New energy demands are testing power supplies and creating new opportunities for power plant development in some countries.
Michael J. B. Carter is senior energy analyst and director of database product development with Platts. He specializes in economic analysis of the energy sector. He has published on a wide range of energy industry topics, including analysis of merchant plants, financial performance of sector companies and business development strategy in the energy sector. During his time with Platts, Carter’s work has involved financial and economic analysis of the energy sectors of the Canada, Mexico, United States, and select South American nations.
Increases in demand for electrical energy and the restructuring of power markets make Western European investment opportunities look increasingly attractive. Many are, but comprehensive assessment of each market and each project is crucial.
The bulk of Western European countries face significant demand increases. That comes from a combination of factors that include competitive market reorganizations, increased affluence, greater use of electricity in summer, and fluctuations in energy prices. Of concern is that this increase in demand for electrical energy, coupled with market liberalization measures, is straining once reliable supplies.
For example, Teollisuuden Voima Oy (TVO), the Finnish-based nuclear generation company, hopes to have a new 1,000 to 1,600 megawatt (MW) nuclear reactor online by 2010. Finnish demand for electricity is outstripping domestic supplies, pressuring the government to decide whether TVO's 2010 online date will come soon enough to rectify the imbalance.
The TVO plant is one of the first new nuclear units expected in Western Europe since 1989. Greeted with enthusiasm by proponents and trepidation by nuclear power opponents, the plant aims to deal with a burgeoning demand for electrical energy in Finland. In this regard, Finland is not alone.
TVO's original announcement for the plant in 2000 coincided with a period of renewed interest in the Western European power sector.