European Union radically revamps Emissions Trading Scheme

The European Union (EU) is to slash the number of carbon dioxide (CO2) permits it issues to utilities under the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and will auction all permits from 2013.

The European Commission proposed that CO2 allowances in 2020 for the power industry now in the EU ETS be 21 per cent below the level of actual emissions in 2005.

In addition, power producers will have to purchase their whole allotment as of 2013 and full auctioning should apply to other industries from 2020 after a phase-in.

The auctioning rights will be divided among national governments, which would pocket the revenue. Another proposal would make legal changes to allow industry to capture CO2 from plants and store it underground. The CO2 that is captured and stored would be treated as not emitted under the emissions-trading system.

The overhaul aims to make emissions more costly and help the EU meet a goal of reducing the level of greenhouse gases by 20 per cent in 2020 compared with 1990.

Evidence for building new generation of nuclear power stations “compelling”: UK

A new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK has been given formal backing by the government.

In a policy statement to the House of Commons, Business and Enterprise Secretary John Hutton urged utilities to build a new generation of nuclear power stations, but stressed that it would be for the energy companies to fund, develop and build the new plants, including meeting the full costs of decommissioning.

In order to facilitate new build, London is introducing a White Paper, or bill, which will speed up the planning process for nuclear power stations.

On the important question of waste, Hutton said that firms would be expected to meet the full cost of the management and storage of waste. EDF has said repeatedly that it hopes to build the UK’s first new nuclear reactor for two decades by 2017.

UK energy minister gives backing to new geopressure energy technology

UK energy minister Malcolm Wicks has announced his government’s support for electricity generated from geopressure.

Geopressure is pressure naturally occurring through geological activity, and can be harnessed to generate electricity by using the pressure in the gas network.

Still in its infancy in the country, the technology – which does not consume any gas, but works like a water wheel driven by the pressure of its flow – has potential for deployment across the UK.

London has decided to support geopressure’s development through the Renewables Obligation scheme, which provides companies using green energy sources with assistance in competing with fossil fuel generators.

RWE Power and GE to develop advanced storage technology with zero emissions

RWE Power has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with GE for the joint development and validation of a zero-emission storage technology.

The technology is called Advanced Adiabatic Compressed Air Energy Storage, and a major challenge will be to develop a compressor technology that can withstand high temperatures during compression.

Siemens, E.ON to cooperate on carbon capture

Germany’s Siemens and utility E.ON are to cooperate on a new process to remove carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) in power generation.

The companies said the starting point of the partnership is the development of a solvent with special characteristics, which provide the basis for a new process to capture CO2 from the flue gases of power plants.

A pilot installation at an E.ON power plant site in Germany will be operational by 2010. Further developments will follow up until 2014. The mid-term target is to develop this new CO2 capture process ready for large-scale, commercial deployment by 2020.

Aker to invest $160m in carbon capture unit at gas fired plant

Norwegian industrial group Aker is to invest $160m in a facility to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from a power plant, saying it would be the first and biggest of its kind.

Aker said it would build the unit at Kaarstoe in western Norway to capture CO2 emissions from a gas fired power plant and a gas-processing plant.

“The facility will be in operation as early as 2009,” the company said in a statement.

•••

Finland: Fortum is to develop a carbon capture pilot plant at the 565 MW coal fired Meri-Pori power plant. Building should commence by 2013, with completion by 2015.

Iceland: The Reykjavik Energy Graduate School of Sustainable Systems (REYST) has been officially launched. REYST offers an international graduate programme focusing on sustainable energy use, especially geothermal energy.

Italy: According to Anev, Italy’s National Wind Energy Association, in 2007 the installed wind energy capacity in the country rose to 2726 MW up by 30 per cent on the previous year. New installations amounted to 633 MW and the electricity production from wind power reached 4.3 TWh.

Netherlands: Alstom has won an order worth over g400 ($591m) from Suez unit Electrabel Nederland to build a 870 MW combined-cycle power plant in Lelystad, in the centre of the Netherlands. The plant will be the first of its type to be built in this country by Alstom.

Norway: Transmissions system operator, Statnett, and German counterpart, E.ON Netz, are to engage in a joint feasibility study of a subsea DC-cable linking Norway and Germany. The interconnector would have a capacity of 700-1400 MW and would be called NORD.LINK. The study is expected to be completed by autumn 2008.

Poland: Poludniowy Koncern Energetyczny (PKE), Poland’s second largest power group, will put on line a new coal and biomass fired 460 MW power station in Bedzin in the first quarter of 2009.

Spain: According to the Wind Business Association (AEE) in Spain, wind energy experienced growth of 30 per cent in its installed capacity during 2007, reaching 15 GW, with a total of 3.5 GW being added during the year.

Ukraine: Emergencies minister Volodymar Shandra has told of plans to remove nuclear fuel stored at three power units of the Chernobyl nuclear power station in the Ukraine by 2010.

UK: British Energy has said that remedial engineering work lasting several months is required to return four reactors at its Hartlepool and Heysham-1 power stations to service.