Utility Week

Utility Week 13th February 2015

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10 | 13TH - 19TH FEBRUARY 2015 | UTILITY WEEK Policy & Regulation This week Thames 'pushing' for water planning policy National policy would 'fast-track' infrastructure and resource projects through planning system Thames Water is "pushing" the government to produce a national policy statement (NPS) for water. The company said a national policy would give a boost to the sector to get infrastructure and resource projects "fast-tracked" through the planning system. Giving evidence at a GLA committee last week, Thames Water external affairs and sustainability director Richard Aylard said: "We are pushing hard for a national policy statement for water. We've got one on wastewater and we need something comparable for water." The wastewater NPS is the first put together by the coalition government and outlines two Thames Water wastewater projects, the Thames Tideway Tunnel and Deephams Sewage Treatment Works. He added that it would help the water companies to prioritise what projects are needed, and how they could be delivered. Aylard also said a water NPS would allow the water companies to work at a national and a local level to develop new resources and introduce other measures, such as demand reduction plans. Southern Water also supported the call for a state- ment. The company's water efficiency manager, Ben Earl, told Utility Week there is "massive support" for it. Water UK said the call for an NPS for water has been an "ongoing campaign" over the past three years, but that it was one "everyone" in the sector supported. Labour said the industry calls showed there was "no confidence" in the coalition. A government spokesper- son was unable to provide an immediate response. MB ELECTRICITY Ecotricity to fund Labour campaign Renewable energy supplier Ecotricity has pledged to donate £250,000 to the Labour party's election campaign in defiance of the coalition government, which it says has undermined the green economy. "We're putting our money where our heart is – and that's the care of the environment," said Ecotricity founder Dale Vince in a statement. "We've watched the coalition government systematically undermine not just the renewa- ble energy industry in Britain but the whole green economy and by de facto – efforts to combat cli- mate change. We feel compelled to act and to speak out," he said. "We've supported the Green Party in the past and may support them in the future. But [backing Labour] is the practical option in this election," Vince added. GAS Cuadrilla awarded second green light The Environment Agency has given Cuadrilla's Lancashire shale gas projects their second go-ahead of the past month, with permits granted for its Roseacre Wood site. This follows the mid-January approval of the developer's plans to extract shale gas at its Preston New Road site nearby in Lancashire. Both sites fall within Cuadrilla's shale-rich Bowland exploration licence, of which British Gas parent company Cen- trica holds a 25 per cent stake. The Environment Agency said it has "rigorously assessed" the fracking applications and has granted the permits on the condition that Cuadrilla protects groundwater, surface water and air quality as well as ensures the safe storage, management and disposal of wastes. ELECTRICITY Shetland windfarm clears last hurdle Viking Energy has cleared the final legal hurdle against its plans to develop a 450MW windfarm project in the Shetland Islands. The UK's Supreme Court dismissed the case against the 103-turbine development, meaning the project can move forward almost three years aer the Scottish government granted planning consent to the joint venture between Viking Energy Shetland and SSE subsidiary SSE Viking. Viking Energy chairman Alan Bryce said: "We can now concentrate on developing what would be one of the world's most productive windfarms, to generate renewable energy and significant income for the Shetland community." Pushing Parliament: ongoing campaign for NPS Political Agenda Mathew Beech "Greenest government ever? Only if they can afford it" Despite their best efforts, there are still (not surprisingly) doubts about how committed the Tories are in their support of solar and onshore wind. Recent actions have included rejecting onshore windfarm applications and slashing subsi- dies available to large-scale solar. In a bid to show the Com- mons and the wider UK that the Conservative party is indeed pro- renewables – but more impor- tantly, pro-consumer – energy minister Amber Rudd told MPs another route to get costs down and reduce the burden on hard- working families. Batteries. Decc is working with the bat- tery industry to make wind more reliable and its power usable at times of need, rather than at times of wind. Crucially, she said this would reduce the need for subsidies. Rather than the greenest government ever, maybe the Conservative message should be: the greenest government ever – if we can afford it. that solar is an important part of the energy mix (cross that off your energy policy bingo card). But, when asked by Labour's Graham Allen, MP for Notting- ham North, whether she could ensure a "steady and clear set of incentives, rather than this con- stant changing", Rudd could only say she would "bear that point in mind". Reassurance indeed. Later, Rudd was again at the dispatch box, this time respond- ing to Tory-turned-Ukip Douglas Carswell about onshore wind. This, she said (get your bingo card ready again) is an "essential part of the renewables mix". But she went further still in backing the industry – and setting out

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