E.ON UK shelves Kingsnorth coal plant, to build CCGT

German energy giant E.ON has put plans to construct a new 1600 MW coal fired power plant at Kingsnorth in the UK on hold citing the recession.

The plans, which would have seen the largest new coal plant constructed in the UK for 30 years, have been awaiting the go-ahead and support from the government to install carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. The site has also become a focus for environmental protests.

Now, however, the recession and falling energy demand appear to have achieved what environmental protestors could not. According to a statement from the company, E.ON may reconsider its plans for a new coal fired power plant at Kingsnorth in two to three years time if demand recovers.

E.ON had planned to install subsidized CCS at Kingsnorth and was shortlisted for funding from the European Energy Programme for Recovery Fund, but lost out on the €180m ($270m) to be given to one project in the UK to Powerfuel’s 900 MW IGCC plant in Hatfield.

Meanwhile, E.ON has revealed plans to build a 1600 MW combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station in High Marnham, in Nottinghamshire, England. E.ON is looking to submit a planning application early next year. If successful, the plant will be up and running by 2018.

Germany’s RWE withdraws from Belene nuclear project in Bulgaria

RWE has pulled out of Bulgaria’s nuclear plant project in Belene, in which it was to hold 49 per cent.

The economic crisis, a lack of funding and no definitive agreement with Russia’s Atomstroyexport, which was to build the plant, were among the reasons. Sofia will now invite foreign investors after the project’s funding has been finally established.

Bulgaria and Atomstroyexport signed an initial €4bn ($5.9bn) deal for the plant last January but failure to find funding severely delayed construction of the 2000 MW plant.

Atomstroyexport said the cost of construction had risen to €6bn, while Sofia put the total cost at €9-10bn.

Fortum and TVO to cooperate with Siemens for CCS project in Finland

Siemens will partner Finnish utilities Fortum and Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) for the Meri-Pori carbon capture and storage (CCS) project.

The coal fired power plant is located at Pori in Western Finland and has an installed capacity of 565 MW. The CCS demonstration is planned to treat approximately 50 per cent of Meri-Pori’s flue gas and to capture 90 per cent of the CO2 it contains, reducing the plant’s carbon emissions by some 1.25m tonnes annually by 2015.

Brussels to propose binding EU energy savings targets

The European Commission plans to impose binding energy efficiency targets on EU member states, according to a draft of a revised Energy Efficiency Action Plan.

Entitled ‘7 Measures for 2 Million New EU Jobs’, the draft seeks to simplify the 2006 Action Plan for Energy Efficiency by concentrating on a few effective measures. The plan acknowledges that the EU is set to fall short of its 2020 target to slash energy consumption by 20 per cent, instead achieving only 11 per cent by the deadline.

According to EurActiv, the most controversial initiative in the draft is a plan to introduce mandatory energy-saving obligations on member states ‘in line’ with the EU’s aspirational goal of using 20 per cent less energy in 2020. The paper suggests that the targets could be either sector-specific, potentially limited to buildings, or cover all aspects of the economy.

However, the Commission stops short of specifying whether the EU should set an absolute cap on each member state’s emissions by 2020 or whether the savings would be in relation to their projected energy consumption.

Belgium delays nuclear phase-out until 2025

Belgium has delayed the start of a progressive phasing out of nuclear power by ten years until 2025.

Under a law passed in 2003, Belgium’s seven reactors were scheduled for shutdown between the years 2015 and 2025.

Three of the reactors, two at the Doel plant in northern Belgium and one at Tihange in the south, were due to have been closed in 2015 after 40 years of operations.

Between 2010-2014 the main electricity producers will contribute €215m-€245m ($322m-$366m) to state coffers bet. Belgium derives 55 per cent of its power from nuclear.

Siemens raises power output of H-class turbine

Siemens Energy has completed the trial operation of the much anticipated SGT5-8000H gas turbine at Germany’s Irsching 4 power plant at a raised output of 375 MW.

After 1500 operating hours, 1200 at full load, and evaluation of the measured data the machine’s original rated output of 340 MW was raised to 375 MW in simple cycle duty.

In combined-cycle operation output is expected to increase by 40 MW to more than 570 MW. This increase is sufficient to supply an additional 22 000 people with power.

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Bulgaria: Enel has inaugurated a 21 MW wind farm at Kamen Bryag in the municipality of Kavarna. The wind farm consists of seven turbines of 3 MW each. Enel plans to commission another 21 MW wind farm in Shabla by the year’s end.

Denmark: A so-called ‘heat immersion law’ recently passed will make it possible to store electricity generated by wind turbines with the help of immersion heaters at district heating stations.

Denmark: DONG Energy has cancelled coal plants projects in North Ayrshire, Scotland, and Emden, Germany, but will proceed with one in Humberside, England, by fitting it for gas and biomass rather than coal.

Ireland: Tonn Energy, which is backed by the Swedish multinational utility company Vattenfall and indigenous Irish technology firm Wavebob, is looking to develop a wave energy project along the Atlantic coast that could generate 250 MW.

Italy: A total of ten Italian regions will appeal to the Constitutional Court against the government’s plan for the return of nuclear energy in the country. Calabria was the first region to voice its dissent. Friuli Venezia Giulia and Lombardy have not opposed the government’s scheme.

Norway: Statnett and the UK’s National Grid have signed an agreement to investigate a possible investment in a power link across the North Sea connecting the two countries. They will also evaluate a possible power network between oil installations in the North Sea.

Poland: Vattenfall Heat plans to build by 2020 a gas fired heat and power generator at its Warsaw cogeneration plant, a company executive said. The new plant will have a capacity of 250 MW thermal and 400 MW electric power.

Slovakia: Siemens has broken ground at a 430 MW, 58 per cent efficient gas fired power plant in Malzenice, Trnava Region. The plant, which is being built for E.ON, will feature a SCC5-4000F gas turbine and is due online in 2010.

UK: Accenture is to advise the Department of Energy and Climate Change on the planning and implementation of smart grids.

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