Ex-Airtricity chief’s new firm to raise €200m to fund expansion

Mainstream Renewable Power à‚— a new company set up with a €30m ($46m) investment by former Airtricity CEO Eddie O’Connor à‚— is hoping to raise €200m to fund a massive expansion plan.

Focusing on wind, solar thermal and ocean current projects, the Dublin-based firm plans to install 200 MW of renewable power by 2010. Fundraising is due to start in September.

O’Connor said: “We’ve invested in 2-B, the Dutch wind turbine designer, and are working in partnership with them to create low-cost wind turbines for offshore deployment. We now look forward to raising the capital to assist us in delivering on our future objectives, to developing large-scale operations that are based on gigawatts not megawatts.”

Since its launch in February, the firm has opened offices in four countries, invested €1m in 2-B and signed a 260 MW initial heads of agreement with Andes Energy in Chile.

Investments give photovoltaics a boost

Masdar PV, the UAE state-owned solar company, is to invest over $2bn, representing one of the largest investments ever made in solar, and will fund a three-phased manufacturing and expansion strategy to produce the latest generation of thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules.

Phase one involves an investment of $600m, which will fund the development of two manufacturing facilities à‚— one in Germanyand the other in Abu Dhabi. The combined annual production capacity of these two sites will be 210 MW.

Bosch has signed agreements with the financial investor Ventizz to acquire a 50.45 per cent stake in German-based Ersol Solar Energy AG, amounting to €546m ($843m).

Ersol Solar Energy AG currently manufactures wafer-based silicon solar cells, and is moving into thin-film photovoltaic modules. This year the company expects global sales in excess of €300m.

Alstom creates complimentary energy management business

Alstom Power has set up an energy management business to compliment its clean power and Plant Integrator strategies to provide state-of-the-art, optimized solutions for plant management and grid connection.

The new business unit, headquartered in Baden, Switzerland and led by Laurent Demortier, encompasses Alstom’s existing Plant Automation and Control business as well as extending beyond the plant to provide management of energy delivery to markets.

The Energy Management business is focusing its expertise on four key areas of technology: automation; plant management; grid connection & substation engineering and power electronics.

GE, Schlumberger creates CO2 capture and storage alliance

GE and oilfield services company Schlumberger have agreed to work together on carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration technology and storage.

The accord is the first global pact on CO2 linking an energy technology provider and an oil industry company, Diarmaid Mulholland, regional general manager for GE’s energy services in Europe, said. “It’s more of a long-term alliance. It’s going to take a number of years for this really to get up and going,” he added.

The pact calls for GE to develop IGCC systems to capture CO2 from coal fired plants and Schlumberger to provide expertise and management for storing the CO2 at least a kilometre (0.6 mile) underground.

Initially, the partners will focus on business in western Europe and in the United States.

Mitsubishi Heavy targets nuclear power plant market

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is aiming to win orders to build 25-30 per cent of the 130 nuclear power plants expected to be needed globally by 2030, amid soaring energy costs.

Mitsubishi plans capital spending worth 50bn yen ($482m) over a three year period to March 2011 to beef up its production of nuclear energy systems.

The majority of the budget will go into a new nuclear turbine plant and a new reactor vessel plant à‚— both are currently under construction in Japan.

Mitsubishi Heavy also aims to expand its share of the growing global demand for gas turbines to 20 per cent by 2012.

RWE Innogy enters Italian market

The newly founded company RWE Innogy Italia is forming a joint venture with the Italian developer and renewable energy power plant operator, Fri-El Green Power SpA, to jointly develop wind and biomass projects in the country.

RWE Innogy Italia and Fri-El Green Power each hold a 50 per cent share in the development company Fri-El SpA. The initial aim of the joint venture is to develop planned wind energy projects representing around 960 MW, as well as more than 12 biomass projects to construction maturity.

Belgian Francs: Gaz de France has entered into exclusive negotiations with EDF for the sale of its stake in Segebel, which owns a 51 per cent equity interest in SPE, Belgium’s second largest electricity utility.

Metso upgrades: Stora Enso has ordered its first major upgrade to the Metso Automation combustion optimization controls for the BFB boiler in Anjalankoski, Finland. RThis accompanies a boiler retrofit to increase fuel-firing capacity from 100 MW to 170 MW.

Dolomiti climbs higher: Edison has sold its 51 per cent interest in Dolomiti Edison Energy to Dolomiti Energia. The hydropower company has an installed capacity of 180 MW and an annual output of 500m kWh.

SITCA stands up: Alstom Hydro has acquired SITCA, a Canadian service provider for hydroelectric and cogeneration power plants. Based in Grandby, Quebec, SITCA was established in 1998.

Power move: Kazakhmys, the London-listed copper producer, has bought Kazakhstan’s biggest power plant, diversifying into the commercial electricity business at a time of growing energy demand in the central Asian country.

Pooling resources: EDF Energies Nouvelles and EDF Energy have signed an agreement to set up a 50:50 joint venture called EDF Energy Renewables in a bid to become a major player in the UK’s renewable energy market.

Super duper conductor: American Superconductor has licensed one of its proprietary wind turbine designs to Taiwan-based TECO Electric & Machinery. TECO is the world’s third largest motor manufacturer.

Romans for Romania: Enel and the Romanian state-owned company Electrica have finalized the privatization process of Electrica Muntenia Sud, signing the final documents for the sale of a controlling stake of 64.4 per cent in EMS to Enel. The total value of the transaction is €820m.

Moving to New York: Suez’s North American subsidiary has bought a 30.5 per cent equity interest in the 575 MW Astoria gas fired power plant from SCS Energy. Astoria is the most recent power station built in New York City.

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