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845 MW coal-fired unit set for 2015 activation in Mannheim

November 28th, 2014

Unit nine of the Grosskraftwerk Mannheim (GKM) coal-fired power plant in southwest Germany is to come on line in the middle of 2015.

The activation of the unit at the plant, whose shareholders include RWE, EnBW and MVV, will occur following the decommissioning of units three and four, which total 405 MW.
Mannheim coal plant
ICIS online reports that the Baden-Wurttemberg coal-fired plant’s installed capacity currently stands at 1.52 GW, but not all of its production is sold on the market. The plant has 190 MW of capacity available for the production of single-phase railway power and the plant generates about one-tenth of the power needed by German railway, according to its operator.

“As Deutsche Bahn intends to continue sourcing power from GKM in the future, it has secured a contract for around 100 MW of capacity from unit nine,” said a spokeswoman for the plant’s operator to ICIS on Friday.

Several large coal power units are about to come on line in Germany. The 731 MW Wilhelmshaven plant of GDF Suez and Vattenfall’s Moorburg A and B coal CHP units with capacity of 1.66 GW are in testing phase.

At the same time, the launch date of RWE’s 800 MW Westfalen D and E.ON’s 1.06 GW Datteln 4, which were both earlier scheduled to come on line in 2011, is unknown. Westfalen D is suffering from technical problems and Datteln 4 has been delayed due to legal challenges.

Hollande declares end of export credits for coal

November 28th, 2014

President of France, Francois Hollande has told an environmental conference that the government is ending its support for companies who develop coal-fired power projects abroad.

His statement contradicts European Union policy on the subject, which was leaked in July.
Speaking at the annual environmental conference he said, "Eventually, subsidies to all fossil fuels should be phased out. We are eliminating all export credits in the support that we give to developing countries whenever coal is used."

Hollande’s comments run contrary to the recently leaked EU policy paper.

While Brussels plans to phase out subsidies for domestic coal plants by 2018, the paper prepared by officials from the European Commission trade department recommended that export credits, or preferential loans to help cover exports costs, should be continued for the most modern coal plant technology.

EON sells US wind farms to Enbridge for $650m

November 28th, 2014

E.ON has sold an 80 per cent stake in two US wind farms to Canadian energy firm Enbridge for $650m.

The 203 MW Magic Valley 1 wind farm in Texas and the 202 MW Wildcat 1 project in Indiana both came into service in 2012.Magic Valley wind farm

Enbridge is best known as an energy transportation company, moving oil and gas around North America, and it also owns and operates Canada's largest natural gas distribution company.

It has also moved into acquiring power generation assets and in the last five years has spent $3bn on 1800 MW-worth of wind, solar, geothermal and alternative energy stakes.

Enbridge’s senior vice-president of corporate development, Vern Yu, said that the E.ON deal “extends our renewable platform in the US, complementing our existing wind farm presence in Texas and establishing Enbridge in the Indiana renewable market”.

“This strategic investment provides a significant contribution to our growth targets in power generation,” he added.

E.ON, which will keep a 20 per cent stake in the wind farms and remain their operator, said the deal was “consistent with its ‘build and sell’ strategic approach”.

The German company currently operates over 2700 MW of renewable capacity in the US.

Argentina launches 1 MW solar tender

November 27th, 2014

Argentina's Ministry of Economy and the Santa Fe provincial government have launched an international open tender for a 1 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project. The project will be built in the town of San Lorenzo.

The tender aims to increase the importance of renewable sources in the Santa Fe energy matrix.

The association between foreign and national companies to transfer technology will be valued during the bid.

When the project is completed, its energy production will be transmitted to the Argentinean Interconnection System (SADI).

Firms queue up for new Czech nuclear plant

November 27th, 2014

Five companies have expressed their interest in a developing a new nuclear reactor planned by the Czech government.

Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mladek announced that Korea Electric Power Corp. (015760), Westinghouse Electric Co LLC, Rosatom Corp., Areva SA (AREVA) and a Chinese state company have expressed interest ahead of the publication of the country’s long-term energy strategy, Mladek said in an interview with Pravo newspaper.

The Czech Republic is revamping its energy plans after state-controlled utility CEZ AS cancelled a $15bn tender for two nuclear reactors at the Temelin nuclear power station in April. The tender was scrapped because the government declined to provide price guarantees on power generated by new units.

The future project could be divided between Temelin and the older Dukovany nuclear station, with each power plant getting one new reactor, Mladek said. He added that each bloc could be built by a different investor, according to the minister, with new reactors scheduled to come online by 2030.

Brazil seeks energy stability as coal and gas power auction commences

November 27th, 2014

The Brazilian government launches a key auction in ensuring the country’s energy security on Friday.

Dilma Rousseff’s administration wishes to award contracts for natural gas- and coal-fired power plants, reversing a drive that previously favoured renewable-energy projects.

The government has re-oriented its energy strategy in response to a situation whereby it almost had to re-introduce energy rationing in recent months, thanks to overdependence on hydroelectric power.
Dilma Rousseff
It would lead to the first new thermal plants in three years, after the government scaled back such projects and awarded wind contracts starting in 2009 and solar energy earlier this year.

The worst drought in eight decades dried up reservoirs at hydro-dams that produce 70 per cent of Brazil’s power.

“It’s important for the security of the system that we have more thermal energy -- it was because of thermal that we avoided rationing last year,” Jose Carlos de Miranda Farias, EPE director of electric energy research told Bloomberg. “We need to guarantee supplies to Brazilian consumers who refuse to deal with energy shortages of even half an hour.”

The big shift in this auction is that thermal plants come with the best terms. In an effort to lure more projects, the nation’s energy regulator raised the cap on thermal-electricity rates to 209 reais ($83.51) a megawatt-hour from an initial proposal of 197 reais. The new price is more than twice that of the last gas project that was awarded in 2011.

And unlike the auction held last month, when the first federal contract was awarded for solar plants, the government is grouping all the projects together. That means gas and coal plants will compete head-to-head with clean-energy producers.

UK green bank purchases £240m stake in Norwegian power producer

November 27th, 2014

UK- government-owned Green Investment Bank has purchased a 20 per cent stake in the company responsible for developing the Sheringham offshore wind park.

The £240m ($379m) deal sees GIB acquire a fifth of holdings in Scira Offshore Energy Limited from Norwegian energy firms Statoil and Statkraft.
Sheringham wind park
Scira owns the 317 megawatt Sheringham offshore wind facility, which has been operating for two years in the Greater Wash area, between 17 and 23 kilometres off the coast of Norfolk, England.

Statoil and Statkraft will each continue to hold 40 per cent of the firm.



Heat-conducting plastic: 10 times better than conventional counterparts

November 26th, 2014
The spaghetti-like internal structure of most plastics makes it hard for them to cast away heat, but a research team has made a plastic blend that does so 10 times better than its conventional counterparts.

Black Carbon and Particulate Matter (PM2.5) Concentrations in New York City’s Subway Stations

November 26th, 2014

TOC Graphic

Environmental Science & Technology
DOI: 10.1021/es504295h

Examining Air Pollution in China Using Production- And Consumption-Based Emissions Accounting Approaches

November 26th, 2014

TOC Graphic

Environmental Science & Technology
DOI: 10.1021/es503959t
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