Utility Week

Utility Week 30th September 2016

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UTILITY WEEK | 30TH SEPTEMBER - 6TH OCTOBER 2016 | 9 Policy & Regulation Aberthaw coal-fired power sta- tion in Wales was in breach of European limits on the emis- sion of nitrogen oxides for eight years, the European Court of Justice has ruled. The UK has been ordered to pay the costs of the case aer the court found that the govern- ment had incorrectly applied an exemption to the 1.6GW plant in the Vale of Glamorgan. EMISSIONS Aberthaw breached emissions limits for eight years, court rules Under the Large Combus- tion Plant Directive (LCPD), which came into force at the beginning of 2008, plants with a capacity of more than 500MW were required to emit no more than 500 milligrams of nitrogen oxides in each normal cubic metre of flue gas. The directive included an exemption for plants burning fuel with a 'volatile matter con- tent' (VMC) of less than 10 per cent, which enabled them to emit up to 1,200 milligrams per normal cubic metre. Aberthaw was licensed to operate under the exemption. However, when the Euro- pean Commission launched an inquiry into the plant in 2012, it was told by the UK government it had actually been burning coal with an average VMC of This week 'Significant shortfalls' in fuel poverty funds Committee on Fuel Poverty outlines six 'priority outcomes' to tackling fuel poverty in first report There are "significant shortfalls" in the funding to tackle fuel pov- erty in the UK, the Committee on Fuel Poverty has warned. The Committee has also urged the government to take "urgent action" to improve the energy efficiency of homes. The first report from the Committee revealed its estimates of the cost of meeting the government's 2030 target to ensure as many households as reasonably practicable achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of band C. The Committee said it will cost £1.9 billion to achieve the first milestone in 2020, which aims to get as many homes as possible to a band E rating, a further £5.6 bil- lion to get homes to band D by 2025 and an additional £12.3 billion for the final 2030 target. The report also encouraged the government to offer more funding to help those without energy efficiency measures to pay their bills. It estimated that it would cost fuel poor households an additional £371 per year to heat and power their homes to a reasonable standard. The Committee outlined six "priority outcomes" to tackling fuel poverty, including: exploring the potential of private finance to help fund energy-saving measures to meet milestones quicker; extending supplier obligations to health agencies, charities and local authorities; and better informing households about available assistance. Concerns that the 2020 target will be missed unless appropriate data-sharing legislation is introduced within the expected timeframe are also expressed in the report, as "even if done on time, work to meet the target will be very backloaded into 2018/19". Another recommendation is an obligation on private landlords to ensure properties are energy efficient. SJ ENERGY IoD attacks 'costly' smart meter rollout The Institute of Directors (IoD) has attacked the smart meter rollout for being too complex and costly. The organisation also insisted the government "urgently review" the benefits of going ahead with the rollout, which it said looks "very unlikely" to meet its 2020 target. The IoD blamed "unneces- sarily complex technology" as the reason for the high cost of the scheme and said the price of rolling out the meters – £10.9 billion – adds £400 to each energy customer's bill, despite advertising claiming it comes "at no extra cost". The comments from the IoD come aer a survey of 998 of its members, which showed less than 1 per cent would willingly cover the full cost for smart meters if they had a choice. Sacha Deshmukh, chief executive of Smart Energy GB, which runs the national advertis- ing campaign for the rollout, said: "The IoD's latest statement, which contains inaccuracies and misrepresentation of facts, shows them once again attacking the rollout on ideological grounds." ENVIRONMENT UK to ratify the Paris Agreement this year Prime minister Theresa May has vowed that the UK will have officially ratified the Paris Agreement by the end of 2016, although it is believed the ratifi- cation process could be finalised within a matter of weeks. In her maiden speech at the United Nations (UN) general assembly in New York on 20 Sep- tember, May promised that the UK would "play [its] part in the international effort against climate change", by joining the likes of the US and China in officially ratifying the deal. "The UK will start its domes- tic procedures to enable ratifica- tion of the Paris Agreement and complete these before the end of the year," May said. The UK could soon join France as one of the major Euro- pean countries to officially ratify. ENERGY Push for storage priorities to be set The Solar Trade Association (STA) has urged the government to "move quickly" and "unlock the game-changer potential" of energy storage. The association said the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) must prioritise the resolution of regulatory, economic and market barriers which prevent "fair treatment for storage within the power system". There is currently no legal definition of storage in the UK or the EU, which the STA said leads to double charging – where stor- age is charged for both import- ing and exporting power despite the benefits it offers. More heat needed in non-energy efficient homes more than 11 per cent for each of the previous four years. The government argued that the exemption should neverthe- less apply to Aberthaw, as it only required a "substantial propor- tion" of the coal to have a VMC of less than 10 per cent. It said the exemption should also apply on the basis that it had been negotiated with plants such as Aberthaw in mind.

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