German nuclear plants can produce 1241 TWh until 2021

Germany’s 17 remaining nuclear power plants can produce 1241 TWh more electricity between now and 2021, according to the industry’s supervisory body.

Production of power is limited under a deal to phase out nuclear power in Germany which came into force in 2002.

German nuclear plant operators have produced 53 per cent of the total allotted to them under the 2002 agreement. The 1241 TWh is what remains of the allowance.

While the total production volume is limited, generators can switch their output allowance between plants and station lives can be extended by operating them at low output.

The German nuclear industry has been lobbying to have the phase-out of nuclear power abandoned. It hopes that elections later this year will bring in a conservative government which will change the current policy.

London Array future in balance as developers seek financial support

The project developers of the $4.4bn London Array, a 1 GW offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary, are seeking support from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The world’s largest offshore wind project is being developed by E.ON and the Danish company Dong Energy. A third partner, Shell, pulled out in the summer of 2008, amid fears about its viability and its stake was bought by Abu Dhabi renewable energy investment fund Masdar.

The wholesale price of electricity has fallen in recent months as gas prices have fallen, while the economic crisis is making financing of large infrastructure projects more difficult.

However, the EIB has recently provided support for the Greater Gabbard wind farm off the Suffolk coast as well as supporting solar projects in Spain and France.

The bank said in mid-April that it had made a provisional offer of funding to the London Array but the final decision is not likely to be made until later this summer.

UK government identifies 11 sites for new nuclear plants

The UK government has announced a list of 11 sites which it considers suitable for building new nuclear power plants.

The sites were nominated by utilities which are considering construction of nuclear plants in the UK. Most of the sites nominated are at existing nuclear power plants and others are near nuclear sites.

Three utilities, EDF, RWE and E.ON are bidding to buy land at three existing nuclear plants, at Wylfa in Wales, Oldbury in the southwest of England and Bradwell in the southeast of the country.

UK utilities investigate shipping carbon dioxide

A number of UK utilities are investigating the possibility of shipping carbon dioxide to offshore storage sites rather than utilizing a pipeline from shore to the site.

E.ON, RWE and Scottish Power have asked the cargo carrier Skaugen to carry out a feasibility study.

The UK is planning a number of carbon capture and storage demonstration projects, with carbon dioxide likely to be stored in undersea sites distant from land. The cost of a pipeline will be high and the utilities will not want to commit to its construction until the technology has been proven. Shipping the carbon dioxide to the storage site may provide an interim solution.

Shipping may prove a long-term solution for countries like Japan with no major storage sites easily available. Depleted Middle East oil fields could provide storage in such cases and shipping companies are already examining the market prospects.

Germany agrees draft framework for carbon capture and storage

The German government has approved a draft legal framework for the capture and storage of carbon dioxide by the country’s utilities. the draft is expected to be approved by the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house, before its 2009 summer break.

Three pilot schemes are currently under consideration for carbon capture and storage in Germany. Under the draft law, operators of storage sites used by these projects will be responsible for damages for a period of up to 30 years. The operators will also be required to sign insurance contracts of deposit fees.

Plug standard for electric cars agreed

European power companies and car manufactures have reached agreement on a 400V common plug to be used in electric cars to recharge their energy banks.

The common standard has been agreed by several major automotive companies including BMW, Ford, Fiat, General Motors, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volkswagen. Energy firms signing, include E.ON, EDF, Endesa, ENEL, RWE and Vattenfall.

The standard should mean that an electric car from Germany can recharge its batteries in Italy or Spain without difficulty.

A pilot scheme involving the plug is to be launched in Berlin in September by RWE and Daimler.

•••

Belgium: Belgian and German transmission system operators, Elia System Operator and RWE Transportnetz Strom, are planning an interconnector linking the networks in the two countries.

France: EDF has proposed setting up a club of nuclear operators which have chosen the EPR nuclear plant technology. EDF hopes to persuade the German utility E.ON to select the EPR as its reactor of choice.

Italy: Construction of ENEL’s first nuclear power plant could start in 2011. The plant is expected to take four to five years to complete. Work on a second plant is due to start in 2013 and four plants, all based on the EPR design, are expected to be completed by 2020.

Germany: EnBW Energie Baden Wurttemberg has signed a contract with Siemens Energy for 21 of its 2.3 MW wind turbines for the Baltic 1 offshore wind farm. The 48.3 MW project is due online in Q4 2010.

Netherlands: Nuon plans to invest $53m in a project to test large-scale carbon capture and storage. The project, which will operate for two years, will provide data for a proposed coal fired power plant the utility wishes to build at Eemshaven.

Poland: German utility RWE and Polish coal company Kompania Weglowa will jointly build an 800 MW hard coal fired, 46 per cent efficient power plant in Wola, Silesia. The plant is scheduled to be commissioned in 2015.

Poland: Polish energy group PGE has awarded Alstom a $211m deal to carry out a modernization project the 4.4 GW Belchatow coal fired power plant. The contract covers a retrofit of Unit Six at the station in order to increase efficiency and power output and reduce emissions.

Spain: Spain’s Equipos Nucleares SA (ENSA) has signed a strategic agreement with GE Hitachi Nuclear Engineering, under which ENSA will become a key reactor pressure vessel fabricator for Advanced Boiling Water Reactors and Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactors.

UK: The UK energy regulator has begun an industry consultation regarding the National Grid’s proposal to investigate the reuse of some of its natural gas transmission pipelines in Scotland – to transport carbon dioxide for storage offshore.