COMPANIES

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German antitrust authority proposes coal plants sell-off

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Utilities including RWE and E.ON could be forced to sell coal fired power plants in exchange for extended operations at their nuclear power plants, under proposals by the German Federal Antitrust Office.

Nuclear power plants are Germany’s most profitable large-scale power generators and investors in E.ON, RWE, Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg (EnBW) and Sweden’s Vattenfall were eyeing billions of euros of extra profits. The German government wants to change a law requiring the nuclear plants to be shutdown by the mid-2020s.

Competitors to Germany’s four largest utilities ” which control 80 per cent of the energy market ” argue they have made plans to build new power plants on the basis of a phase-out of nuclear power. Keeping the plants would give the four large operators an unfair advantage. To rectify that problem the biggest generators could either sell the nuclear power plants or other power plants, the cartel office suggested.

The German government says that it wants to agree the framework of an extension before Parliament’s summer recess and set a final plan by the autumn.

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GE loses bid to keep MHI out of US wind market after court ruling

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The US International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington DC has overturned an earlier finding that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Limited (MHI) violated GE’s patent rights.

Had the commission found in GE’s favour it could have banned imports of MHI wind turbines. The commission said it would issue the reason for its findings later. GE can appeal to a US court that specializes in patent law.

Three GE patents, issued in 1992, 2005 and 2008, are related to variable-speed turbines that adjust to keep a consistent amount of power supplied to the grid. GE contended that Tokyo-based MHI infringed on its patents and should not be allowed to enter the US market.

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Wärtsilä to move genset production line to China

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The Wärtsilä 20 genset production line in Vaasa, Finland is to be closed and moved to China.

In the course of 2010, Wärtsilä plans to reduce approximately 1400 jobs globally within the group. Of these reductions 570 are planned to be in the Netherlands.

The remaining reduction will impact various divisions, functions and countries and will be clarified during the first half of this year. Wärtsilä employs 1561 people in the Netherlands.

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E.ON, Masdar create venture to cut carbon emissions

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The UAE’s Masdar and Germany’s E.ON have established a joint venture to develop projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In a statement, the companies said that E.ON Masdar Integrated Carbon (EMIC) would look to develop and finance projects in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and would focus on power generation and the oil and gas markets.

Headquartered in Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City, EMIC will capitalize on the growth in the carbon market to monetize emission reductions, resulting from improving the energy efficiency of industrial facilities.

The carbon credits would be traded under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism, which allows developing countries to sell emissions reductions from their energy-intensive industry to help rich countries offset their own contribution to climate change.

The companies are targeting technologies with potential to make big carbon emissions, such as in fuel switching for power generation, installation of combined cycle gas turbines at power plants, reduction of gas pipeline leakage and reduction of gas flaring.

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Hydro-Quebec seals $3.2bn NB Power deal

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Negotiations between the Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick have concluded, with Hydro-Quebec agreeing to acquire much of NB Power’s generation assets, including the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant, for C$3.2bn ($3bn).

Hydro-Quebec will buy Point Lepreau for C$1.4bn once the refurbishment is complete on the plant’s 680 MW Candu 6 reactor. It is expected to be operational by 2011.

The deal also includes NB Power selling seven hydroelectric generation facilities, two diesel peaking units and associated transmission rights for C$1.8bn. NB Power’s T&D arms will be retained by the province of New Brunswick.

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EDF ‘abandons sale of British electricity grid’

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EDF has given up plans to sell its electricity distribution network in the UK because the French state electricity giant’s new boss Henri Proglio is against the move.

According to French website Wansquare, EDF is giving up its sell-off plans because the offers it had received were too low and the move was opposed by trades unions in France.

EDF announced last October it had put its distribution network in Britain on sale, with the aim of raising more than EUR4bn ($5.8bn) as part of an effort to reduce its debt.

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Transmission Vamp: Areva T&D has acquired Vamp, the Finnish-based specialist in arc protection and protection relays. Vamp’s site in Vaasa will become an Areva T&D unit reporting to the substation automation solutions product line.

Sino-Canadian solar deal: Canadian Solar has announced a joint venture and a distribution deal with West Holding Limited of Japan (WHD). WHD will distribute and sell solar residential rooftop systems designed by Canadian Solar Japan.

Sell-off plans: Colombia is to sell its stake in generator Isagen, according to Andrés Taboada, director of energy at the Ministry of Mining and Energy. Bogota holds a 57 per cent stake in the company, which has four major dam projects under construction with a total investment package of $1.6bn through 2014.

Wind sale: EDP Renovaveis has acquired 85 per cent of Wind srl (Italy) from Co-Ver group, an industrial conglomerate from northern Italy. This acquisition has brought an additional 520 MW of wind energy projects to EDP Renovaveis’ wind portfolio.

Counting costs: UK cost consultant Rider Levett Bucknall, together with its French partner Sterling Quest, has been appointed as cost consultants to the Olkiluoto 3 reactor in Finland.

Contract extension: Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited of India and Metso have signed a ten-year extension of an ongoing technology collaboration agreement between the two companies for Distributed Control Systems (DCS).

Venture fund: Alstom and Schneider Electric have launched a €70m ($96m) venture capital fund named Aster Capital to finance innovative start-ups in the fields of energy and the environment.

Merger abandoned: GDF Suez of France and the UK’s International Power have abandoned discussions over a partnership to create a global electricity group after months of rumours. GDF Suez would have had a majority stake in the group.

Telemat takeover: Areva T&D’s Iberia division has completed the acquisition of Telemantenimiento de Alta Tension (Telemat). Telemat is based in Barcelona and active in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands.

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