International Power sells Czech business to J&T Group

International Power has signed an agreement for the sale of its entire Czech business to the Czecho-Slovak investment firm J&T Group.

The sale comprises the wholly-owned Czech subsidiary International Power Opatovice (IPO), as well as IPO’s interests in its subsidiaries Pražská Teplárenská (PT) and Energotrans (ET).

The business will be sold for CZK22.5bn ($1.23bn), including CZK4.8bn of existing project level debt, representing net cash proceeds to International Power of CZK 17.7bn and a profit on sale after tax of some £380m ($624m).

The transaction is subject to Czech regulatory clearance and completion is expected by the end of 2009.

IPO owns and operates the 363 MW Opatovice coal fired combined heat and power plant, located to the east of Prague. IPO also owns 49 per cent of PT, a district heating business (136 MW gross, 66 MW net), which in turn owns 100 per cent of ET, the 352 MW (172 MW net) combined heat and power plant which is PT’s primary heat supplier.

RWE grid business ‘realigned’, to be renamed ‘Amprion’

RWE has realigned its transmission grid company RWE Transportnetz Strom and will rename it ‘Amprion’ in order to allow it to become more independent in future.

The ultra high voltage grid will be managed directly by the CEO’s division. The expansion of the company to become a fully functional enterprise that has its own workforce to fulfil operationally necessary tasks, as required by the EU, is already underway. On 1 September 2009, the company will be renamed ‘Amprion’. This step allows RWE to fulfil the requirements set down in the third EU single energy market package earlier this year.

MAN Diesel and MAN Turbo set to merge

MAN Diesel SE and MAN Turbo AG are to forming a merger with each other under corporate law.

MAN Diesel is the world’s leading provider of large-bore diesel engines for use in power plants, while MAN Turbo specializes in the development and construction of compressors, gas and steam turbines. By combining these two MAN areas, the merged company will in future be able to offer its customers product packages such as turnkey diesel combined-cycle plants.

UK firms sign underground coal gasification power deal

The UK’s Thornton New Energy and Waste2Tricity have signed an agreement to convert coal into electricity combining new generation fuel cells with underground coal gasification (UCG).

Also allowing for the capture of carbon dioxide as part of the process, the proposed joint venture is the UK’s first commercial application to generate clean electricity from coal, combining new generation AFC Energy fuel cells with UCG. The gasification of coal underground generates a fuel with a low emissions profile and the potential for CCS at lower energy and financial costs.

Thornton New Energy, a subsidiary of BCG Energy Limited, was in January 2009 awarded the first UK license to carry out UCG, and develop deep, previously un-mineable coal reserves under the Firth of Forth, Scotland. Waste2Tricity has exclusive rights for the application of AFC Energy fuel cells with any gasification technology within the UK, including energy-from-waste.

Thornton New Energy’s director of surface facilities, Alan Borrowman, said: “When combined with UCG, the hydrogen fuel cells enable a higher efficiency conversion of the energy in coal to electricity.”

Germans partner for Spain’s Andasol 3 project

Stadtwerke München and RWE Innogy have invested in Andasol 3, a solar thermal power plant located in the south of Spain, in conjunction with MAN Ferrostaal, RheinEnergie and Solar Millennium.

The power plant was developed by Erlangen, Germany-based Solar Millennium AG. Stadtwerke München has a 48.9 per cent share in the project company, Marquesado Solar SL. RWE Innogy and RheinEnergie jointly hold 25.1 per cent of the shares in this project via an investment holding company.

The Andasol 3 solar thermal plant is expected to start operation in 2011, with an output of 50 MW.

E.ON acquires photovoltaic projects developer

E.ON has signed a share sale and purchase agreement for the acquisition of Conilhac, a French developer of photovoltaic (PV) projects.

Conilhac has worked successfully as a developer of PV projects in southern France and assembled a significant pipeline of PV projects at various stages of maturity.

The acquisition will enhance E.ON’s capabilities to develop and implement PV projects on an industrialized scale.

Between 2003 and 2008, the global PV market is estimated to be grown almost tenfold to 5600 MW.-

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Say my name: The UK’s AdvanceSis has formally changed its name to Circadian Solar. The company will retain its focus on developing highly efficient, robust and reliable concentrating PV units.

Venturing out: RWE Innogy is acquiring a minority share in Stirling DK ApS, a Danish manufacturer of distributed cogeneration systems that can be fueled by solid biomass for energy generation.

Transylvanian takeover: Romania’s Alpiq Holding Limited has acquired the local energy provider EHOL Distribution. The transaction was closed on 1 July, 2009, with the parties refusing to disclose the value.

Takeover approved 1: European Union antitrust regulators have approved German utility RWE’s €8.2bn ($11.6bn) takeover of Dutch peer Essent on the condition that it sells Essent’s controlling stake in a German unit.

Takeover approved 2: Spanish energy company Gas Natural’s shareholders have approved the company’s takeover of Union Fenosa and Union Fenosa Generacion.

Buy buy buy: EDF has bought GDF Suez’s 20 per cent holding in Societe d’Investissement en Autriche, which owns 25 per cent of Austrian energy supplier Energie Steiermark alongside Land of Styria, which owns the remaining 75 per cent. EDF thus becomes the sole shareholder in the Austrian energy company.

Cell cell cell: One of the largest solar cell manufacturers in the world, Q-Cells, has acquired the remaining 32.5 per cent interest in solar cell technology developers Solibro. Following the acquisition, Q-Cells will hold 100 per cent interest in Solibro. As part of the deal, Solibro’s shareholders will receive 3.9m shares in Q-Cells.

Good to go: Germany’s cartel office has conditionally approved Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg (EnBW) AG’s purchase of utility EWE. EWE has agreed to sell its stake in Verbundnetz Gas AG, while EnBW will sell its stake in GESO AG.

Taking control: As of 1 July, Vattenfall has acquired 49 per cent of the Nuon shares for €4.8bn ($6.8bn). This gives Vattenfall a 49 per cent share in Nuon. Vattenfall will acquire the remaining 51 per cent of shares in the coming six years under fixed terms.