Monthly Archives: June 2011

Severn Trent faces paying £10m customer windfall

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Severn Trent Water, the first utility company in UK history to be convicted of criminal fraud, faces handing over another eight-figure sum to its 3m bill-paying customers.

Following a long campaign by Financial Mail and a lengthy Serious Fraud Office investigation, the company was fined £2m at the Old Bailey last week.
Severn Trent had already paid out £42m in 2006 to recompense customers over a massive fraud first revealed by Financial Mail.
It was fined another £35m by water industry regulator Ofwat earlier this year and now faces a demand from the watchdog to hand more money back to its customers.
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Green energy deal gets around solar FiT cuts

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A solar energy firm has found a way to get around the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) cuts for large solar installations by signing a deal with a Scottish cooperative that will potentially supply green energy to its 850 rural businesses.

The initial £2 million deal will see ISIS Solar provide one megawatt’s (MW) worth of solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays to Borders Machinery Ring (BMR) members. Because the majority of the installations will be under 50 kilowatt (kW) in size, the deal will be unaffected by the recent FiT cuts announced by the Government on solar projects between 50 kW and 1 MW in size.

How the deal will workISIS Solar has structured the deal so that members of BMR, which represents some of Britain’s biggest landowners, will either be able to buy the solar systems outright or receive the energy free in return for providing land on which the solar arrays will be installed.

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Is Anaerobic Digestion The Ideal Sustainable Technology?

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Between three and five terawatt-hours of energy could be supplied by anaerobic digestion by 2020, according to the Government’s new Anaerobic Digestion Strategy and Action Plan.

The Plan contains guidance on the cost and benefits of AD for developers and local authorities, and tactics for training and developing markets for the biogas and fertilisers produced by the technology.

″Getting rubbish and waste rot in landfill is madness when we can use it to power our homes and cars,″ said energy secretary Greg Barker. ″We are already making it financially attractive to turn waste into electricity under the Feed-in Tariffs scheme and soon there’ll be similar incentives to generate heat too.

“The Anaerobic Digestion strategy and action plan will help us unlock the potential to get more energy from waste to reduce emissions in the fight against climate change.”


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Winter of power bills discontent on the way as wholesale gas price rises 30%

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Families have been warned of new energy bill hikes after watchdogs said wholesale gas prices for next winter will be 30 per cent higher.
Scottish Power recently announced a 19 per cent increase in gas tariffs and a 10 per cent jump in electricity, adding around £185 to an annual dual fuel bill.

Figures published yesterday make clear that other major players will follow suit.
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We have a year to make a low-carbon future happen

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We are rapidly approaching a tipping point in the energy story of this country. Eight years ago, the UK was self-sufficient in gas. Today we’re importing about 50pc of our needs and that proportion will rise to 75pc by 2020.

In the power sector too, the facts of life are equally stark. All but one of the UK’s existing nuclear plants are due to be shut down by 2023 and nearly one third of the UK’s coal-fired plants are set to close in under five years’ time.

By 2020, 30pc of the existing generation fleet will be gone.

Three forces are coming together – our growing dependence on an increasingly volatile world market; our commitment to make serious cuts in carbon emissions; and our obligation as a society to ensure that energy remains affordable. It is going to be exceedingly difficult to reconcile these three forces as we build the energy market of the future.

There is also a risk that society is not being realistic about the path ahead.

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New ‘dash for gas’ will cost consumers

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Green Alliance said the UK’s first dash for gas in the 1990s was good for the country because it brought down carbon emissions and electricity prices as power generation switched from more-polluting coal to gas.
But the UK now has a slew of new gas plants, being built or planned, and a report from the think tank warns that they could lead to the UK missing its carbon targets for the 2020s.

Fitting gas-fired power stations with unproven technology to capture and “permanently” store emissions once they have been built, to cut carbon, could increase the cost of producing electricity for firms who will pass the extra cost onto customers.

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Huhne under fire for hitting out at green law ‘deregulation zealots’ who want to bin costly red tape

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Chris Huhne is facing a backlash from Conservative MPs and businesses – after hitting out at ‘deregulation zealots’ who want to stem the tidal wave of costly new green laws.

In an extraordinary outburst the Liberal Democrat Cabinet minister attacked Tory colleagues as ‘right-wing ideologues’ for questioning the value of some environmental regulations.

In a speech to the Social Liberal Forum, the Energy Secretary said it was ‘nonsense’ that key green legislation, including the flagship Climate Change Act, had been included in a Government review of red tape.

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Can Germany Really Turn Its Back on Nuclear Energy?

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Earlier this month the conservative German government announced a complete phase-out of German Nuclear Energy by 2022.  Defying the opinion of many industry experts and energy brokers in Germany and around Europe, the German government published a controversial draft report with a possible plan to turn off all Germany Nuclear Energy reactors by 2017.


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