Siemens completes VA Tech Hydro sale to Andritz

German engineering and electronics giant Siemens has signed a contract finalizing its sell off of Austria’s VA Tech Hydro to Andritz, a leading Austrian industrial company. EU antitrust authority approval is still required for the deal, which is expected to become effective at the end of May. Andritz revealed that it paid between €180m and €190m ($223m-$236m) for the hydropower equipment firm.

Siemens was ordered to sell VA Tech Hydro by EU antitrust regulators to prevent its domination of the European hydropower equipment market, following its roughly €1bn acquisition of VA Tech last year.

Andritz said the deal would ideally complement its product portfolio.

Enercon claims Vestas infringed patent

Aloys Wobben, the owner of German wind energy specialists Enercon, is suing a subsidiary company of the Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems for alleged patent infringement. Wobben has taken out a writ against Vestas-Celtic Wind Technology claiming infringement of patent rights for electricity grid codes in England and Scotland.

Vestas has denied the allegations stating that its position had been confirmed by an evaluation of the patent rights made by independent patent experts. According to Vestas, competition and development of the wind energy industry could be hampered if one party was granted a monopoly on the connection of wind turbines to the grid.

GE’s Ecomagination inspired by Pelamis Wave Energy Converter

GE’s Technology Lending unit in conjunction with GE Energy Financial Services has extended a loan facility of $2.6m to Ocean Power Delivery (OPD), the UK-based developer of the Pelamis Wave Energy Converter.

GE will take an equity position as part of a drive to raise $22.5m as OPD prepares to deliver on its first commercial contract for a wave power farm.

Under its Ecomagination campaign, GE has pledged to significantly increase investments in cleaner technologies.

OPD claims to have developed the world’s first commercial facility that will generate electricity from offshore ocean waves.

The company’s first order is from a Portuguese consortium that will install the system in order to generate enough electricity to meet the demands of more than 15 000 Portuguese homes.

AES creates alternative energy group

AES Corporation plans to invest approximately $1bn over the next three years to expand the company’s alternative energy business and bring to market new projects and technologies to reduce or offset greenhouse gas emissions.

The company is to establish an alternative energy business group through which it intends to triple its involvement in wind power generation and expand its interests in biomass and the development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals. AES also plans to invest in emission reduction projects under Kyoto Protocol mechanisms.

The company is evaluating investments in other sources of alternative energy such as solar power and wave technologies and also evaluating future investments in non-electric business lines such as ethanol, bio diesel, methane capture and conversion projects and synthetic fuels.

Partnership to develop advanced grid systems

US regional system operator PJM Interconnection and Siemens plan to work together to define and develop a secure architecture and open messaging platform for modern, large-scale energy management and market management systems.

PJM and Siemens will develop a scalable, service-oriented architecture (SOA) promoting interoperability that cannot be found in proprietary, legacy systems. The SOA-based system will provide a common approach for software applications and computer-based infrastructure. Initially, the architecture will be deployed at PJM’s planned second control centre.

World’s first ‘enterprise control system’ launched

Invensys has introduced the world’s first ‘enterprise control system’.

By employing the new InFusion system, Invensys says that utilities will be able to create a unified real-time control, information and application environment across virtually all plant and enterprise systems.

Launched in Boston, US, Invensys said that the InFusion control system aims to go beyond the plant or other industrial operations to provide a ‘true enterprise view’. The product was created with input from across Invensys brands as well as close collaboration with Microsoft and SAP.

News digest

AIM game: Carbon credits firm Camco International has raised à‚£24.9m ($44.5m) ahead of its anticipated listing on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange.

Asbestos settlement: A settlement of claims for asbestosis liability arising from ABB’s US subsidiary Combustion Engineering has been agreed in the courts protecting ABB from any future additional liability.

Austrian advances: Austrian Energy & Environment Group reported profits up eight per cent to €23.1m ($41.3) and revenues up three per cent for 2005, describing the year as one of consolidation.

Ceramic dynamic: Australia’s Ceramic Fuel Cells has achieved over 10 000 hours of operation in field trials of its fuel cell powered combined heat and power units taking place in Germany, Australia and New Zealand.

Digital wind: Digital Electric has entered into an agreement with International Trade and Technology Centre in Dublin for the exclusive manufacturing and patent rights to a new wind power generation system.

Dukes up: Duke Energy and Cinergy have completed their merger creating a US energy company with assets of more than $70bn and 5.5 million retail gas and electric customers that will be known as Duke Energy.

Man on top: Man Turbo has taken over the steam turbine activities of B&V Industrietechnik (BVI), a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Technologies, suppliers of steam turbines for biomass, incineration and cogeneration plants.

Plug bankrolled: Plug Power, developer of onsite fuel cell energy systems has received financial backing from Russian investment firms Interros and Norilsk Nikel.

Pump action: US based Roper Pump Company has appointed Osborne Engineering subsidiary Turbo Power Services to be its sole European authorized repair centre and distributor.

Reactor factor: EDF said its nuclear reactors had achieved availability of 77.8 per cent in 2005 up from 77 per cent and that overall power station availability had risen from 82.8 per cent to 83.4 per cent.

Solar coating: GT Solar Technologies has acquired two patents from a major European solar company for an advanced technique for coating crucibles with silicon nitride.

Sustainable study: The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, United Technologies and Lafarge have formed an alliance to study the cost-effective design of carbon neutral buildings requiring no external power supply.

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