EUROPE

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Decarbonized EU sector comes at no extra cost – McKinsey

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A report claims the benefits of a low-carbon energy sector in Europe far outweigh the challenges.

Roadmap 2050: A Practical Guide to a Prosperous, Low-carbon Europe says a decarbonized power system would produce electricity at the same cost as the carbon-intensive infrastructure of today and would be as reliable. Four decarbonized scenarios come under scrutiny in the report, which the European Climate Foundation (ECF) authored in conjuction with McKinsey, KEMA and Imperial College London. These do not rely on imported electricity and are based on existing or late-stage development technologies such as solar, wind, nuclear and fossil fuels with CCS.

Each scenario involves a percentage of renewables use ” 40, 60, 80 and 100 per cent ” with the rest comprising fossil fuels with CCS and nuclear. Policy analysis came from E3G and the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands.

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Areva, Ansaldo Nucleare sign EPR deal

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French nuclear engineering group Areva has signed an agreement to allow Ansaldo Nucleare, the nuclear arm of Finmeccanica, to become a key supplier of technology to France’s European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), for a joint venture between EDF and Enel to build four reactors in Italy.

A second agreement paves the way for the two companies to co-operate on future turnkey nuclear projects worldwide.

A third Areva agreement was signed with CIRTEN, Italy’s inter-university consortium for nuclear research and technology, which includes the universities of Rome La Sapienza, Pisa, Padua, Palermo, Polytechnic Milan and Polytechnic Turin.

Italy banned nuclear power in 1987 after the Chernobyl disaster, but earlier this year pushed through a decree that sets a timetable for work to start on new reactors from 2013, with production due to come on line by 2020.

Silvio Berlusconi has said he wants 25 per cent of Italy’s electricity to be generated by nuclear reactors.

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Finland gives green light to two out of three nuclear units

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Two out of three proposals to build nuclear power plants in Finland have got the go-ahead.

TVO will now be able to build a fourth reactor at Olkiluoto and Fennovoima can construct a one or two-unit plant at either Pyhàƒ¤joki or Simo. Finland has, however, prevented utility Fortum from building a new nuclear power unit at the existing Loviisa power station.

Finland’s parliament now has to approve these decision, which it will consider in May. TVO has yet to decide on the reactor design for Olkiluoto 4 and has planned feasibility studies for plant alternatives this spring. Consortium Fennovomia is considering Areva’s EPR and Kerena and Toshiba’s ABWR for the design of the reactor. It aims to begin construction in 2012.

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Nuon picks Siemens to build CCGT unit

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Dutch utility Nuon has awarded Siemens a contract to build the 435 MW Hemweg 9 combined-cycle power plant in the Netherlands.

Siemens will supply the power station with an SGT5-4000F gas turbine, an SST5-5000 steam turbine, a hydrogen cooled generator, all electrical equipment and an SPPA-T3000 I&C system. Long-term maintenance on the power train is also in the company’s remit.

The plant, which will have an efficiency of 59 per cent, will replace Hemweg 7 and begin commercial operation in 2012.

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EU orders more power trading through Sweden

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The European Commission (EC) has ordered Sweden’s state transmission utility Svenska Kraftnàƒ¤t (SvK) to increase the volume of power exports to neighbouring nations and improve the use of power within its borders.

SvK will now no longer limit trading and it has been ordered to divide Sweden’s electricity market into bidding zones by 1 November 2011 to faciliate a more liquid electricity market.

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Fault hits offshore wind farms in EU

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Hundreds of European offshore wind turbines have a design fault allowing them to slide on their bases and finding a solution could take months and cost millions of Euro to fix.

The problem involves towers using grouting, a mixture of cement, sand and gravel, to attach the turbines to their base. In some cases the main superstructure of wind towers has moved several centimetres on its base after being installed.

Dong Energy said it had found problems at the UK Dogger Bank and Gunfleet Sands wind farms, as well as the Danish Horns Rev 2 facility, saying it could cost up to GBP13m ($20m) pounds to restructure all 164 turbines. Swedish turbine maker Vattenfall said it had investigated Horns Rev 1, Kentish Flats and Thanet offshore wind farms.

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ࢀ¢à¢€¢à¢€¢

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Denmark: Local firm Dong Energy has submitted the sole binding tender for a 400 MW offshore windfarm for kr10bn ($1.8bn). The project will be off the island of Anholt and is due online in 2013.

Denmark: Swedish utility Vattenfall has opened a straw-burning unit at its CHP plant Fynsvàƒ¦rket in Odense to displace 100 000 tonnes of coal each year. The company says the use of straw as fuel will annually prevent 245 000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

France: The Engage consortium will build experimental nuclear reactor ITER in the south of the country for €150m ($200m). The US, China, Europe, Russia, India, Japan and South Korea are jointly funding the reactor project.

Italy: Germany’s REpower will raise the output of one of the country’s largest windfarms by 36.9 MW. The company will supply the Savignano site with 18 of its MM92 turbines rated at 2.05 MW each. The windfarm already uses 20 of these units.

Poland: The Czech Republic’s state-run CEZ has won permission to build a 430 MW gas fired block at the Skawina power station following a positive environmental impact assessment. CEZ aims to begin the project in 2014.

Portugal: GE has signed a ten-year deal for the operation and maintenance of two windfarms of Iberwind Group that have a total capacity of 24 MW. A service agreement concerning the windfarms has been in existence between the two parties since 2005.

Romania: Iberdrola Renovables will link the grid to 50 windfarms it will build in the Dobrogea region from 2011 to 2017. The projects’ total capacity will be up to 1.5 GW.

Spain: Investigations are taking place into how solar plants have sold 4500 MWh of electricity generated at night between November and January. Suggestions are that the plants have connected diesel generators to their solar arrays to benefit from solar feed-in tariff subsidies.

Sweden: Talks about how to break up the joint ownership of the country’s nuclear power plants have failed as no solution has been found that is acceptable to all the parties involved.

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