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Articles published in 2016

Maersk Line Looking to Buy German Container Shipping Operator Hamburg Süd

The shipping arm of Danish conglomerate A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S is looking to buy German peer Hamburg Süd, people with knowledge of the matter said, a deal that would help Maersk Line boost its presence in global trade with Latin America.

Maersk Line, the world’s leading container-shipping operator, is interested in acquiring the entire Hamburg Süd business, which had $6.7 billion in revenue in 2015, not just picking up a few vessels, a person familiar with the matter said.

While it has bought or chartered ships from distressed peers like Korea’s Hanjin Shipping Co., which declared bankruptcy in August, Maersk’s last full-scale acquisition was in 2005 when it bought P&O Nedlloyd.

Hamburg Süd, the world’s seventh-biggest container operator in terms of capacity, is part of the Oetker Group, a family-owned German conglomerate involved in shipping, banking, food and beverages.

The Wall Street Journal last week reported that the Oetker family was discussing a sale of the shipping business as early as this year. A person involved in the matter said the family will likely make a decision on whether to sell this week.

Maersk, which moves about 15% of global seaborne freight, has publicly said it is looking for acquisitions to increase its market share during one of the most challenging times for the industry, with freight rates well below sustainable levels over the past two years.

Container ships that transport 95% of the world’s manufactured products are caught in one of the deepest ever down-cycles, marked by anemic global trade and a glut of tonnage in the water.

continue reading at The Wall Street Journal

Vattenfall to proceed with Danish near shore wind farms

A majority in the Danish Parliament (Folketing) on November, 18th that it will approve Danish Near Shore (DNS) wind farms. This means that Vattenfall can proceed with plans to develop the 350 MW project off Denmark's west coast.

On September 12, the Danish authorities announced that Vattenfall had won the tender to develop and build wind farms on two sites off the west coast of Jutland. The winning bid was € 0.05 per kWh. Since the result of the tender was made public in September, a political debate has been going on in Denmark as to whether these near-shore projects should be approved or not. Major argument to ban the project was, that building wind farms near the shore would disturb the view of the horizon too much. The announcement by the Danish Folketing now means that this type of wind farm is now approved.

"We are really pleased that the Government and a majority in the Folketing has now confirmed that we can start building these near shore wind farms. This means that Vattenfall will further strengthen its position as a leading wind power producer in Denmark. At the same time it means more affordable renewable electricity for the Danish population and a quicker route to making Denmark independent of fossil fuels," says Magnus Hall, CEO and President of Vattenfall.

The next step for Vattenfall will be to initiate the procurement of the main components and services so that the construction phase can start as planned in 2019. The first power will be supplied in 2020.

Europe's offshore wind industry booming as costs fall

On a sunny October morning, our boat passes the run-down relicts of Liverpool’s maritime past and heads down the river Mersey and into the Irish Sea. As we steam offshore, I see in the distance a cluster of tall structures that soon reveal themselves to be towers of a wind turbine array. Arriving at the windfarm, six miles offshore, the turbines rise as high as 650ft, taller than the tallest church in the world. Each of the turbines’ three shiny metallic rotor blades is nearly 300ft long.

“A single rotation of an eight-megawatt turbine will cover the daily electricity consumption of an average British household,” says Benj Sykes, vice president of Dong Energy Wind Power, the company that is constructing and co-owns this wind project, as the boat rocks in five-foot swells.

Workers have been busy at the Burbo Bank extension, named for this patch of the Irish Sea, since June, using gigantic cranes to drive foundations 50ft into the sea floor. With a design capacity of eight megawatts each, the 32 turbines are the most powerful ever installed at a commercial offshore windfarm. Once the rotors start spinning later this year, the Burbo Bank windfarm will be able to power 230,000 households – enough to run Liverpool city, with its 466,000 inhabitants.

In Europe, offshore wind farms like the one at Burbo Bank are undergoing a boom. While still significantly outnumbered by windfarms on land, the importance of windfarms at sea has grown dramatically in the past several years. Until 2011, between 5 and 10% of newly installed wind energy capacity in Europe was offshore. Last year, almost every third new wind turbine went up offshore. That growth has helped boost the share of wind energy in the European Union’s electricity supply from 2% in the year 2000 to 12% today, according to WindEurope, a business advocacy group.

New investments for offshore projects totaled $15.5bn in the first half of 2016 alone, according to WindEurope, and newly installed offshore wind energy capacity will double to 3.7 gigawatts this year compared to 2015. More than 3,300 grid-connected turbines now exist in the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Irish Sea, and 114 new wind turbines were linked to the grid in European waters in the first half of this year alone. This is in stark contrast to the US and Asia, where offshore wind use is only just getting started.

The offshore wind boom is part of a wider move from fossil fuels to renewable energy across the European Union. The overall share of renewable electricity sources in the EU – hydropower, wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal – has gone up from about 15% in 2004 to roughly 33% in 2014, according to data from Eurostat and Entso-E, the association of grid operators. Along with solar photovoltaic power, wind energy is driving this expansion. Newly installed wind energy capacity amounted to 13 gigawatts in 2015, twice as much as newly installed fossil fuel and nuclear capacity combined. WindEurope claims that all European wind turbines taken together can now generate enough electricity for 87m households.

This is not only a result of government subsidies and incentives, but also of dramatically reduced production costs for wind energy. The price for a megawatt hour is now between €50 and €96 for onshore wind and €73 to €140 for offshore wind, compared to around €65 to €70 for gas and coal. Electricity generated from onshore windfarms is now the cheapest among newly installed power sources in the UK and many other countries. If environmental costs are considered, the picture looks even more favorable for wind power.

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