While focus in Europe's liberalizing electricity markets has been concentrated on Germany in recent months, TXU's bid, and Unión Fenosa's counter bid for Spanish utility Hidroel?ctrica del Cant brico has suddenly turned attention on Spain. So what's the sudden attraction with Iberia? Siân Green reports.
Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power generation has long been recognised for its ability to handle difficult fuels with good environmental performance. Now a new generation of refinery-based projects is demonstrating that the technology is also a cost effective means for power generation.
New York City-based Consolidated Edison has agreed to acquire Northeast Utilities (NU) in a cash and stock deal worth $3.3bn. The deal will create the largest electricity distribution utility in the USA in terms of its customer base.
Grupo Iberdrola announced last month that it will build and operate a power plant at the Spanish works of BASF AG in Tarragona, in partnership with RWE Energie.AG. This marks RWE`s entrance in the Spanish market in what is believed to be a 50 per cent share of the partnership.
As deregulation in the power and natural gas markets takes hold, convergence of these two industries is becoming a reality. A perceived advantage for players embracing this trend is reduced risk, but what does it mean for competition and the consumer?
Spain`s $15 billion electricity market is Europe`s fifth largest, and in 1998 grew at the stunning rate of 6.5 per cent. Its electricity industry reforms meet the typical requirements of competitive players, foreign investors are active, and a big dash for gas is gathering pace. But controversy over some policies continues, and the reforms to date may not be enough to give the country a truly competitive market.
February 19, 1999 was a landmark stage in the EU electricity markets with the opening of 26.48 per cent of the market to competition. Over 20 per cent of the European market is expected to switch supplier by 2005 as competition progresses. Datamonitor examines how the market will develop, and what consumers are expecting from the changes.