CASE: Slovakia has a new
national technology platform
Last week the new geothermal technology platform geoEnergia officially started its function. Its aim is to create a conception for research and development of geothermal energy in Slovakia, create networking among relevant actors from the sector, contribute to the development of geothermal energy in Slovakia and support international cooperation.
The potential of geothermal energy is not used on a sufficient level in Slovakia. Currently no electricity is generated in a geothermal energy in Slovakia. Besides that cooperation between research and development in the academic field and practice is on a very low level in comparison with other EU countries. According to the participants of the official opening, another hurdle of scientific development is a non-functional system of financing such activities and a high level of bureaucracy.
“Geothermal energy is the only source of primary renewable energy that is able to supply this consistent and secure electricity 24 hours a day, 365 days in a year in long term,” said Igor Kočiš, director of the company Geothermal Anywhere.
Stanislav Sipko from the Slovak organization for research and development activities informed about the system by which science is financed in Slovakia. He pointed out to the fact that science has a low credit in the society and it is often sidelined by the politicians. According to him, the participation of industry is visibly missing in science. “The biggest problem is, that two core types of financing – through the Agency for research and development support (APVV) and state programs – are not being used at all for a number of years,” he added.
The specific projects for development of geothermal energy in Slovakia are the academic cooperation in the field of mechanics with the University of Zilina and the research-development centre of plasma-centric processes that focuses on technological components.
Week in Slovakia:
Monday – 15th November 2010
The geothermal technological platform geoEnergia was successfully launched in Slovakia. The official opening took place last week on Wednesday (November 10) at the company Geothermal Anywhere and Slovak Academy of Science and was organized by the Agency for geothermal energy (AGEO). The opening was attended by representatives from the academic sphere, businessmen and representatives from the ministries of education and finance. Within the area of the Slovak Academy of Science a Research centre for ultra-deep drilling was also officially opened.
Wednesday – 17th November 2010
A new round of talks on using the planned Slovak-Hungarian gas pipeline connection with the two companies’ eustream and FGSZ were held in Bratislava. During the information day of the binding phase Open Season companies interested in using the pipeline handed in their binding offers on the transport capacities. They can do so until December 8th. If the binding phase of the Open Season process will be considered as successful, the new pipeline connection could be put into operation already at the beginning of 2014. The Memorandum of understanding on constructing the new pipeline connection between Slovakia and Hungary was signed by eustream and FGSZ in June 2009. The planned pipeline should be long 115 kilometers and connect the high-pressure transport systems between Veľké Zlievce on the Slovak side and Vecsés at the suburb of Budapest in Hungary.
Thursday – 18th November 2010
Ministers of the current government held talks about the amendment of the law on renewable energy sources. The biggest changes should come in electricity production from solar sources. Construction of solar power plants should move onto roofs of buildings. Moreover, the place of electricity production will move closer to the place of consumption, which should lower the losses caused by distribution of electricity. Support for photo-voltaic installations will only be applicable to those installations which have a total installed capacity lower than 100 kW. Furthermore the minimal share of renewable energy sources should be increased in fuels to 30 %. The regulator will become the one responsible for changing the conditions of the state subsidies system if the pay-back period is shorter than 12 years. The amended law also proposes to extend the categories of renewable energy sources. Within the already existing RES it also wants to include aero-thermal and hydro-thermal energy. If the National Council approves the law amendment n.309/2009 on renewable energy sources support it will come into practice on April 1st 2011.
European Union and World
Monday- 15th November 2010
Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas warned about a potential biomass boom. He said that the state support for electricity production from biomass could cause the country same problems as photo-voltaic did just recently. He also informed that the Czech cabinet has ordered a study on how the Energy regulatory office (ERÚ) is being financed. According to the chief of the regulatory office Josef Fiřt, in the upcoming year Czech Republic does not have to fear any substantial problems with biomass, but a prevention in the legislative is needed.
The popular German writer Charlotte Roche has joined the anti-nuclear campaign in a very nontraditional way. She offered the German President Christian Wullf sex in exchange that he will veto the legislation on extending the lifetime of nuclear energy in the country. The lifespan of nuclear power plants is now in the hands in the president. If he will not sing the government’s proposal, the proposal will have to be voted for in the Bundesrat. The cabinet of Angela Merkel wants to extend the operation of nuclear power plants by 12 years.
Russian Gazprom has discovered its first natural gas field in Algeria. In cooperation with the Algerian company Sonatrach it hopes to export the commodity to Portugal and Spain. The flow of gas in the field should reach approximately 75-thousand cubic meters per day.
Russia and Belarus have officially signed an agreement on cooperation on the natural gas pipeline South Stream. The construction of the Bulgarian part of the pipeline will be carried out by the consortium of companies from both of the countries, while each side will hold a 50 % share.
Iraq state representatives have singed contracts on long-term research and extraction of two natural gas fields – Mansurija and Siba. The Iraqi Ministry of oil economy hopes to increase the energy production of its country and to enter the global gas market. The research and extraction will be carried out by three companies: South Korean company Kogas, Kuwait company Kuwait Energy and Turkish state company TPAO.
It is supposed that North Korea has started to build a light hydro nuclear reactor in the complex of Jonbjon. Its total installed capacity should be around 25 to 30 MW. North Korea is trying to reassure the international scene that the reactor will only be used for peaceful purposes. The construction should take a number of years.
Tuesday – 16th November 2010
Poland is still the leading country in coal extraction among all the EU member states. In spite of the volume of coal extraction, each year the level of extraction is falling and it is economically more viable to import coal from abroad. For example the price of coal imported from Russian Federation is in some cases 30 % cheaper. The reason behind the high prices of coal in Poland is the need o go deeper when extracting the commodity, which makes the costs exponentially higher.
Czech Republic is continuing in constructing the natural gas pipeline that should be connected to the planned Russian-German pipeline North Stream. The connection branch should be the pipeline Gazela, and the gas will flow back to Germany through it. The construction on the Czech side was launched in October 2001 and in Germany in 2009. Germany is investing approximately 1 billion Euros into the construction of the 470 kilometers long pipeline. The costs on the Czech side for building 166 kilometers will be 9, 8 billion Czech crowns. The pipeline Gazela is a project of RWE TransgazNet.
Thursday – 18th November 2010
President of the Austrian oil company OMV faces legal charges of misusing confidential information. In March 2009 Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer has bought OMV shares for more than 620.000 euro, by which he increased his share in the company by more than double. A week later, OMV announced that it is selling its shares in the Hungarian oil and gas company MOL. If calculated in one share, it was nearly double of the then market price of MOL. Shares of OMV rose by 3,3 % during that day. According to offices Ruttenstorfer could assume that this announcement would lead to a rise in price of OMV. The OMV chief refused all the accusation of breaching the law.
EU will need to invest more than 200 billion euro into its energy infrastructure in the upcoming decade, says the conclusion of the report published by the European Commission. The report proposes a reconstruction or construction of approximately 45.000 thousand kilometers of electricity networks until 2020. The aim is also to enhance the energy connections between countries.
In Czech Republic the government is talking about amending the nuclear law. It could bring a change in the financing system of the State agency for nuclear safety (SÚJB). The agency would mainly function from donations of the ČEZ concern and other operators of nuclear facilities. The state could save more than 50 million Czech crowns each year by amending the law.
Czech concern ČEZ is negotiating with foreign financial institutions (Morgan Stanley and Crédit Agricole) about selling electricity also in the upcoming then years. In specific, it is about a part from production of coal power plants. By signing deal worth of billion crowns, the company will secure a part of its stable income. However experts warn ČEZ about the potential risks connected with setting a price for ten years.
Russia and Chine are still struggling over setting the price for natural gas. The talks fail on the question about the price for the commodity. Moscow wants to expand its market into Asia, but on the other hand Beijing wants to satisfy the rising energy demand in the country. But Beijing is demanding lower prices that the Russian side is proposing. Both sides are willing to come up with a compromise and a lot is expected from the planned visit of the Chinese Prime Minister in Moscow next week.