Utility Week

Utility Week 9th May 2014

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UtILIty WEEK | 9th - 15th May 2014 | 5 "Current uncertainties about the direction of UK energy policy run the very real risk of making energy less affordable, less secure and less sustainable in the long term" Jim Watson, research director at the UK Energy Research Centre, on the risk that the UK may blow its carbon budgets amid heightened political uncertainty The UK's last remaining oil-fired power plant, the 1.14GW Littlebrook plant in Kent, will close under European Union air quality regulations at the end of March 2015, a spokeswoman for RWE Generation said. The closure follows RWE's decision to opt the plant out of the EU's large combustion plant directive (LCPD) in 2008, in effect limiting its lifespan to 20,000 running hours or until the end of 2015. The plant is a long way off using its allowed hours, but RWE has taken the decision to shut nine months before the end of the year due to the high cost of keeping the plant on standby. A spokeswoman for the generator said the plant would remain operational over the coming winter and spring seasons, when it was most likely to be used. In recent years the plant has been used only to meet high winter demand when capacity surplus margins were particularly thin. The UK has lost significant amounts of coal and oil-fired capacity under the directive and the latest clo- sure will tighten capacity margins further ahead of winter of 2015/16, when energy regulator Ofgem warned the UK could face an increased risk of blackouts. When the market fails to bring forward enough output, National Grid can call on standby plants to ramp up generation based on the best price offered by the generator. At present, RWE has unit two of Littlebrook available to run at a price of £275/MWh, com- pared with the prevailing winter baseload power price of around £51.30/MWh. The last time the unit was used was in November 2013 when a relatively sharp drop in wind power meant it was needed to help meet peak evening demand. Prior to this, the plant ran in December 2012 as gas-fired power tested its intra-year record, causing within-day power blocks for evening delivery to trade at around £258/MWh. The newly confirmed closure date marks the end of oil-fired power in the UK, after the closure two years ago of Eon-UK's 1.3GW Grain oil-fired plant and of RWE Npower's 1GW Fawley plant in March 2013. pan-UtILIty At the end of April deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said the government would invest £500 million to help develop the ultra-low emissions vehicle (ULEV) indus- try. Local areas will be given the chance to win a share of £35 million to gain "ultra-low city status" by submit- ting plans on how they are going to encourage ULEVs. Additional funding of up to £50 million will also be made available for local areas to invest in cleaner taxis and buses. Clegg said: "This major investment is there to make driving an electric car affordable, convenient and free from anxiety about the battery running out." RWE to close UK's last oil-fired power plant in March 2015 35-50 years time needed for new trees to offset the carbon released by burning trees for biomass, claimed in a letter from 60 US scientists to Ed Davey. the scientists refute government claims that biomass is a "carbon neutral" generation option 20 number of schools across the UK that will receive help to raise funds to install solar panels as a result of support from Good Energy and the company's Solar Schools campaign

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