zondag 3 mei 2009

EU plans more energy competition

New legislation will target European energy giants in order to reduce the boosting competition in the market for supplying gas and electricity.

The package is already backed by EU ministers. It was adopted by the European Parliament last Wednesday. But it softens an original proposal to unbundle the control of big energy utilities over power generation and distribution. Producers will keep the control of grids and pipelines under supervision. The "ownership unbundling" drive was an initiative of the European Commission to liberalise the EU's energy market.

The commission was concerned about EDF of France and E.ON of Germany. Their domination of the market is limiting the opportunities for smaller firms to be competitive. France and Germany led opposition to the original plan, pressing for alternatives to breaking up the energy giants that dominate the market.

Full ownership unbundling is an option for governments. Governments will be able to choose for two alternative models, which let energy producers retain control of gas and electricity networks. EU member states can make energy firms hand over the management of their transmission network to a separate independent system operator (ISO).

Firms can also preserve integrated supply and transmission under the independent transmission operator (ITO) model.
The ITO includes a supervisory body with third-party shareholders. It includes also a compliance programme to prevent discriminatory actions in the market. EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said the compromise deal will ensure a market which is proper and honest for everyone. But Green MEP Claude Turmes said the legislation was not strong enough to contain the domination of the sector by oligopolies.

The BEUC European consumers' association was also disappointed. Their meaning: even if the new energy package offers more rights to consumers, these rights cannot be ensured without real competition and in particular without full ownership unbundling.
The package included measures to improve consumers' rights. Consumers will be able to change their energy supplier within three weeks, and free of charge. There will be an independent complaint mechanisms to settle disputes with suppliers. Consumers will also have the right to compensation for bad service, such as inaccurate or delayed billing.

I think it’s a good try to create a fair market of energy supply. But no matter what measures there will be taken, I think the competition in a market is something you can’t really provide. Everyone wants to offer his products as cheap as possible, in order to gain lots of clients. Sometimes, the service you get is less qualitative! But if I can get the same product of the same quality, I will certainly obtain for the cheapest solution. If the legislation of levelled pricing will be introduced, it’s really another case, and I think the best solution will be a fusion of all suppliers to offer the same product of a higher quality and with a better service!

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8013919.stm

Posted by Joachim De Zutter

Economy blows ill wind for renewable energy

The politicians all round the globe had promised that renewable energy would be the main issue of the economic recovery, but this year isn’t good for renewable energy.
A study that is made for the department for energy and climate change has showed that there could be built between 5000 and 7000 new wind turbines off the coast of Britain by 2020. These new turbines will generate 25 GW of energy.
Analysts were warning that the main issue in 2009 is a move from severe under supply to serious over supply.

In March there was the first big hurdle for wind. Shell, the oil company had decided that it was putting out of wind, solar and hydro power because it felt they were not economic. It said it would concentrate on cleaner ways of using fossil fuels.
There are other proves that it is not going well with renewable energy this year. BP has cut 620 jobs at its solar division, and Siemens has cut 400 jobs from its wind operations. Iberdrola hat cut its investments in renewables by almost half this year.

There are also projects that will be stopped. So is there the London Array, a project to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary. The developers of this project went to the bank for a bailout, this puts the future of the project in doubt!!

According to me the financial crisis has also a negative effect on renewable energy. I think it’s logical. People and businesses aren’t very interested in renewable energy for the moment, they want to save as many as they can. They don’t want to invest in new projects. In this difficult time it’s obvious how people think about renewable energy, they don’t think it’s that important. I understand this situation, but I also know that if we don’t pay attention, this is not good for our planet. The people really need to start seeing that our world is in need of renewable energy.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/apr/28/economy-ill-wind-green-energy

Kevin De Pauw

Anger at plans for nuclear power station to replace wind farm

There is a chance that one of the oldest wind farms in Britain will be replaced by a nuclear power station. The wind farm is also known as one of the most efficient of the whole country. It is situated at Kirksanton in Cumbria. The proposals, proposed by the German-owned power group RWE, were made public and the government approved the plans for potential atomic newbuild. This infuriated the wind power industry.

RWE confirmed that they plan to build a new nuclear plant over there and that this could lead to the destruction of the wind farm, but this isn’t certain. There will be an overlap, but it could be that only a few wind turbines must be replaced.

I think that the government have to try to find another place for the nuclear plant. I’m sure that there are still plenty of places in Britain where a nuclear plant can work. A place where there isn’t already a production of green energy would be much better. I’m not sure if nuclear plants are a solution to stop the pollution of our world. Nuclear plants bring also waste. You can say that this waste is very little compared to the production of energy, but the waste is very dangerous for thousands of years and can be a big danger for living beings. So I still prefer wind farms, because I don’t consider nuclear plants as totally green.

Robby Lampens

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/apr/28/haverigg-turbines-nuclear-power-plant

Energy security fears a contract boost for UK Coal

According to the UK’s largest coal producer, increased fears over energy security has rallied demand for coal.

UK Coal has signed and extended new long-term contracts with the big four in electricity generation.

The shares in the group reached a two-month high closing up 8.8 percent at 115p.

For 2008, the company posted a pre-tax loss of £15.6 million, compared to £69 million profit the previous year, as the current economic climate has hampered the coal price.

The new contracts which have been signed amount to 36 million tonnes and have been signed at far higher prices due to the energy price fear, meaning that they are ahead of the current external marker as energy companies want the security of local coal and, in return, are willing to pay a premium for it.

The company expects the cash flow benefits from the contracts to be £85 million in 2009, with a further £15 million next year, as it plans to step up production, hoping to produce 8.3 million tonnes this year, compared to 7.9 million tonnes in 2008.

I think it's normal that there is fear in this periode of economic crisis. That is why energy companies want to be sure that they will have enough coal to produce their energy. So according to me it is normal that they are willing to pay a prenium for the coal.

It's logical when companies want to pay more for the coal, that UK coal will have a contract boost, which means that UK coal will also have better econmic figures.

Source: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/businessnews/Energy-security-fears-a-contract.5211995.jp

Dominique Van Huffel