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Growing concerns as Treasury avoids questions on energy policy

June 27th 2012

The Treasury has been accused of interfering with the coalition’s green growth agenda, by MP’s who are investigating the impact of the Energy Bill. The news comes after the Chancellor froze a planned fuel duty rise yesterday.

There is now growing pressure on the Economic Secretary, Chloe Smith MP, as Treasury ministers refused to give evidence about their influence on low carbon subsidies. MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee had hoped Chloe Smith would appear at a hearing yesterday to answer critical questions regarding the levy-cap the Treasury has set for low-carbon subsidies. Smith did not attend, and said “it would be improper to comment on another department’s legislation”.

Tim Yeo, the chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee who had previously written to Smith requesting her attendance, has now written demanding written answers to 18 questions about the impact that Treasury decisions have on energy investment in the UK by the end of June.

Electronic appliances on standby cost UK £1.3bn a year

June 26th 2012

Households across the UK could be wasting up to £1.3bn a year as a due to stand-by settings on household electrical devices that are left on when not in use. According to a study entitled Powering the Nation – household energy habits uncovered, carried out by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Energy Saving Trust.

The study monitored the use of electricity in 250 homes, and found that the households were spending between £50 and £86 on electronic appliances in a “non-active” or standby state, equivalent to 9pc to 16pc of the average electricity bill.

Environment minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach said: “This survey shows we are using a lot more energy than previously thought.”

Research also showed that people were watching more television than originally thought. Most households have a TV on for more than six hours a day rather than the previous estimate of five hours on average. This could mean that the UK as a whole is watching 10 billion hours more TV a year than estimated, adding £205 million to electricity bills across the country.

Energy and climate change minister Greg Barker said: “Using energy more wisely in our homes will not only cut carbon but will also help save money on bills. But first we need to really understand how we use this energy in order to become more energy wise.”

Electricity transmission lines planned for Britain’s National Parks

June 25th 2012

Britain’s most picturesque scenery could soon be home to hundreds of miles of giant electricity pylon lines according to documents recently published online by the Government and National Grid. The documents show plans to place 160ft electricity pylons across Snowdonia, mid-Wales, the Lake District and other well-preserved parts of countryside.

The documents show planned pylon development and include many previously unpublicised schemes added to existing proposals. The new lines are required to transmit electricity from the growing number of wind farms which are mainly in remote parts of Britain.

National Grid and Statnett confirm plans for subsea interconnector by 2020

June 21st 2012

National Grid PLC (UK) and Statnett, Norway’s state-owned energy firm have today confirmed their plans to develop a 1,400MW subsea electricity interconnector between the U.K. and Norway which is set for completion in 2020.

“Together, the two cables will strengthen the North European electricity grid and the supply security in Norway. The cables will be used for profitable trading of power, meaning electricity will flow to Norway when prices in Germany and the U.K. are lower than here. In the same way, we will export when prices are high abroad.” Norway’s energy department said in a statement.

Source: Enzen Global

GDF SUEZ Plans Tidal Power Generation Projects

June 20th 2012

French utility and energy company GDF Suez SA, has announced it has started studies to develop two tidal power plants to harness France’s strongest tidal currents.

GDF Suez said today that it aims to initially test up to 12MW at Raz Blanchard, Normandy. Subject to approvals, they plan to install a pilot plant of three to six turbines from 2015. The long term aim is to have 100 turbines at the site, all or some of which may be supplied by Voith Hydro. They also plan a second site by 2016, at the Passage du Fromveur site, located off the North West coast near Brittany; this has France’s second strongest tidal current.

Veolia Water UK looks set for sale this summer

June 18th 2012

French utility, Veolia Environment is currently in talks with three consortia to sell their regulated UK water business; according to sources cited by the Wall Street Journal. Depending on regulatory clearance, the deal could be signed in July and closed by the end of the summer.

Veolia Water serves a population of more than 3.5 million across three different parts of the UK and is valued at £1 billion. The move is part of plans to shed €5 billion of assets, as part of an overhaul to address its lack of profitability and debt issues.

Soccket Football Stores Energy and Produces Power

 June 20th 2012

US designers have unveiled a ground breaking football design that stores the energy generated when it’s kicked.

Not only does the Soccket store energy, but it also transforms it into electricity and it’s won the support of former US President Bill Clinton and others. Now, the design’s being promoted as an alternative energy solution for undeveloped nations.

Key to the Soccket’s projected wide-spread adoption are two factors: the materials used to make it are abundant and it doesn’t really cost much more than a conventional football. A normal football, though, can’t power a light bulb for three hours after just 30 minutes of use.

Besides lights, with a six watt output, the design’s intended to power up a wide range of smaller appliances including water sterilisers, fans, mobile phones and speakers.

Soccket Football Power

The Soccket football power concept was the vision of a team of Harvard University students and its release coincides with Euro 2012 – an event once again highlighting the passion shown for football in many parts of the world.

Described by its developers as highly robust and waterproof, it features an inductive coil system and its roots lie in earlier technologies that generate power from human movement.

“The idea was come together and using art and science pick an issue and try to make it better”, Harvard’s Jessica Matthews explained in a statement.

Football Energy Storage

Together with colleague Julia Silverman, Jessica Matthews is a co-founder of Uncharted Play – the company established to manufacture and distribute the Soccket football energy storage design.

“We started to think about the time we’d spent overseas and we’d all had this similar experience of seeing kids play”, Matthews added. “These kids aren’t allowed to be children for very long. They have to deal with very serious issues in their lives every single day.

“Sometimes giving these kids the ball before we even show them the power generation part is such an amazing thing because they have a ball which doesn’t require inflation – you are telling them that the tooth fairy does exist”, she concluded.

Source: Enviro News and Suppliers

Global CEO’s urge Rio+20 leaders to make water security a top priority

June 19th 2012

It’s not very often that you here about 45 of the world’s most powerful CEO’s coming together to call on governments to make water security to be a top priority at an environmental summit. This is set to be one of the key topics at the Rio+20 environmental summit, which begins tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Global organisations including Coca Cola, Nestle, Glaxo SmithKline, Merck and Bayer have signed a special communiqué on sustainable development. The objective is to emphasise the urgency of the global water crisis; calling on governments to step up their efforts and to work more actively with the private sector, civil society along with other stakeholders to address this issue. One of the key points is to establish a “fair and appropriate price” of water for agriculture, industry, and people.

“This is a powerful statement by business leaders to governments everywhere – make water sustainability a priority,” said Gavin Power, deputy director of the UN Global Compact and head of the CEO Water Mandate.

SSE to buy Endesa’s Irish power generation assets for £256m

15th June 2012

Energy company SSE announced today it has agreed to buy four power stations and other Irish assets from Endesa in a deal worth a total of £390m. The deal will give the firm four plants (two fuel oil, two peaking gasoil) with a total capacity of 1068MW.

Endesa is one of the largest utilities in Spain and is owned by Italian parent group Enel. If the deal gets approved by OFGEM, the energy regulator; Perth-based SSE will become the third largest energy company in Ireland.

SSE will pay £256m for the assets and is also putting in a further £134m which will be used among other things to finish construction on a plant at Great Ireland in Wexford. They also plans to invest in a large power generation facility at the site of the existing Tarbert plant in Kerry.

E.ON seeks €8bn in damages for accelerated nuclear exit

14th June 2012

E.ON AG, Germany’s largest utility, is seeking €8 billion in compensation in a potential industry-wide claim against the German government following the accelerated phase-out of nuclear energy, should the country’s constitutional court deem the policy shift an illegal act of expropriation.

The decision comes after the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima reactor; Germany closed eight reactors last summer and accelerated the closure date of its remaining reactors, from 2036 to 2022. A spokesman for E.ON said the firm was optimistic the case for compensation would be successful.

Source: Enzen Global