News Digest

Finland: Fortum Power & Heat has awarded Metso Automation a contract to modernize the automation systems at the Kauttua CHP plant. The order includes the turnkey delivery of a metsoDNA automation system for the plant’s fluidized bed boiler and turbine.

France: Alstom has won two separate orders for air poluution control systems for power plants in France with a combined value in excess of g230m ($278m). The orders were awarded by Elecricité de France, Endesa-owned LA SNET and Charbonnages de France.

Iberia: Portuguese power grid REE and Spanish grid REN could exchange shareholdings when the common electricity market (MIBEL) comes into operation, which is scheduled for April 2004.

Italy: Italy’s national power grid operator GRTN said it plans to invest g450m ($544m) in expanding the electricity network in 2004-2006 with a further g1.25bn in the medium to long-term. Plans include 1900 km of new lines and 51 new substations.

Netherlands: Nuon Belgium is planning to build a g265m ($320m) cogeneration plant with a capacity of 230 MWe and 95 t/h of steam. Companies are invited to submit prequalification bids to build the Apeldoorn plant by April 2004.

Spain: Duro Felguera, S.A. has been appointed EPC contractor for Endesa’s g22m ($26.6m) 50 MW power plant on the island of Tenerife. Pratt & Whitney is to supply two FT8 gas turbines for the plant, which is due to go online in October 2004.

Spain: Spanish utility Endesa is to invest g3.7bn ($4.5bn) to boost its installed generating capacity in Spain by 25 per cent between 2004 and 2008. Endesa is to construct 5847 MW of new capacity in order to meet demand, expected to increase by 16 per cent by 2008.

Spain: New reseach by analysts Datamonitor has identified Endesa’s Powerline broadband service as a ‘stand-out’ product and a notable exception to the many less successful attempts to extend broadband internet service through existing power networks.

UK: Eurowind Developments Limited has announced that it has run a number of successful field trials of its self starting vertical axis wind turbine blade design. The company is seeking backers for a project to build a 3 MW demonstration machine.

UK: Banham Poultry has won approval to build a £10m ($18.4m) power plant to dispose of dried poultry by-products at Bunn’s Bank in Norfolk. The plant will use pyrolysis and gasification to release a combustable gas.

European UPS market revives

International analysts and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan has issued a new report into the European market for uninterruptible power supply (UPS) equipment in which it identifies a gradual recovery from the market’s collapse following the burst of the IT and telecoms bubble. The report says that the string of grid failures across Europe has made end users of electricity keenly aware of the importance of power protection.

Frost & Sullivan says that the market, which peaked in 2001, stands at around g503m ($604m). It says that niche growth opportunities exist particularly in public and infrastructure applications which made up 20.9 per cent of total UPS revenues in 2003.

The report forecasts that the European UPS market will reach g733m in 2010.

Increased government spending, especially in the UK, the anticipated recovery of the commercial sector in the short-term and growth opportunities arising from the EU accession countries are all expected to boost UPS sales. According to the findings, the focus has shifted from vendors of large UPS systems to small and medium UPS equipment suppliers.

Europe slacking on Kyoto targets

The global conservation group WWF warns that European Union (EU) countries are not on track to meet their Kyoto CO2 emission reduction targets. It believes that pressure from industry has led governments to water down the National Allocation Plans (NAPs), which each member state is due to submit to the European Commission as part of the Emission Trading Scheme, scheduled to start January 2005.

WWF says that European governments have dragged their feet and done little to cut greenhouse gas emissions. It singled out Germany, which it says has bowed to an industry rooted in the outdated practices of the 19th century. Germany is asking big polluters to cut their CO2 emissions by just two per cent by 2012. “This is a surrender to the coal lobby,” said Dr. Stephen Singer, head of climate and energy policy for WWF.

Marine power funding call

Representatives from Britain’s wave and tidal energy industry, meeting in March, called on the government to provide more practical support to prevent the UK’s dominant position slipping away. Speakers insisted that a ten-fold funding increase is needed over the next five years if marine technologies are to achieve commercial viability.

The industry is also pressing for market incentives for the implementation of marine projects in the UK, which enjoys some of the best wave and tidal resource in the world. “The details of the government’s Innovation Review doesn’t back up its declared comittment to the sector,” said Philip Wolfe, CEO of the Renewable Power Association.

The Carbon Trust has announced a $290 000 grant towards the development of Offshore Wave Energy Limited’s (OWEL) ‘Grampus’ wave energy converter.

EU forms solar research consortium

The European Union is to provide g2.5m ($3.0m) towards a g4.6m research project that brings together a consortium of 13 technology, academic and manufacturing partners, seeking to overcome obstacles to large-scale production of plastic solar cells. The 30 month project, Molecular Orientation, Low Band Gap and New Hybrid Devise Concepts for the Improvement of Flexible Organic Solar Cells, also known as Molycell, aims to accelerate the development of this form of sustainable energy system.

The US developer of polymer photovoltaic products, Konarka Technologies, is to provide a key role in testing, evaluation, and manufacturing a new breed of low-cost photovoltaic cells, through its Austrian and Swiss subsidiaries.

“By co-ordinating our areas of expertise across institutional and country boundaries, we can develop the breakthroughs needed to bring solar power to below g1 per watt, which will open the way for its wide-spread adoption as a new source of power,” said Konarka’s chief marketing officer Daniel McGahn.

Energy gets wise

The second report of Eurelectric’s Energy Wisdom programme has been published showing participation from companies representing over one third of the total EU installed generation capacity.

The voluntary initiative on sustainable development was launched in 2002 and covers nearly 100 cutting-edge projects in electricity generation, transmission and distribution, energy efficiency, emission reduction and fuel saving.

GE 9FA chosen for Italian CCGT

The first independent power project to be financed under Italy’s deregulated power market, Energia Molise power plant, is to be fitted with GE Energy’s Frame 9FA gas turbine generators. The new 800 MW combined cycle facility is part of a new fleet of natural gas fired power plants being built to meet Italy’s growing need for electricity.

GE Energy will supply two Frame 9FA machines, equipped with Dry Low NOx emission combustion systems, and has also agreed a 12-year contractual service agreement.