Europe

E.ON resolves Bewag sale

German E.ON group subsidiary E.ON Energie has reached agreement with Mirant – formerly Southern Energy – and the north German electricity group HEW over the sale of E.ON Energie’s 49 per cent stake in Bewag. The deal, agreed in late April, brings an end to nine months of conflict between E.ON, Mirant and HEW.

Board chairman of E.ON Energie Hans-Dieter Harig said that if the Berlin Senate approves the agreement, the parties have until May 2 to close the deal.

The deal will involve the sale by E.ON Energie of its Bewag stake to HEW, which in turn will sell 17 per cent to Mirant. Mirant already holds a 26 per cent stake in the utility.

In the long term, it is envisaged that Mirant and HEW will each have 43 per cent of Bewag and operate the company on a joint basis.

Five gas projects in Italy’s pipeline

International Power has signed a second agreement with Ansaldo Energia, an Italian turbine manufacturer, to co-develop up to 4000 MW of gas fired capacity in southern Italy. Three out of a planned five combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plants are to be built on greenfield sites in Naples with the remaining two planned for Calabria. Each plant is expected to have a capacity of 800 MW.

The new agreement complements an earlier agreement signed by the two companies on 19 March 2001 to co-develop greenfield CCGT sites in northern Italy with a total capacity of 3200 MW. Under both agreements, the proposed project locations have several inherent advantages, including support from the local communities, good access to gas supply facilities and relatively easy access to Italy’s electric grid.

Peter Giller, CEO of International Power, said: “As we look at Italy’s aging fleet of oil fired power plants and relatively high electric demand growth … we expect our new CCGTs to create economic benefits throughout the country.”

NRG buys PowerGen assets

NRG Energy Inc. reported that it has agreed to acquire PowerGen’s interest in three energy businesses – Saale Energie GmbH (SEG), Mibrag mbH, and Csepel I and II – for $190m. The deal will increase NRG’s ownership of the Schkopau power station, located in near Halle in Germany, from 200 to 400 MW.

Acquiring PowerGen’s interest in Mibrag will also increase NRG’s ownership in the east German company from 33.3 per cent to 66.7 per cent.

David H. Peterson, NRG president, chairman and CEO, said: “The Mibrag and Schkopau assets have performed well for NRG over the years and we are pleased to be able to capture and increased position in each.”

France gears up for power exchange

European stock market Euronext has set July 2001 as the target launch date for a French electricity bourse. A spokeswoman from Paris said, “We are definitely working towards a target of July and have been for a couple of weeks”.

The exchange will start with trading in day ahead hourly and block contracts for physical electricity.

The announcement comes amid concerns by some traders on the need for another power bourse in Europe. Germany already has two electricity bourses – the Leipzig Power Exchange and the European Energy Exchange in Frankfurt.

  • Electricité de France has said that falling electricity prices and an international acquisitions spree has taken a bite out of the utility’s 2000 profits.

Winds of change for UK

The UK government has announced plans to build offshore wind farms that are expected to generate around 1600 MW, enough to power one million homes. Up to 540 turbines, each up to 100 m tall and between 1.5 and 10 km out to sea, will be built close to traditional holiday resorts such as Great Yarmouth and Skegness.

The biggest single development would be at Blackpool where developers including Shell, Scottish Power and Danish utility Elsam, plan to erect up to 90 turbines.

Alan Moore of National Wind Power said: “Numerous studies indicate that the offshore wind resource is vast, and in theory offshore wind could supply the total UK electricity requirement.”

Claimed as the world’s biggest offshore construction programme, it should help the government meet its climate change targets.

Spanish reshuffle

Energie Baden-Wàƒ¼rttemberg (EnBW) said that it was willing to share control of Spain’s Hidroelectrica del Cantabrico, in which it has won a 60 per cent stake.

EnBW said that it could sell of part of its stake to Electricidade de Portugal (EDP), which, with ally Cajastur, holds 25 per cent of voting rights in the utility.

EnBW and Spanish partner Ferroatlantica acquired 60 per cent of Cantabrico’s shares in April after launching a takeover earlier in 2001.

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