Utility Week

UTILITY Week 10th October 2014

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12 | 10th - 16th OctOber 2014 | UtILItY WeeK Policy & Regulation The Liberal Democrats have voted unanimously to take steps to counteract the effects of adverse weather resulting from climate change at their party conference in Glasgow. The policy would see the Liberal Democrats prepare for a potential 4°C increase in global temperatures. The proposals work towards building "natural resilience to extreme weather, pan-UtILItY Lib Dems vote to 'adapt to climate change' rather than waiting to clean up the damage". They include: ensuring sustainable drainage systems are implemented by providing "adequate compensation for landowners"; the introduction of a long-term plan for droughts and floods; and extending mandatory greenhouse gas emis- sion reporting rules for large companies. Energy secretary Ed Davey said: "The Lib Dems are doing everything we can to halt the onset of a changing climate. We have more than doubled the electricity generated from renewable resources since the start of this parliament. This is largely down to the rapid expansion of the onshore and offshore wind sector." This week Lib Dems call for greater use of Suds party members back policy motion aiming to improve flood defences and support flood victims The Liberal Democrats have called for a greater use of sus- tainable drainage systems (Suds) to help reduce the likelihood of flooding. Party members voted to sup- port the policy motion "Flood- ing: a new high water mark", which aims to shore up flood defences, as well as flood pre- vention schemes, and to support victims of flooding. The policy called on the government to "ensure that the uptake in Suds is increased to maximise value for money for the taxpayer". Other measures include: increasing investment in flood defences, according to Environment Agency recommendations; ensuring affordable insurance is available for homes built aer 2009; and working with the insurance industry to offer protection to small businesses. Water minister Dan Rogerson said: "It is crucial to a sustainable UK economy we invest now to protect home- owners and businesses in the future." Suds are seen as an environmentally friendly way of reducing the risk of flash flooding. They replicate natu- ral systems to drain away surface water run-off, slowly releasing water back into the environment. Local authorities were expected to begin approv- ing schemes on new developments from October 2014, but in June plans for compulsory legislation of Suds in England and Wales were delayed. Last month Defra opened a consultation on plans to allow local authorities to grant faster planning permis- sion to Suds. The consultation closes on 24 October and Defra expects that any changes to planning policy would come into force in spring 2015. MB energY Early CfD scheme 'failed consumers' The government failed to secure the best deal for energy consum- ers through its "poorly con- ceived" early investment scheme for renewable developers, according to a public accounts committee (PAC) report. Select committee chair Margaret Hodge slammed the government's decision to award £16.6 billion to eight renewable electricity generation projects before the full rollout of the contracts for difference (CfD) regime. Although government intended the so-called 'early investment' contracts to avert an investment hiatus, the PAC believes the lack of price competition in this round means consumers may be forced to foot unnecessarily high costs. "The department argued that the early contracts were neces- sary to ensure continued invest- ment. But its own quantified economic case shows no clear net benefit from awarding the contracts early," Hodge said. "Indeed, if the department had used price competition, it should have led to lower energy prices for consumers who are already facing hey charges," she added. The PAC report, released last week, found that by com- mitting 58 per cent of the total funds available for renewable contracts under the transitional arrangements, the govern- ment "has severely constrained the amount available to be awarded under new arrange- ments through price competi- tion", which could reduce the opportunity to test the market and secure the best value for consumers. "Yet again the consumer has been le to pick up the bill for poorly conceived and managed contracts," Hodge said. The PAC's findings echo those of the independent National Audit Office, which in June this year reported that government failed to protect consumers in awarding the contracts without any price competition. Water Greater connectivity will improve supply Increased interconnectivity across the water transmission system would help to address concerns over water supply, according to the water minister. Speaking at a European Water Label and WWF fringe at the Liberal Democrat confer- ence in Glasgow on Sunday, Dan Rogerson said greater intercon- nection between water company regions will develop further to help tackle water supply problems. He said: "In some cases where there is water stress or over-abstraction, I think there is a case for connectivity between different networks hitherto not been connected." Rogerson added that this, alongside more efficient use of water, could help to address issues of a lack of supply. He added: "We can run out of water. We were fairly close to getting into drought-like condi- tions in the summer of 2012 prior to a spell of rain over the last year or so; we were getting very close." However, the water minister ruled out the construction of an "all singing, all dancing" national grid for water, saying it is unlikely because it would cost a vast amount and add significant additional costs to consumer bills. Compulsory legislation of Suds has been delayed

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