Utility Week

UTILITY Week 15th January 2015

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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People & Opinion Utility Week community utILIty WEEK | 15th - 21st January 2016 | 7 "Coal-fired power stations may be getting an unlikely and unexpected reprieve" A s David Cameron is taken to task on the difference between the rhetoric and reality on climate change by select committee chairmen, the headlines focus on the appar- ent abandonment of CCS. While jettisoning the CCS competition (although the £1 billion budget was actually raided by former chief secretary Danny Alexan- der under the coalition) weeks before its conclusion may well be indicative of another Treas- ury victory in a Whitehall policy battle, a new aspect of the real- ity gap comes into view. In November, when announc- ing the almost complete phase- out of coal-fired generation by 2023, Amber Rudd secured the endorsement of former US vice-president Al Gore in the lead-up to Paris climate talks. More sceptical observers – me included – noted that the num- ber of coal-fired power stations likely to close rather than invest to be compliant with European air quality directives, suggested the announcement was making a virtue out of an inevitability. With power generated from coal-fired stations falling from around a third of the total in 2014 to about a quarter in 2015, and a number of stations scheduled and announced for closure, the impact of the European industrial emissions directive seemed another factor likely to make unabated coal all but absent from our primary generation mix within a decade. For the government, an ambi- tious sounding policy delivered with plenty of fanfare and little intervention required – precisely what an energy secretary going into international climate talks might have ordered. From the start of this year those EU rules come into force, and decisions about whether to opt in to the limited lifetime derogation – restricted running hours before shutting down – or agreeing to be part of the UK transitional plan (giving plant until July 2020 to fit emissions abatement equipment) garner greater interest. While the final strait to clo- sure has been chosen by some – including Eggborough, Ferry- bridge and Longannet – most appear not to have decided, leaving the prospect of coal-fired power generation continuing long aer the 2023 end date pro- claimed a couple of months ago. Perhaps large generators can foresee further lucrative tight- ened capacity induced measures from government and grid three or four years hence, or are just keeping their options open. Decc is due to issue its consultation on how to meet the 2023 coal phase-out this spring. It is perhaps going to be a more difficult commitment to meet than envisaged. It is another of the ironies of the complex nature of UK energy policy that while govern- ment support for the putative technology that would enable coal to continue – but cleanly – is taken away, coal may be quietly getting an unlikely and unexpected reprieve. Opinion Tom Greatrex, Former shadow energy minister Reasons for rethinking resilience "The record-breaking rainfall of December 2015 has le damage and destruction across parts of the UK and catalysed a series of (seem- ingly endless) discussions as to whether we are seeing 'unusual and exceptional storms' or whether we are witnessing the physical manifestation of climate change. Whether the drivers here are man- made, a natural phenomenon or more likely a combination of both, it's apparent that a shi in thinking is required if we are to better prepare and recover from similar circumstances in the future." David Wilkes, Global Flood Resilience leader at Arup For the full blog, visit: www.utilityweek.co.uk "It was a difficult decision made in a difficult spending round" Energy secretary Amber Rudd at Decc questions on the decision to cancel the £1 billion CCS competition (See analysis, p14) £125k the salary Ofwat is offering for three new senior directors 97% Proportion of consumers who don't trust utilities with their data, according to a survey by Verint. "It is simply unacceptable" Chief executive of the Angling Trust & Fish Legal Mark Lloyd criticises water companies for not providing full information on nearly 2,000 sewage outfalls. Winter storms in numbers Storm Desmond (5-6 December 2015) Power outages: 70,000 Highest wind speed (gusts): 112mph Rainfall: broke the UK's 24-hour rainfall record with 341.4mm in Honister Pass, Cumbria, on 5 December Storm Eva (24 December 2015) Power outages: 20,000 Highest wind speed (gusts): 85mph Rainfall: 130mm in 48 hours Storm Frank (29-30 December 2015) Power outages: 53,000 Highest wind speed (gusts): 85mph Rainfall: 85.6mm in 24 hours

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