Utility Week

UTILITY Week 17th March 2017

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

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4 | UTILITY WEEK | 17TH - 23RD MARCH 2017 | UTILITY WEEK Floating windfarm approved in Scotland The Scottish government has approved a plan- ning application by Kincardine Offshore Windfarm to situate a floating windfarm off the Aberdeenshire coast. Scottish ministers hailed the "huge poten- tial" of floating offshore wind. 15km Located around 15km southeast of Aberdeen. 8 Number of turbines. 50MW Maximum capacity of windfarm. 56k Enough to power 56,000 homes. 110 Number of jobs expected to be created. 25% Scotland's share of Europe's offshore wind capacity. 100% Scottish govern- ment's target for renewables by 2020. STORY BY NUMBERS Seven days... National media Grid in Google AI talks Google subsidiary Deep Mind is in discussions with National Grid about using artificial intelligence. "We're early stages talking to National Grid and other big provid- ers about how we could look at the sorts of problems they have. It would be amazing if you could save 10 per cent of the country's energy usage without any new infrastruc- ture, just from optimisation. That's pretty exciting," said Deep Mind chief executive Demis Hassabis. Financial Times, 12 March Dogger island An artificial island with an airport and harbour could be built in the North Sea under ambitious plans for a vast offshore renewable energy plant. Proposals have been drawn up to create a 2.5 square mile island on Dogger Bank to service a network of wind turbines and solar panels. The island would have homes for a small workforce and act as the hub for an energy supply distributed to six countries — Britain, the Nether- lands, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Belgium. The Times, 13 March Ineos bets on UK shale Ineos has increased its bet on UK shale gas by acquiring a portfolio of onshore exploration and produc- tion licences from Engie, the French energy group. The UK petrochemi- cals group, privately controlled by its founder and chairman Jim Rat- cliffe, is already the biggest owner of shale licences in the UK. Financial Times, 9 March Westinghouse for sale Troubled Japanese nuclear and electronics company Toshiba is considering selling its money-losing Westinghouse operations in the US. President Satoshi Tsunakawa said the company was looking at selling its majority stake in Westinghouse and making a priority of trying to get the energy giant's battered results off its books. Daily Mail, 14 March Household water competition still on government's agenda T here are still "complex issues" around the deci- sion about whether to introduce household retail com- petition to the water sector, but it is still on the government's agenda, water minister Therese Coffey has insisted. The government first mooted the idea of domestic water retail competition in 2015, at which time it proposed the market might open by 2020. Since then, few updates have been given on the government's thinking about the proposal, causing some commentators to speculate that it had been dropped. However, Coffey's com- ments, made at Water UK's City Conference last week, confirm that the prospect is still being considered. To help reach a final deci- sion, the government will look closely at the impact of non-domestic market opening on small businesses, said the minister. She told delegates: "There are complex issues surrounding whether or not to introduce competition in the household retail market. I'm still consider- ing the evidence." Ofwat chair Jonson Cox said the regulator expects to hear a decision on residential competi- tion "in the fairly near term". He said some companies and investors had accepted that in principle it would happen in some form over the next decade. Both speakers agreed that introducing competition into the non-household market would have a knock-on effect on household customers. "Market reform is going to play an important part in helping to offset pressures on bills and enhancing resilience," said Coffey. She added that the opening of the business market should result in improved customer service to household customers as well as businesses. "I'll be keenly following the effect of the business retail market. It will be important for us all to learn the lessons of this exciting reform, particularly with regard to impacts on bills, customer service, innovation, and efficiency." LV

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