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Axpo Holding AG, Alpiq Holding Ltd. and BKW FMB Energy Ltd / Agreement reached on the planning and construction of replacement nuclear power stations
Bern (ots) -
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Axpo, Alpiq and BKW have agreed to join forces in further pursuing the planning and construction of two new nuclear power stations to replace nuclear power generating facilities in Switzerland which are nearing the end of their useful lives and compensate for long-term import agreements with France which are due to expire. This represents a milestone in the bid to ensure security of supply in Switzerland. Axpo, Alpiq and BKW will combine their current projects under a joint planning company. For the time being, all three projects will be further developed in parallel and accorded equal value. Decisions on sites or the order of priority will be made at a later stage.
Following intensive negotiations, Axpo (via its subsidiaries Axpo AG and Centralschweizerische Kraftwerke AG), Alpiq and BKW have agreed to proceed jointly in order to build two new nuclear power stations to replace nuclear power generating capacities which are reaching the end of their operating lives and compensate for French import agreements which are due to expire. This agreement is regarded by all parties as a milestone on the path towards secure, reliable power supplies in Switzerland.
Axpo, Alpiq and BKW each have a one-third stake in a joint planning and project company. The aim of this partnership is to draw up plans for three comparable projects until the definitive order of priority is determined. This will speed up the political process and official procedures, enable synergies to be exploited in the evaluation process, and save on costs. It will also create the foundations for a possible joint operating company in the future.
The definitive decision on the order of priority for implementation will be made before the "Draft message and decision" under the terms of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy's "General licensing procedure for new nuclear power plants", i.e. as things stand at present, in mid-2012. The decision will be based on the final selection of sites as well as political and economic aspects and reviews, in particular the results of the ongoing official review of the three general licence applications. If this comprehensive assessment produces no relevant decision bases, the sites will be taken into consideration in the order in which the existing facilities are to be decommissioned.
The shareholdings of the three companies are as follows: Axpo 59% (Axpo AG 48.6%, CKW AG 10.4%), Alpiq 25.5%, BKW 15.5%. This ratio is commensurate with the three partners' existing shares of Switzerland's nuclear power production facilities and does not reflect their share of the Swiss power supply market (Axpo 35%, Alpiq 24%, BKW 14%). For the first plant the shareholder ratio is slightly adjusted to account for various factors such as the operating terms of existing plants (Alpiq -3%, BKW +3%).
Axpo CEO Heinz Karrer emphasises "The agreement represents an important breakthrough. It will allow us to continue guaranteeing a virtually CO2-free mix of electricity from hydro power, nuclear energy and new renewable energies well into the future."
Alpiq CEO Giovanni Leonardi commented: "The agreement is a joint commitment by all three partners to energy security in our country."
BKW CEO Kurt Rohrbach added: "Since the launch of negotiations Axpo, Alpiq and BKW have endeavoured to find a consensual solution. We are delighted that this has now been achieved."
Investments in energy security
Alongside energy efficiency, the promotion of renewable energies and cooperation with Europe, the Federal Council's energy policy focuses in particular on the construction of replacement or new large-scale power stations. With this in mind and with a view to guaranteeing energy security in Switzerland, general licence applications for nuclear power stations in Niederamt (canton Solothurn), Mühleberg (canton Bern) and Beznau (canton Aargau) were submitted to the Federal Office of Energy (FOE) respectively by Alpiq in June 2008 and by Axpo subsidiaries Axpo AG and Centralschweizerische Kraftwerke AG jointly with BKW FMB Energy Ltd in December 2008. On 30 October 2009 the general licence application documents for the three projects, revised in line with the review by the Federal Nuclear Inspectorate (ENSI) in April 2009, were handed over to the FOE. In November 2010 the ENSI published an evaluation report confirming the three sites. According to the FOE, the Federal Council will decide on the three general licence applications in mid-2012: roughly five months later than originally planned.
The Axpo Group includes Axpo AG, Centralschweizerische Kraftwerke AG (CKW) and EGL Ltd. and is a leading Swiss energy company; it is rooted locally but also has an international profile. Electricity production, trading, sales, and services are all grouped together under the joint holding company. Together with its partners, Axpo delivers electricity to around three million people in Switzerland. Axpo Holding AG is wholly owned by the cantons of Northeastern Switzerland. Further information: www.axpo.ch
Alpiq: Roots in Switzerland - active throughout Europe
Alpiq Holding Ltd. is the leading energy trader and largest service provider in Switzerland, with a pan-European reach. The Alpiq Group was created in early 2009 as a result of the merger between the two energy pioneers Atel Holding Ltd. and Energie Ouest Suisse SA (EOS). Active in 31 nations, it has subsidiaries in 27 countries, employs more than 10,000 staff, and in 2009 generated consolidated annual revenue of around CHF 15 billion. Alpiq specialises in electricity generation and transmission, sales and trading, as well as energy services, and together with its partners is responsible for around one-third of Switzerland's electricity supplies. More information on Alpiq: www.alpiq.com
BKW - vertically integrated and active in selected European markets
With sales of CHF 3,592 million in 2009, BKW FMB Energy Ltd is one of Switzerland's leading energy providers. With its workforce of around 2,800, it covers all stages of the energy supply chain: from electricity production and transport to trading and sales. BKW supplies power to more than one million people in German- and French-speaking Switzerland, either directly or indirectly via its distribution partners, and is active on selected foreign markets through its trading and sales business. The BKW production portfolio covers hydroelectric power plants, a nuclear power plant, and renewable energy plants (wind and solar power). Over the next few years BKW is aiming to build up a 750-MW win power portfolio in Germany and Italy. Thanks to its commitment to renewable energies and its green power products distributed under the 1to1 energy brand, BKW is currently Switzerland's largest provider of green power. BKW also maintains an extensive, closely-knit electricity grid in Switzerland with around 20,000 kilometers of lines. Combined with a large number of switching and transformer stations, it covers the supply region right down to the most remote localities. Further information: www.bkw-fmb.ch
Contact: Axpo Holding AG | Corporate Communications Media Hotline | 0800 44 11 00 Anahid Rickmann | 044 278 41 68
Alpiq Holding Ltd., Corporate Communications 041 62 286 71 10 Martin Bahnmüller
BKW FMB Energy Ltd, Media Communications 031 330 51 07 Antonio Sommavilla