EU Doles Out €1 Billion in Funding for Renewable Projects Under NER 300. The European Commission on July 10 awarded €1 billion ($1.34 billion) to 19 renewable energy projects and a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project under its NER 300 program. The projects will cumulatively raise European Union (EU) renewable energy production by about 18 TWh annually. Capture Power’s White Rose CCS project in the UK secured the highest award of €300 million, followed by E.ON’s 200-MW Bio2G biomass gasification plant, which won €203.7 million. Projects will be hosted in Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

Mexico to Offer Power, Gas Infrastructure Contracts. Mexico’s state-owned power company, CFE, will by the end of this year offer $2.8 billion in contracts to build two combined-cycle power plants, two natural gas pipelines, and a transmission line near Mexico’s northern border with the U.S. to boost natural gas imports from the U.S. The contracts for the projects that could be operational by 2017 are expected to be open to private firms. They will include the $1 billion combined cycle Norte III power plant near Ciudad Juarez and the 714-MW combined cycle Guaymas II power plant in Sonora state. Also included is the 263-mile Encino-La Laguna natural gas pipeline, which will transport gas from southern Texas for supply in the northern Chihuahua and Durango states, and the 268-mile Huasteca-Monterrey transmission line. CFE said the projects will help tamp down electricity rates.

AREVA and Gamesa Partner to Capture More European Offshore Wind Market Share. France’s AREVA and Spain’s Gamesa on July 7 formed a 50/50 joint venture to combine their offshore wind assets, including a 2.8-GW project pipeline. The companies said their joint venture’s objective is to garner a market share of close to 20% in Europe by 2020. AREVA has developed 5-MW and 8-MW offshore wind turbines and installed 630 MW so far, while Gamesa will contribute its 5-MW offshore platform and offshore research and development knowledge. The companies will target markets in Germany, France, and the UK, where installed capacity is slated to exceed 25 GW in 2020.

MHPS-Led Consortium to Build Lignite Ultrasupercritical Unit in Poland. A consortium comprising Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems ’ (MHPS’) European division, Polish civil engineering company Budimex SA, and Spanish engineering firm Técnicas Reunidas, S.A. in July signed a contract with Poland’s state-owned power provider, Polska Grupa Energetyczna S.A., to build a lignite-fired ultrasupercritical unit at Turów, Poland. The 450-MW coal unit is slated to begin operations in the middle of 2019.

Poland has one of the world’s largest coal reserves—mostly lignite, which has a high water content that makes it less efficient to burn—and it generates 90% of its gross power from coal. MHPS said that by installing desulfurization equipment with high-efficiency boilers, the company is able to provide power generation systems that make effective use of lignite with reduced emissions compared to older plants. The company plans to “undertake aggressive marketing in a broad range of countries and regions where demand for coal-fired power generation systems is expected to increase—especially in Eastern Europe, Russia, Turkey and Indonesia,” it said in July.

Candu Energy, CNPEC Agree to Cooperate on Romanian Reactors. SNC-Lavalin’s Candu Energy on July 24 signed a binding and exclusive cooperation agreement with China Nuclear Power Engineering Co. (CNPEC) for the construction of CANDU Units 3 and 4 at the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant in Romania. Romania already has two operating CANDU 6 nuclear reactors, which came into service in 1996 and 2007. The agreement follows a letter of intent signed by CNPEC’s parent company China General Nuclear Power Group and Romanian utility Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica in November 2013 for investment in and development of two additional nuclear units at the Cernavoda site.

Russia OKs 10-Year Life Extension for Kalinin. Russian regulators in late June allowed Rosenergoatom to extend the life of the Kalinin-1 nuclear reactor by 10 years until 2025. Kalinin is a four-unit plant located in the western Tver region near the town of Udomiya. The plant’s first two units began commercial operation in 1986 and 1987. Rosenergoatom completed Kalinin 3 and 4 in 2004 and 2012, respectively. ■

Sonal Patel is a POWER associate editor (@sonalcpatel, @POWERmagazine).