EDF plans more green investments

08:24, December 08, 2009      

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French power company EDF said it is looking into China's hydro, nuclear and wind power sectors for investment opportunities, in line with the rapid growth of these industries in the country.

The company is also looking at opportunities in clean technologies in the power industry like carbon capture and storage (CCS), Herve Machenaud, president of EDF Asia Pacific Branch, told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

EDF will form a joint venture with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group to operate the Taishan nuclear power project in southern Guangdong province, said Machenaud, who is also executive vice-president of EDF.

The Paris-based EDF is also talking with several major power producers in China on possible wind power and nuclear power projects, he said.

China and France in 2007 signed an 8-billion-euro agreement for the supply of the two reactors of the Taishan project. The reactors will use the European pressurized reactor technology from France and have a capacity of 1,700 mW each.

Industry sources said that the first reactor of the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013, while the second one is likely to be finished in mid-2014.

"Over 80 percent of electricity generated by EDF in France is from nuclear power plants. We want to share our long-time expertise in the industry with Chinese partners," said Machenaud.

EDF now has stakes in three coal-fired power projects in China. To make the business more diversified is beneficial for the company's future growth in the country, said analysts.

"The use of more green technology in the power industry fits extremely well with China's efforts to build an environmentally friendly economy. I do believe these technologies will flourish in the next few years," said Han Xiaoping, chief information officer of leading energy website China5e.com.

The three thermal power projects EDF has stakes in are located in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, and Shandong and Henan provinces. The latest round of power tariff increases has made little impact on the profit of these projects, said Machenaud.

After the price hike last month, the on-grid price of the Guangxi and Shandong projects remain unchanged, while the price of the Henan project has been reduced by 0.003 yuan per kWh.

"After suffering a difficult year in 2008 due to coal and economic crises, we expect our projects in China will restore the profitability back to a reasonable market level this year," said Machenaud.

Generally speaking, the profitability of the Guangxi project will remain stable, and the Shandong project will be better than last year, but the Henan project will still suffer, he said.

Facing surging coal prices in China, Machenaud said EDF had to increase the efficiency of its power plants to reduce costs.

Rising coal prices have long been a headache for China's power producers. Government controls on power prices prevented power generators from passing on the rising costs to power users.

Although EDF is also facing the problem of rising fuel costs in China, the company wants to be a "long-term industry partner in the country", said Machenaud.

Source: China Daily
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