Around the Globe: Europe

Edipower moves in on Eurogen acquisition

The Italian Energy group Enel has sold its power generation subsidiary Eurogen to Edipower, a consortium led by the electricity group Edison, which is jointly controlled by Fiat and EDF.

Eurogen is the biggest genco that is being offered for sale by Enel. It owns 7000 MW of capacity consisting of nine power stations, six of which are thermoelectric and and three of which are hydroelectric plants. The à‚£1.8bn ($2.5bn) sale was believed to be the best offer from a host of competing foreign utilities such as Spain’s Iberdrola and Belgium’s Tractebel.

As part of the process of opening up the Italian energy market to competition under European Union regulations, the government requires Enel to sell at least 15 000 MW of generating capacity by 2003. Last July, Endesa bought the first asset, Elettrogen, with 5400 MW, for €2.63bn.

The Edipower group, which will assume up to €750m of debt, includes Milan’s and Turin’s municipal utility companies and Atel, a Swiss electricity group.

France agrees to partial liberalization

Although the European Union’s goal of liberalizing the European power and gas sectors into the world’s most competitive energy market by 2010 is a long way off, it came that little bit closer at last month’s Barcelona summit where France agreed to open its gas and electricity markets to competition by 2004.

The French President Jacques Chirac said the plans would affect businesses consumers only, which represent 60 per cent of the total market. He refused to agree to a timetable for opening the market for private consumers.

France fears that massive job losses would occur as a result of full liberalization. EU insiders did not expect any radical reform from France but did indicate that the result could have been different if the summit had taken place after June, which is when France’s general election will take place.

Nevertheless, EU summit leaders hailed the conference as a success. Jose Maria Aznar, the Spanish Prime Minister and holder of the EU rotating presidency, said an “irreversible” process had been put in place, and many attendees shared his upbeat mood.

Free cross-border electricity charges in Europe agreed

Electricity transport within Europe was made free of charge at frontier transit points from March 1 as the European Union’s cross-border tariff harmonization mechanism came into effect.

The European association for the management of electricity transport networks (ETSO) has set up a compensation fund of some à‚£122m ($174m) to apply to countries through which electricity is transported. This fund will be financed in part by the exports of each country with a tariff of €1/MWh. The other part will be based on the balance of imports and exports of each EU member state.

Switzerland has joined the ETSO scheme after reaching an agreement with the Italians over the problem of the allocation of capacity between the two countries. The temporary system will be in force until the end of the year when the industry expects to have agreed permanent rules. Austria is expected to join at a later date.

Rolls bags Italian equipment order

Rolls-Royce has won a à‚£5m ($7.1m) power generation equipment contract in Italy to supply two cogeneration units to the Olivetti Multiservices’ industrial area of Ivrea in Turin.

The project with Olivetti Multiservices, which supplies energy services to the area, includes cogeneration units, steam boilers, hot water district heating network, medium voltage station and distribution switchgear, auxiliary items and civil works.

Rolls-Royce will be supplying two Bergen KVGS-16G3 reciprocating gas engines that will provide the plant with power, steam and hot water. Surplus power will be fed into the Italian national grid.

Fuel Cell plants in Sweden

Fuel Cell Technologies Corporation announced that its subsidiary, Fuel Cell Technologies, has won its first European order to supply and install three SOFC power systems in a progressive residential development project in Sweden.

The project in Stockholm is for a 5 kW SOFC power system fuelled by biogas. The plant will be part of a new residential district where the plan is to have up to 8000 housing units powered by renewable energies.

News digest

Austria: The new Austrian Power exchange, Energy Exchange Austria (EXAA), confirmed it would begin trading this year in Graz, where the exchange will take place. Four participants had already signed contracts while a further 17 outfits were interested in joining the electricity trading bourse.

France: The European Union’s top energy official, Loyola de Palacio, said she planned to propose measures to ensure government money for decommissioning nuclear power stations is not used for other purposes. It is believed large utilities in Germany and France are using decommissioning funds to buy up foreign competitors.

France: Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Enerpresse, the French daily energy publication from the Vivendi Publishing Group have launched a new research publication assessing the levels of energy deregulation across 17 European countries.

Finland: The Finnish power engineering group Wärtsilä is to supply process equipment for an 11 MWth Sermet BioGrate boiler plant fired by wood chippings. The order has come from Fortum Laemoe Oy, a major heat supplier.

Greece: NEG Micon announced a €733 676 ($642 590) deal to supply two Greek companies with 51 wind turbines of the NM52/900 model. Signed with the Thrace-based companies Wind Parks and International Wind Parks, NEG Micon will set up the wind turbines in the northern region of Greece by year-end.

Italy: Gestore del Mercato Elettrico, the Italian power exchange, has selected Excelergy Corporation of the USA to provide the operating software to run Italy’s new power exchange. The exchange will initially be open to generators distributors and wholesalers, and will offer a variety of products to help promote competition in the market.

Spain: A à‚£65m ($93m), 100 MW windpower station is under construction in the Spanish province of Saragossa made up of two parks each of 66 generators (750 kW). The generators have been produced by NEG Micon of Germany and the project is expected to be completed by year-end.

Sweden: Sydkraft has signed a contract with ABB for delivery of their new asset documentation system. Sydkraft has selected the product, Facilplus Spatial, for all its distribution network documentation. The contract is an extension of the ongoing distribution management project, which is due for operation next year.

UK: British Energy and BNFL signed an agreement on work to assess the feasibility of the Westinghouse AP1000 advanced pressurized water reactor design as an option to replace existing UK nuclear power stations.

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