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Austria: The first of eight GE Energy 1.5 MW wind turbines has been installed at the Parndorf II wind park, south east of Vienna in Austria. This is the first GE 1.5 MW machine in the country.

Finland: Finnish energy sector companies have formed a new industrial policy and labour market policy association, the Association of Finnish Energy Industries.

Germany: The first methanol fuelled HotModule fuel cell has been installed in the Treptow CHP station and linked to the German national grid. The demonstration project is aimed at showing that methanol produced from organic waste and biomass can be used efficiently for power generation.

Ireland: Irish wind company Airtricity has won the ‘Entrepreneurial Developer of the Year’ and ‘Renewable Energy Supplier of the Year’ categories at the inaugural Euromoney and Ernst & Young Energy Awards.

Italy: The Italian government is undertaking the sale of a further 20 per cent of dominant electricity group Enel, reducing its stake from 50.6 per cent to 30 per cent.

Italy: SET has awarded Foster Wheeler with the EPC contract and GE Power with the turbine supply contract for a 400 MW gas fired combined cycle power plant to be located at Teverola in Italy’s Campania region.

Norway: E.ON AG has agreed with the Norwegian utility Statkraft to sell 1.6bn kWh of hydraulic production capacity from its Sydkraft subsidiary to Statkraft for around g500m ($639m). This is equivalent to five per cent of Sydkraft’s total electricity production.

Spain: ESB International has sold a 50 per cent interest in its Amorebieta power plant in the Basque region of northern Spain to Japanese gas company Osaka Gas for g75m ($95.9m). The plant will be fully commissioned next year.

Sweden: The Swedish government has abandoned talks with Fortum, Sydkraft and Vattenfall over the future of the nation’s nuclear power industry. Nuclear power is due to be phased out by 2010 but many now feel this is not a feasible proposition.

Sweden-Finland: The Swedish government is to invest SEK26bn ($3.7bn) in a new subsea power line to Finland. The electricity to be imported will be generated by the new nuclear unit that Finland is building.

UK: Canatxx Energy Ventures is undertaking a feasibility study for the development of a à‚£375m ($690m) 1200 MW gas fired CCGT plant to be located on Anglesey in Wales.

French choose EPR site

Electricité de France (EDF) has agreed to build a forerunner European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR ) nuclear reactor at Flamanville in northern France. Framatome ANP will supply the EPR technology, which marks the second sales success for this new reactor generation, following an order from TVO in Finland in December 2003.

The EPR project is to be carried out over a five-year period starting in 2007. According to Pierre Gadonneix, chairman of EDF, “Launching the EPR will contribute to ensuring Europe’s energy independence in the coming decades. Eventually, its role will be to permit EDF to renew its generation plant and to do so in a competitive way. It will strengthen EDF’s technological edge and will be a technological showcase for export markets. This investment choice expresses EDF’s goal to maintain its position as the world’s leading producer of nuclear-based electricity.”

The EPR was developed by Framatome and Siemens whose nuclear activities merged in January 2001 to form Framatome ANP, an Areva and Siemens company. It is a pressurized water reactor which uses nuclear fuel to the full to generate a maximum of energy, while producing less waste. With a capacity of 1600 MW, greater availability and easy maintenance, Areva claims that the EPR will cut kWh production costs by 10 per cent compared to current reactors. The EPR is the only third generation reactor under construction today.

Vattenfall targets Elsam

Swedish utility Vattenfall has made an approach to a group of 21 Danish grid companies who currently hold 54 per cent of the Danish power group Elsam. Vattenfall’s bid is complicated by ongoing discussions between Elsam and Danish oil and gas group DONG, likely to lead to the merger of the two businesses. The offer by Vattenfall grants shareholders a put option for shares, which they are entitled to acquire under pre-emptive rights in relation to the offer for DONG.

The combination of Elsam and DONG would create a strong Danish power company. The move by Vattenfall is controversial as it would see control of Elsam moving to a foreign, state-owned, company.

Belgium starts Belpex PX

Belgium’s transmission system operator Elia has signed an agreement to establish a power exchange for the country with APX and Powernext, the Dutch and French power exchanges. The exchange, to be called Belpex, will be established under Belgian law and will be able to trade electricity for next day delivery.

APX and Powernext will have a ten per cent position while Elia will retain a 60 per cent stake with the Dutch and French transmission system operators expected to share the remaining interests.

EDF selects LogicaCMG

EDF Energy, the arm of Electricité de France that supplies electricity distribution services to over a quarter of the UK’s population, has signed a contract with LogicaCMG for the provision of IT services, consultancy and support worth à‚£8.1m ($14.8m).

LogicaCMG will be provide applications management and support for all EDF Energy’s Network Branch business systems, ensuring that systems are always operational for the 3500 branch staff. It will also be responsible for SAP support requirements.

EDF Energy’s payments for services can be made in inflation-linked instalments in proportion to the company’s IT spend over the period of the five-year contract.

UK biomass boost

The UK government has established a task force to stimulate biomass supply and demand in furtherance of the country’s renewable energy target of 15 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2015. It believes biomass has great potential to replace fossil fuels and reduce CO2 levels

It has also unveiled a new à‚£3.5m ($6.4m) Bio-Energy Infrastructure Scheme offering grants to help harvest, store, process and supply biomass for energy production. The unreliability of fuel supplies has been a major factor in the limited development of biomass power production in the UK.

Nexans heads European HTS project

The European Union is to support a project to develop High Temperature Superconducting (HTS) energy cable, to be coordinated by Nexans. Along with Nexans, the ‘Super3C’ (Super Coated Conductor Cable) European project includes partners from Germany, Spain, Finland, France and Slovakia.

The European Commission will provide approximately half of the cost of the three year project, which started 1 June 2004. Coated conductors constitute the second generation of HTS wires and comprise a multilayer structure, bound with metallic tape coated with ceramic layers (one being superconducting).

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