Utility Week

UTILITY Week 23rd October

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4 | 23RD - 29TH OCTOBER 2015 | UTILITY WEEK National media Research on water 'grand challenges' New research project Twenty 65, led by the University of Sheffield, will focus on the UK water sector's responses to the challenges of population growth, ageing infrastructure and climate change. £3.9m total funding provided from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council 6 number of universities involved 26 number of companies that are part of the project 10 of which are water companies 8 number of technical themes the project will focus on Councillor seeks EU funds for Cork homes It's not every day a county councillor gets to bend the ear of European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker and ask him to open up funds to make Cork homes more energy efficient. But that's exactly what Cllr Alan Coleman did when he addressed a special meeting on energy efficiency in the European Parliament in Brussels. The former mayor of County Cork is the vice president and only Irish member of the board of Energy Cities — an organisation which aims to cut the carbon footprint in the years ahead. Irish Examiner, 19 October Senator decries lies over water policy A Liberal senator for New South Wales in Australia has accused all parties – including his own – of "playing politics" with water policy and making promises to rural communities that were the equivalent to offering "free beer" because the science says they can never be delivered. Bill Heffernan made the extraordinary statements in a Senate adjournment debate as the forecast "monster El Nino" and looming drought again catapults divisive water politics into the forefront of debate. The Guardian, 15 October Irish Water error leads to cancellation of online accounts A technical error has forced Irish Water to cancel the online accounts of 700 of its customers. The utility company said details of what caused the error were unknown at this stage, but that no personal or financial data was compromised at any point as a result of the issues encountered. Irish Times, 18 October STORY BY NUMBERS T he UK's winter power sup- ply margins have shrunk to their tightest levels in almost a decade, but analysts have warned that by this time next year, capacity will fall a further 6GW to push the UK closer to a "tipping point". National Grid's winter outlook last week confirmed concerns that the UK's spare generating capacity would be just 2.1 per cent unless the operator secures a reserve sup- ply of almost 2.5GW to guard against the heightened risk of blackouts. But analysts already forecast- ing demand for the winter of 2016 say the string of planned coal plant closures expected next spring will drive capacity as much as 10 per cent lower to negative margins, unless action is taken. "National Grid is aware of this issue, as they have applied to Ofgem to extend the supplemental balancing reserve scheme beyond this winter, although the scale of the shortfall has not been publicly acknowledged yet," said PA Consulting in an exclusive col- umn for Utility Week (page 19). The UK's generation fleet has steadily dwindled over recent years as older plants close to comply with environmental reg- ulation and new investment has been slow to materialise. The UK is set to lose Scottish Power's 2.3GW Longannet plant (above), the 1.9GW Eggborough plant, and SSE's 1GW Ferrybridge and 0.5GW Fiddler's Ferry assets. The heavy losses will more than offset the expected rollout of new investment in renewable energy and gas-fired power, PA Consulting said. Without National Grid's emergency measures, these coal plant closures expected in March 2016 would plunge the UK's capacity margin to negative 5 per cent. Jefferies utilities analyst Peter Atherton echoed the stark warning. "Whilst National Grid's emergency measures have been sufficient so far, and may be sufficient for the coming winter, the dislocation in the UK power market is slowly eating away at security of supply. Further coal closures, or an unexpected event, could prove a tipping point," Atherton said. JA UK faces further 6GW capacity crunch in 2016 Seven days... "There is a conversation between lawyers going on" The head of the renewables programme team at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Gareth Redmond, told MPs the government could face legal action over its decision to cut pre-accreditation for small-scale renewable developers seeking to enter the feed-in tariff scheme

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