Regulator checks Endesa-E.ON deal

Spanish regulatory authority the Comisión Nacional de Energía (CNE) has imposed savage conditions in approving the proposed merger between national champion Endesa and German powerhouse E.ON.

The 19 conditions of approval required by the regulators before the €27bn ($34bn) merger can go ahead include major divestments involving about 7600 MW of Endesa’s generating capacity in Spain, including a nuclear plant.

In a statement E.ON has said it sees no justification for the conditions and will file an appeal.

In addition, the European Commission has concluded that Spain has breached merger laws in imposing the conditions. The Commission has already raised serious doubts as to the compatibility with EC law following its preliminary investigations.

Transmission tariff cuts impact German players

Germany’s network agency the Bundesnetzagentur (BNA) has imposed significant cuts in charges for third party access on all major Transmission System Operators (TSOs).

The double digit cuts in network costs applied for hit RWE, Vattenfall, E.ON, and EnBW and fall mainly in the areas of fixed assets, expected interest on equity, and imputed trade tax. The four German TSOs’ new charges are a fundamental part of the downstream costs with lower prices in the transmission network passed on by the distribution system operators to the final customer, the BNA said.

E.ON has been forced to swallow a 16 per cent cut in requested transmission system use charges, with RWE and EnBW at around ten per cent and eight per cent respectively.

American Superconductor reports 2G wire breakthrough

Commercial levels of electric current have been transmitted for the first time in long lengths of second generation (2G) high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire.

The announcement, from American Superconductor, marks a breakthrough in development of 100m-plus lengths of the ultra thin copper or stainless steel wire using a low cost industrial process.

The company has developed a high throughput, low cost, proprietary manufacturing process to manufacture ribbon-shaped wires about 4 mm wide that can conduct 140A with 100 per cent efficiency when cooled with liquid nitrogen and plans to step up manufacturing.

World Bank backs renewable energy

Renewable energy projects benefited from loans to the tune of $680m from the World Bank Group in fiscal year 2006, under its New-Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency programmes.

This marks a 48 per cent increase over the 2005 commitment of $459m and is more than double the 20 per cent annual growth rate from 2005-2009 the group committed in June 2004.

The 62 projects in 35 countries included $190m for new renewables including wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal. The group also ploughed $192m into hydro of more than 10 MW. Of the $4.4bn energy sector total, some $490m was allocated to energy efficiency.

BP-GE hydrogen power alliance

Two large energy companies have teamed up to develop hydrogen power projects.

BP and GE are to collaborate on power, carbon capture and sequestration technologies in a joint effort to dramatically reduce carbon emissions from electricity generation.

BP has already announced plans for two such hydrogen power projects with carbon capture and sequestration. The sites at Peterhead in Scotland and at Carson in Southern California, where Scottish and Southern Energy and Edison Mission Energy are partners respectively, will both use GE technology.

As well as the 475 MW hydrogen fired plant based on natural gas in Scotland and the 500 MW petcoke fuelled hydrogen plant in California, 10-15 more projects are planned over the next decade.

Alliance to conduct global commercialization of 2G products

Three specialist superconducting technology companies have forged an alliance to accelerate product commercialization.

Zenergy Power, comprising Australian Superconductors, SC Power Systems and Trithor, aims to become a global player in the field of high temperature superconductivity, combining both first generation commercial products with ongoing second generation (2G) product development.

The AIM-listed group, effectively three operating subsidiaries located in Germany, the USA and Australia, is also in advanced development of new low cost production processes for 2G products that will give it cost and scalability advantages over alternative methods.

Products under development include superconducting power generation components for wind and wave power as well as hydropower, which aim to enhance the economics of renewable energy production.

News digest

BKW orders Italian: A 40 per cent stake in Italian CHP and biomass power plant construction company STC has been acquired by BKW FMB Energy.

BP gets Greenlight: US wind developer Greenlight Energy has been acquired by BP for $98m.

Caterpillar tracks diesels: A brand new manufacturing facility in South Carolina, US has begun production of diesel gensets in the 10-200kW range.

Clipper lights up: A strategic alliance between Clipper Windpower and BP Alternative Energy will see the two develop five US projects with a combined capacity of more than 2 GW.

Emerson alliance: Siemens and Emerson are to exchange technology and engineering support to expand interoperability and functionality. First products will be available in mid-2007.

E.ON’s land sale: Belgium’s Electrabel has acquired a 20 ha site from E.ON. The Beringen site is located in the Limburg region in east Belgium.

MAGical QuEST: Product development group QuEST has signed a multi-year strategic partnership with MAG Industrial Automation Systems to provide design and engineering support.

Mirant in power scoop: PG&E is to supply 2 GW of capacity to Mirant from two gas fired plants near San Francisco, beginning in 2007.

RED letter day: Novera Energy is acquire the bulk of Renewable Energy Development’s (RED) six project wind portfolio with a potential capacity of 120 MW.

ReneSola AIM high: A shortage of solar power raw materials helped Chinese firm ReneSola raise $50m on the AIM market to invest in its silicon wafer recycling activities.

Siemens in Doosan deal: South Korea’s Doosan has extended a 1996 co-operation agreement with Siemens for a further five years in which Doosan will install Siemens Instrumentation & Control gear.

Sunrise for solar: BP Solar has developed its new Mono2 silicon growth process that significantly increases cell efficiency over more traditional methods.

Turbo identity twist: Turbo Genset has switched names to Turbo Power Systems.

Voith of reason: Voith Siemens Hydro is to acquire a majority share of VG Power, a developer active in Scandinavian hydro markets.

WSP killer: WSP has launched a new energy business to provide sustainable development consultancy services for both supply and demand side energy businesses.