Climate change will shrink global economy says report

A report commissioned by the UK government argues that if no action is taken global warming, the resulting climate change could lead to a reduction in the size of the global economy of up to 20 per cent.

The report by the former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicholas Stern suggests that if action is taken immediately, the economic impact could be limited to around one per cent of global Gross Domestic Product. Over the long term, annual global emissions need to be reduced to below 5 Gt of carbon dioxide (CO2), or 80 per cent of current levels.

If this is to be achieved, with global levels stabilized at 550 ppm or less, then global emissions must peak within the next 20 years and then fall by at least two per cent each year. If levels are to stabilize at or below 450 ppm, then global emissions must start falling by 2015.

According to the report, the power sector contributed around 24 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in 2000. By 2050 the power sector may have to be as much as 75 per cent decarbonized if atmospheric levels of CO2 are to stabilize at 550 ppm or below.

However the report recognizes that hydrocarbon fuels are likely to be responsible for up to 50 per cent of global energy supply in 2050. Carbon capture and storage will therefore have to become part of fossil fuel power generation before then if carbon emissions are to be controlled. The market for low carbon energy products is likely to be worth $500bn by 2050.

The UK is using the report to push for European Union (EU) CO2emissions to be cut by 30 per cent by 2020 and 60 per cent by 2060. Meanwhile PointCarbon is predicting that the EU will cut current emission allowances by 10 per cent for the second phase of its Emissions Trading Scheme, which begins in 2008.

Grid disruption affects Western Europe supply

A major disturbance to part of the UCTE grid in Western Europe on 4 November was caused by Eon taking a power line across the river Ems out of operation to allow a cruise ship to pass safely.

This action triggered a breakdown in supply with other lines cutting out, and power supply was disrupted in parts of Western Europe for as long as 90 minutes before the supply was finally stabilized. Countries affected outside Germany included France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Austria, Croatia and Morocco.

Neighbour France was particularly badly hit, with around 5 million customers affected, according to the network company RTE.

National Grid selects partners

The UK transmission system operator National Grid has selected its preferred partners to carry out a £2.8bn ($5.3bn) upgrade.

A joint venture between AMEC, Babcock International and Mott MacDonald has been chosen as the preferred partner for the West Overhead Lines and Cables Alliance to upgrade power lines across the western half of England and Wales. A joint venture of Areva, Skanska and Mott MacDonald will work on transmission substation projects in the South East England region. Initial contracts are for five years with an option for a further five.

Centrica acquires clean coal option

Centrica has acquired an option to participate in an integrated gasification combined-cycle power plant project with carbon dioxide capture and storage in Teesside, UK.

Under an agreement with Progressive Energy Ltd, the company has taken an 85 per cent interest in development company Coastal Energy Ltd, which will seek consent to build the plant. Centrica has an option to acquire the remaining shares in Coastal Energy at the end of the two year scheme.

UBS launches emission index

UBS has launched the UBS World Emissions Index which it claims is the first index for global markets of emissions allowances. Initially Europe-based it will be extended if similar markets develop elsewhere.

The index is currently composed of an open basket of future contracts on the European Emissions Trading Scheme for carbon dioxide weighted between two trading platforms, the European Climate Exchange and the Nordic Power Exchange. The weights are allocated based on the liquidity of the underlying emissions trading platforms.

Eon to build four European plants

Eon has signed a deal with Hitachi Power Europe for four 1100 MW steam generators. The deal is worth over E1.2bn ($1.5bn)

The first supercritical unit, to be installed at Datteln, Germany, will operate with a claimed efficiency of 46 per cent, burning imported coal. Delivery of the other three units is subject to approval for the proposed plant.

News Digest

Finland:Fortum is applying to the Finnish Council of State to extend the operating licence for the Loviisa nuclear power plant until the end of 2030. The current licence expires in 2007.

Finland:Automation and information management systems for a new gas turbine plant in Olkiluoto will be provided by Metso Automation. The plant, due for summer 2007 start up, will give reserve capacity for the Finnish grid.

Italy: Voreas has awarded the EPC contract for construction of a 48 MW wind farm at Pietramontecorvino, southern Italy to Foster Wheeler Italiana. Foster Wheeler holds a 50 per cent equity stake in Voreas.

Norway: Statoil has awarded a €42m ($54m) contract for the maintenance of GE LM gas turbines based both onshore and on offshore platforms in the North Sea to MTU Maintenance Berlin-Brandenburg.

Portugal: Energias de Portugal has selected Edinfor to provide control and management systems for 48 wind farms across Iberia. The contract is worth more than €2m ($2.6m).

Spain: Israeli company Solel has entered a collaboration $890m contract with Sacyr Vallehermoso to build three solar power plants in Spain, based on Solel parabolic trough collector technology, with an aggregate 150 MW of generating capacity.

Spain:Spanish developer Parques Eolicos San Lorenzo has ordered 47 wind turbines, each of 2 MW, from Vestas. The units will be installed at two wind farms in Valladolid, Castilla y Leon.

Switzerland: The European Commission is to start discussions with the Swiss government over integration of the electricity markets in the EU and Switzerland based on EU integrated market legislation.

UK:International Power has acquired the 436 MW Levanto onshore wind farm portfolio from Christofferson Robb & Co for €567m ($726m). The portfolio comprises 286 MW in operation, 126 MW under construction and 24 MW due to be constructed.

UK: Eon has won approval from the Department of Trade and Industry for the construction of a £350m ($660m) combined-cycle gas turbine plant at its Grain oil fired power station. The 1200 MW plant is set to open in 2009.

UK: Scottish Power has placed an €350m ($450m) order for 140 wind turbines for the Whitelee wind farm in Scotland with Siemens Power Generation. The 2.3MW turbines will provide a combined installed capacity of 322 MW. The contract includes delivery, installation, commissioning, service and maintenance.