E.ON UK applies to add 1200 MW to British grid

E.ON UK has applied to the British government for permission to build a £350m ($619m) gas fired power plant in Derbyshire. The proposed 1200 MW CCGT station in Drakelow would be built on the site of an old coal fired power plant. If the application is successful the plant would begin generating in 2009.

The company has formally requested tenders from parties interested in providing for the 1200 MW project.

E.ON UK’s chief executive, Dr Paul Golby, said the company was seeking to add capacity to bridge a generation gap caused by the recent and upcoming closures of coal fired and nuclear power plants. He warned that whether the company would provide necessary investment in the future was dependent on government policy.

Golby said: “We can only spend the billions of pounds that need to be spent if we’re confident the government is putting in place a long-term energy policy that allows us to get a return on our investment.”

Spain sets ambitious green target

The Spanish government has set the target of generating 30 per cent of the country’s electricity consumption and 12 per cent of its overall energy needs from renewable sources by 2010.

A new €23.6bn ($28.6bn) renewable energy plan, of which the government will fund 3 per cent, has been introduced to help the country increase the presence of green energy sources in its generation portfolio.

The government hopes that the new investment plan, to be spent over the next five years, will make up for what it called a failure to meet initial forecasts. By the end of 2004, Spain had only met 28.4 per cent of the renewables target set by the previous government.

The latest plan has set the installed capacity target for the country’s wind energy industry at 20 GW, up from the 13 GW targeted under the previous renewables plan.

Eurelectric calls for hybrid grid

Europe is now ready to begin to develop a hybrid grid system that would see the introduction of capacity allocated the day ahead via implicit auctions, according to Europe’s electricity association, Eurelectric.

The association first suggested the introduction of implicit auctions alongside the already established short to mid explicit auctions in 2000, but agreed that the interconnection system was not sufficiently developed to make a success of it.

However, the creation of several power exchanges since has prompted Eurelectric to revise its opinion. While it still believes that a sufficiently coordinated system is not a complete reality at present, it has called for the design of exchanges to be harmonized and the creation of pilot projects.

  • Growth in mainland Europe’s power use was lower in 2004 than it was in the previous year, according to a report from the Union for the Coordination of Electricity. The 1.7 per cent growth was provided by a generation capacity increase of 4 per cent.

Utilities warned over efforts to cut costs

Utilities will suffer a loss of custom when the market is fully liberalized in 2007, unless they increase efforts to operate at a lower cost, according to the latest report from Datamonitor.

The report warned that utilities of all sizes were failing to reduce operating costs across metering, billing, payment and call centre operations sufficiently enough to enable a cut in final prices to their customers.

Large utilities with a customer base of over 2.5 million currently operate on an average cost-to-serve rate of €31.96 ($38.80). This figure rises to €36.78 for a small supplier with a customer base of less than 500 000 accounts. The research suggested that suppliers should be able to operate at a rate of €29.01, €8 lower than the level small suppliers currently operate on.

Scotland turns to tidal power

The Scottish Executive has announced new measures that it hopes will unlock the country’s ‘marine powerhouse’ and turn it in to the global capital for the development and generation of wave energy.

Enterprise Minister, Nicol Stephen, said tens of millions of pounds would be available to support new wave projects around Scotland’s shores to help the industry develop. Stephen said that tidal and wave energy could provide the country with over 1 GW, 10 per cent of Scotland’s total electricity production.

The minister said that wind schemes would continue to receive financial support, but that wave and tidal projects would get an even greater boost. The announcement will be warmly received by the utility ScottishPower, which had warned its proposed £40m ($72m) wave energy project in Orkney may not become a reality without additional financial support.


News digest

Belgium: Two years after market liberalization, around 60 per cent of Flemish households have either changed contracts with their existing supplier or changed to a new one and are paying 20 per cent less.

Finland: Teollisuuden Voima Oy has begun construction of the 1600 MW Olkiluoto-3 nuclear plant. The reactor, dubbed as launching the third-generation nuclear era, will begin generating in May 2009.

France: EDF’s main competitor, Suez, has announced it is to spend between €400m ($485m) and €600m on two or three new 400 MW natural gas fired power plants in the south of France.

France: Two of EDF’s nuclear power plants, which have been in operation for over 20 years, will receive six steam generators from the Japanese firm Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Germany: A German-Russian consortium is to build a 1200 km gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea. Planned for commissioning in 2010, the pipeline will transport around 27.5 billion m3 annually.

Germany: Babcock and Wilcox has signed a ten-year licence that will see its wet flue gas desulphurization technology being sublicensed in the EU, Russia and Turkey.

Germany: In the run up to the general election the right wing political parties, CDU and CSU, both called for an end to the nuclear energy phase out programme.

Italy: As it begins an attempt to gain control of the Edison electricity group, EDF has acquired a further 23.4 per cent stake in Italenergia Bis to take its total share to 61.4 per cent.

Portugal: REpower has responded to Portugal’s call for 1500 MW of wind energy capacity with two separate bids worth €1.5bn ($1.8bn).

Scandinavia: A five-year reliability programme has been launched by Fortum to improve the reliability of its grids. The company’s planned investments over the period total €700m ($850m).

Sweden: Vattenfall has ordered an €11m ($13.3m) biomass fuelled power plant from Wärtsilä. Fired by wood waste, the plant Motala will be fully operational by 2007.

UK: E.ON UK has contracted Alstom to install its boosted overfire air NOx reduction system on three of the 500 MW units at Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottingham.

UK: ScottishPower has applied to create a 0.5 MW test site to investigate use the excess power generated from its wind turbines to produce hydrogen.

UK: With 52 wind turbines generating 120 MW, the UK’s largest wind farm will use ABB transformer and switchgear equipment.