France to reorganize nuclear ‘national champions’ after UAE setback

 

Leaks in the French press suggest Paris is mulling a ‘gentle reorganization’ of its nuclear industry to give it a better chance to compete in international markets.

The significant loss of a contract to build four new generation reactors in Abu Dhabi is said to have served as a wake-up call to the government and the individual participants in the French nuclear sector. Paris ordered a commission led by Francois Roussely, the former head of state-owned electricity giant EDF, to examine how France can avoid a repeat.

The Financial Times noted the French media reports as saying the conclusions of the report find EDF, in most cases, best placed to lead the sector in international tenders. Roussely also suggests that EDF should not depend solely on France’s other state-owned nuclear champion, Areva, for all of its reactors and other supplies. EDF is already seeking to establish ties with Russian reactor maker Rosatom.

That said, he is also insisting there should be a role for EDF’s rival, GDF-Suez, though past experience shows this will be a difficult goal to achieve. Another conclusion is that Areva should not be broken up into its constituent reactor and nuclear fuel services businesses.

 

Italy’s Enel to sell stake in €13bn Green Power unit

 

Enel, the Italian electricity group, has outlined plans for a €13bn ($17.7bn) flotation of its renewable energy business, Enel Green Power (EGP).

The initial public offer of a minority stake in Enel Green Power is likely to be the largest in Europe since the financial crisis broke in the summer of 2008.

Fulvio Conti, Enel’s chief executive, said that in the next few weeks the company would be holding a “beauty parade” to choose advisers, and it intends to issue a prospectus in April, in order to complete the sale by the year’s end. The company would be dual-listed in Italy and Spain.

Enel also remains in talks with strategic investors, including sovereign wealth funds and government-backed companies from North Africa and the Gulf, about taking a stake to support the IPO.

 

Siemens to concentrate 60 Hz gas turbine production in Charlotte, USA

 

Siemens has expanded its presence in the United States by building a new production plant for 60 Hz gas turbines at its existing facility in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The initial investment will be approximately $135m. Starting in autumn 2011, it is anticipated that all Siemens gas turbines for the 60 Hz markets, such as North and South America, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the Philippines and Japan, will be produced in Charlotte.

The production of 60 Hz turbines at the Hamilton site in Canada will be phased out. This decision does not impact the production of gas turbines for the 50 Hz markets.

 

Energie Wasser Bern and BKW establish wind farm joint venture

 

Energie Wasser Bern and BKW FMB Energy have entered into a strategic partnership and founded the joint venture HelveticWind.

The aim of the partnership is to build up a wind power portfolio in excess of 100 MW over the next few years. BKW and Energie Wasser Bern are therefore now collaborating closely on wind power as well as hydropower.

Both partners want to drive forward the use of wind power and implement projects with a total capacity of 100 MW. With this in mind, the partners have entered into a 50/50 joint venture, and in a first step founded HelveticWind Deutschland. The activities will initially focus on Germany and Italy.

 

Toshiba to buy nuclear fuel unit

 

Toshiba’s subsidiary Westinghouse Electric will turn a UK nuclear fuel firm into a wholly-owned unit to better respond to expected European demand for nuclear plants.

The acquisition of Springfields Fuel Limited is also part of Toshiba’s attempt to strengthen the early part of the nuclear fuel cycle, such as uranium mining, and its early conversion process. Toshiba did not disclose the value of the acquisition.

 

Swedish wind developer drops plan for $160m IPO

 

O2 Vind, a Swedish wind power developer, has suspended plans for a SEK950m-1.15bn ($132m-$159m) public listing on the NASDAQ OMX exchange in Stockholm, citing lack of interest from investors.

O2 Vind’s original plan was to launch public trading of its shares on 22 March of this year.

However, in a statement Johan Ihrfelt, O2 Vind’s managing director, said interest from potential investors was too low to ensure a spread of ownership and sufficient liquidity in the stock.

O2 Vind currently has 74 MW of capacity in operation and a project portfolio of 2 GW at various onshore locations in Sweden – 192 MW of which is under construction or have all necessary permits.

 

•••

 

Smart move: Black & Veatch has acquired Enspiria Solutions, a strategic planning and systems integration company that focuses on smart grid investments and utility integration.

Final solution: Vattenfall has finalized the sale of energy supply company Nuon Deutschland GmbH to ENERVIE – Südwestfalen Energie und Wasser AG.

Buy buy buy: Crompton Greaves, part of the Avantha Group, has acquired British Power Technology Solutions, a high-voltage electrical engineering company, for an enterprise value of £30m ($46m).

Sell sell sell?: Italy’s Enel is considering the sale of its 73 per cent stake in the Maritsa East 3, a coal fired plant which has a capacity of 908 MW. A rival company has already expressed interest in the sale.

Setting up shop 1: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has established a representative office in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. This will be the Japanese firm’s second representative office in the Persian Gulf region, joining the Middle East Office in Dubai.

Setting up shop 2: ABB has opened a new facility for manufacturing power products on the outskirts of the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi. The facility will manufacture medium-voltage power products, such as compact substations and ABB’s latest UniGear switchgear.

That’ll be the Daewoo: Korea-based Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering has chosen Nova Scotia, Canada, for its North American production centre for wind turbine towers and blades. The operation will be located in Trenton, Pictou County, and is expected to be operational by the autumn.

Russia power move: Landis+Gyr has opened a new office in Russia’s capital Moscow. In 2009 the energy management solutions firm announced the expansion of its commercial metering solution with Mosenergo.

Sunshine USA: Japan’s Kyocera Solar is to begin manufacturing solar modules in California, USA. Manufacturing will begin in San Diego at Kyocera’s Balboa Avenue facility during the first half of 2010, with an initial production target of 30 MW per year.

 

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