidex Engineering, a South African firm involved in the development of advanced technology in transformer oils processing and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of transformer oil regeneration plants.

Fortum in Dow: Finnish utility Fortum has been selected as a component for Dow Jones worldwide index this year. Fortum is the first Nordic company to be selected to the Dow Jones Utilities Sector.

GE completes BHA deal: GE has completed its $260m acquisition of BHA Group Holdings, a provider of high quality parts, services and performance upgrades for particulate matter control systems.

VA Tech, Schneider JV: VA Tech Elin EBG Elektronik, which develops, produces and markets variable speed drive systems has formed a joint venture with Schneider Toshiba Inverter SAS, the global market leader in the field, to co-operate in the area of upper power range frequency inverters.

Waukesha gets rights: Waukesha Engine has purchased the technology rights to Wärtsilä’s W200D and W220SGD high-speed engines and will integrate the technology into its own product line-up.

Foster Wheeler merges power business units

Engineering firm Foster Wheeler has announced the consolidation of its two power businesses into one global business to be known as Foster Wheeler Global Power Group. The new unit brings together the European and North American operations that previously formed Foster Wheeler’s Energy Group.

Foster Wheeler has appointed Bud Cherry, who was president of its Power Group, as CEO of the new group. The firm said that it believed customers would be best served by consolidating the leadership of these two businesses. Chris Holt, formerly the long-term CFO of Foster Wheeler’s UK-based subsidiary, has been appointed CFO of the European Power Group.

VA Tech denies Siemens takeover

Speculation that Austria’s VA Tech is to sell its Transmission and Distribution (T&D) division to Siemens was rejected in a statement by VA Tech chairman Klaus Sernetz. He admitted that the two companies had engaged in talks to discuss respective strategies but said that any possible hostile takeover would be rejected.

A statement from the Austrian government also indicated it would oppose a takeover by Siemens. Siemens Austria said that its Supervisory Board had not yet addressed the issue.

The board of VA Tech is planning to go ahead with a restructuring and capital increase which has the backing of the big banks involved.

VA Tech T&D announced a joint marketing and development programme with NxtPhase T&D of Canada covering the integration with live tank circuit breakers of optical current sensors and the supply of corresponding integrated solutions to power facilities.

VRB acquires Regenesys

Canadian energy storage company VRB Power Systems has bought the exclusive license, assets and intellectual property rights for the Regenesys electricity storage technology from RWE npower plc.

VRB plans to incorporate some of the Regenesys design features, including is advanced, low-cost cell stack system, into its VRB Energy Storage System and cell stack development programme. The five-year exclusive license, patents, technology and other assets were purchased for $1.3m. RWE npower will also become a shareholder in VRB Power.

VRB has also announced a technology agreement with Noram Engineering and Con-structors in the fields of process, chemicals and electrical power systems. Extensive work has been completed with Noram, including the development of low-cost 5 kW cell stacks.

CERA joins IHS Energy

Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) has been acquired by IHS Energy, an information, analysis and software provider for the oil and gas industries. CERA has developed an extensive client base of energy companies, technology providers, financial institutions and governments to whom it supplies independent analysis.

“This powerful combination will create a depth and range of analytical capability that does not currently exist,” said Ron Mobed, president and COO of IHS. Daniel Yergin, CERA chairman, said, “By bringing IHS Energy and CERA together, we are creating a unique . . . partnership that will enable companies to address the current challenges with the most timely, precise . . . data available.”

Commission approves rescue

The UK government has welcomed the decision by the European Commission to approve its restructuring aid to nuclear utility British Energy (BE), subject to certain compensatory measures. Secretary for trade and industry, Patricia Hewitt, said, “I am pleased the Commission has approved the restructuring aid. Receipt of this approval is a very significant milestone in the implementation of the company’s restructuring plan.”

A number of conditions remain to be satisfied, including that the government must not have determined that British Energy will not be viable in all reasonably foreseeable conditions. BE must also ring-fence its nuclear operations from its fossil fuel activities.

Konarka adds Siemens solar

Konarka Technologies has acquired the organic photovoltaic research activities of one of its biggest competitors, Siemens AG. The deal merges the world’s two largest programmes of this kind into one. Konarka hopes that it will enhance its ability to deliver the first practical forms of solar power that achieve the price and performance required by the global distributed energy market.

Until now, both Konarka and Siemens have been working independently to harness breakthroughs in materials science and nanotechnology to create efficient, lightweight, flexible polymer-based electronics. Konarka’s acquisition increases its presence in Europe and establishes a footprint in Germany.