EU performs spadework for CCS

The European Union (EU) is preparing draft proposals that will govern the future capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) from power plants and other sources. The new proposals should fill holes in current legislation, which does not deal specifically with the issues of carbon capture and storage (CCS).

The first of these proposals is a draft directive on the geological storage of CO2, which is due to be presented to the European Commission in January 2008. The directive will focus on safety aspects of geological storage and establish a regulatory framework that will enable its widespread use. It will set out the criteria for assessing the safety of storage sites, but considers the risks associated with storage to be low.

The draft directive also makes provision for the inclusion of CCS in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). It is expected to say that captured and stored CO2 will be credited as not emitted under the ETS. Some energy firms were hoping to win tradable credits for sequestered CO2.

In addition, the directive is expected to rule that any large fossil fuel combustion power plant built after the directive comes into force must provide suitable space to retrofit a capture plant. However it will not make CCS mandatory after a specific date.

The technology has yet to be demonstrated at a large scale and is unlikely to reach maturity until towards the end of the next decade.

Enel CEO lays out his energy vision for Europe

Energy efficiency, market integration, CO2 abatement technologies and vertical integration; these represent the conditions necessary to liberate the European energy market, according to Fulvio Conti, CEO and general manager of Italian utility Enel.

Addressing the World Energy Congress in Rome, Conti also stressed the need to cope with the problems of access to gas and oil supplies in Europe. Vertically integrated operators and a common political approach to ensure competitiveness and security were the solution, he suggested.

In Italy, Enel is subscribing to an investor pledge, promising to invest in renewable sources, CO2 abatement technology, efficiency measures for both supply and demand side and an improved transportation infrastructure, especially for gas. Conti also criticised the Kyoto protocol as ineffective.

A post-Kyoto treaty should be global and fair, encourage technology transfers with developing countries, be security oriented and address sources diversification, he proposed at the Rome event.

E.ON attacks Brussels on liberalization measures

The chief executive of German utility Eon, Wulf Bernotat, has claimed that the biggest threat to European energy groups comes not from Russian investments, but from EU plans to break them up by unbundling large, vertically integrated utilities. However, Bernotat believes that plans for unbundling would be unlikely to take place, according to the Financial Times. When important member states like France and Germany are involved, such processes take time, he suggested.

His claims form part of the political fight by large European utilities such as E.ON RWE and EDF to resist the EU’s plans for greater market liberalization. These would require the vertically integrated utilities to be broken up. However both the German and the French governments prefer the utilities to remain integrated.

Trade of renewable certificates should go ahead: Eurelectric et al

The EU should include the ability to trade renewable energy certificates across national borders as a part of its new directive on renewable energy sources (RES), according to three industry associations.

Eurelectric, RECS (Renewable Energy Certificate System) International and the European Federation of Energy Traders (EFET) support an increased role for RES in European supply.

However they believe that the current target of 20 per cent of energy from renewables, implying they claim that 35 per cent of electricity must be from RES, will cause a major imbalance in the wholesale electricity market.

This imbalance can be corrected, said the trade bodies, by the free trade of renewable certificates across national borders.

Japan to build European wind farm

Japan Wind Development Company is to build a 6 MW wind farm in Scotland in 2008, followed by a 25 MW facility the following year.

The company, which already has 16 wind farms in Japan, is also planning several joint venture projects in the Czech Republic.

The company is targeting Europe because of its aggressive renewable energy targets. Currently is has three wind farms in Germany with an aggregate capacity of 7 MW.

. . .

Czech Republic: State power company CEZ is to upgrade the safety system at the Temelin nuclear power plant. The work should be finished by the middle of 2008.

Finland: The boiler for a combined heat and power plant in Kerava, near Helsinki, will be supplied by Metso Power. The 73 MWth bubbling fluidized bed boiler is valued at around €25m ($37m).

Germany: The president of the grid regulator, Bnetza, has said that the country is not building enough power plants. Although 29 000 MW of capacity is planned to 2016, permission has only been given for the construction of 7800 MW.

Iceland: An Icelandic firm, Reykjavik Energy Invest, is bidding to operate a 100 MW geothermal power plant in Biliran, Leyte, the Philippines. The company operates geothermal plants in Iceland supplying domestic heating and is developing steam fields for power production.

Spain: Domestic power producers must surrender around €1.2bn ($1.8bn) in earnings related to CO2 emissions charges that were built into generation prices between 2005 and 2007, the industry minister has determined.

Spain: Spanish construction company ACS has ordered 50 wind turbines with a capacity of 2.3 MW each from Siemens Power Generation for four wind farm in Andalucia. The company has also ordered a steam turbine for a solar thermal power plant to be built in southern Spain.

Switzerland: The EU and Switzerland have begun negotiations on an integrated electricity market. Switzerland already plays a key role in the European market by supplying power to its neighbours, particularly Italy, France and Germany.

UK: The UK government has granted approval for a 350 MW wood-chip fuelled power plant to be constructed in Port Talbot, South Wales. The $800m plant will be built by Prenergy and is due for completion by the end of 2010.

Turkey: The US Energy Secretary, Samuel W. Bodman, has called Turkey an important energy gateway between the East and the West. During a recent visit to Istanbul he also said the world needed to embark on a new era of global cooperation in energy.

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