World News – Europe

News digest

Europe: Rating agency Standard & Poor’s has warned that regulatory requirements for securing electricity supply could increase, with stricter obligations for European transmission system operators, following recent electricity blackouts across Europe and the US.

Europe: A WWF report says the 15 European member states are unlikely to hit their Kyoto Protocol target of generating 22 per cent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2010. It blames a lack of effective policies for renewable power.

Greece: Construction of the 330 MW lignite fired Florina power plant in Greece has been completed by the consortium of Prometheus Gas, OAO Gazprom, Alstom Power Boilers and Alstom Power Generation with the plant scheduled to be transferred to the Public Power Corporation in October.

Ireland: Wärtsilä has been appointed EPC contractor for an Irish biomass CHP plant using sawmill bi-products owned by SWS Group and Grainger Sawmills. The plant will supply 1.83 MW electricity to the national grid and 3.5 MW of thermal energy used for timer drying.

Italy: Colorado-based Nathaniel Energy has been contracted to build two ‘1800 Thermal Combustors’, capable of generating 6 MW each, for a power plant fueled by refuse-derived fuel in Cologna, Veneta. Italy.

Norway: The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has rejected plans for Statnet and National Grid Transco to run a 1200 MW interconnector between Norway and the UK, saying that the socio-economic viability of the project is too uncertain at this point.

Portugal: Vestas Wind Systems of Denmark has won a turnkey contract worth g57m ($66.5m) from Portuguese wind energy companies Enersis SGPS and Enernova for the supply of 17 of its V80 2.0 MW wind turbines.

Switzerland: Alstom has been awarded a g7m ($8.2m) contract to enhance four steam turbines in blocks 1 & 2 of the Beznau nuclear power station in Switzerland including the provision of an advanced turbine protection and control system.

UK: Anticipated increased winter demand and firmer UK wholesale power prices have resulted in the reinstatement of a 250 MW unit at International Power’s Deeside power plant and the recommissioning of two of the three 131 MW units at RWE’s Fifoots plant in South Wales.

UK: SembCorp Utilities Teeside has approved the funding to complete the gas turbine project suspended 18 months ago at its Wilton power station. The project had been put on hold following the collapse of previous owners, Enron.

Finland chooses EPR for fifth nuclear power unit

Finland’s fifth nuclear unit will use a plant design based on the European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR) following the decision to select the Areva and Siemens consortium for supply and construction work. The plant will be owned and operated by Finnish electric utility Teollison Voima Oy (TVO) and built at its Olkiluoto site on the west coast.

A contract could be in place by year-end and Framatome ANP, an Areva and Siemens company, will supply the nuclear island and Siemens the conventional island.

TVO awarded the contract to the consortium following a competitive tendering process in which bids were submitted by GE using its Advanced Boiling Water Reactor design and from Atomstroyexport.

Electricity generated with the EPR is ten per cent cheaper than other designs currently in operation and it uses 15 per cent less uranium fuel.

Goldisthal plant enters operation

The inauguration of Germany’s biggest pumped storage power plant in Goldisthal, Thuringia has taken place in the presence of German chancellor Gerhard Schràƒ¶der.

Owned by Vattenfall Europe and costing g620m ($723m), the facility has an installed capacity of 1060 MW.

Construction of the power plant took six years and consists of an artificial upper (12m m3 of water) and lower (18m m3) reservoir. For the lower reservoir a purpose-built 67 m high dam was constructed. During periods of low power consumption water is pumped from the lower reservoir into the upper reservoir. When power consumption increases, the water flows back downhill through 6 m diameter pipes and drives the four turbines.

UCTE investigates Italy power blackout

An interim report into the recent power outage in Italy by the organization representing European grid companies, UCTE, has pointed to errors committed by Switzerland’s grid operator, Etrans. UCTE believes Etrans miscalculated the output cuts that it suggested Italy make as a security precaution.

A chain of events stemming from severe storms in Switzerland led to a massive power cut across Italy on 28 September. The event caused observers to question the stability of European grid connections and Italy’s reliance on power imports.

A freeze on nuclear power development and opposition to conventional plants from environmental groups have led to a gap between demand and supply in Italy. Imports of electricity now account for 20 per cent of consumption in the country

EC backs R-R fuel cell research

Work being carried out by a group led by Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems Limited (R-RFCS) into the advancement of Europe’s fuel cell capabilities has received financial backing from the European Commission (EC). The total value of the programme is g10m ($11.7m), including contributions from the EC, Rolls-Royce and the European partners.

The project focuses on six key research packages with the long-term aim of converting fundamental fuel cell technology into commercially viable energy conversion systems.

R-RFCS is also developing a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) gas turbine hybrid system for MW-sized stationary power generation applications.

Morgan Crucible’s Advanced Ceramics Division is assisting with the design and development, with Gaz de France providing fuel cell analysis and test services.

The University of Genoa is providing fuel stack modelling and system performance simulations while Risoe National Laboratory is studying electrode behaviour under simulated operating conditions.

Three agree to hydrogen research

Spanish renewables group Corporaciàƒ³n Energàƒ­a Hidroeléctrica de Navarra, Norwegian power utility Statkraft and Stuart Energy Systems of Canada signed an agreement with a view to the evaluation, demonstration and development of energy solutions based on hydrogen generated from renewable energy sources.

The three have agreed to undertake a programme of experiments with electrolysers to analyse the hydrogen production process from wind turbines and small hydropower stations.

Powergen adds Midlands Electricity

The decision by Scottish & Southern to pull out of a bid for Midlands Electricity has opened the way for E.ON’s Powergen to buy the British utility for g1.6bn ($1.9bn) and add 2.4m customers. Powergen agreed to buy the electricity distributor from US owners, Aquila and FirstEnergy Corp. with holders of approximately half of its outstanding bonds.

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