Utility Week

UTILITY Week 8th April 2016

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4 | 8TH - 14TH APRIL 2016 | UTILITY WEEK Low carbon output hits record highs New figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change show that low-carbon electricity's share of generation jumped to 45.5 per cent in 2015. The report said the increase was due to a rise in nuclear and renewable generation following recent increases in capacity. 37.9% Low-carbon electricity's share of generation in 2014. 0.4% Drop in total electricity generation in 2015. 26.4% Increase in wind generation in 2015. 27% Decrease in coal production since 2014. STORY BY NUMBERS Gas networks 'in line for transporting shale gas' Seven days... G as distribution networks could be in line for trans- porting shale gas if the nascent shale exploration indus- try takes off in the UK, accord- ing to energy minister Andrea Leadsom. At a ministerial summit in Leeds, hosted by Northern Gas Networks, Leadsom told Utility Week that using the existing gas networks for the transportation of shale gas was an "interesting idea", especially if combined with innovations such as using hydrogen in the gas grid. "Potentially, and I'm think- ing long term ahead, you could be generating natural gas, con- verting it to hydrogen and using it for heating in the local area," she said. "Using hydrogen in the gas networks would then be a real win for decarbonisation." Leadsom said the govern- ment had yet to really consider the practical use of shale because the industry was still in its infancy. But her comments acknowledge the medium and possibly long-term role domestic gas, and gas distribution networks, will play in the UK's energy mix. Policymakers and regulators are increasingly moving away from the once prevalent idea that the UK's heating needs will soon be met almost entirely by electrified heat, as the practical implications of such a transition become clear. Also at the summit, Northern Gas Networks' chief executive, Mark Horsley, told Utility Week that he sees gas distribution companies having a role to play in the shale gas industry in the future. "I think we do," he said. However, he said he sees the gas pipe as a medium for a number of things. "It could be hydrogen, it could be natural gas, it could be biomethane, it could be shale." LD National media Calls for electricity rationing in Tasmania The Tasmanian government has shipped in diesel generators as record low rainfall combined with a broken Basslink cable has caused energy shortages across the state. In the seven days to last Mon- day, dams across Tasmania's hydro scheme lost 0.3 per cent capacity and stand at 13.6 per cent, with further drops forecast. One major storage, Lake Gordon, is at just 5.9 per cent. Record low rainfall is to blame for the shortages, which coincide with a broken and inoperable Basslink cable which would normally be able to send in power from the mainland. The Guardian, 4 April German subsidies to heavy industry Germany has handed over 40 times more in energy subsidies to heavy industry since 2013 than the UK, highlighting one reason why British steelmakers are in such trouble. Berlin in that period has granted subsidies worth over €9 billion to its most intensive energy users as it raised levies on others to help pay for its transition to renewables. But in the UK, where Tata Steel has in part blamed high energy prices for last week's decision to put its business up for sale, the government has paid out just £160 million. Financial Times, 3 April Iran to build GDN in Armenia Iranian company Sanergy is to build a gas distribution network in two Armenian towns in a project financed by the Iranian government, Armenia's energy minister has said. Levon Iolyan told a government meeting that Iran would resume financing for the project, which was suspended in 2013, and would disburse a $2 million grant. Reuters, 31 March "The coming winter will be the tightest we've ever seen" University College London professor Michael Grubb said supply margins had been getting tighter in recent years, falling to just a couple of per cent

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