E.ON to sell grid and generation assets under pressure from EU

E.ON has told the European Commission that it plans to sell its electricity-grid and some generating assets to settle antitrust cases.

“E.ON proposes to commit to sell its electricity transmission system network to an operator which would have no interest in the electricity generation and/or supply businesses,” the Commission said in a statement.

The Commission said it would ask for comment from E.ON’s customers and competitors on the proposal, which involves the sale of 4800 MW of generation capacity.

“The commitments would be made legally binding by a decision of the Commission, and the Commission would not pursue the antitrust cases,” the Commission’s statement added.

The offer to sell its grid could have a domino effect on the European Unions’s energy sector, said analysts.

Paris and Berlin have tried to stop the EU adopting laws that would force integrated energy companies such as E.ON and RWE of Germany and EDF of France to unbundle, or separate the ownership of grids from generation and supply businesses.

Doosan Babcock to demonstrate carbon capture at full scale

Doosan Babcock is to demonstrate a full-scale version of its Oxycoal carbon capture technology, which has the financial backing of the UK government and utilities such as Southern & Scottish Energy, EDF and E.ON.

The Korea-based firm will modify its unique multifuel burner test rig at Renfrew in Scotland to accommodate Oxycoal firing on pulverized coal with recycled flue gas and demonstrate the operation of a 40 MW burner for use in coal fired boilers, suitable for new power plants and retrofits. The first demonstration is scheduled for the end of March 2009.

Air in the Oxycoal firing process separates into oxygen and nitrogen, and coal is then burned in the oxygen. The result is an almost pure carbon dioxide stream, which is then compressed for piping away.

The £7.4m ($14.7m) project is partly funded by the UK government through its Carbon Abatement Technologies demonstration programme.

Generators’ connection to UK grid to change

The UK is set to see radical change to the way that generators are connected to the National Grid to accommodate increases in intermittent generation over the next ten years.

It could unbundle access rights to the grid, auctioning capacity and time-limiting access.

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBERR) said that capacity could reach 120 GW by 2020, up from 70 GW today, with much of this from intermittent sources.

Swedish ownership of nuclear power to be revised to bolster competition

Sweden’s co-ownership of nuclear power stations will be revised to strengthen competition, according to the country’s Minister for Trade and Industry Maud Olofsson.

The government will take measures to harmonize the Scandinavian power markets and will propose the establishment of a pan-Nordic operator of grids, while investments will strengthen the national grid and transmission to other countries. Olofsson also aims to facilitate new production within the power certificate system, and the Energy Market Inspectorate will become independent.

Siemens to build Rijnmond II

Siemens has won a contract from InterGen to build and service Rijnmond II, a 430 MW combined cycle plant in the Netherlands.

Following the start of commercial operation in mid-2010, Siemens will assume responsibility for plant services over a 12-year period. The order, including a long-term service agreement, is worth over €320m ($475m). Siemens’ scope of supply for the plant in Rotterdam encompasses an SGT5-4000F gas turbine, a water-cooled generator, a steam turbine and the entire electrical and I&C equipment.

E.ON predicts nuclear power boom

German nuclear power company E.ON Kernkraft forecasts that 15 to 20 new nuclear power stations will be built in Europe by 2020.

After this, over 30 power plants will be built in the second wave of investments. According to E.ON Kernkraft’s director Michael Micklinghoff, only one nuclear waste facility will be built in Finland.

He is certain that Finnish nuclear waste management company Posiva will accept waste from the new nuclear power plant being planned by the Fennovoima consortium.

E.ON is planning a 2500 MW nuclear power plant in Finland.

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Belgium: Evelop Belgium, part of Econcern, has been given the green light to build a 330 MW offshore wind farm 46 km off the coast of Zeebrugge. The development will be further offshore than any other wind farm in the world.

France: REpower Systems AG has won an order to deliver 129 wind turbines by 2011 to France’s Maia Eolis, the joint venture between Gaz de France and Maia Sonnier.

France: The European Energy Efficiency Research Centre has opened at EDF’s testing facilities at Les Renardières in the Paris suburbs. The centre aims to develop new alternatives to fossil fuels to supply electricity to the residential, tertiary and industrial sectors.

Germany: RWE has launched the first area-wide employment of smart meters in Germany. The real-time energy devices will be distributed to 100 000 households in Mülheim, Ruhr.

Hungary: Budapest has said that a new nuclear power plant will have to be built to replace old units at Paks between 2020 and 2025. The final decision on the project will have to be made by 2010.

Ireland: Dublin has announced a government-backed, guaranteed feed-in tariff of €140 ($203) per megawatthour for offshore wind power in a bid to boost the development of renewable energy.

Lithuania: The $350m interconnector project with Poland will not be completed until 2017 rather than 2012 as first hoped, according to the European Commission.

Sweden: DONG Energy has decided to build and operate the 30 MW Storrun wind farm, in the municipality of Krokom in Jämtland. Total investment is expected to be SEK275m ($56m).

UK: RWE npower is deferring its plan to fill Thrupp Lake near Radley with coal ash from Didcot power station. The company says that the success of its ash recycling and reuse programme have meant the lake scheme is not needed in the short term.

UK: The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) numbers 21 nations after the UK agreed to join. The GNEP seeks to develop international nuclear standards and best practice.