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Direct Energie wins tender for Brittany electricity generation

01 Mar 2012 19:17:37 | edem

Direct Energie and Siemens have fought off competition from EDF and Enel to develop a 422MW natural gas-fired power plant in Brittany, French industry minister Eric Besson announced on Wednesday.

The combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant, at Landivisiau in the Finistère department, is scheduled to come on line in 2016, France's energy ministry said.

It aims to bolster supply in a region where blackouts have been relatively common in recent years, especially during peak hours in winter.

The project has already come under fire from residents (see EDEM 24 August 2011), who want the project to be discussed by France's national commission for public debate.

Flexible generation need

But the consensus is that France needs more flexible generation. Peak spot prices rose above €300.00/MWh in early February as temperatures about 10˚C (50˚F) below the seasonal norm boosted demand beyond the country's total installed capacity (see EDEM 10 February 2012).

"By equipping Brittany with a standby facility in the west of the region, the project will help relieve the network during peak times, beginning with the 2016-2017 winter, according to the schedule to which the consortium has committed," the ministry said.

That a company other than EDF might want to build a CCGT may come as a surprise, as analysts had questioned the profitability of gas-fired plants (see EDEM 3 November 2011).

French spark spreads calculated by ICIS Heren for Cal '13 Peaks have fallen by more than €7.00/MWh since the start of 2011 and are €10.84/MWh. ICIS Heren calculated the spread by setting the French Cal '13 Peaks against the TTF gas Cal '13 contract, assuming a gas-burn efficiency of 49.13%.

The proposal by France's Direct Energie and Siemens, of Germany, was judged superior to those of France's EDF and Enel, of Italy, on the grounds that their project would be less detrimental to the environment, take less time to build, and have a lower cost to society in general.

The government made its decision based on analysis of the bids by France's energy regulator, CRE, as well as the opinion of the regional prefect. TH

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