Utility Week

UTILITY Week 8th April 2016

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Finance & Investment This week Fiddler's Ferry to stay open for another year SSE power station granted a reprieve after signing a black start contract with National Grid SSE's Fiddler's Ferry coal-fired power station has been granted a one-year reprieve from closure following the signing of a black start contract with National Grid for an unspecified sum. National Grid has also awarded one of the remaining coal-fired units at Drax a black start contract, under which a station is paid to be ready to come back online without start-up power from the grid in the event of a national outage. Announcing the contract, SSE said it would keep Fiddler's Ferry open until at least March 2017. At the beginning of February, the big six supplier said it expected to close three of the four units at the plant at the end of March – subject to a consultation with employees – because of "challenging economic and environmental conditions for coal". However, it has now retained transmission entry capacity for the station of 1,445MW for 2016/17 – equal to the capacity of the three units – enabling their contin- ued participation in the energy market. The fourth unit will join the supplemental balancing reserve for the coming winter as expected. National Grid hit back at national media reports that it awarded the black start contracts in a "panicked" bid to keep capacity online ahead of the capacity crunch. It said: "A competitive process was launched for these services in February with the relevant information sent to industry participants, detailing the requirements and including location." TG ELECTRICITY Subsidy cuts 'to slow solar installations' Renewables groups have lauded a spike in solar capacity, but warned that subsidy cuts would see new installations dwindle. Photovoltaics (PV) capacity increased 62 per cent in the 12 months from February 2015, according to figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change. However, just 11MW of capacity was deployed in February 2016 – 92 per cent less than the same month in 2015. March 2016 saw an influx of smaller solar schemes launched ahead of the closure of the Renewables Obligation (RO) subsidy mechanism. The RO closed to large-scale projects last April, causing a major spike in capacity installed in March 2015. Solar suffered further subsidy cuts this January, when the feed- in tariff (FIT) was reformed to pay much lower rates of subsidy to those installing solar arrays and became subject to a quar- terly deployment cap. UK Solar policy analyst Lauren Cook said: "The government cuts [to the FIT] that kicked in this January are beginning to bite." WATER Severn Trent to sell £400m of property Severn Trent is to sell up to £400 million-worth of property over the next five years, providing land for up to 10,000 new homes across the water company's supply region in the Midlands. The company has appointed Capita to manage its property portfolio and maximise returns across its 7,000 UK sites. The eight-year contract, worth £8 million plus variable fees and gainshare agreements on high-profile sites, will see Capita undertake the manage- ment, promotion and disposal of properties no longer required for Severn Trent's operations, to generate capital return. The sites vary from large wastewater treat- ment plants to office blocks and pumping stations. ELECTRICITY Tidal partnership boost for Atlantis Tidal power in Scotland has received a boost with the news that developer Atlantis is partnering with infrastructure investor Equitix, which will take a 25 per cent stake in each of Atlantis's projects. Under the agreement, Atlantis and Equitix will work together to advance Atlantis's portfolio, which currently has a potential capacity of 650MW. They also aim to attract new funds to the tidal sector, which is under government review fol- lowing concerns over the level of funding required to launch the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon. Fiddler's Ferry: open until at least March 2017 12 | 8TH - 14TH APRIL 2016 | UTILITY WEEK Stock watch 290 280 270 260 DRAX SHARE PRICE, 30 MARCH - 5 APRIL 2016 30 Mar 31 Mar 1 Apr 4 Apr 5 Apr 320 300 280 260 240 220 DRAX SHARE PRICE, 1 AUGUST 2015 - 4 APRIL 2016 Aug Oct Dec Feb Apr Drax shares reached their highest price in more than six months this week aer it announced the signing of a black start contract with National Grid. The group said it expected the profits from the contract to help push its Ebitda towards the top end of market forecasts (£132-£161 million). As the stock market opened on the day of the announcement shares were trading at 269.5p. By the time of going to press they had reached 288.4p.

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