Utility Week

UTILITY Week 29th April 2016

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UTILITY WEEK | 29TH APRIL - 5TH MAY 2016 | 9 Policy & Regulation This week Irish Water set for a takeover by the state State agency move is part of a deal to create a new minority government in the Republic Irish Water is set to be taken over by the Irish state as part of a deal to create a new minority government in the Republic, it has been reported. Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are in talks to form a minority government under the leadership of acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny, following the election on 26 February. The future of Irish Water has been a major sticking point in the negotiations, with Fianna Fail and its leader Micheal Martin committed to abolishing the utility and its system of water charges. By contrast, Fine Gael wants to retain water charging. The two parties have now reached a deal that will see Irish Water become a state agency, with the company's debts remaining on the state's balance sheet, The Irish Times reports. The deal will see the suspension of water charges until a new system with generous allowances is put into place, and Irish Water is able to complete the transition from a commercial entity to a public utility. The new charging system would include a comprehensive system of waivers meaning that pensioners and social welfare recipients will no longer have to pay, it is being reported. Irish Water was created in January 2014, taking over- all responsibility for water services that had previously been delivered by 34 local authorities across Ireland. Its metering programme, which has seen more than 800,000 domestic properties fitted with meters, has proved unpopular with the public, as has the imposition of water charges for the first time. James Brockett, editor of sister publication WWT ELECTRICITY Hinkley threatened with legal challenge Green energy supplier Ecotricity and campaign group Greenpeace have threatened to mount a legal challenge if Hinkley Point C receives any more state funding. The planned nuclear plant was awarded a 35-year Contract for Difference with a strike price of £92.50/MWh – more than twice the current wholesale power price. Ecotricity and Greenpeace have written to the UK and French governments and EDF Energy, warning that any addi- tional funding from the French government would be "illegal" under EU state aid rules. Meanwhile, French economy minister Emmanuel Macron has said a final investment decision on Hinkley will now not be made until at least September. EMISSIONS SNP pledges 50 per cent CO2 reduction The SNP has pledged to reduce Scotland's CO2 emissions to 50 per cent of 1990 levels by 2020 in its latest manifesto. Party leader Nicola Sturgeon revealed the document ahead of the Scottish parliamentary elec- tions due to take place on 5 May. Scotland is more than on track to meets its 2009 com- mitment to reduce emissions by 42 per cent by 2020, the mani- festo said, having already cut them by 38.4 per cent by 2013. The party will also create a new energy strategy to achieve its aims, which will take a "whole system view", encom- passing "demand reduction, energy efficiency, a balanced energy generation mix, a role for storage, and the requirement for a low-carbon transition in transport and heat use". ENERGY No consent for White Rose CCS scheme Energy secretary Amber Rudd has refused development consent for the White Rose carbon cap- ture and storage (CCS) project, as the developer has failed to secure the funding needed to build it. A letter to the developer, Capture Power, noted the conclu- sions of the examining author- ity's report, which said "the con- struction and operation of the proposal was heavily dependent on government funding". Additionally, it said Capture Power had itself conceded dur- ing the application process that there are "no contingent funds to cover the absence of these government-sourced funds". The application from Capture Power – a joint venture between Drax, GE and BOC – was for a coal or coal and biomass plant next to the site of the existing Drax plant in Yorkshire. Building a bridge: Irish Water compromise deal Political Agenda Mathew Beech "The Paris agreement shows green Tories are not extinct" Last week saw 175 nations sign the Paris agreement – the deal on climate change that emerged from the crunch UN summit at the end of last year. While this may have been lost underneath news of Brexit campaigning and US president Barack Obama's intervention (something prime minister David Cameron must be chuffed about), it remains a significant milestone and shows that the green Tory is far from extinct. Energy minister Lord Bourne The energy secretary said that because of its position in the EU, the UK "played a key role in securing the deal" and that it was in the interest of British families and businesses. What is clear, is that every opportunity between now and 23 June will be seized upon to make the case for – or against – the UK's membership of the EU. The green Tories, such as Rudd, are likely to be pushing the cause of the Britain Stronger In Europe campaign. signed the official document, and committing to the deal is something that energy secretary Amber Rudd – one of the green Tories – heartily welcomes. "The global deal reached in Paris was a significant milestone in tackling climate change, help- ing to safeguard our long-term economic security and giving clear direction to businesses as we transition to a low-carbon economy," she said. But bearing in mind the tumultuous political climate at the moment – not least within the Conservative Party – Rudd was not going to waste the opportunity to promote the 'In' campaign.

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