Europe's future is pumped storage, says VA Tech

18 May 2004

According to the Austrian-based company, it took some US$1.26B in orders last year, up 3.8% on its 2002 figure of US$1.21B. Order backlogs rose some 11.8% from US$1.68B to US$1.87B in the same period. Sales, meanwhile, increased by over 21% to US$1.1B last year compared with US$909M in 2002.

In addition to the release of its performance results tables, VA Tech also used its report to underline its plan to help Austria meet its emissions reductions targets under the Kyoto Protocol. Austria has set a goal of cutting emissions of greenhouse gases by 13% below its 1990 levels by the year 2012.

Verbundplan, Alpine Mayreder and VA Tech Hydro entered into an agreement last year with Bulgaria’s Natsionalna Elektricheska Kompania to implement the Tsankov Kamak hydro power plant in the Rhodopi mountains, south-east of Sofia.

‘With this Tsankov Kamak pilot project, we are giving the Austrian government substantial support in achieving its emission reduction targets,’ said Peter Schuster, director of sales for eastern Europe in the report.

VA Tech says the Tsankov Kamak project is just the beginning, adding that further similar projects are at the planning stage.

China is highlighted as the country with the most promise for future development and, says VA Tech, has the fastest expanding market for hydro power plants.

‘The North American market [with 3% of orders] is stable with an emphasis on modernisation, while the markets in South America and Africa, which largely consist of new plants, are stagnating,’ says the report.

Europe, meanwhile, was the company’s largest market last year, making up around 68% of its total orders, with particular demand for new pumped storage power plants.

‘There are two main reasons for this trend,’ says VA Tech. ‘First, repeated power failures in several countries have underscored the need for investments to ensure a reliable power supply. Second, there is growing demand for electrical energy, especially to cover peak requirements but also to ensure grid stability following the commissioning of a large number of decentralised power generating plants, [for example] wind power plants.’

The dominance of Europe over other regions may also be a sign of things to come. ‘We expect a growing market for power plant modernisation and services in western and eastern Europe,’ adds the report, ‘given the large number of plants already installed in these regions.’

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