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European cogen directive a step closer

The European Commission’s proposed directive on cogeneration came a step closer to reality in May when both the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers gave it their support. The two bodies have differing opinions over a number of key issues, however.

The Council of Ministers reached unanimous agreement on the Commission’s proposed directive in mid-May, just one day after Parliament gave its support with a number of amendments. The objective of the directive is to create a framework to support and facilitate the construction and operation of cogeneration facilities.

Differences between the two approved versions could lead to delays in implementing the directive, however. The Council of Ministers believes that Member States should not be bound by compulsory targets, and that they should be allowed to use national definitions of cogeneration until 2010. Parliament, on the other hand, demands a harmonized definition of cogeneration and mandatory national and EU targets.

Parliament has tabled an amendment over targets, setting all EU states a target of producing 18 per cent of their electricity by cogeneration by 2010. The two bodies also have differences of opinion over grid access rules, with Parliament wanting cogeneration plants to have guaranteed first place dispatch.

News digest

International: American Electric Power Co has exited Nordic energy trading operations. The company now plans to and refocus its wholesale activities in markets where it has assets. The company entered the Nordic markets in early 2002 and has offices in Oslo and Stockholm.

France: National utility Electricité de France (EDF) has said that it has lost between 20-25 per cent of its customers in the over-7 GWh/a category since market opening. According to UK-based market research analysts, Datamonitor, the vast majority of switchers have left EDF in search of a better price for their electricity.

Germany: Lurgi Energie und Entsorgung GmbH has placed an order with GE Power Systems for the supply of a gas turbine-generator for the expansion of a cogeneration plant in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. GE will provide a Frame 6B unit that will contribute 42 MW to an overall plant expansion of 77 MW.

Germany: Sulzer Elbar has won a contract to carry out a major overhaul of a Siemens V94 gas turbine in Germany. The overhaul will include a full rotor inspection, which will be undertaken in Sulzer Elbar’s rotor facility in Lomm, The Netherlands.

Germany: The association of network operators has said that it is opposed to a plan for the Federal cartel Office to act as Germany’s energy regulator. The Cartel Office’s mandate is to ensure competition, whereas an energy regulator must also be involved with much wider issues such as sustainable development and security of supply, says the association.

Germany: Swedish power company, Vattenfall Europe Generation AG has awarded ABB a $22m contract to optimize the process control systems at the Jàƒ¤nschwalde and Boxberg power plants in Germany. Under the contract, ABB will expand the existing automation system and upgrade the operating and monitoring systems for process control at the two coal-fired power plants.

Norway: National grid operator Statnett has applied for a license to set up a subsea power transmission cable running from Norway to the UK. The SKr8bn ($800m) link would be the world’s longest subsea power cable and will be undertaken as a joint venture by Statnett and National Grid Transco of the UK.

Spain: Peter Brotherhood has secured a à‚£1.5m contract to build a condensing turbine-generator set for an olive waste-fired power plant in Spain. The 8500 kW set is scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2003.

Iberdrola bid blocked

The hostile bid for Spanish electricity company Iberdrola launched by Gas Natural ground to a halt in early May when it was blocked by Spain’s National Energy Commission (CNE). The g15.3m ($17.1m) bid was launched in March and would have created the third largest utility in Europe.

CNE is reported to have been concerned about the size of the combined group’s debt, even though Gas Natural had proposed the sale of non-energy assets to ease the burden. Iberdrola opposed the merger, as did Repsol YPF, one of Gas Natural’s largest shareholders.

The merger would have resulted in the world’s fifth largest electricity utility by market capitalization. The ruling by CNE means that Gas Natural ” Spain’s dominant gas distributor ” must now try to find other avenues into the electricity sector.

EHN to boost wind output

Renewable energy developer Energàƒ­a Hidroeléctrica de Navarra SA (EHN) has reactivated a contract with GE Wind Energy for the supply of wind turbines for use in projects across Spain. The move indicates significant planned growth in the wind business for EHN, which recently inaugurated a new wind turbine manufacturing plant in Navarre, Spain.

GE Wind Energy will supply EHN with two hundred 1.5 MW wind turbines for delivery in 2004. The 200 machines represent a total generating capacity of 300 MW ” enough to serve some 190 000 Spanish homes ” and will increase EHN’s installed wind base by 20 per cent.

The turbines will have a rotor diameter of 77 m and a 61.4 m hub height. They use a patented, variable-speed, constant frequency design and custom-designed airfoils. They will be equipped with dynamic VAR control electronics to help voltage control in support of the local grid.

EHN will also expand its wind turbine manufacturing capability through a new facility which it opened in May. The g800m plant will be capable of manufacturing up to 250 of the company’s 1500 wind turbine model per year.

Baglan Bay powers up

GE Power Systems’ 500 MW Baglan Bay power station in south Wales has started operating and is supplying power to the national grid. The plant is the world’s first installation of GE’s advanced H System gas turbine technology, designed to reach a combined cycle efficiency of 60 per cent.

Del Williamson, president of global sales, GE Power Systems, confirmed that Baglan Bay is grid connected. Development of the plant is on schedule, said Williamson, and GE is “very pleased” with operation of the H System. He said that he expects commercial operation to start in “the next couple of months”.

Baglan Bay will supply power and heat to a local industrial park, and will also supply power to the grid. The à‚£300m ($450m) project is the culmination of a decade of research and development by GE, supported by the US Department of Energy.

Link Update

The capacity of the Konti-Skan high voltage direct current (HVDC) link between Sweden and Denmark is to be increased with the signing of a g40m ($44.8m) contract between Alstom, Svenska Kraftnàƒ¤t and Eltra. Alstom will replace the converter stations at Vester Hassing, Denmark and Lindome, Sweden.

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