Europe’s TSOs may face probe into grid-congestion

The European Commission (EC) may launch a probe into allegations that power transmission system operators (TSOs) in the European Union are pushing congestion to the borders of their grid systems, according to Platts.

Speaking at Eurelectric’s recent ‘Market Integration: Finding Solutions for Practical Implementation of the Third Energy Package’ conference, Celine Gauer, head of the energy and environment antitrust unit in the EC’s competition department, said: “A possible future issue is the allegation that TSOs are shifting congestion to the border by cutting interconnector flows.”

According to Gauer, her unit is exploring the issue, but it is not ready to bring a case against any individual TSO.

A marked increase in renewable electricity output, in particular wind power, is likely to exacerbate the problem. “With more renewables there will be more pressure on the grid, and that will increase the risk that TSOs push [congestion] to the border,” said Gauer.

She believes a solution could be investment at a particular point in the grid, but she added the European Commission did not have the competence to tell TSOs where to target such efforts.

EDF takes Constellation Energy bid off the table

EDF is citing the current unfavourable market conditions as the reason behind it abandoning plans to make a further bid for Constellation Energy.

The French power giant said, the current conditions in the credit market were not conducive to present a new offer for Constellation.

The move deals a severe blow to the French nuclear operator’s ambitions in the USA and throws the future of Unistar – EDF’s joint venture to build four reactors with Constellation – into question.

Constellation, which controls three nuclear facilities, agreed to a $4.7bn takeover by Warren Buffett’s Mid-American Energy in mid-September, despite EDF’s takeover offers that was 33 per cent higher.

Renewables insurer enhances offering

RSA, a major insurer of renewable energy projects worldwide, has enhanced its global renewable energy division by the launch of three ‘Centres of Excellence’, which are to be located in Denmark, Canada and the United Kingdom.

The three centres have been established to support 20 renewable energy teams around the world, providing underwriting, claims and risk management support.

The ‘Centre of Excellence for Bioenergy & Solar Energy’, is based in London. with the ‘Centre of Excellence for Small Hydro Renewable Energy’, based in Toronto.

Copenhagen is the location of the Centre for Wind Energy.

Exelon makes uninvited bid for NRG Energy

Exelon Corporation, the USA’s largest nuclear power operator, has made an unsolicited $6.2bn all-stock bid for NRG Energy Inc., the second largest electricity generator in Texas.

An Exelon-NRG combination would result in a total enterprise value in the region of $60bn and a generating capacity of around 47 000 MW, including 18 000 MW of nuclear generation

According to John W. Rowe, chairman and CEO of Exelon, a combination of Exelon and NRG would represent an exceptional value for shareholders of both companies.

Market commentator, Jim Cramer said on BlogginStocks.com site that Exelon’s bid for NRG Energy was a “good sign” for the market, and that NRG Energy shareholders should accept the offer.

In a statement, NRG Energy said that its directors were reviewing the offer with their advisors to determine the appropriate response.

CEZ acquires Albanian power distributor

CEZ Group’s bid for a majority stake in the Albanian distribution company Operatori i Sistemit te Shperndarjes (OSHH sh.a.) has been accepted by the Albanian Ministry of Power Engineering.

Once the Albanian government has confirmed the decision, negotiations can begin on the finer details of the privatization of OSHH sh.a. CEZ offered €102m ($130m) for the 76 per cent stake.

OSHH sh.a. serves around a million customers and has a gross annual electricity supply of 5.3 TWh.

In recent years, Albania has been badly affected by power shortages, primarily due to the lack of investment in its power infrastructure.

All change for Deutz Power Systems

Deutz Power Systems GmbH, a global supplier of plants for decentralized power generation, has adopted a new name. From 1 October, the company became known as MWM, which stands for the former Motoren-Werke Mannheim name.

According to Axel Weber, CEO of MWM, the new company name is the first step in a comprehensive market offensive.

The company’s sales volume in 2007 was almost €330m ($419m) and this is expected to rise to approximately €390m in 2008.

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Crossing the Irish Sea: Irish power company Vayu is reported to be looking to enter the UK electricity market early next year. The company will initially concentrate on the commercial and industrial sectors, which consists of heavy consumers of electricity.

Double the fun: General Physics Corporation has been awarded a second competitively bid contract by Romania’s Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica to provide performance engineering services for the Cernavoda Nuclear power plant.

Enjoying the sunshine: Trans-India Acquisition Corporation has entered into an agreement to acquire approximately 80 per cent of privately held Solar Semiconductor Limited, which designs, manufactures and sells solar photovoltaic modules.

Generating revenue: Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation, a JV between Voith AG and Siemens AG that serves the hydroelectric power sector, has officially begun operations at its new generator workshop, located at its existing site in Shanghai, PR China.

Heading to Capital Hill: Alstom has opened a new office in Washington, DC, USA – extending the company’s network in North America. According to Alstom, the strong and growing demand for clean, alternative power generation solutions in North America offers it unique opportunities in this region.

Low carbon deal: Centrica plc, through its British Gas New Energy division, has announced the acquisition of the low carbon solutions company, Semplice Energy Limited, for a total cash consideration of £1.5m ($2.4m).

Sharing the knowledge: AMSC has licensed two of its proprietary wind turbine designs to South Korea-based Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI). HHI plans to commence production of the 1.65 MW doubly fed induction wind turbines by the end of 2009.

Taking control: Invensys Process Systems has signed a contract with John Brown Engineering Gas Turbines Limited to supply Tricon control systems for three gas turbine units that John Brown is currently overhauling.

Transforming diagnostics: Megger Group has acquired Pax Diagnostics of Sweden. The company’s transformer testing and insulation diagnostics products will be a strong addition to its range of test instruments for the power industry.