Renewables accounted for 61 per cent of EU 2009 capacity
Renewable energy technologies accounted for 61 per cent of power generating capacity installed in the European Union (EU) in 2009, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).
Some 39 per cent of all new capacity installed last year was wind power, followed by gas (26 per cent) and solar photovoltaics (16 per cent). The EWEA also revealed that Europe decommissioned more coal and nuclear capacity than it installed in 2009.
Wind power’s total capacity in the EU has now reached 74 767 MW, up from 64 719 MW by the end of 2008. Germany remains the EU country with the largest installed capacity, followed by Spain, Italy, France and the UK. The latter now has a cumulative capacity of 4051 MW.
According to the EWEA, the wind capacity installed by the end of 2009 will, in a normal year, produce 163 TWh of electricity, meeting 4.8 per cent of total EU demand.
The European countries with the largest share of new capacity installed last year were headed up by Spain – 24 per cent (2459 MW), followed by Germany – 19 per cent (1917 MW), Italy – 11 per cent (1114 MW), France – 11 per cent (1088 MW) and the UK – 10 per cent (1077 MW).
German government intends tosafeguard all nuclear power plants
Germany has agreed to continue to operate all 17 nuclear power plants in Germany, according to the German daily Die Welt.
Berlin also plans to secure the further operation of Biblis A and Neckarwestheim 1, which are on the brink of being shutdown. A decision as to the general conditions of an extension of operating times of all reactors is to be taken in Q3 2010.
It was suggested the nuclear industry transfers unused power production allocations from the already shutdown nuclear power plant Stade to the Biblis A and Neckarwestheim 1 plants to extend their lifetimes by several months.
UK launches feed-in tariffs for small scale renewables
From 1 April, UK householders and communities that install low-carbon technology up to 5 MW will be paid for the electricity they generate. The level of payment depends on the technology and is linked to inflation. They will get a further payment for any electricity they feed into the grid.
The UK also published a blueprint to incentivize low-carbon heating technologies, set to be introduced in April 2011.
UK announces winners of Round 3 offshore tenders
The UK’s Crown Estate, in charge of Britain’s coastal seabed, has announced the winners of the Round 3 tender for offshore wind projects, which together could add a minimum of 30 GW of power generation capacity by 2020.
The third round winners, which will lease UK waters for the development of offshore wind farms are: Moray Firth, Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd. (EDP Renewables 75 per cent, 25 per cent SeaEnergy), 1.3 GW; Firth of Forth, SeaGreen Wind Energy (SSE Renewables and Fluor), 3.5 GW; Dogger Bank, Forewind Consortium (equal shares SSE, RWE npower; Statoil, Statkraft), 9 GW; Hornsea, Siemens/Mainstream Renewable Power (joint-owned consortium, project that involves Hochtief), 4 GW; Norfolk, East Anglia Offshore Wind (equally owned by ScottishPower and Vattenfall), 7.2 GW; Hastings, E.ON Climate and Renewables UK, 0.6 GW; West Isle of Wight, Eneco New Energy, 0.9 GW; Bristol Channel, RWE Npower Renewables, 1.5 GW; and Irish Sea, Centrica Renewable Energy, 4.2 GW.
UK firm close to reactor forge financing
Sheffield Forgemasters is closing in on £170m ($274m) financing to build a 15 000 tonnes press to make large forgings for UK nuclear reactors.
The UK government, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Westinghouse have offered about £150m of the sum required to build the press, according to the Observer. The company is trying to raise the remaining £20m from other nuclear firms.
London has offered £65m in loans, while Westinghouse has offered to pay £50m upfront for its order of reactor forgings. The EIB will provide about £35m in loans, which the UK government will underwrite.
Merrill Lynch: EU sitting on 166m carbon permits
The European Union (EU)’s Emissions Trading Scheme has 166m too many allowances in the five years through 2012, according to analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Prices are holding up because allowances can be saved and used after 2012, the report said, without giving a specific forecast. “A string of bearish signals is currently hanging over the European and global carbon markets like a big, dark cloud,” Merrill said.
In the past two years, due to the recession, the demand for emission allowances has declined 34 per cent.
Belarus: Vitebskenergo and the Russia’s Technopromexport signed a $100m contract to construct a 22 MW hydropower plant in Polotsk.
Czech Republic: Power producer CEZ is building a 30 MW solar power station – the largest in the country – near Sevetin, some 20 km north of Ceske Budejovice.
Germany: RWE and German biotech firm BRAIN have teamed up with the aim of converting CO2 into microbial biomass or biomolecules for use in industrial products and chemicals. An experimental plant is to be located at RWE Power’s Coal Innovation Centre, at its Niederaussem power plant site.
Ireland: The RPS Group has been awarded a €1.8m ($2.6m) contract by the Irish government for the Irish Scottish Links on Energy Study (ISLES), which will examine the feasibility of building an offshore grid in the Irish Sea.
Lithuania: The country’s sole nuclear plant, located in Visaginas, and which provided 70 per cent of its electricity, has been shutdown. It agreed to shut the plant by 2010 in order to win admission to the European Union in May 2004.
Netherlands: The Dutch government has agreed to go ahead with the trial of CO2 underground storage in Barendrecht.
Romania: GE and Nuclearelectrica, Romania’s state-owned nuclear utility, have signed a services and maintenance agreement for the Cernavoda nuclear power plant, valued at up to $146m.
Sweden: The European Parliament has approved €175m ($239m) in funding to build a €522m subsea power link between Sweden and Lithuania. Lietuvos Energija, Lithuania’s power transmission operator, is now negotiating agreements with the European Commission and Sweden’s grid operator, Svenska Kraftnät.
UK: Scottish energy minister Jim Mather has approved a £350m ($546m) proposal for a 400 kV overhead line to replace the existing 132 kV Beauly to Denny power line.
UK: Westinghouse has selected Serco as its lead nuclear safety adviser in the UK, to support the progress of the AP1000 reactor design though the Generic Design Assessment process.