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Government to Save £97m in Electricity Bills

23 Jul 2013

The government will save around £97m in electricity bills over the next 20 years under a new long term agreement with Air Products.

Under the new green electricity supply deal, Air Products will invest £300m in a new 37MW ‘energy from waste’ plant in Teesside which will produce the new energy. The deal will deliver savings by avoiding the need to buy electricity through short-term wholesale markets where prices fluctuate.

Earlier this year, Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said: “This is the beginning of a pioneering approach to how government uses its collective buying power and long term demand to buy energy. Not only have we secured £84m of savings for taxpayers by signing a new, low cost energy deal with Air Products, but we’re also helping the UK compete in the global race by investing in growth and creating hundreds of new jobs through the construction of a new ‘energy from waste’ plant. This is about changing the way we work to not only get the best out of our suppliers, but the best out of the UK.”

A spokesperson at Air Products said the new Teesside plant is still subject to approvals and Gaynor Hartnell, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association (REA), welcomed the deal but warned changes in energy policy may remove the incentive for similar future deals. “This kind of arrangement won’t make sense when Contracts for Difference replace the Renewables Obligation,” she said. “It won’t be possible for both generator and purchaser to achieve the stable prices they seek.”

The new deal is scheduled to commence in 2016 and is worth around 2% of the governments overall energy spend.

E.ON Triples Half-Year Net Profits

15 Aug 2012

E.ON, Germany’s largest utility has announced that its half-year net profits have over tripled compared to this time last year.

The firm said some of the key factors included, Germany’s accelerated phasing out of nuclear energy and coming to an agreement with its gas supplier Gazprom on long-term gas supply contracts.

The group’s net profit rose to €3.13 billion ($3.9 billion; £2.45 billion) in the first half in comparison to the €948 million in the same period last year.

It also reported an increase of 14% in UK sales, equating to €5 billion, which was largely aided by the strengthening of the British pound. However, UK sales were down due to the disposal of E.ON’s Central Networks business in the first half of 2011.

E.ON CEO, Dr. Johannes Teyssen said “Our solid first-half results demonstrate that we’re meeting our existing challenges decisively. We successfully renegotiated our gas-procurement contracts, and the transformation of our company through our E.ON efficiency-enhancement program is moving forward according to plan”.

Scotland to Link UK-Norway Interconnector

14 Aug 2012

An electricity interconnector between Britain and Norway that could aid energy security and help exchange renewable power between the two countries has secured connection point in Scotland.

NorthConnect, the Interconnector Development Company has announced it has signed an agreement with the UK Transmission System Operator National Grid to secure a connection point in Peterhead, Scotland. The deal will promote further detailed planning of the grid connection on the British part of the interconnector.

The Norwegian based project company NorthConnect is owned by five partners in the UK, Norway and Sweden; Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), Vattenfall AB, E-CO, Agder Energi and Lyse.

Once it is fully operational, “NorthConnect will be the first interconnector to directly connect the UK’s electricity network with Scandinavia and will contribute to enhanced security of energy supply in both the Scandinavian and the UK market. It will also assist in the development of renewable generation in both regions, as the high penetration of wind generation in UK and hydro-energy in Scandinavia complement each other.” The firm said in an official press release.

This agreement with National Grid marks an important milestone in the development of the NorthConnect Interconnector; which will have a capacity of 1,400 megawatt and is planned to be commissioned in 2020.

Bluewater Bio Collaborates with Thames Water in Technology Alliance

9th August 2012

Global water treatment technology company, Bluewater Bio has announced that it has entered into a technology alliance with Thames Water, the UK’s largest water and sewerage company.

The collaboration will enable the two firms to actively share information and opinions on new and emerging technologies, and will also allow Bluewater access to Thames research and development facilities to enable technology trials and demonstration projects. Thames will support Bluewater in identifying key commercial customers who may be interested in Bluewater’s portfolio of services.

Daniel Ishag, Founder & CEO of Bluewater Bio said, “This alliance with one of the world’s most respected utility companies formalises a strong technological relationship forged over the last four years around shared objectives and values. These are focused on increased water and wastewater re-use, accompanied by reductions in energy and chemical consumption, physical footprint, carbon emissions and operational costs. We look forward to cementing our collaboration, helping Thames deliver sustainable innovations to their 14 million customers and upholding the UK’s strong water sector credentials.”

Rupert Kruger, Head of Innovation at Thames Water commented, “We’re looking forward to working alongside Bluewater Bio to find bigger and better ways to ensure we use water more wisely in our day-to-day processes. We will squeeze every drop of creativity from this alliance so we can in turn value every drop of our increasingly precious essential resource.”

Severn Trent to sell Analytic Services Business

8th August 2012

The UK’s second largest water company Severn Trent Plc., has announced today that it will sell its Severn Trent Services’ Analytical Services business. Severn Trent Analytical Services, which is the trading name for Severn Trent Laboratories Ltd; provides potable, wastewater and contaminated land testing services to UK commercial and utility customers.

In an official statement released today, Severn Trent said “The business accounts for about 1.5 per cent of Severn Trent Group’s overall revenue. Over recent months, Severn Trent Analytical Services has become a smaller business that is predominantly commercial-customer focused. At the same time, the sale addresses a number of commitments Severn Trent Plc. has made to Ofwat in relation to the pricing of certain contracts at Severn Trent Analytical Services”.

Water industry regulator, Ofwat said in an official statement today that it has “opened a consultation on proposals to accept binding commitments from Severn Trent Plc.”. The consultation will run for 4 weeks and “seeks views from interested parties on the appropriateness of Ofwat accepting the commitments offered by Severn Trent Plc.” Ofwat added. This comes after Ofwat had received a complaint that “Severn Trent Laboratories Limited had engaged in anti-competitive pricing practices” it is alleged that this had been “enabled by the structural links between Severn Trent Water Limited and Severn Trent Laboratories Limited.”

Triodos Renewables launches £8 million public share issue

7th August 2012

UK Renewables developer, Triodos Renewables has announced it will launch an £8 million public share issue to fund onshore wind projects.

Triodos Renewables Plc. currently has over 4,800 shareholders; and says it is the most widely owned independent renewable energy company in the UK.

According to an official statement, the company is looking to raise £8 million capital allowing it “to increase its portfolio of renewable energy projects”; “due to further exciting development opportunities” they added. They are selling the shares at £1.90 each with a minimum investment of £570.

Triodos said “we have a strong pipeline – including exclusive opportunities to acquire two further wind farms on brownfield sites this year with an expected combined generation capacity of 10.7 MW. The new funds of £8m million will help us to acquire and construct these new projects.”

Matthew Clayton, Managing Director of Triodos Renewables, said: “In launching this share issue we are giving investors the opportunity to participate directly in the energy revolution currently taking place in the UK by taking direct ownership of some of the country’s flagship renewable power projects. Over the last 16 years we have established a strong position in medium scale, community-focused projects and it is this success that has prompted us to offer the public more shares.”

Cutting prices should be a priority says ex Ofwat head

6th August 2012

Cutting down prices should take a priority over improving water and quality; says Sir Ian Byatt, former head of Ofwat in a report published today by the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Byatt, who also formerly chaired the Water Industry Commission for Scotland from 2005 to 2011 said, “The drive to attain ever-increasing water and environmental quality at ever-increasing cost must come to an end.” He also suggested that “the regulator should set an indicative price cap so that water prices increase by no more than the rate of inflation”.

He added: “At a time when many families are struggling to get by, reducing the costs of basic necessities, like water, should be a priority. The increasing burden of regulatory policy on the water industry has contributed to rising prices and it is time for change.”

The report also suggested that competition in the retail water sector should be encouraged.

Please click here for a copy of the report. 

SSE increases shareholding in Wind Towers Ltd

3rd August 2012

UK utility SSE has announced that it acquire from Marsh Wind Technology Ltd its 40.05% share in Wind Towers Ltd, this will increase SSE’s total shareholding in Wind Towers Ltd to 80.1%. The remaining 19.9% of ordinary share capital is held by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the transaction is expected to be fully completed by the end of August.

Wind Towers Ltd is a joint venture which was set up in February 2011 to purchase the Skykon wind turbine tower manufacturing and assembly plant at Machrihanish, Campbeltown. The firm has pursued many market opportunities and successfully secured a number orders, they have recently expanded their facilities at which they will also begin production of turbine towers for offshore wind farms, enabling them to participate in the next phase of offshore wind developments.

Jim McPhillimy, SSE’s Managing Director, Group Services, said in an official statement:
“A robust and sustainable supply chain offers significant value to renewable energy developers in Scotland. We recognise that SSE has an important role in helping create this and that is why we have entered into a range of strategic alliances and investments to secure this supply chain for Scotland. Wind Towers Ltd is an important link in that chain and its strategic importance to SSE is reflected in our decision to increase our share in the joint venture.”

Douglas Cowan, HIE’s Area Manager for Argyll and the Islands, said in an official statement:
“Investments made in developing the infrastructure, combined with the skills of the local workforce and its experience in the marketplace, means the Machrihanish facility is winning orders and attracting market interest. As the UK’s largest generator of electricity from renewable sources, SSE can continue to support the growth of Wind Towers Ltd’s and its place in the renewable energy supply chain.”

MP’s to review Shale gas impact on global energy market

1st August 2012

A study has been initiated by MP’s into the potential impact of shale gas on energy markets. This comes weeks after it was said that the controversial energy source could play a small but significant role in improving the UK’s energy security situation whilst lowering carbon emissions.

Earlier this week, The Energy and Climate Change Committee requested businesses and any other stakeholders to submit evidence to a new enquiry which will look at the impact of a possible “shale gas revolution” on energy markets across the globe.

The committee compiled a report earlier this year which probed into the process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract shale gas and the associated risks of contaminating water supplies or causing earthquakes. It was concluded that fracking could continue in a safe manner but said projects would need to require close monitoring. The committee stated that the aim of this study was to closely examine the environmental and economic issues raised by shale gas extraction.

“Large volumes of shale gas being discovered could lead to a global market in gas, as more opportunities for trade arise and the costs of LNG (liquid natural gas) fall,” said the committee in a statement.

Mainstream Renewable applies for £1.4 billion Scottish Offshore Wind Farm

31st July 2012

Global renewable energy developer Mainstream Renewable Power has submitted an application worth £1.4 billion to build between 64-125 wind turbines off the east coast of Scotland.

Mainstream plans to build the 450 megawatt project called Neart na Gaoithe “NnG” – (meaning “strength of the wind” in Gaelic) in Scottish territorial waters, 15 miles off the Fife coast. NnG would potentially occupy an approximate area of 105 square kilometres. It could generate enough to power 325,000 homes in a city the size of Edinburgh or up to 3.7% of Scotland’s electricity demand when fully operational.

Andy Kinsella, Chief Executive of Mainstream Renewable Power’s Offshore Business, said: “This is a major milestone in the delivery of this offshore wind farm. With over 7,500MW of offshore wind farms in development in the UK and Germany, this demonstrates Mainstream’s ability in selecting the best sites, developing to a high standard and delivering to challenging milestones.” He continued: “This project is of strategic importance to Scotland; not only will it supply a significant percentage of the country’s electricity demand it will also help to deliver Scotland’s and the UK’s renewable energy targets in advance of 2020.”