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  • Manufacturing close to stagnation rates

    Manufacturing has hit a 34-month low, according to figures from the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which takes its data from more than 600 manufacturing companies.

    The UK manufacturing PMI now stands at 50.8, which is only just above the stagnation mark and output has experienced a sharp decrease. The fall comes just a month after an increase of the January manufacturing PMI to 52.9, which was due to a surge in domestic orders.

    The slump is attributed to a slowdown in the consumer and investment goods market, and capital and consumer goods are also in decline.

    Commenting on the new figures, Rob Dobson, a Senior Economist at Markit, said:

    “The near-stagnation of manufacturing highlights the ongoing fragility of the economic recovery at the start of the year and provides further cover for the Bank of England's increasingly dovish stance.

    "The breadth of the slowdown is especially worrisome. The domestic market is showing signs of weakening while export business continued to fall."

    “Price pressures also remained firmly on the downside, with the survey signalling input costs falling at a double-digit annual pace and average factory gate selling prices showing a further decline. A lot of this is driven by the ongoing weakness of global commodity prices. However, there are also signs that weaker growth is driving up competition between manufacturers to secure new business and among their suppliers too.”

    Nevertheless, despite the decline in February’s results, the PMI still remains in positive figures and previous industry surveys show that manufacturers are positive about the future prospects.

    Employment slump and Exports

    Employment in the manufacturing sector also fell, with the figures for February showing a reduction for the second successive month, however, the fall was not significant

    Exports were on the decline with manufacturers stating there is a slowdown in orders from key locations such as Russia, Brazil and mainland Europe, and there was low demand from the domestic market also.

    Exchange rates, Brexit and the manufacturing sector

    Many manufacturing firms have expressed concerns over the volatility of exchange rates and the impact these will continue to have on the sector. Moreover, with an EU referendum set for June, this will lead to more uncertainty over the future of exports.

    The future of the UK export market will remain unclear while the outcome of the Brexit vote is unknown. In the meanwhile, analysts state that if the UK public does vote to exit the EU, this will have a significant impact on many UK manufacturing sectors, including the chemical, food and beverages industry.

  • Manufacturing gathered pace in September

    Manufacturing grew in September, according to the latest statistics from the Office of National Statistics. The pharmaceutical sector showed a strong performance, but the gas and oil sectors unperformed, causing an 0.4 per cent drop in total industrial production, the BBC reports.

    Moreover, there were further challenges for the manufacturing sector in September in the form of inflation, leading to a rise in prices for materials and the cost of fuels.  Manufacturers have also had to contend with the low value of the pound, which has made imports more expensive, but sterling is now on the rise.

    Manufacturers adjusting spending plans

    The immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote has not had the impact on the manufacturing sector that many had feared. However, manufacturers are adjusting their investment plans following the referendum result, according to research from the EEF.

    The EEF/Santander Monitor 2016 report indicates that manufacturing firms will slow down their investment into capital equipment for the near future. 60 per cent of the manufacturers surveyed stated they will be spending either the same or less on equipment in the next two years.

    Lee Hopley, Chief Economist at the EEF said:                    

    “Fears of an immediate collapse in business investment appear to be unfounded for now. UK manufacturers have been investing at a healthy pace in recent years and while that rate of increase wasn’t going to continue forever, keeping up with customer needs and the competition is ensuring that investment stays on track for many.

    EEF attribute this slowdown in spending to order book uncertainty. In addition, some manufacturers are already faced with ‘soft demand’, with a third of manufactures already having spare capacity, meaning they are reluctant to invest in equipment that could go under used.

    The EEF also stressed the need for policies that would assist the manufacturing industry. Ms Hopley stated:

    “…It’s over to the Autumn statement now to press ahead with policies that further enhance the UK business environment for spending on modern machinery and increasingly important intangible investment.”

    Change in investment strategy

    Manufacturers are also changing the way they invest. EEF say manufacturers would rather invest in innovation to help them stand out from the competition, allowing them to enhance productivity and to improve future demand for their products. 60 per cent of manufacturers say that investing in ‘intangibles’ rather than equipment is now more important to their businesses.

    Despite the concerns prior to the referendum, the report shows that Brexit has had little impact on the manufacturing sector’s plans for future investment. There is also more optimism over exports due the fall in the value of pound.

  • Manufacturing industry needs more innovation

    There need for more innovation in the manufacturing industry has been highlighted by new research.

    Just 11 per cent of manufacturers have a system in place to enhance innovation; this could put the UK at a distinct disadvantage in the future due to the many challenges the manufacturing sector is currently facing, according to RSM, who conducted the survey.

    RSM found that more than half of the manufacturers interviewed said they do intend invest in business systems at some point. However, these efforts are mainly concentrated on technology to improve the way the business is run, boost efficiency and productivity, but many UK manufacturers are neglecting to invest in innovation.

    Discussing the research, Mike Thornton, head of manufacturing for RSM, said:

    ‘As many UK manufacturers prepare for a potential surge in competition and uncertain trading conditions, harnessing technology could be the answer to future success. Technology will play an important role to help the sector become more efficient, productive and, in turn, more competitive, but this requires significant investment into the right software, equipment and talent to drive change.’

    Lack of innovation not limited to manufacturing industry

    Experts say that innovation is crucial if the UK manufacturing industry is going to be competitive post-Brexit and if it is to keep up with cheaper manufacturing bases like China.

    However, the manufacturing sector isn’t the only industry struggling when it comes to innovation.

    A study from PWC found that relatively few of the UK-based companies interviewed (32 per cent) viewed innovation as important, with most companies preferring to prioritise technology instead.

    Government initiatives to improve innovation in manufacturing

    Although a considerable percentage of manufactures admit that investing in innovation isn’t their priority, government agency Innovate UK say UK manufactures do still rate as a ‘major driver of innovation’.

    The agency also explains how new technologies that involve digitisation, like the Internet of Things and cloud based data, have the power to transform manufacturing.

    Digitisation is where a new generation of ideas and products is most likely to come from in the future, and progress is being made in this area. Research shows that most UK companies plan to have invested in digitalisation by 2021, although they don’t plan to invest quite as much as other countries.

    And to encourage fresh innovations in the sector, government agency Innovate UK has opened the third round of funding competition, which is designed to encourage manufacturers to come forward with new ideas.

  • Meister Flow Limiters - Protecting the environment.

    Flow Limiters by Meister - Tamo UK

    These energy saving mechanical flow limiters require no external power source and enable an almost constant flow rate to be maintained. Primarily designed to work with these compact units are easy to fit into existing systems or new systems. Unlike some other flow limiters there are no wearing parts. Too see the promotional video click on the link. 

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  • Meister Flow Limiters from Tamo

    Flow Limiters by Meister - Tamo UK

    These energy saving mechanical flow limiters require no external power source and enable an almost constant flow rate to be maintained. Primarily designed to work with these compact units are easy to fit into existing systems or new systems. Unlike some other flow limiters there are no wearing parts. Too see the promotional video click on the link. 

    Watch the Video Here 

    Or View Here on our Website

  • Meister flow switches & indicators have ATEX switches available

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    Meister flow switches & indicators have ATEX switches available as options on most of their standard Ranges. Including their low flow ranges where their series SG-15EX of switches were developed specifically for use on variable area flow meters with small flow rates, enabling reliable monitoring in hazardous areas. Approved by Bureau Veritas, the complete flow switches are suitable for use in zones 1, 2, 21 and 22 in accordance with ATEX.

    For more information contact our technical sales dept.

  • Millions of businesses unclear on duties over safe gas appliances

    More than 1.5 million small and medium enterprises say that they are not aware of their legal duties when it comes to maintaining safe gas appliances.  This could mean that many companies around the UK are inadvertently putting their businesses at risk because they don’t understand, or are unware of the current regulations.

    Under the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 all employers are legally obliged to  make sure that gas appliances, gas pipe works and flues remaining in good working order, however, more than 50% of senior managers stated that they did not know that they had to carry out regular safety checks.

    27% of those surveyed said that taking advantage of the recovering economy was most important to them, and 45% of respondents felt that increasing the amount customers spend was the most essential challenge faced by their business, however, 38% said that they were “overwhelmed” by the sheer amount of compliance and safety requirements, while 39% said that they didn’t have adequate time to ensure that they stayed up to date with all of the relevant safety requirements.

    Just under half of the small and medium sized businesses interviewed said that that they had not carried out safety checks within the last 12 months, which could mean that their Business Liability Insurance would no longer be validate should an accident happen or a claim be made against their company.

    Businesses that don’t carry out regular energy safety checks are putting their company at risk of prosecution should a problem occur and they are also endangering the health and safety of the people that work for them.

    Commenting on the survey, Stephen Beynon, Managing Director at British Gas Business, said:

    “Gas safety should be an absolute priority for all businesses. Our customers tell us that it can be a struggle to find the time to wade through compliance requirements, but the consequences of using unsafe gas appliances can be severe. With winter not far away it makes sense to put plans in place which protect businesses and allow them to focus on what matters - growing their revenues to help Britain’s economic recovery.”

    In further findings, 60% of those interviewed stated that they had experienced a  breakdown within the last five years, but  just over a quarter said that they had no backup plan in place should there be a breakdown.

  • Miniature Super Purity Pressure Switches for demanding applications

    SV120 small

    Miniature Super Purity Pressure Switches for demanding applications. The Wasco SP120 miniature pressure switch features:-

    * All Stainless Steel wetted Sensor

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    * Leak tested & Certified to 1x10-9 cc per sec. Helium

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    Working pressure ranges from 1 to 500 psi. Standard pressure connection 9/16-18 UNF-VCR male.

    A wide range of optional pressure connections & electrical connections are available along with customer specials contact Tamo for more information. 

  • National Grid discuss plans for Borehamwood site

    The National Grid are consulting with residents in Borehamwood over the future of a site that used to house the local gasworks.

    Work is currently underway to clear the site, and efforts to break up the gas holders that are located at the Borehamwood site are expected to get underway shortly; it is thought that the work will be completed towards the end of 2015. With the site cleared, plans for redevelopment can go ahead and there are proposals for the site to be used for housing.

    In addition to plans to remove gas holders from the site, gas equipment that is currently being used is to be transferred to another site in the local area.

    Residents and local councillors were at the meeting to hear about plans for the redevelopment of the site. At the meeting, residents had an opportunity to ask questions about the future of the former gasworks and to find out further details of the proposed redevelopment.

    Among those attending was Councillor Clive Butchins, who acts as a representative for the Borehamwood Hillside Ward.

    Commenting on the meeting, Councillor Butchins said:

    “Although it is a shame to lose such a local landmark, I am happy to see the gasholders removed from site to prepare it for a more useful future.”

    Following the meeting, Nadia Dew, Land Regeneration Manager at National Grid said: “It is always great to meet with the site’s neighbours. We hope that people found the session and opportunity to ask questions helpful.”

    She went on to say:  “We’ll continue to keep all our neighbours updated on how our work’s progressing” and she assured residents that the local pedestrian walkway would remain open during the redevelopment phase.

    The National Grid site has a long history in the area and it had once been essential for delivering gas to locals in Borehamwood. In addition, the site had been used for storing gas, but due to modern developments, there is no need for the gasholders so the decision was made to decommission them.

    According to 4-traders.com, the National Grid first told residents about the proposals to redevelop the site back in February 2015.

    As the plans for redevelopment are underway, local residents are invited to continue to give their feedback on plans for the regeneration of the site. Residents are invited to call the community relations team should they have any questions over the plans for the restoration of the Borehamwood site.

  • New figures show surge in renewable power

    New figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change show an increase in the role that renewable energy is playing in powering homes and commercial premises in the United Kingdom.

    The latest figures from the DECC cover the April to June 2015 period and show that during this time, renewable power was used to produce 25.3% of electricity in the United Kingdom; the majority of this was produced from offshore and onshore wind power. This increase represents an 8.6% surge on the figures for the previous year.

    This means that renewable power is now more popular than coal and nuclear as a means of fuel, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change say this upsurge is down to “favourable weather conditions” such as increased wind speeds and sunshine, and a greater capacity for producing wind power.

    Commenting on the increase, Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive of Energy UK, said:

    “Renewables have now become Britain’s second largest source of electricity, generating more than a quarter of our needs. The new statistics show that Britain is relying increasingly on dependable renewable sources to keep the country powered up, with onshore and offshore wind playing the leading roles in our clean energy mix.”

    McCaffery added that “we’d welcome clearer signals from Government that it’s backing the installation of vital new projects”.

    New Campaign

    The release of the figures came shortly before a new campaign got underway in opposition to the Government’s plans to cut support for some smaller renewable energy projects such as investment in solar panels and wind turbines.

    The new campaign has been named People Power and hopes to persuade the Government to think again before reducing funding.

    Renewable energy investment cuts

    In recent years there has been a steady increase in renewable energy investment in the UK as the government looks for more sustainable ways to power the country. However, there have been some concerns about continued investment after it was announced earlier in the year that funding for renewable energy subsidies was to be cut.

    In September, the BBC reported the CBI has expressed concerns that the reduction in these energy subsidies could be off-putting to investors, and there are also worries the reduction in funding could lead to job losses in the renewable energy sector.

    Renewable Energy UK says that Government cuts to funding for smaller renewable energy projects would mean it won’t be possible for such schemes to advance.

  • New fund allows communities to create power stations

    A new £10 million fund will make it possible for local communities to come together and create their own power stations. Funding will be made available as part of the Urban Community Energy Fund and allow community groups to apply for grants of up to £20,000 or loans of up to £130,000.

    The initiative is a way of encouraging people to look towards greener formers of energy, and it is part of the government drive to move towards cleaner methods of energy generation.

    Under the scheme, communities will be able to create local “power hubs” by finding innovative new ways to generate renewable energy. Examples include the installation of solar panels on buildings, and the construction of anaerobic digestion plants, which would take local waste and burn it to create energy.

    Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said:

    “I want to give more people the power to generate their own electricity and by supporting community energy projects we can - helping them drive down their energy bills at the same time.

    “That’s why we’ve pledged £10 million, so communities can play their part in generating renewable power at a local level. This is all about investing in renewable energy sources, creating jobs and changing the way renewable energy is developed in the UK.”

    New Initiatives

    East Sussex is being cited as one area that has come up with a unique idea that provides a greener source of energy, as well as helping to save money on energy bills. A local community energy scheme fitted solar panels into the brewery walls, and now uses the sun’s rays to help it provide green fuel. The scheme allows the brewery to reduce the cost of their energy bills, and the community also gains as it gets money back from the Feed in Tariff.

    Feed in Tariff Scheme

    Communities that wish to develop their own energy schemes have now been told that they will get additional support from the Feed in Tariff Scheme. The Feed in Tariff Scheme allows community energy project owners to earn extra money by getting paid for the energy production.

    Community Investment Projects

    According to research from Ethex, renewable energy schemes have fast become one of the most popular types of community investment projects and have already generated millions of pounds. It is hoped that with additional support from the government, many more community investment projects will be set up, allowing entire communities to benefit from the generation of green energy.

  • New solar power farm opens in Vale of Glamorgan

    A new solar far has been opened on a former brownfield site in the Vale of Glamorgan. The 20 acre solar farm was launched by the local MP Alun Cairns and it was built by British Gas for use by Associated British Ports.

    Work began on the site in March 2015; the installation of 15,000 solar panels were completed shortly afterwards.

    Commenting on the opening of the new site, MP Alun Cairns said:

    "The new solar farm on Barry Docks is a fantastic example of maximising the use of industrial space, in a very impressive scheme. The energy partnership between ABP and British Gas will allow Barry Dock to become more competitive in the industry, and the project in the Vale of Glamorgan could become an exciting model for other docks and ports around Great Britain.”

    The opening of the new farm is predicted to produce approximately 4.5 megawatts of green power annually for use by ABP’s port operations. The energy that is produced will also be used by 75 tenants of ABP, and surplus energy is to be sold back to the National Grid.

    The new solar farm is set to lead to a significant reduction in the CO2 emissions, reducing them by 2,000 tonnes annually.

    Representatives from both ABP and British Gas were at the site for the opening, and it has recently been announced that the site has already been nominated for the Wales Green Energy award.

    At the launch, Chris Morrison of British Gas reaffirmed the company’s commitment to greener energy and reducing the impact of carbon stating: stating:

    “This solar farm will generate a significant contribution towards that goal.”

    Solar power in the UK

    The drive towards green power has been welcomed by environmental campaign charities. There are now more than 400 wind farms in the UK and the growth has increased rapidly in recent years. A Press Association report featured in the Guardian shows that there are now 650,000 solar installations being used in the UK.

    However, there has been some concern over the government’s on-going commitment to green energy after it was announced by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Amber Rudd, in July that the Government was to reduce its renewable energy subsidies. The decision to cut green energy subsidies was made amid concerns that they were on course to be higher than had been previously predicted.

  • New survey reveals why businesses are reluctant to invest in new energy sources

    Businesses of all sizes are often accused of not doing enough to invest in energy efficiency, however, a new survey from British Gas Energy reveals some of the reasons behind this. Among the biggest concerns were political and regulatory uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the recent election and the potential implications for energy technology investment.

    The opinions were gathered at the Energy Live Future conference in the first week of June. The large organizations present commented on the need to reduce energy costs, but also stressed the problems of convincing company bosses/team leaders to make the necessary investments.

    However, despite these challenges, Gab Barbaro, Managing Director of British Gas Business, has urged business owners to be more proactive when it comes to energy use, saying:

    “My challenge to business leaders is to get smart and be more proactive about their energy use. Businesses must think long-term rather than be swayed by current political or economic uncertainty - there are countless opportunities for organisations to save money on their bills today, by getting to grips with how it’s being used and acting where it’s being wasted.”

    Other barriers to energy efficiency

    Another barrier to the adoption of the latest energy technologies, like smart meters, is that business owners often lack a basic understanding of them, and their advantages.

    And another issue is worries over cyberattacks. Two thirds of companies interviewed by PWC are concerned that the data stored by utility companies from smart meters could be compromised, and these reservations are costing businesses money.

    The increasing cost of energy

    Rising energy bills means companies can spend twice as much on their energy bills, according to the Carbon Trust.

    Although the Carbon Trust’s figures were taken from 2014, spiralling energy costs continue to put a strain on businesses’ finances, and analysts are warning that the UK industry could suffer as a result.

    Cost savings from energy efficiency

    Although there is some resistance to introducing new energy technologies and trends into the workplace, UK-based businesses are being urged to embrace them due to the advantages they offer, such as cost savings.

    It’s estimated that companies that introduce energy saving measures could save up to 20 per cent on their energy costs. And specialist manufacturers who use the most energy, such as the petrochemical, food and beverages and industrial gases sectors, potentially have the most to save by adopting efficiency measures.

  • Offshore wind industry adds more than 900m to economy

    New figures recently issued by RenewableUK shows that the offshore energy wind industry added £906 million to the UK economy in 2014.

    The latest statistics were compiled as part of a report conducted by BiGGAR Economics on behalf of RenewableUK.

    Benefits to Local Regions

    Local regions are also benefiting from the drive towards renewable forms of power generation. In Yorkshire and Humberside, 379MW of onshore wind is being used to help power more than two hundred thousand homes.

    Employers, manufacturers and consultants from the region are also benefiting from the trend towards green energy supply with local firms. The South West and East of the country were also beneficiaries of the offshore wind industry.

    Commenting on the figures, RenewableUK’s Chief Executive, Maria McCaffery, said,

     “The British onshore wind energy industry is adding over £900 million a year to the national economy, so the benefits to the UK are clear to see. This report also shows that £7 of every £10 spent on onshore wind projects is invested here in the UK. Onshore wind powers local economies, bringing £199 million of investment into the local communities that host wind farms and creating jobs across the supply chain. The industry is helping to propel Britain to a brighter, cleaner and more secure future – onshore wind is already the lowest cost of all low carbon options and is set to become the least cost form of all electricity within the next five years.

    Wind Power in Wales

    The figures published by RenewablesUK shows that Wales is likely to gain £799 million of economic benefit from onshore wind power over a lifetime. 559 megawatts of wind power is already being used; Mid Wales and South Wales are the most active in this area.

    Wind Power in Scotland

    Scotland has also benefited from the move towards green energy. Figures released by RenewableUK show that Scotland will gain £7bn worth of economic benefit over a lifetime due to onshore wind power.

    Scotland has been at the forefront of wind power and it has 4,918 megawatts of onshore wind power in use. This is enough to produce enough power for more than 2.5 million homes in Scotland.

    South Lanarkshire, the Highlands and the Scottish Borders are the areas using the most wind power, and Scottish companies such as Scottish Power Renewables, Natural Power and SSE are among those helping to facilitate the supply of wind power.

  • Ofgem announce smart meter investigation

    Three energy companies are to be investigated for their performance relating to the Governments advanced meter rollout scheme. N power, E-on and British Gas have been singled out as the energy companies with the lowest amount of completion rates.

    The roll out scheme first began in 2009 and energy firms were expected to take reasonable steps to install the advanced metres into 155,000 business customers in the UK. However, according to Ofgem, only 75% of the installations were completed by the deadline of April 2014.

    The three energy companies highlighted by Ofgem have the lowest completion rates, with 40,000 installations still waiting to be carried out.  Even though the deadline has now passed, the energy companies are still obliged to install the metres, and although N Power, E-on and British Gas were the companies with the lowest amount of installations, there are still several energy firms that did not meet the stipulated deadline.

    The rollout programme began as the advance metres, or smart meters as they are often known, can help business and domestic households to save money by giving them a better idea of how energy around their homes and businesses is used. The Government estimates that these smart meters will enable companies to save £40 million every year.

    Commenting in a press release, Rachel Fletcher, senior partner for Ofgem’s markets division, said:

    “We are disappointed in the overall performance of the majority of suppliers concerning the roll-out of advanced meters to business customers. These new meters offer real benefits to customers including saving money through reduced energy consumption and ending estimated billing.”

    “Regulatory and government programmes are not optional and failure to meet these in a timely way causes consumer harm. All suppliers can and must learn the lessons from the roll-out of meters for business customers and apply them to the domestic smart meter roll-out.”

    Since the commencement of the programme, Ofgem has been responsible for monitoring the energy firms’ progress, and it has consistently told them about the importance of completing the project on time. The investigation will now seek to find out whether or not British Gas, N power and E-on took reasonable efforts to ensure that they met the deadline.

    Soon, energy firms are to roll-out a programme  to fit smart meters into domestic households throughout the UK, however, there has been a lot of criticism over these plans as the meters have been shown to not always make the householder significant savings.

  • Ofgem announces funding plans for new subsea transmission link

    Ofgem has announced a spending plan for a £1 billion pound Caithness Moray transmission subsea link. The subsea link will be built in Scotland, however, Ofgem says that the funding it has proposed is for significantly less than the amount requested by Scottish Hydro Electricity (SHE) Transmission as they want to ensure that consumers get value for money. She Transmission had anticipated costs of £1,236.2 million, however, following an assessment from Ofgem, the energy watchdog reduced the costs down to £1,062.3 million.

    The SHE Transmission project will involve the creation of a high-voltage direct current that will stretch from Caithness to Morayshire; there will also need to be work carried out onshore.

    Ofgem says that the link will help to improve the resilience of Britain’s energy infrastructure.  The new subsea link will be completed by 2018 and will provide 1.2 gigawatts of renewable energy.  

    Consultation Period

    There are some concerns over how much the project could cost in its entirety and the public are being invited to give their views on the funding plan before Ofgem can give the proposals the final approval. Ofgem gave initial approval for the project in July, but now a more extensive consultation period will be necessary before Ofgem can give the proposals final approval.

    Consumers are invited to contribute to the consultation process, the process assessment, and the efficiency savings, and they have until November 24th to do this. Once the consultation period has closed, a decision on the final amount of funding will be made.

    Ofgem are due to make a final decision on the subsea transmission by the end of 2014; the final expenditure will also be announced by the end of the year.

    Lincs Wind farm

    Ofgem has also recently announced a licence worth more than £300 million for a wind farm in Lincs. The license will allow TC Lincs OFTO Limited to own and operate a wind farm in Lincs.

    The license was granted under the offshore regulatory regime, which is a collaboration between the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Ofgem. The regime was first introduced in2009 and uses a process of competitive tendering to license offshore electricity transmission.

    The Lincs wind farm is owned by DONG Energy, Centrica and Siemens Project Ventures. The Lincs wind farm is located in Skegness and has the capability to produce enough green energy to power 200,000 homes.

  • Ofgem call for more competition in connections market

    A new report from Ofgem has called for reforms in the electricity connections market to help reduce delays for customers that find it difficult to get connected to the electricity grid.

    Ofgem has carried out a six-month review to investigate the energy connections markets to examine just how competitive it currently is, and to understand the barriers that are preventing better competition.

    In the report, Ofgem has detailed the changes that all local distribution network companies must carry out within the next six months in order to adequately improve competitiveness.

    Strong competition in connections market

    The review by Ofgem  showed that competition in the electricity connections market was growing strongly, however, there are areas of competition that have been slow to gather speed. Ofgem asserts that stronger competition would lead to lower prices, better services for customers and better innovations.

    Reforms

    As things currently stand, the network company is the only provider   for many parts of the connections process. However, under the new reforms, independent companies would be allowed to step in to help decide connection points and speed up the process. Ofgem says that these measures would “level the playing field by reducing their reliance on the local electricity network companies”.

    Commenting on the proposed changes, Maxine Frerk, Ofgem’s senior partner, distribution, said: 

    “We are requiring electricity network companies to work quickly to resolve the issues identified in the connections market, to reduce the hassle of getting connected to the grid and help lower costs for customers.

    “We are determined to ensure this part of the energy market works in customers’ interest and will use the full range of our powers to do so.” 

    Possible Breach

    During its review, Ofgem also found that one energy company could be in breach of the current competition laws. The Competition and Markets Authority have been advised of this possible breach and an investigation is to be launched as to whether the energy company acted in a way that put its competitors at a disadvantage in the energy connections market.

    Consultation Process

    Following the review, people will now be invited to take part in a consultation process so they can give their opinions regarding the proposed reforms of the energy connections market.

    The consultation will come to an end on 18, March, 2015 and the new regulations are likely to come into force at the end of September.

  • Questions being asked over Hinkley C

    The proposed Hinkley C power plant has always been the subject of controversy, but further questions are now being raised over its costs and who will foot the bill for the radioactive waste that will be produced.

    As detailed in the Guardian, the Department of Energy and Climate Change has declined a Freedom of Information request, which would have disclosed its state aid arrangements with the French energy firm EDF.

    The government has previously stated that when a company builds a nuclear plant in the United Kingdom, it would be responsible for the management and cost of the waste disposal, but there are worries that these expenses could be passed on to the bill payer. In addition, environmental group Greenpeace has expressed concerns over the possible bad value that the proposed plant might offer to thetax payer.

    David Lowry, who filed the Freedom of Information request, is to appeal the decision and he argues that British citizens are entitled to make up their own minds on whether the government has made the right decision over the plant.

    Hinkley C - the costs

    In an article on its website, Greenpeace has raised concerns over the potential costs of Hinkley C. A recent spreadsheet issued by the Treasury seemed to suggest that the new power plant could end up costing £26 billion, but the government has since issued a statement saying this was a mistake and the final cost will be £16 billion.

    However, Greenpeace says this isn’t consistent with the costs announced by EDF, who say that the development will cost £18 billion, however, this price could still rise should be development be subject to delays.

    A new nuclear generation

    A move toward nuclear energy is considered necessary due to the closure of the majority of the United Kingdom’s older generation power stations and the need for cleaner fuels.

    The Hinkley Point C power plant is being hailed as the first step towards a new revolution for the nuclear power industry, and it will be the first nuclear plant in the UK for a quarter of a century.

    Licensing for the station was confirmed in 2012, and Hinkley C will be the first nuclear power plant to be backed by a Funding Decommissioning Programme. Under this arrangement, the company responsible for building the plant must cover all of the costs of decommissioning, and their share of the total cost for waste disposal.

  • Range of low flow control valves at Tamo

    Tamo have a range of low flow control valves available with CV as low as 0.00001.  With a range of actuators pneumatic / electric & options for bellows stem seal, cryogenic bonnet, three way control this range for low flow control valves is truly versatile. 

    Lowflow 

    Click here for more information in the low flow 708 series.

  • Record amounts of energy produced by renewable sources

    New figures indicate the growing popularity of wind power. The statistics, which were recently released by the National Grid, show that an increasing amount of power is being generated by greener forms of electricity generation. According to the figures, the wind energy produced in 2014 was enough to power 6.7 million U.K Homes in 2014, which is a record figure.

    The figures for 2014 show an increase of 15% from the previous year, and wind farms and smaller operations that help feed the National Grid accounted for 9.3% of the United Kingdom’s energy supply in 2014 – this is a steady increase from the 7.8% in the previous year.

    In December 2014, yet more records were broken when statistics showed that 14% of the U.K.’s total electricity was produced by using wind power; this is compared with 13% from the year before. The figures from the National Grid show quarterly records were also broken, with 12% of energy in the United Kingdom coming from wind power in the last quarter of 2014.

    Commenting in a press release, Maf Smith, Deputy Chief Executive for Renewable Energy UK, said:

     “It’s great to start 2015 with some good news about the massive quantities of clean electricity we’re now generating from wind, with new records being set month after month, quarter after quarter, and year on year, as we increase our capacity to harness one of Britain’s best natural resources.

    “We are now into a general election year so we know that the political temperature is set to carry on rising over the next few months. The cost of energy has become a political issue, so now would be a good time for voters, prospective parliamentary candidates and MPs to take account of the fact that onshore wind is the cheapest from of renewable energy we have at our fingertips. So if we are serious about cutting bills, and securing an indigenous supply of clean power, all parties need to support it in the month ahead”.

    Green energy a growing trend

    In recent years, the government has launched numerous different strategies that are aimed at getting companies to invest in greener forms of power generation, and there have been a number of different announcements regarding new schemes that have opened up to encourage firms to find innovative ways of producing cleaner energy; these figures highlight the growing trend towards renewable energy in the U.K.

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