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Crown Estate Releases Expressions of Interest for New Projects

19 Jul 2013

The Crown Estate, which manages the UK’s seabed, has invited companies to submit Expressions of Interest for a range of offshore wind projects.

The Expression of Interest period is open until September 2013 and will call for two types of projects;

  • Off-grid Projects: testing and demonstrating new technologies and processes: and
  • Project Variations: aimed at applicants without a site but have a testing and demonstration project.

 

Martin Simpson, Head of New Energy and Technology at The Crown Estate, said: “To unlock sustained growth in offshore wind we have to demonstrate that technological advancements can drive down costs. This new leasing programme is opening the doors for testing and demonstration of new technology across the spectrum – from turbines to foundations and cables, thus cementing the UK as the best place for investments in supply chain and commercial projects.”

The Expression of Interest comes as part of encouraging investment in emerging technologies. Working closely with the government, Crown Estate provides investment for renewable energy companies as part of developing a low carbon economy in the UK.


Environmentalists Criticise the Government on Shale Gas Tax Break Plans

19 Jul 2013

Environmental groups have criticised the government on its plans to cut tax on the income generated from shale gas.

Figures show that there may be 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in the UK but Greenpeace said that communities will face immense disruption due to fracking – the technique used to extract the gas, and will receive little benefit in return. Water UK also has concerns on how the practice could affect the quality and quantity of water as well as the potential damage to water pipes.

Environmental groups argue that the government is concentrating investment in shale gas and diverting away from investing in must needed renewable sources of energy. Andrew Pendleton, from Friends of the Earth said: “Promising tax hand-outs to polluting energy firms that threaten our communities and environment, when everyone else is being told to tighten their belts, is a disgrace.”

Chancellor George Osborne said shale gas was a resource with “huge potential” for the UK’s energy mix. “We want to create the right conditions for industry to explore and unlock that potential in a way that allows communities to share in the benefits.” As an incentive, the government is offering those communities that host shale gas sites £100,000 per site, and up to 1% of all revenues from production.


Northumbrian Water Announces Turnover Increase of £30m

18 Jul 2013

Northumbrian Water’s (NWL) latest annual accounts show an increase in turnover of £30m against the previous financial year. NWL said the increase from £729.1m to £756.9m is a result of implementing Ofwat’s 2009 price review of water and sewage charges.

However, figures also show an increase in operating costs which NWL puts down to current economic conditions and inflation.

Chief Executive Officer Heidi Mottram said: “Overall, our performance has been very pleasing, although we continuously strive to do better. I am delighted that we have further improved the service we provide to our customers in a number of areas. Most notably, our customer experience score and supply interruption performance have both improved significantly. We also continue to have industry-leading sewage treatment performance, a position we have held for a number of years.”

NWL consists of Northumbrian Water and Essex & Suffolk Water and services around 2 million properties across these regions.


New CEO appointed at the Renewable Energy Association

17 Jun 2013

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has appointed former RWE Director, Dr Nina Skorupska who will replace Gaynor Hartnell as Chief Executive Officer. The REA is one of the five leading gas and electricity lobbying groups in Europe and is responsible for promoting renewable energy use in the UK. Gaynor Hartnell, who has worked for the REA since 2001, will step down to pursue other interest but still remain actively involved with the Board to provide advice.

Dr Skorupska has 25 years of experience in the energy industry having held several senior positions with National Power as a Fuel Specialist and Chief Technical Officer at Essent NV. She was also the first female Power Station Manager at RWE Npower’s Didcot B which is a new generation of highly efficient power stations.

Dr Skorupska said, “This is a challenging and exciting time for the UK, as it strives to accelerate the transition to a lower carbon economy. Electricity generation needs to become virtually zero carbon by 2030, and renewables will have an increasing role in transport and heating. Even though the economic climate makes investors wary, the renewables sector is well-placed to bring us out of recession and create employment with a growth rate of 16 per cent per annum to 2020. Renewable energy in the UK is important for many reasons, a point I’m certainly going to be stressing. Whilst carbon reduction is vitally important, it’s also about creating a secure energy future, reducing dependency on imports from geopolitically challenging regions, not creating wastes, driving innovation for a sustainable life and so much more.”

Gaynor Hartnell added, “The REA will be in excellent hands, which is very important to me considering my role in catalysing its formation. I shall be on-hand to offer advice and to pursue some specific projects, but am also looking forward to widening my interests outside of the association”.

Martin Wright, chair of the board of directors said “The board was delighted at Dr Shorupska’s appointment; she will be a very effective and powerful champion.  She has an impressive background, and a great understanding of not only the complex technical issues relating to energy, and the central importance of renewable energy, but also the challenges facing the industry.”

The REA is actively involved in all areas of the energy value chain and Dr Nina Skorupska will officially commence her new post on the 29th July 2013.

Source: Enzen


Yorkshire Water Announces AMP 6 Partners

18 Jul 2013

Yorkshire Water has named its Framework contractors and consultants to deliver the next batch of work under the Asset Maintenance Period (AMP) 6 programme.

The Framework Agreement, worth £1bn has been extended to run from 2015 to 2020 and awarded to the existing incumbents;

Contract Partners: Byzak Entec, Earthtech Morrison, Morgan Sindall Grontmij, Barhale WSP, Mott MacDonald Bentley, Black and Veatch, Morrison Utility Services, Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions.

Consultants: Arup, Montgomery Watson Harza, Turner and Townsend.

Nevil Muncaster, Director of Asset Delivery at Yorkshire Water, said: “We are committed to ensuring that we give our customers the best possible service for the lowest possible price and our major investment plans for the next five years play a huge part in this.”  Our Contract Partners and Consultants take great pride in their service alongside Yorkshire Water and this news is testament to their strong performance”.

The AMP 6 programme is improving water efficiencies and Yorkshire Water will now review the next stage of the programme to ensure they continue to deliver best value asset solutions.


Energy Company Inenco Sold to Private Equity Investors

17 Jul 2013

Energy and Utility outsourcing company, EnServe which is owned by Cinven, has sold its energy arm Ineneco. Vitruvian Partners and Intermediate Capital Group will acquire Inenco which consists of 300 staff and manages £3.3bn of energy spend for private business and public sector clients.

David Cruddace, Chief Executive of Enserve Group, said: “We are delighted that Vitruvian are acquiring Inenco Group and will be investing in its future growth. Following the sale, we intend to invest in and remain focused on driving forward the growth of our Electricity, Water and Analytics divisions.”

Inenco Chief Executive Michael Abbott said: “We’re really excited to be partnering with Vitruvian, who share our vision to consolidate our leading position in the UK and grow internationally with our fantastic client base. Vitruvian also has significant financial resources to support an acquisition programme to accelerate growth.”

Inenco provides energy and risk management services for around 9,000 non-domestic customers. The Group was awarded Energy Broker of the Year and Energy Consultant of the Year in 2010 and 2011.

 


Possible Overcharges for British Gas Customers

19 Jun 2013

Ofgem claims that British Gas, the UKs biggest gas supplier may have overcharged its customers for a period of five years between 2006 and 2011. The overcharge is a result from failing to round down the calorific value, which is a charge covering the amount of energy contained in gas used. British Gas has been using 4 decimal points when Ofgem had asked them to use one.

Ofgem said “British Gas’ interpretation of the regulations meant that although customers didn’t pay for energy they did not receive, they paid more than regulations allow.” Despite this, Ofgem has admitted that the pricing impact on customers was unclear. British Gas has denied the claim but stated that their customer had not missed out and they had adjusted the main unit price to compensate for the higher calorific value charge but it was impossible to be certain. To settle the dispute and avoid on-going legal fees, British Gas has donated £10m into a trust for vulnerable customers. When asked the reasons for this donation, they stated that “We are making this donation following clarification from Ofgem that, while we believe we were operating in line with the regulations, we accept there was an alternative interpretation”.

Figures by public opinion website YouGov show that 38% of customers trust the energy sector less than a year ago. In a bid to crack down on confusing energy prices, Ofgem will announce this week a proposal to simplify tariffs offered by the ‘big six’.

Source: Enzen


Shale Gas Explorers to Get 30% Tax Break

16 Jul 2013

After discovering that the amount of shale gas may be greater than previously thought, the Treasury is set to announce a 30% tax break for the industry.  The field allowance mechanism, previously used in the offshore oil and gas industry, will reduce the shale gas tax rate which is currently at 62%.

The British Geological Survey said last month: “There could be 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas in northern England alone. If just 10pc could be extracted it could meet Britain’s needs for more than four decades”.  “Andrew Austin, chief executive of shale explorer IGas, said he was hopeful of a “sensible set of proposals which will allow the safe appraisal of the country’s shale resources”.

The discovery of additional shale gas has the potential to provide a new source of energy across the UK. The Government is keen to test its potential and, due to the high costs related to shale gas exploration, the tax break aims to encourage companies to investigate different options of setting up production wells. In addition, the Government has promised to provide guidance and environmental planning to the energy companies.

 


EON Fined £3M by Ofgem for Illegal Sale of Light Bulbs

11 Jul 2013

Regulator Ofgem has fined EON £3m for selling energy efficient lights bulbs that should have been provided for free under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target legislation (CERT). CERT was implemented to ensure the ‘Big Six’ help consumers reduce their carbon footprint and, after an Ofgem investigation, EON was found to have breached its reporting obligations by selling these light bulbs in the Republic of Ireland and providing false information about the amount they had distributed.

Sarah Harrison, Ofgem’s Senior Partner in charge of enforcement said: “This case leaves companies in no doubt that Ofgem takes reporting failures seriously. Accurate company reporting is essential to Ofgem’s effective administration of the government’s environmental schemes”.

EON apologised for the error and put it down to inadequate management reporting systems but said they had made up the lost carbon to fulfil their obligations under the CERT legislation. Tony Cocker, Chief Executive said: “We are sorry that these mistakes were made in 2010 and Ofgem has received a board-level assurance that the necessary changes have been made”.

Ofgem has ordered the German owned energy giant to pay £2.5m of the fine to around 18,500 consumers who are struggling with their bills, amounting to £135 per household. This will allow them to improve energy efficiency in their home rather than the money going to the Treasury. The remaining £500k penalty reflects the serious nature of exaggerated reporting and breaching legal obligations.

 


Energy Networks Association Launches New Information Portal

27 Jun 2013

The Energy Networks Association (ENA) has launched a new website portal consolidating all smart grid projects into one easy to find location. The website, called Smarter Networks Portal, contains up to date information on all Low Carbon Networks Fund projects and 500 more are due to follow covering innovation funding and registered power zone work. Regulator Ofgem requested the ENA to create the portal as part of an innovation drive to capture and share best practices for the benefit of consumers.

ENA Chief Executive David Smith said: “ENA is incredibly proud to be launching this ‘go-to’ place for smart grid development as a smarter network will be an essential part of meeting the challenges of our energy future. The injection of innovation has revitalised the sector and it continues to drive progress towards achieving a more efficient and effective grid. As technology and innovation change the way we work, the Smarter Networks Portal is about capturing how we are adapting and sharing the learning for the benefit consumers”.

Source: Enzen