Utility Week

UW 07 02 14 Uberflip

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UTILITY WEEK | 7Th - 13Th FEbrUarY 2014 | 13 Policy & Regulation Political Agenda Mathew Beech "The environment secretary is facing tough questions" Owen Paterson has been busy wading through a big problem as properties in Somerset remain flooded following the wettest January on record. The environment secretary is facing tough questions from furi- ous locals, such as why haven't the rivers been dredged, and why hasn't more been done to improve the flood defences. Following five Cobra meet- ings, Paterson insisted that he and the government are not only acting on the immediate "unimaginably stressful and distressing time". Eagle told MPs: "It took too long [for the Environment Agency] to provide the pumps, sandbags and other assistance needed" and there is "little coherence in the govern- ment's strategy for dealing with the crisis". While the debate rages over the solutions, Paterson will be anxiously watching the weather forecast, hoping for dry weather to give the flooded households, and himself, some respite. issue of flooded properties, but that a long-term plan is being implemented. He said: "Support has been provided to affected properties and all necessary mitigation measures have been put in place to guard against health risks of contaminated floodwater." Paterson confirmed the prime minister's commitment to dredge the Tone and Parrett rivers was part of "significant work" in the pipeline. However, his words failed to reassure his opposite number, shadow environment minis- ter Maria Eagle. She accused Paterson and the government of failing to do enough in this This week Second CCS project poised for approval Government expected to confirm funding for Aberdeenshire plant in the coming weeks The government expects to sign contracts for a second carbon capture and storage (CCS) project "in the next few weeks", energy minister Michael Fallon told MPs on Tuesday. Fallon is close to confirming funds for a "front-end engineer- ing and design" study for a CCS project at SSE's Peterhead plant in Aberdeenshire, he said. If it goes ahead, it could be the first gas-fired CCS plant in the world. The first contract, signed in December, was the White Rose project at Drax. Both projects will get a share of £1 billion to develop commercial-scale trials of CCS. Fallon admitted "it looks unlikely" a final invest- ment decision would be made in the next year on either scheme, adding: "These are huge projects and it is very important to get them right." He also offered up hope for those CCS developers that did not make the shortlist for the £1 billion competition. They are set to be eligible for support through contracts for difference, Fallon confirmed, with further details to be confirmed soon. There will be room in the support budget, he said. "I do not want to see it [CCS] crowded out by some of the more mature forms of low carbon generation." The CCS market could be worth £15-£35 billion by 2030, according to a report published by the CCS Association and Trade Union Congress on Monday. They claim that including CCS in the mix could cut wholesale electricity prices by 15 per cent compared with relying on nuclear and renewable generation alone. MD WaTEr Ofwat clarifies board member principles Industry regulator Ofwat has confirmed that it will require water company boards to have more independent non-executive directors than executives or investors. The clarification was set out in its corporate govern- ance principles, published last week, which it expects compa- nies to meet by April 2015. "We acknowledge that inves- tors (who own the business) have a legitimate place on the board of the regulated company. However, the number of inves- tor representatives should be no greater than the number of independents," said Ofwat. "Meeting these principles will allow the water sector in Eng- land and Wales to demonstrate that it recognises and fully meets the responsibilities that come from providing an essential public service." EnErgY Decc plans changes to Eco restrictions Changes to the Energy Company Obligation (Eco) following a government consultation have been confirmed by the Depart- ment of Energy and Climate Change. They include alterations to the energy savings that can be attributed to double glazing measures, and to the restrictions on solid wall insulation (SWI). Energy suppliers are to be credited with the full energy saving where glazing measures have been installed. Currently, suppliers may claim only part of the energy savings. SWI restrictions have been lied, with the requirement to achieve a minimum thermal efficiency being removed. Subject to parliamentary approval, the changes are expected to come into effect in April 2014. nUcLEar France and UK unite to deliver safe power The British and French govern- ments have signed a declaration on their commitment to develop safe nuclear power. The dec- laration reiterates the govern- ments' shared view that nuclear energy has "a critical role" in a cost-effective transition to a low carbon generation mix. During the Franco-British summit, hosted by the prime minister at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, energy secretary Ed Davey met French energy minister Phillipe Martin to dis- cuss how the two countries can develop interconnectors, nuclear and renewable projects; secure an "ambitious and early" EU 2030 energy and climate pack- age; and deliver a global climate deal at the 2015 UN climate conference in Paris. Drax: CCS contract signed in December 2013

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