World News – Europe

News digest

France: The new president of Electricité de France, Pierre Gadonneix, has called for a complete examination of the company from top to bottom ranging from financial activities to productivity levels. The inquiry will be headed by Jean-Louis Mathias, advisor to Gadonneix, and Merrill Lynch.

Netherlands: GE Energy’s aeroderivative gas turbine services group has signed a contract with E.On Benelux Generation to supply two new LM2500+ DLE aeroderivative gas turbines to repower existing Rolls Royce Olympus packages at the Leiden power station in Leiden. Leiden produces electricity for the local grid as well as district heating to the towns of Leiden and Leiderdorp.

Netherlands: Delta Energy is planning a $650m, 800 MWe combined cycle power plant at Vlissingen-Oost in the Zeeland area of Holland, adjacent to an aluminium plant and chemical works. Invitations to tender are due to be issued this month, with start-up scheduled for 2007.

Northern Ireland: Timber processing company Balcas is building a new à‚£9m ($16m) timber plant at Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, which will produce high-energy wood pellets for combustion in power plants.

Spain: The Spanish government will increase the country’s wind power target for 2010 to 20 000 MW, up 54 per cent from the current target of 13 000 MW. The country currently has an installed wind power base of 6200 MW, and wants to decrease its dependence on imported fuels.

Spain: Viesgo Energia, part of the Enel Group, has applied for planning permission to build a $425m, 800 MWe combined cycle plant at San Roque, Andalucia. If the project proceeds, start up would be scheduled for 2008.

Sweden: Goteborg Energi has awarded the contracts to build a $395m combined cycle cogeneration plant at Rya Harbour, Hisingen, to Siemens. The plant will consist of three power trains and infrastructure for a fourth unit, and will produce 260 MWe and 290 MWth.

UK: E.On is undertaking a feasibility study to convert Kingsnorth and Grain power stations in the UK from oil to gas firing. The scope of the work includes C&I, piping, valves, vessels, energy metering, burners, boiler modifications and emission control systems.

UK: Humber Wind Ltd. has appointed ERM as the lead environmental consultant for the Humber Gateway offshore wind farm. Humber Wind, a consortium of Vestas and United Utilities Green Energy, will construct the wind farm off the Holderness Coast in Yorkshire with a capacity of up to 300 MW.

Verbund puts Austrian Power Solution on hold

Austrian utility Verbund has suspended negotiations over the implementation of the ‘Austrian Power Solution’ following a public debate on industry consolidation and power price trends. Verbund says that it will wait until an investigation by the Austrian cartel authority is complete before proceeding further with the venture.

The Austrian Power Solution was announced in April 2002 and essentially calls for the creation of a power trading consortium ” EnergieAllianz ” covering the Austrian market. The European Union’s Comp-etition Commission approved the plan in June 2003 with certain provisions.

EnergieAllianz would consist of Verbund and a number of partner companies: EVN, Wein Energie, Energie AG Oberoesterreich, Bewag and Linz AG. Its main functions would be to perform power trading under the leadership of Verbund and joint key account sales, as well as joint planning and control of power plants.

The European Union approved the plans after imposing certain conditions. Verbund has had to sell its business customer sales subsidiary APC and also part with its holdings in the electricity discount houses Unsere Wasserkraft and My Electric.

Italy orders 400 MW CCGT

SET S.r.l. has awarded Foster Wheeler Italiana S.p.A a lump-sum turnkey contract for the engineering, procurement and construction of a 400 MW greenfield combined cycle power plant at Teverola, Italy. The new plant will enter operation in 2006.

The power plant will consist of a multi-shaft arrangement with one gas turbine, a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) and a steam turbine. It will operate on natural gas and deliver electricity to the Italian nation grid.

Foster Wheeler Italiana, a subsidiary of Foster Wheeler Ltd., will provide engineering, materials supply, erection, construction supervision, commissioning, start-up and testing services up to commercial operation.

Europe sues UK over Sellafield

The European Commission has launched legal action against the UK by referring a decade-long row over inspector access to the Sellafield nuclear plant to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). It is the first time that the Commission has taken legal action against an EU member state over nuclear safety.

The Commission claims that the UK authorities have not complied with EU nuclear safety rules and failed to provide appropriate information about material stored at Sellafield.

The UK believes that nuclear safety is a domestic, rather than European, issue. It will study the complaint and then respond to it.

REpower installs prototype turbine

Last month German wind turbine manufacturer REpower began the installation of the world’s largest wind turbine at a site in Brunsbàƒ¼ttel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. The 5 MW prototype unit is designed for offshore operation and will undergo a series of tests on land.

The prototype of the REpower 5M unit was installed at Elbehafen port and the company is planning to erect several more on land in coastal areas in 2005. It hopes to install the first unit in an offshore location in 2006 and for offshore series production to start in 2007.

Erection of the 5M was expected to take ten days, depending on weather. The unit has a rotor diameter of 126 m, a tower height of 120 m, a cut-in speed of 3.5 m/s and cut-out speed of 30 m/s (offshore).

BETTA moves

A single electricity market for Great Britain came a step closer to reality in September when National Grid Company was appointed system operator under the new British Electricity Trading and Transmission Arrangements (BETTA). The ‘go-active’ period, marking the transition from the old system to the new arrangements, also went live.

GB-wide electricity trading will start in April 2005 following the testing period. BETTA is designed to create greater competition and choice for consumers in Scotland.

Ireland and Wales to interconnect

The Irish government has given the go-ahead to the construction of two 500 MW electricity interconnectors to Wales, linking Ireland to the UK power grid and in turn to mainland Europe. The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) will now proceed to the proposal stage of the projects.

The two interconnectors will be built following a competitive selection process overseen by the CER. The government will seek funding from the European Union’s Trans-European Energy Networks (TENs) programme to help fund the interconnectors.

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