Companies

Enel wins tender for SE

The Slovak government has approved a recommendation by Economy Minister Pavol Rusko that Italian utility Enel be named the winner of a tender for a 66 per cent stake in Slovenske Elektrarne (SE), Slovakia’s dominant power producer. Czech power giant CEZ was runner-up in the tender.

Enel has indicated that its growth inside Italy is limited by the industry regulator. However, it expects demand in Slovakia to rise strongly, with the economy posting growth of 5.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2004, compared to 0.3 per cent in Italy.

The decision means that exclusive talks on a privatization agreement will now be launched by the government, which still controls 34 per cent of SE, and Enel. The two sides were expected to come to an agreement by the end of November, Rusko told the CTK news agency.

Enel submitted the highest bid of €840m ($1.1bn) for SE, followed by offers of €690m from CEZ and €547m from Russia’s Inter RAO.

SE is the largest power producer in Slovakia. Its hydro and thermal plants account for some 85 per cent of the country’s power production.


FuelCell Energy to combine operations with Versa

US-based FuelCell Energy, Inc has announced that it has entered into an agreement to combine its Canadian solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) operations into Versa Power Systems (Versa). In exchange, FuelCell Energy will receive stock in Versa, increasing its holdings in Versa from 16 per cent to 42 per cent.

FuelCell Energy believes that by consolidating SOFC technology development into a single entity it will have a greater opportunity to commercialize SOFC products under the US Department of Energy’s 10- year, $139m Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) programme.

FuelCell Energy recently announced sales of its fuel cell to Tokyo. With its Japanese partner, Marubeni, it has also formed a strategic alliance with Posco to distribute its fuel cells in Korea and then worldwide. The three companies will also collaborate on research.


Nordic and Energy Nevada sign turbine agreement

Nordic Windpower has signed an exclusive agreement with Energy Nevada to establish Nordic’s US manufacturing activity in Carson City, Nevada, USA.

The agreement will make the Nevada plant Nordic’s first manufacturing site in the US, and it is from there that Nordic and Energy Nevada will construct wind turbines for distribution in North America.

The company said recent action by the Governor’s office and the Public Utilities Commission in creating the Renewable Energy Trust Fund has reinforced the belief that Nevada has the potential to become one of the largest sources of renewable energy in the US.


Two replacements for Westinghouse

Westinghouse is to supply eight replacement steam generators for the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, sited in San Luis Obispo county, California. According to Westinghouse, the new generators being supplied are a “technically advanced” version of its Model 54F design. They will be fabricated by ENSA in Spain.

The contract, worth over $100m, was placed by plant owner and operator Pacific Gas & Electric Co (PG&E). Local reports say the total cost of the replacement, due to take place during refueling shutdowns in 2008 and 2009, will be $700m.

Responding to calls to replace the nuclear plant with new generating facilities, PG&E said it would cost $1.2bn more to generate power from other sources than it would to complete the steam generator replacement.

Meanwhile, Westinghouse has also won a contract for a replacement vessel head for the Beaver Valley nuclear station in Shippingport, Pennslyvania. The company had already signed to provide replacement vessel head hardware and control rod drive mechanism housings, which penetrate the vessel head.

The replacement head contract was placed by the plant owner, FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company.

The replacement vessel head and associated upgrades will be installed during a spring 2006 refueling outage. During that outage the plant’s three steam generators will also be replaced; the replacement steam generators will also be supplied by Westinghouse.


Bahrain power deal signed

Financing for Bahrain’s first independent power project has been completed, according to Al Ezzel Power Company (EPC). EPC is jointly owned by the Belgian-Gulf consortium Tractebel EGI and the Gulf Investment Corporation.

The $500m, 900 MW, combined cycle gas turbine will be sited in the Hidd industrial area. Phase one (470 MW) is due to start up in 2006 with phase two the following year.


News digest

APT’s fifth: APT Hungaria has launched its fifth European branch, planned to target the south east of the continent. Recent figures have suggested that it is an area for growth, due the further liberalization of the region’s energy market. For example, Hungarian business volume is estimated to grow to 1 billion kWh, corresponding to a market share of 3 per cent.

Wabag sells: VA Technologie AG has announced the closing of the sale of the domestic business of Wabag Germany and Wabag France. The sale of locations Veolia Water Systems, a division of Veolia Environment, follows VA Tech’s announcement in September, that it was to sell the WABAG Fluidized Bed Business Area.

EnBW in black: German electricity group EnBW emerged from the red in the first nine months of this year with net profits of €183.7m ($239.7m), compared with a net loss of €1bn in the same period of 2003. Sales fell 4.2 per cent to €7.2bn, but the company has said it is maintaining its forecasts of results and dividends for 2004 as a whole.

Forced sale: German energy group E.ON AG is expected to acquire Yougansneftegaz, the natural gas subsidiary of the Russian oil company Yukos, according to the Russian deputy minister for economic development, Andre Charonov. The sale of 76.8 per cent of Yukos is to be offered at an estimated $3.7bn.

Capstone contracts: Capstone Turbine has received new orders from distributors in Japan and France for MicroTurbine energy systems totalling 2 MW. The company said Takuma Company, one of three major Capstone distributors in Japan, placed an order for just over 1 MW of microturbines, taking its commissioned Capstone MicroTurbines total to over 100 in Japan. In France, meanwhile, Soffimat placed a follow-on order after the success of a landfill project north of Paris.

Iberdrola boosted: Spanish electricity group Iberdrola has posted a 13 per cent increase in third quarter profits to €282m ($368m). It said it had benefitted from extra power from its windfarms and a new gas fired power plant in Mexico. The company also revised upwards its estimate of the expected operational life of its nuclear plants, which is reflected in €17m of profits. Iberdrola’s operating profits in the reporting quarter went up 14 per cent to €673m.

China: Siemens Power Generation is to join with Shanghai Electric Group to build nine gas turbines for four combined cycle plants in China. The company said the €210 million order would be delivered in late 2005.

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