French player plans to bulk up

SNET, the second largest power producer in France with some 2.5% of the market, aims to nearly double its capacity to 4,800 MW by 2010 from a relatively puny 2,600 MW.

With plans to diversify its existing coal-fired generation portfolio with gas and wind turbines, the company hopes to gain approval by the year end to build some 2,000 MW of CCGT plant by 2008 or early 2009 and has some 55 MW of wind capacity awaiting approval and another 100 MW planned. The group has proposed placing the turbines at existing sites and as part of the programme SNET intends to add 800 MW at its Emile Huchet station and 400 MW each at its Hornaing, Gardanne and Lucy sites.

The expansion plans are expected to cost Endesa, which last year increased its stake in SNET to 65%, close to euro 1 billlion. The Spanish group is focused on France and Italy as key growth markets outside Iberia and has also begun talks with the state-owned Electricite de France for a stake in a new European pressurised water reactor (EPR), due on-stream during 2012.