International group looks set to manage UK nuclear waste site

An international joint venture led by Washington Group International has been selected to negotiate with the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to operate the UK’s national low-level nuclear waste repository in West Cumbria in north England.

The NDA estimates the contract could have a value of $400m to $1bn and will have an initial period of five years with the potential of further extension periods, subject to performance and NDA management approval, of up to a total of 17 years.

The international team comprises Washington Group International, Studsvik UK, Areva NC and Serco Assurance.

The first part of the contract focuses on managing the site and maintaining future capacity of its existing storage vaults. It also includes gaining regulatory approval for a new vault and plans for the long-term future of the site.

The second part focuses on developing a UK-wide, low-level waste solution to manage the increased levels of waste expected to be generated by the NDA’s planned decommissioning of obsolete nuclear facilities across the country.

Subject to the satisfactory conclusion of negotiations, the contract is due to be awarded in October.

Suez affiliate to buy Canadian wind developer

Suez Energy North America, a business of Suez Energy International, is buying Canadian wind power development company Ventus Energy Inc.

The deal worth CDN$124m (US$117m) marks Suez’s first entry into the North American wind market. Ventus includes 25 wind energy development projects in its portfolio spread over six provinces in eastern Canada, including Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, and comprising nearly 2000 MW of electricity generation in various stages of development. Also, Ventus has secured land rights to more than 7m hectares of land for the construction of its projects.

According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association, Canada is one of the main installers of wind generation, with more than 1500 MW of installed wind capacity in June 2007.

Toshiba to buy uranium mining rights

Toshiba Corporation will take part in a new mining development in south Kazakhstan in a move that will allow it to help supply uranium concentrate to nuclear power plants in Japan.

The Kharassan uranium mines project is being promoted by two companies related to the Khazakhstan state-owned enterprise Kazatomprom, Kyzylkum LLP and Baiken-U LLP. Toshiba will acquire indirect ownership of the two firms by taking a 22.5 per cent stake in a holding company that has part ownership and control of both.

Toshiba is the first power systems maker in the project and will have the right to up to 600m tonnes of uranium (MTU). The holding company is owned by various Japanese firms that together have the right to an annual 2000 MTU.

Portuguese oil company wins licence to trade electricity

Portugal’s largest oil company, Galp Energia SGPS SA, has announced it has won a licence to trade electricity, which will open up a new revenue stream for the company.

The licence will allow Galp to trade in the wholesale power market and to sell electricity to retail customers. The company will trade through its Galp Power business unit.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Galp, 90 per cent of whose revenue still comes from refining and selling petrol and petroleum products, is trying to rival former monopoly EDF-Energias de Portugal SA in the domestic electricity market.

E.ON buys wind farm operator

German utility E.ON is to acquire wind farm operator Energi E2 Renovables Ibericas (E2-I) from Danish utility Dong Energy for €722m (US$983).

E2-I’s operational capacity is 260 MW, which comes from renewables in Spain and Portugal, mostly from modern wind farms.

The company has planned wind farms on the Iberian peninsula totalling 560 MW which will be completed within the next four years.

The acquisition gives E.ON an installed wind capacity of about 700 MW and a total capacity of over 7 GW in Spain by 2010.

AMI/AMR provider launches business in Australia

Elster Integrated Solutions (EIS), part of Elster Group, has launched business EIS Australia

to grow the company’s presence in the global advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) market, making it one of the leading providers of integrated AMI/AMR solutions. EIS president Sharon Allan said the formation continues the company’s “global objective of bringing a common vision and integrated solutions plan across energy and water metering applications, to meet customers’ growing information and resource management requirements.”

Australia: The UK’s National Grid has signed an agreement to sell its Australian Baselink electricity interconnector to CitySpring Infrastructure Management for A$1.2bn ($1bn). The deal, which is subject to both contractual and governmental consents, is due to be completed by the end of this month.

Germany: E.ON is establishing two new companies in Dusseldorf. One will be in charge of trading, while the other will focus on renewables and environmental protection. The latter will steer and develop E.ON’s renewable energy business and manage projects in the field of climate protection field.

Germany: RWE is predicting that it will spend €1bn ($1.38bn) on buying emissions reduction credits from projects that form part of the Kyoto Protocol framework during the period 2008 to 2012. The credits will help the German utility comply with the EU emissions trading scheme.

Germany: REpower Systems AG and EPURON GmbH, which develops, finances and implements large renewable energy projects, have signed a joint framework agreement for the delivery of 80 wind turbines for international projects. The agreement primarily applies to REpower MM82 and MM92 turbines.

France: AREVA’s T&D division has agreed to buy VEI Power Distribution SpA’s activities in Italy and Malaysia. The deal will strengthen AREVA T&D’s presence in the world’s electricity distribution market and give it leading positions in Italy and Malaysia. VEI Power Distribution specializes in the manufacture of medium-voltage equipment.

Russia: Italian energy group Enel is reported to be planning to launch a takeover bid for the Russian JCS Fifth Generation Company of the Wholesale Electricity Market (OGK-5). Enel will increase its share in OGK-5 from 29.9 per cent to 51 per cent, which exceeds the 30 per cent stake limit, triggering a compulsory takeover.

Sweden: Studsvik AB, a Swedish nuclear technology and services provider, has said it will acquire its UK partner, Alpha Engineering. The latter specializes in nuclear ventilation and building services, and therefore will further strengthen Studsvik’s position in the UK nuclear decommissioning and power generation markets

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