Thursday 23 September 2010

IAEA approves site for Egypt's first nuclear plant
September 16, 2010

The UN nuclear watchdog IAEA has approved an Egyptian site to host the country's first nuclear power plant. The site in El Dabaa is about 295 km from Cairo, and corresponds to all international requirements. IAEA experts said on Saturday. Egypt is set to construct four nuclear power reactors by 2025, with the first of them to be put into operation in 2019. The north African state's nuclear programme was originally suspended after the Chernobyl disaster in the former Soviet Union in 1986. Egypt is expected to announce the tender for the construction of the nuclear power plant by the end of the year. Russia is ready to offer its vast experience, its high--technology solutions and financial assistance to the project.

In March 2008, during Egyptian president's visit to Moscow, both countries signed an agreement on cooperation in the civilian nuclear sector. The document stipulates Russia's right to participate in tenders to build nuclear power facilities in Egypt. In 2009, the Egyptian authorities officially invited Russia to participate in a tender to build Egypt's first nuclear power plant. Egypt, which possesses large reserves of uranium ore, has two experimental nuclear reactors, one constructed in 1958 by the Soviet Union and the other bought from Argentina.

Swedish Wind Energy Industry all set to break records
September 18, 2010

As the demand for greener energy is continuously increasing. Sweden's wind power is swelling speedily. This Scandinavian country is anticipated to break records during 2010, in spite of wind power's global investment slowing down during the global economic slump. Experts feel that the Swedish wind industry has withstood the global economic recession.

The Swedish Wind Energy, a trade association, anticipates an additional 557-MW wind installation during 2010, amounting to a 36% increase in comparison with last year. Gothia Vind, a wind power operator based in Gothenburg, plans to construct 100 wind novel power stations in the Southern region of Sweden, with an overall 200-300MW capacity. The Swedish government aims to produce a renewable energy output amounting to about 50% of the nation's energy needs by the year 2020. Currently, 20% of Sweden's energy production is derived from renewable sources.

Sweden's development in the wind turbine segment has been quite rapid - ever since the mid-1980s the size of wind turbines has doubled almost every four years. Throughout the year 2009, 198 novel wind power turbines had been installed in Sweden while currently, there exist 219 wind power turbines with an overall 495MW power generation capacity under construction.

Finland to push for renewable, wind energy with feed-in tariff subsidies
Sep 16, 2010

Finland will promote renewable energy with fixed prices for wind and biogas power to encourage producers to meet emission targets set by the European Union. Feed-in tariffs, a set price guaranteed to producers, come into force on Jan. 1 and will last for 12 years, the government in Helsinki said today in an e-mailed statement. Finland is seeking ways to add non-polluting power generation to meet a need in a country that consumes per capita more than twice the electricity used by Germany because of its cold climate and energy-intensive industries such as paper making. Finland, which currently has four nuclear reactors and is building a fifth, also in July approved permits for two more units scheduled to come online in the 2020s.

The country must increase the share of renewable energy to 38% by 2020 from about 28% in 2008 to help Europe reduce its emissions of CO2, a gas blamed for warming the planet, according to a plan by members of the European Union. The Nordic country will also reduce energy demand to help meet the goal, the government has said. The feed tariffs will increase wind power in Finland to 6TW-hours by 2020, the government said. Wind power accounted for 0.3% of the 80.8TW-hours of electricity consumed in 2009. Finnish Energy Industries said on its website. Renewable generation increased 15% in 2008. Statistics Finland data shows.

To Parliament
Finland is seeking alternative sources of energy to supplement nuclear power because it lacks the oil and hydropower supplies of neighbours such as Russia and Norway, which gets almost all of its electricity from water. The motion will tomorrow be sent to parliament for approval. Finland had 118 wind turbines at the end of 2009 with a combined capacity of 147MW-hours, the Finnish Wind Power Association said on its website.

The target for the feed-in tariffs will be 83.50 euros ($109) aMW-hour, the government said. Electricity from biogas will get an additional 50 euros aMW-hour for combined heat and power generators. For the first three years, wind power would be paid 105 euros aMW-hour to ensure implementation, the government said. Finland imports about 15% of the electricity used in the country. Fortum Oyj, Finland's biggest utility, owns stakes in wind power generators Tunturituuli Oy and Hyoetytuuli Oy as well as a stake in a wind plant in Olkiluoto, Finland.

New-wave power station takes style tips from tuna
September 16, 2010

A project under way in the Seto Inland Sea aims to generate huge amounts of electricity from the energy of water currents, using streamlined turbines shaped like a tuna. Kiyomi Suzuki, president of the Hyogo Prefecture firm Nova Energy Co., sailed around the world in his former career as a ship captain and is taking a hands-on approach to leading the project. "Whenever I saw a tanker in the Persian Gulf. I had a sense of crisis about Japan's reliance on imported energy", Suzuki said.

The principle of tidal power generation is the same as that of hydroelectric power generation: Moving water rotates turbines that are connected to an electricity generator. Tidal power electricity generation projects pursued by other countries, such as Britain and South Korea, have been troubled by frequent occurrences of debris, such as driftwood and fishing nets, jamming or breaking turbine propellers. Suzuki realised the problem was due to the fixed position of the turbines--if they were able to move freely and follow changes in the direction of the current, debris would wash past the turbines, rather than becoming lodged in their propellers. "There are many obstacles in the sea", Suzuki said. "But the correct design can effectively deal with them".

Under Nova Energy's design, turbines are connected to electricity generators by a system of rotating axle joints. This enables a turbine to move on both vertical and horizontal axes, so that its body is always in line with the flow of the current. The design is ideal for the Seto Inland Sea, where the currents of up to 20 kph do not run in a uniform direction, because of the many small Islands within its waters. Ocean currents, on the other hand, have a continuous, unidirectional flow. The design, which is expected to have no negative impact on the marine ecosystem, may be included in plans for marine power plants being drawn up by the Economy. Trade and Industry Ministry.

Suzuki established Nova Energy in 2007, nine years after he quit his job as captain of a cargo vessel, to put his ideas for improved turbines into action. He conducted extensive tests of different designs in a water tank and in 2008, using 1.2-meter-long propellers made of light but strong reinforced plastic, he succeeded in generating electricity at a rate of 200 watts. The rotating-axle system proved to be a success--the turbines changed position to follow changes in the current, and were untroubled by passing debris.

Research into hydrodynamics by Prof. Deog Hee Doh of Korea Maritime University, who studied at the University of Tokyo, provided Suzuki's efforts with a great boost. By applying Deog's research, Suzuki found that power-generation efficiency increased by 30% by using turbines modeled on the distinctive, streamlined shape of tuna. The firm is currently experimenting with turbines equipped with six-meter-long propellers in the Akashi Strait in the Seto Inland Sea. The aim is to achieve a production capacity of more than 5kWs.

The Environment Ministry has commissioned the project to develop technology aimed at addressing global warming, and will provide 114 million yen in subsidies. Nova Energy plans to build a turbine with a 14-meter-long propeller by the end of this fiscal year, with a view to eventually developing a 25-meter-long model. The company has also set a goal of building a power station in the open sea, using large-propeller turbines to capture the energy of ocean currents, which it believes could be an attractive alternative to nuclear power. "We'll be able to build a large electric power plant with generation capacity of 1.6 millionkWs, the equivalent of a large nuclear power station, for half the cost of building a nuclear power plant", Suzuki predicted.

Wave power in pipeline for NT

Northern Territory News
Wednesday 15/9/2010 Page: 27

AN ENERGY company has been given the first stage of approval to set up tidal power turbines off the Territory coast. Tenax Energy Pty Ltd was last week granted a licence to occupy an area within the Clarence Strait. But they are yet to obtain regulatory approvals. Tenax Energy managing director Alan Major said the NT was in a unique position, with thousands of kilometres of coastline and some of the best tides in the world.

"Tenax Energy set about researching how to maximise this natural resource to generate clean, renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions", he said. Mr Major said more than 7000 tidal-energy turbines could be installed to satisfy the power needs of the Asia Pacific region. He said the company wanted to install an array of tidal-energy turbines in the fast-running currents of Clarence Strait. "The Clarence Strait project will supply renewable energy that is invisible, predictable, cost effective and in harmony with the environment", he said. "The generating capability of tidal generators is predictable, with exceptional accuracy many years in advance. "Twice a day, every day, the sea rises and falls... creating powerful and reliable water currents".

Mr Major said the development would go a long way to helping the NT achieve a 20% renewable energy target by 2020. "I am quite excited about the project... the first project of its type in Australia. "With all this growth in the Darwin region in the residential and industrial sectors, we see it as imperative that large-scale, renewable energy generation is made available", he said.

Spanish wind turbine firm Gamesa to triple China investments
20 Sep 2010

MADRID -- Spain's Gamesa, one of the world's top wind turbine manufacturers, said Tuesday it would triple its total investment in China by 2012 to meet rising demand for clean energy there. The company has so far invested a total of 42 million euros (54 million dollars) on facilities in China and it plans to invest over 90 million euros between 2010-2012, bringing its total investment in the country to over 130 million euros, it said in a statement. Gamesa forecasts China will account for over 30% of total sales, compared to 15% last year. "One of Gamesa's goals is to cement its position as one of the top five players in the Chinese wind power industry", Gamesa chairman Jorge Calvet said in the statement.

China wants renewable energy like wind to meet 15% of its energy needs by 2020, double its share in 2005, as it seeks to rein in emissions that have made its cities among the smoggiest on Earth. The country, the world's most populous, nearly doubled its wind power capacity last year with the rollout of 13.7GWs of wind assets, making it the largest wind power market in the world, according to Gamesa. The company said it had broken ground on its sixth manufacturing centre in China, a factory in the province of Inner Mongolia, one of the country's leading hubs for wind power development.

It has another factory under development in Jilin province in northwest China and four manufacturing centres in the province of Tianjin, which is home to the company's largest manufacturing base outside of Spain. When the factories in Jilin and Inner Mongolia come online, Gamesa will have a production capacity in China of 1,500MWs per year. Gamesa also said it had recently agreed to supply two of China's largest power companies, Guangdong Nuclear Wind and Datang Renewable Power, with 1.3GWs of turbines through 2013.

The company did not disclose how much the contracts with the two Chinese firms were worth but French investment bank Societe Generale put the figures at 1.3 billion euros. Gamesa has 30 manufacturing facilities in Europe, the United States. China and India and an international workforce of more than 6,300 people. Shares in Gamesa closed up 9.6% at 5.70 euros, its biggest one-day gain in over a year, on a day which saw the benchmark Ibex-35 index of most traded shares close up 0.38% at 10,806.60 points.

Tuesday 21 September 2010

FTSE boots BP out of ethical index
13 Sep 2010

BP has been kicked out of the FTSE4Good index for ethical companies, the latest but by no means greatest repercussion facing the oil giant in the aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. FTSE Group confirmed the deletion of BP in its semi-annual review last week, citing the company's poor response to the oil spill, as well as "the environmental and social impact and its history of similar incidents". The deletion is the most recent sanction on BP, which was taken off Dow Chemical Jones' sustainability index and then dropped from Calvert Investments ethical SAGE fund in June.

However, BP was not the only firm to be deleted from the index. FTSE4Good's review also announced plans to evict two construction firms - Morgan Sindall and Taylor Wimpey - for failing to comply with climate change criteria, and said it was deleting a further five companies for not meeting the FTSE4Good human and labour rights criteria. Changes to the index will kick in after the close of the markets on Friday 17 September, said the group.

FTSE4Good is also adding 13 more firms to the list, including Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, which has become the first nuclear power generator to meet FTSE4Good's new nuclear power criteria. Despite the controversy surrounding nuclear power. FTSE4Good said it had decided nuclear power had a "legitimate" but temporary part to play as countries switch to low-carbon energy supplies.

To be eligible to join the index, nuclear power generators have to meet strict criteria on nuclear safety and waste disposal in the areas of policy, management, reporting and performance. "Iberdrola is the only nuclear power generator globally to meet to the new criteria", a FTSE spokeswoman told "However that doesn't exclude other nuclear power companies from the list. In fact, we'd encourage more to come forward". Of the 12 other firms set to join the FTSE4Good Index, three are from the UK - telco TalkTalk, and landlord groups Grainger and Unite.

Solar power cap to shut out latecomers

Adelaide Advertiser
Tuesday 14/9/2010 Page: 33

THE solar feed-in tariff scheme designed to encourage green energy use is likely to be closed to new entrants by the end of next year, if not earlier, under a proposed limit. The proposed legislation would increase the tariff by 10c, to 54c, but once total installed capacity of solar power units reaches 60MWs, the feed-in tariff to homeowners will end. The Government and ETSA both believe the 60MW limit, which would cover about 44,000 SA households, will be reached rapidly given the current rate of 250 new solar panel installations a week.

About 18,000 SA households and groups are already signed up for the scheme and generate a combined 25MW. The feed-in scheme cannot be some form of a blank cheque. Renewables SA commissioner Tim O'Loughlin said. "There needs to be a balance between encouragement to households and the cost of the scheme", he said. "The idea is to lessen financial disadvantage and build support for early mover households willing to make the financial sacrifice (of installing the system)".

Greens MLC Mark Parnell welcomed the increased tariff bonus and the move to mandate electricity retailer payments to consumers, but said the new limits meant "the Rann Government still regarded solar as a boutique sideline rather than a major energy player". "It will put a stop to the scheme just when it starts to generate real momentum. This short-term thinking artificially creates a boom and bust cycle", Mr Parnell said.

Under the scheme, power suppliers pay participants for the net quantity of power fed into the grid - with the cost actually being borne by other electricity users. Mr O'Loughlin said the scheme was intended to encourage households to become energy self-sufficient and not to generate additional income streams. There is also a 45kW-hour per day cap, which excludes larger installed systems that were part of the original scheme introduced in 2008 legislated to reward users until 2028. Industry player Solar Shop Australia welcomed the added incentive but said the 45kW hour per day cap would limit incentive for commercial scale installations.

"If solar is to be truly embraced by more Australians, there needs to be substantial incentive for the commercial sector to invest in solar technology", Solar Shop Australia founder Adrian Ferraretto said. "There is enormous potential for solar panel manufacturing in Australia if there's a greater demand for large scale solar farms and commercial developments", he said. Solar Depot has been urging regional land owners and businesses to turn unused hectares into large-scale solar farms (10-30kW systems) to benefit from returns in the form of feed-in tariff and Renewable Energy Certificates.

Solar Depot sales manager Danial Walters said 10kW systems were still eligible and would mean regional domestic users could now put in larger systems, and "design it to meet the 45kW hour limit". "The real disadvantage is the 60MW cap", Mr Walters said. "It's going to be a busy year for us, but the overall reality is that people will eventually benefit from producing their own energy instead of taking it from the grid". He also said it was too early for wind power to be included in a tariff scheme.

India's Suzlon plans China expansion as wind-turbine `epicenter' shifts
Sep 14, 2010

Suzlon Energy Ltd., India's biggest maker of wind-turbine generators, said it plans to expand capacity at its plant in China as that market gains importance and the company returns to profit this financial year. The Ahmedabad-based manufacturer will make turbines capable of generating a combined 1,000MWs in China by 2013. Chairman Tulsi Tanti said yesterday in an interview in Tianjin. China. That's 67% more than the current capacity of 600MWs, which Tanti said will be used fully next year. "In the long term, the epicenter of our industry and our business will move to China", he said. "China will remain the largest market for the next 10 years".

Suzlon Energy joins General Electric Co, and European rivals that are introducing newer technology and opening factories in China, the world's fastest-growing green energy market, as they compete for orders. The country plans to add 18GWs of wind capacity this year, which Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates is double what's expected in the US, the No. 2 market. "It's a good idea to expand in emerging markets like China", Anuj Upadhyay, a Mumbai-based analyst with Wallfort Financial Services Ltd., said by telephone yesterday. "It doesn't cost much to expand the existing capacity. The country has huge wind power potential".

The Indian turbine maker is looking to form partnerships with Chinese companies to develop offshore wind projects using 5-MW and 6-MW turbines, he said. Orders from China and India may help Suzlon Energy offset slowing orders in Europe after the debt crisis made it difficult to raise funds for renewable energy projects.

Losing Abroad
"We have a good home market", Tanti said. "India is good. China is good, profitability is good. What we were losing was our international operations". Suzlon's loss in the three months ended June 30 doubled as a weaker euro devalued the company's overseas assets, though the company expects to return to profit this financial year. Analysts are not all in agreement. "In view of the company's current order book, it will be difficult for Suzlon to break even this fiscal year", Upadhyay said. Suzlon shares fell 0.7% to 51 rupees in Mumbai trading yesterday.

Tanti said Suzlon isn't selling stakes in its European units, including REpower Systems AG, a German wind turbine maker. Suzlon is in talks to sell as much as a 25% stake in REpower for $500 million, the Economic Times reported on Aug. 16. "It's a strategic investment and we would like to integrate the company", Tanti said. Suzlon held 90% of REpower as of March 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Stake Sales
Suzlon won't sell its interest in Hansen Transmissions International NV until it can get a better valuation for the Belgian gearbox maker. Tanti said. "There's no benefit for us at this valuation to sell", Tanti said. "At an appropriate and good and right valuation, we might think of an exit". Suzlon retains a 26% stake in Hansen after selling a 35.2% interest in the company for 224 million pounds on Nov. 19 to help pare debt. Hansen's share price has fallen 50% this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

World's largest offshore windfarm set to open off Kent coast
12 September 2010

The world's largest offshore wind farm, which cost over £750m to build, is poised to open off the coast of Kent, with 100 turbines producing enough electricity to supply heat and light for 200,000 homes. The Thanet facility, which is going through final testing by Vattenfall, its Swedish power company operator, arrives as the National Grid revealed that at one stage last week 10% of the UK's electricity came from wind farms.

But industry experts claim that the wider green revolution needed to meet EU renewable and climate change targets imposed by the European Union is still in danger from proposed spending cuts. Chris Huhne, the energy and climate change secretary, will open the facility, which is 12km off Foreness Point, on 23 September.

The Thanet farm, which will be able to produce 300MW of electricity, will be the biggest offshore facility of its kind until the even larger London Array, which has an eventual goal of 340 turbines, is completed. It will dwarf the nearby Kentish Flats facility off Whitstable, also run by Vattenfall and using similar Vestas turbines.

Excitement about the potential for wind was heightened last week when the grid put out a statement that over a 24-hour period up to 10% of electricity came from wind and 4% from hydro. Maria McCaffery, chief executive of RenewableUK, said the figures underscored the contention that wind and renewables were no longer "alternative" but core parts of the power sector.

"We are expecting to see the contribution of electricity from wind gradually increase over the next decade, to around 30% of the UK's total consumption. This news confirms that not only are the wind farms we have built so far starting to deliver, but that UK wind farm yields are the best in Europe, and comparable with established technologies such as hydro", she said.

Richard Fearnall of wind power developer West Coast Energy said it "put to bed the myth" that wind power is not a vital part of the mix in achieving energy security and meeting our renewable targets. "Let's hope that the landowners, potential neighbours of new schemes and, in particular, local planning authorities are the ones who are most encouraged by the news and that they will actively help the UK towards our legally-binding 2020 target of generating 15% of our energy from renewable resources, much of which will be wind-generated".

But the euphoria was dampened by Lord Turner, chairman of the government's committee on climate change, who has written to Huhne, warning that a "step change" is needed if Britain is to meet its target of generating 15% of energy - not just electricity - from renewable sources by 2020. The UK generates only 3% on an annual basis, although last week's figure from the Grid shows that - on a temporary basis at least - that figure can be much higher.

The government is considering whether to cut grants such as the £60m earmarked to help construct port infrastructure that would be needed to support further North Sea wind farms. Turbine makers such as Siemens have indicated that a cut could influence their plans to build plants in the UK.

Critics hit Great Lakes nuclear waste plan
Sept. 11, 2010

DETROIT. Sept. 11 (UPI) -- A plan to ship 16 steam generators -- with nuclear waste inside -- on the Detroit River and the Great Lakes has raised international outrage, authorities said. Residents on the U.S, and Canadian sides of the waterways are alarmed by the plan to ship the generators, each the size of a city bus, from a nuclear power plant in Canada to a recycling plant in Sweden. The Detroit News reported Saturday. An accident could contaminate the lakes, a source of drinking water in the region, environmentalists and elected officials said. "It's a bad idea", Michael Keegan, chairman of the Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes, said. "It sets a dangerous precedent".

U.S, and Canadian towns along the proposed route are angry they were never told about the plan, and three Canadian mayors and two Michigan state legislators say they are opposed to the shipment. "The Great Lakes are a tremendous economic engine for the state", state Rep. Sarah Roberts. D-St. Clair Shores, said. "I just don't think we should support any kind of threat that would harm a single job". After weeks of criticism the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, which originally didn't plan to seek public input on the proposal, has scheduled a public hearing for Sept. 29, the News reported.

Kuwait to build four nuclear reactors by 2022-KUNA
Sep 11, 2010

DUBAI. Sept 11 (Reuters) - Kuwait, the world's No. 4 oil exporter, has decided to build four nuclear reactors by 2022, each with a capacity of 1,000MWs, a senior nuclear power official was quoted as saying on Saturday. State news agency KUNA quoted the secretary general of Kuwait's National Nuclear Energy Committee. Ahmad Bishara, as saying several options to develop the nuclear sector were being considered and a general plan would be issued in January. Bishara also said Kuwait was in discussions with international partners to find a suitable mix for producing nuclear power over the next 20 years. The initial analysis, he was quoted as saying, showed that nuclear power was a viable option if oil prices remained above $45-$50 a barrel.

Bishara signed a cooperation agreement in Japan this week to expand nuclear capacity in the Gulf nation, raising the prospect of lucrative deals for Japanese companies. Kuwait signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with France in April. Electricity demand in Kuwait is expected to grow 7% per year. Bishara added. The OPEC member has recently been asking for more assurances from Iran about the safety of the Bushehr nuclear power reactor which Tehran has started fuelling up, as it fears the plant could pollute Gulf waters. Kuwait is looking to boost oil output capacity to 4 million barrels a day (bpd) by 2020 and gas output to 4 billion cubic feet per day (cfd) by 2030. It has relied on oil exports for more than 90% of state revenues. Current oil production capacity is 3.1 million bpd.

Monday 20 September 2010

Coal station deal raises eyebrows - Chinese company signs contract

Monday 13/9/2010 Page: 7

A CHINESE company has signed a contract to build a coal fired power station in the Latrobe Valley, despite concerns about the plant's greenhouse gas emissions. State-owned China National Electric Equipment Corporation announced it had signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract with Melbourne coal technology company HRL for the $750 million-plus plant. The announcement, published in the China Daily and confirmed yesterday by HRL, comes as the company continues to seek environmental approval for the station, which would use new gasification technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal.

The Age believes an HRL subsidiary. Dual Gas, has submitted a revamped application to build the Morwell plant with the state's Environment Protection Authority. An initial application was withdrawn last month after the company was warned the proposal failed to meet emissions standards for new power plants announced in July. Premier John Brumby set a limit of 0.8 tonnes of CO2 perMW hour of energy generated, effectively banning new power stations using traditional brown coal technology.

HRL had estimated its plant would have average emissions of between 0.78 and 0.89 tonnes perMW hour approximately equivalent to a modern black coal power plant. It is believed the company's new application will comply with the 0.8 tonnes limit, possibly by using less synthetic gas derived from coal and more natural gas than initially planned. The China Daily described the 600-MW HRL plant as the first power station set up by a Chinese company in a developed country, and the "largest clean energy power project by lignite [brown coal] gasification technology by far".

But environmentalists have criticised the plant and the state government, accusing it of introducing emissions standards that fail to back up its commitment to limit pollution contributing to global warming. The average emissions intensity of power stations across wealthy nations is about half the Victorian standard about 0.45 tonnes of gas perMW hour. Originally promised to start operating in 2009, the HRL demonstration plant has been continually delayed despite $150 million backing from the federal and state governments.

HRL declined to comment on the new application. If the EPA agrees to accept it, the application will be posted online and a call issued for public submissions. Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker said Mr Brumby must intervene to stop the plant being built if the state was to reach its target of a 20% cut in emissions by 2020. "We know they don't know how they are going to get to 20% at this point, and they are going to need every tonne [of CO2] they can find in terms of mitigation", he said. Business groups have backed the development of new, lower emissions coal plants as vital to secure the energy supply.

Lithuania invites bids for nuclear power plant to cut Russia dependence
Sep 10, 2010

Lithuania invited investors to bid on building a nuclear power plant to reduce the Baltic country's dependency on energy imports from Russia. Pre-selected bidders have until November to make binding offers, while the government wants to have a partner selected by the end of the year, the Vilnius-based Energy Ministry said in an e-mailed statement today. Lithuania wants to replace the Soviet-made Ignalina facility that was shut in December to comply with pre-accession commitments to the European Union. The country, which imports almost 50% of its electricity supplies, wants to complete the atomic power plant in Visaginas between 2018 and 2020. The government said in February it shortlisted five companies it declined to name to invest in and build the power station, which may cost as much as 5 billion euros ($6.4 billion). Iberdrola SA, Spain's largest electricity supplier, said in May it was one of the finalists.

Germany, utilities agree new levy in nuclear deal
Sep 9, 2010

The German government and energy suppliers have agreed utilities will pay a charge of 9 euros perMW hour from 2017 as part of a deal on the extension of nuclear power, a ministry document seen by Reuters showed. The charge will follow the expiry of Germany's nuclear fuel rod tax and proceeds will go into a special government fund for investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy, according to the Environment Ministry document. Germany's centre-right ruling coalition ended months of division on Sunday by agreeing the country's 17 nuclear power plants should operate longer than planned, giving reactors an extension of about 12 years on average.

North to be wired with $685m in clean power

Courier Mail
Friday 10/9/2010 Page: 38

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has pledged up to $685 million in funding for renewable energy projects in north Queensland. Kennedy MP Bob Katter secured Labor and Coalition support for a transmission line between Townsville and Mount Isa that would link the northwest to the eastern grid. It would help bring online solar, wind and other climate-safe sources of electricity. The State Government has left up to major energy-using companies such as miners Xstrata and BHP Billiton a decision on whether to support a transmission line and its renewable power projects or opt for new gasfired power from state-owned CS Energy or APA Group.

Ms Gillard, in a letter to Mr Katter on Wednesday after his decision on Tuesday to back the Coalition, said her Government would provide up to $335 million to help build the $1 billion transmission link CopperString project of partners Leighton Holdings Contractors and CuString. That is conditional on the project completing feasibility studies, consideration by Infrastructure Australia and a decision by the major energy-using companies that the link is their preferred option. Ms Gillard said Labor "will ensure the link is the first project assessed" under a $1 billion Connecting Renewables initiative.

Labor will provide up to $185 million for the transmission line from 2012 to 2017, with payments subject to agreed milestones. And it will provide additional funding of up to $150 million over three years if the project takes longer than expected to achieve market load growth. The Government will also provide $2 million upfront to develop renewable energy projects along the line to pre-feasibility stage. Ms Gillard said Labor would provide up to $350 million to build a large-scale solar generation plant along the transmission line, from a new round of a program to help build large-scale solar plants.

Labor will open a new round of applications in 2012-13. She said the State Government would be invited to make an application to the program for up to $350 million to be used to build a large-scale solar plant along the clean energy link. Local councils want the renewable power plants because they will create jobs and help protect the region from the pain of rising gas and coal prices. Solar developers expect largescale solar power to achieve grid parity with fossil fuel power, possibly next year.