Greater European energy community considered

The European Community is to investigate the possibility of creating an extended pan-European energy community that would include Russia and Ukraine.

Energy director general, Francois Lamoureux, has told a parliamentary energy committee that Russia would not ratify the existing Energy Charter Treaty, making it an impractical venture.

Lamoureux said that the successful dialogue between Russia and the EU should be used as a model for the development of a pan-European energy community. Over the past few years, discussions between Russia and the EU have led to the Russian gas firm Gazprom dropping destination clauses in its long term supply contracts with EU member states.

While still supporting the Energy Charter Treaty, the EU is to strive for a mechanism that would create an acceptable energy link with Russia.

Enersis create world’s first wave energy farm

The world’s first commercial wave energy farm is to be built off the northern coast of Portugal after a consortium led by Enersis ordered three Pelamis P-750 machines from Ocean Power Delivery (OPD). The total cost of the project is €8m ($10m).

Generating 2.25 MW of renewable electricity from ocean waves, the Pelamis devices are expected to displace 6000 tonnes per year of carbon dioxide emissions. If the three machines perform as expected an order for a further 30 is anticipated, adding a further 20 MW to the farm’s capacity.

Richard Yemm, managing director of OPD, said: “We see this order as just the first step in developing the Portuguese market, which has the potential to be worth up to a billion Euro over the next ten years.”

Vattenfall pilot for carbon dioxide free power announced

A pilot plant, championed as the world’s first carbon dioxide-free coal fired power station, is to be built by Vattenfall south of Berlin in Germany, at a cost of €40m ($50m).

Ready for operation in 2008, the 30 MW plant will use carbon dioxide separation with oxyfuel technology. The lignite will be fired using pure oxygen and recycled carbon dioxide. Vattenfall then plan to separate the carbon dioxide that is formed in the combustion process in such a pure form that it can then be retrieved and stored permanently in underground rock formations.

Blair called to action over CO2 target

Recently re-elected prime minister Tony Blair has been called upon to put his promises over climate change into action after it was announced that the UK will miss its domestic target of cutting CO2 emissions by 20 per cent by 2010.

Callum Stewart from international energy consultancy McKinnon & Clarke, said: “The government needs to take drastic steps to curb emissions in order to get back on target.”

A Sustainable Development Commission report suggests that the wind energy industry could produce 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity by 2020 taking up just 0.0001 per cent of British land. However, economics consultancy Oxera, has suggested that a new nuclear programme may be a much cheaper option for the taxpayer.

EU rejects TSO regulator proposal

The European Parliament has rejected major elements of the European Commission’s draft security of electricity supply and infrastructure directive, on the way to voting for its adoption.

One of the main elements the Parliament’s energy committee found unacceptable was the proposed creation of a regulator to oversee transmission system operators’ plans for investment.

Also thrown out by the committee was the proposal to give national power regulators extra authority over new projects. The plans rejected, included the ability to fine projects that fall behind schedule and the power to set project start dates.

Plans approved to expand Italian grid

Italy’s Ministry of Productive Activities has approved the grid operator, GRTN’s plans to develop the country’s power transmission grid.

In addition to connecting new power plants to the national grid, over 160 projects are now planned from now until 2014 at a cost estimated around €2.1bn ($2.6bn).

By the end of 2006 GRTN plans to comple three 380 kV interconnections in Calabria, Lombardy and Puglia as well as an undersea link between the islands of Sardinia and Corsica. The remaining priority projects, to be undertaken before the end of 2009, include further 380 kV interconnections and an undersea link between Sardinia and the Italian mainland.


News digest

Austria

Verbund is to “strongly push” the Styrian provincial government for their support in an energy package, which would see a total investment of €674m ($846m) in the regions power plants and grids.

Czech Republic

The government has agreed a three year plan with the European Commission to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions from 107.6 million tonnes to 97.6 million tonnes. Emissions trading vouchers will now be issued to 436 companies.

Europe

Regulation is growing in importance as a key rating issue across Northern Europe, according to a report issued by Standard and Poor’s, which highlights regulatory problems in the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Germany.

Europe

Six renewable energy groups have forecast that Europe will have 4500 MW of solar PV installed by 2010 after last year saw an installation increase of more than 69 per cent over 2003 levels.

Europe

The 33 members of the Union for the Co-ordination of Transmission of Electricity (UCTE) have formally agreed to a first set of security and reliability standards.

Finland

The Finnish government has pledged to create a stable and favourable business environment to encourage the necessary investments in domestic energy production, transmission and distribution.

France

EDF is reportedly searching for partners to collaborate over the European Reactor Project on a risk sharing basis. Enel is expected to take a ten per cent stake but EDF want to avoid giving a privileged role.

France

GE is to install 57 MW of wind capacity at six sites in the Massif Central region. The projects will increase France’s current installed wind capacity by nearly 15 per cent.

Germany

A document from the electricity industry association that argues for the replacement of the current promotion and financial support of renewables with a quota system, has led to a clash with the Environment Ministry.

Ireland

The 100 MW peat burning Lough Ree power station at Lanesboro, County Longford has been officially opened. Ireland’s Electricity Supply Board invested over €200m ($251m) in the project.

Italy

Italy’s market operator GME may create a electricity futures market. Such an exchange would be split in two, the trading period and the delivering period and would allow trading of power up to a month before the current limit.

Spain

Iberdrola has surpassed FPL Energy as the world’s largest wind farm owner after record expansion in 2004 saw its wind plant portfolio grow to almost 2950 MW in 2004, according to the latest rankings from Emerging Energy Research.