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Pressure Switch

  • Littlebrook Power Station Closes Down

    The end of an era for Littlebrook Power station has been announced. The station was officially closed down on March 31st after being in service for decades, the station’s owners announced recently.

    The station, which is based in Kent, was not part of the Large Combustion Plant Directive, which meant that is was scheduled for closure either in 2015, or after it had been in service for more than 10,000 hours.

    German company RWE Generation, who own the Littlebrook Power Station, said they made the decision to close it down this year because of “current market conditions”.

    The plant was the last significant non-gas fired station in the Greater London area to be closed down; it has been operating since the 1980s and construction work began on it in the 1970s.

    RWE Generation says that during the stations life span, it provided 43475.699 GWh of power to fuel both homes and businesses in the local area. The owners of the station also pride themselves on the links they forged with the local community.

    Commenting on the announcement, Roger Miesen, Chief Technical Officer (CTO), RWE Generation, said:

    “Today is a sad but not unexpected day. I’d like to pay tribute to this station and the people that have worked here helping to keep the lights on across London for so many years.”

    While Keven Nix, Head of RWE Generation UK, said:

    “I would like to thank all of our staff past and present who have contributed to the success of the station, we are also grateful to the local community for their continuous support during the life of the plant.”

    Miners’ Strike

    During its lifetime, Littlebrook Power Station set some records for producing electricity. This was during the 1980s miners’ strike, when the power station was operating as a three unit station to keep the electric flowing to local residents and businesses.

    Peak Demands

    The Littlebrook Power Station has also proved crucial when it comes to meeting the growing demands for energy, providing power during peak times in the Greater London area.

    Cleaner energy supplies

    The decision to close Littlebrook Power Station is part of a drive towards finding greener energy alternatives for power generation. RWE has stated it has invested over £6 billion in a five year period into improving the efficiency of power generation by shutting down the older fossil fuel plants.

  • 30% take time off to deal with winter emergencies

    A new survey by British Gas has revealed that 30% of Britain’s have had to take time off sick, use holiday time, or have had to turn up to work late due to an  a home energy emergency such as a broken gas boiler or burst pipes.

    It is estimated that Britain’s take up to an average of 12 working days off to manage winter repairs to their gas heating system over a lifetime; 10% of those surveyed also stated they were concerned taking time off to deal with such problems could lead to them losing their job, missing out on a promotion or stop them from getting a pay rise.

    Moreover, the survey discovered it was residents in London that were more likely to take time off to deal with an emergency, with 44% stating  they had to take time off to cope with an unexpected emergency at home.

    The cost of emergencies

    In addition, electrical faults are another common reason for taking time off work with 21% of people forced to stay at home to deal with the problem, and it is estimated it costs £512 million a year in repairs.

    The survey also estimates UK workers can lose anything up to £100 in lost income and face average bills of £542 a time to repair winter damage.

    Commenting on the survey, Matthew Bateman, managing director at British Gas residential services, said:

     “The results of the research highlight that winter home emergencies can take a toll on people in terms of time and money, and worrying about how it impacts time away from their job. Every winter we increase the number of staff in our call centre teams so we have the resources ready to help customers who may be calling us with problems”.

    Prevent emergencies

    In order to help prevent household emergencies, British Gas advise householders to arrange regular checks of their boilers and bleeding the radiators. They also suggest insulating the gas pipes during the colder months and insulating the hot water tank.

    In addition, Chris Brain, a British Gas engineer from Canterbury, states:

    “This winter, frozen condensate pipes have been a big problem for customers with condensing boilers in colder areas of the country. Frozen pipes can result in damage to the boiler and even flooding, so people should ensure pipes on the outside of their home are wrapped with lagging, at the very least”.

  • 52 percent of Tory Voters in favour of Wind Farms

    A poll published in the Sunday Times shows more than half of Conservative voters think the government should do more to encourage onshore wind power.  52% of those surveyed said the building of wind farms should be encouraged, while 18% were against the building of more wind farms and thought they should be banned.

    The public in general are also in favour of the use of wind power according to the survey. 61% said that they would like to see more of the wind farms in the UK while 14% said that they would like to see a ban.

    Members of the public are also keen to see more offshore wind power, with 73% of people stating they would be in favour of more offshore wind power plants being built.

    When it came to other forms of energy production, there were mixed views on the extraction of shale gas with 43% against extracting shale and 32% in favour of it.

    Commenting in a press release, RenewableUK Chief Executive Maria McCaffery said:

    “Recent comments suggest that the Government is looking to restrict onshore wind as it’s concerned about the technology’s popularity. These poll results, and the many like them that have gone before, should provide reassurance that the majority of people, however they vote, want to see more onshore wind, and that any premature curtailment is not necessary.

    Indeed, as the Government has said it is committed to decarbonisation at the lowest cost, early curtailment would seem to directly contravene government objectives.”

    Queen’s Speech and Onshore Windfarms

    In the Queen’s Speech it was announced the new energy bill would mean decisions over smaller onshore wind farms that have a capacity of 50 MW will be decided by local authorities in England as opposed to a ministerial level.

    At the moment it is unclear whether this will also affect wind farms in Wales as a decision has not yet been made.

    Renewable energy organisations have expressed concerns that this could cause a delay in renewable energy projects and RenewableUK are calling on the government to give local authorities the additional resources local councils will need to make quick decisions.

    Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive of RenewableUK said

    “Onshore wind is committed to being a good neighbour to the local communities in which it is hosted, providing substantial economic advantages to the region including the ground-breaking community benefits it pays, so we are confident that Local Authorities should recognise the value of these projects.” 

  • Cardiff is one of the most energy efficient cities

    Householders in Cardiff are the most energy efficient in the UK according to a new survey by British Gas. More than 50% of the people surveyed said they are taking steps to save energy around the home while  87% said that they would change their habits if it meant saving money on their bills; 37% of householders stated they wanted to make energy efficiency a priority.

    The survey also showed that many people are completely unaware of just how much their energy bills cost them every day. Many householders estimated their energy spend cost them an average of £2 a day while others assumed the daily energy spend was anything from £3-£6.

    The survey was conducted as part of the British Gas Energy Saving Challenge, which sets out to help people save money on their energy bills.

    Lydia Campbell. Regional Director for British Gas in Wales, said:

    It’s great to see that so many people from Cardiff are looking to make changes to save energy and get their bills down.

    “The 60 Second Energy Challenge will help people living in Cardiff be more aware about how they use energy, it offers simple and practical tips to reduce their energy use."

    As part of the challenge, a survey was conducted and it revealed how little some householders understand about the simple measures they can take to save on energy around the home.

    Only 3% of the people interviewed were aware that by installing insulation they could make significant savings on their bills, and despite the fact smart meters are soon to be rolled out across the country, many consumers did not know that installing a smart meter could help them save money on their bills and gain a better understanding of which appliances were using the most power.

    Smart Meter Roll out

    While 500,000 smart meters have already been installed around the country, the full roll out will not begin until later in 2015.  The government is currently working with the energy industry to ensure that the roll-out goes ahead within the scheduled time frame.

    It is the gas and energy suppliers that will be held responsible for the planning and installation of smart meters; the roll-out will end in 2020. The method of installation will vary from company to company and the Department of Energy and Climate Change will oversee the management and implementation of the programme as well as carefully monitoring the roll-out.

  • China hosts annual valve exhibition

    An industry expo due to be held in Guangzhou, China from May 14th-16th is expected to attract 10,000 visitors from forty different countries. The expo is an annual event that has been hosted annually since 1997.

    The fair will be held at the China Import and Export Complex, which is Asia’s biggest exhibition center; it was first opened in 2002.

    It is estimated there will be 300 exhibitors at this year’s event, with 8 per cent of them travelling from overseas to be there, and thousands of invitations for the exhibition have been sent out.

    Representatives from the food and beverage industry, environmental protection, petro-chemical, pharmaceutical, gas and electricity, water supply, and a vast range of other industries are also expected to attend.

    The exhibition has been designed to help manufacturers of valves, pipe fittings, castings and a range of other products to gain new customers for their products and make new connections with others in the same industry.

    It will also provide the opportunity to meet with new distributors and agencies to help increase distribution and forge new business relationships. In addition, it will give exhibitors the chance to reconnect with existing clients, increase import and export opportunities, mix with consumers and end users of the products, source new suppliers and even aid in the recruitment of key staff.

    Buyers from around the world have been invited to attend the exhibition and traders, wholesalers, importers and exporters, agents and distributors are all expected to be at the event.

    Exhibits

    There will be hundreds of different exhibits on display and numerous companies from China and the rest of the world are scheduled to be at the event when it gets underway in the middle of May.

    Future Trade Fairs

    Aside from the exhibition in China, there are a number of other trade fairs for the valve industry scheduled throughout the year. One of the most high profile events is due to be held in Rotterdam on the 30th September 2015 and it will run until 1st October.

    The trade show will highlight innovations and initiatives from the valve, pump and seal industries. The event is expected to attract buyers, process engineers and maintenance managers who are keen to demonstrate their solutions to new contacts in the industry.

    Exhibitors will also have the opportunity to demonstrate solutions that can make the valve industry safer and more efficient.

  • CMA issues Energy Market report

    A recent report by the Competition and Markets Authority has delivered its findings on the challenges that are limiting competition in the energy market. The report highlighted concerns that many customers have not considered changing over their energy supplier and this could be costing them over £100 every year.

    It was found that the far too many consumers were paying too much for their energy bills and it is thought that one of the reasons customers do not switch over is due to the fact that they find billing difficult to understand; regulators have introduced a four tariff system to try and make billing clearer, however, the report concluded it had not been as successful as hoped.

    Moreover, the report revealed that a lot of customers were reluctant to change over suppliers because they were concerned over the complexity of the process and they were unaware of what deals were available to them.

    Roger Witcomb, who chaired the investigation, said:

    “Whilst competition is delivering benefits to increasing numbers of customers, mainly through the growth of smaller suppliers with cheaper fixed-price deals, the majority of us are still on more expensive default tariffs. Many customers do not shop around to see if there’s a better deal out there – let alone switch. The confusing way energy is measured and billed can make comparing deals understandably daunting”.

    Mr Witcomb also noted the high level of customer complaints about companies in the Energy sector.

    Concerns over industry transparency

    Another issue addressed in the report was concerns over the lack of transparency in the energy industry and the distrust that this can cause among consumers.

    CMA Referral and Report

    The energy industry was referred to the Competition and Markets Authority in 2014 with the aim of establishing whether or not competition in the energy sector was working well for customers. It was also hoped that an investigation would help to make the energy market clearer for consumers to understand, and that this would result in a greater level of fairness for customers.

    As a result of the report, a number of possible remedies have now been drawn up; a final report is due to be issued by the Competition and Markets Authority by the end of 2015.

    Companies have been invited to submit their comments regarding the authority’s initial findings and these can be submitted until the end of July 2015.

  • Compact Flow switch with high working pressure capability

    RMV small

    Compact Flow switch with high working pressure capability as standard.

    The Meister RVM_U-4 range of flow switches have a working pressure range of up to 350 bar with a stainless steel body or 300 bar with a brass plated body.

    Switching is via simple volt free contacts. The Flow switch can mounted in any orientation & with a number of adjustable set point range available for both liquid & gas applications the RMV_U-4 range it is ideal for those systems where space is at a premium! 

  • Competition to open up in the connections market

    Ofgem has announced a new code of practice aimed at regional electricity distribution networks. The announcement was made at the end of October with the purpose of increasing competition in the UK connections market.

    Ofgem say that the new code of practice should help to lower the cost of businesses connecting to the grid and add that the new measures should help to enhance the quality of service customers can expect.

    Statistics from Ofgem show that the electricity connections market is worth more than £500 million and thousands upon thousands of connections are made on an annual basis.

    Although many independent companies were already competing against the regional electricity distribution networks remained the only providers of a number of essential services that are required to make new connections. Due to the concerns that this was limiting competition in the field, Ofgem introduced its new code of practice at the end of October

    Under the new code of practice, electricity distribution networks ­- or DNOs as they are known - will have to abide by a new set of guidelines that have been set out by Ofgem.

    If the electricity distribution networks don’t abide by the new code of practice, then they could face action from Ofgem.

    Commenting on the announcement, Maxine Frerk, senior partner, electricity distribution, Ofgem, said:

    “We want to see competition in the electricity connections market thriving. While some DNOs are helping to achieve this, many independent companies still face unnecessary delays and needless complexity.”

    Frerk added that the new code of practice would enable independent companies to compete fairly throughout the UK, and it will mean businesses and other organisations will now have a choice as to who delivers its connections.

    Ofgem decided to implement the Code of Practice after carrying out a review of the connections sector. It found that while some companies were making an effort to improve competition in the connections market, to further improve competition it was going to be necessary to introduce a formal, binding code in order to ensure fairness to independent companies.

    Home Builders Federation welcome announcement

    The decision was welcomed by Dave Mitchell of the Home Builders Federation. Mitchell explained that as home builders are increasing the number of homes built to help address U.K.’s housing crisis, it was important these new changes had been introduced to improve the speed at which new homes are connected to the grid.

  • Consent granted for Dogger A and B Wind farms

    The Department of Energy and Climate Change has granted permission for the building of an offshore wind farm that is to be constructed on the north-east coast of the United Kingdom.

    If the project goes ahead as planned, the Dogger Bank Teesside A and B Offshore wind farms will incorporate anything up to 400 wind turbines, and there will be two offshore wind generating stations.

    Dogger Bank Teesside A will measure 560 km² and Dogger Bank Teesside B will cover 593 km².  They will have the capacity to produce 2.4 GW of green power.

    The offshore wind farm is being developed by a consortium of four different energy companies called Forewind. The consortium includes Norway-based Statkraft, international energy company Statoil, Scottish-based Energy Company SSE and Germany energy company RWE.

    When the construction is finished, the new offshore wind farm will be situated at least 125 km away from the North East coast. Each generating platform will have up to 200 wind turbines and it is planned that they will be a number of collector platforms.

    In addition, there are plans to build four platforms that would be used for either housing or and helicopters and there could potentially be up to 10 weather stations.

    For the onshore part of the project, there are proposals for a converter station, and underground cabling would also be necessary.

    The onshore elements of the planned project are to be situated in Cleveland and Redcar and they have the potential to create numerous jobs in the area. Once the project is complete, it will have the capacity to produce enough energy to power 1.8 million homes in Britain.

    Commenting on the decision, Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Bourne stated:

    “Thanks to Government support the UK is the world leader in offshore wind energy. As we build the Northern Powerhouse, we want local communities to reap the benefits of investment and green jobs from low carbon developments like Dogger Bank Offshore wind project.”

    Once the project is complete, it is set to be among the biggest power generators in the United Kingdom.

    Forewind General Manager, Tarald Gjerde, said:

    “It represents a real opportunity for the UK to receive even more of its energy from its abundant wind resource while creating significant economic benefits, particularly for the north eastern regions.”

    Plans for the offshore wind development began with the statutory consultation phase in 2012 and with consent granted, the pre-construction and construction phrase are now free to begin.

  • Consultation opens over new interconnectors

    Ofgem has opened up a consultation over plans for a number of new electricity interconnectors. If the proposals go ahead, Ofgem say they will be built by 2020 and will provide an increase of 3.4 GW of electricity.

    Ofgem states the new electricity interconnectors would help to create cheaper energy generation thus helping to reduce energy bills for customers in the UK; another benefit would be better energy security for the future, and it would help to boost Britain’s energy supply.

    As well as saving the consumer money, interconnectors, which allow electricity to flow between two different countries, can also help to reduce the carbonisation of energy, thus producing greener forms of energy supply.

    Commenting on the proposals, Martin Crouch, Ofgem’s senior partner for electricity transmission, said:

    “Ofgem is helping to deliver greater interconnection. These three interconnectors would further boost Britain’s energy security and reduce pressure on bills. To date, under our cap and floor regime, we are looking at adding around 5GW to Britain’s energy supply.”

    If the plans go ahead, Ofgem says the new interconnectors could offer up to £8 billion worth of benefits to consumers over a 25 year period.

    Four projects under consideration

    The proposals set out explain two of the interconnectors will connect Britain’s electricity system with France and the third one with Denmark

    The FAB project will link Britain and France via the island of Alderney; the project is under development by Transmission Investment and RTE.  If it goes ahead, the interconnector will produce 1.4 GW of electricity.

    The proposed IFA2 project will also establish a connection between Britain and France, but would only produce one gigawatt of electricity; this project is a collaboration between National Grid Interconnector Holdings and RTE.

    Also under consultation is the Viking project, which would mean a 1 GW interconnector transmission link between Denmark and Britain; this would be developed by NGIH and Danish company Energinet.dk.

    In addition, a fourth and final project, which is known as Greenlink, is being considered. The 500 MW interconnector would run between Ireland and Britain; this project would be developed by Element Power.

    Current Interconnections and Consultation

    Currently, there are four interconnectors in place between Great Britain and Europe; they are located in France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Northern Ireland; this produces 4 GW of electricity and accounts for 4% of Britain’s energy supply.

    The consultation will remain open until May 2, 2015.

  • Criminal sanctions for gas and electric rigging introduced

    The government is taking steps to crack down on anyone who attempts to manipulate the energy markets. On April 13, 2015, the U.K.’s energy regulators will be given new powers to prosecute anyone suspected of rigging the wholesale electricity and gas prices.

    Under the new laws, it will now be a criminal offence for anyone to use insider information to buy wholesale energy products, or to artificially inflate the wholesale price of energy. Any individual convicted of these offences could face a two-year jail term.

    There are already regulations in place to try and prevent the rigging of the wholesale gas and electricity prices, and Ofgem already has the power to conduct investigations and to impose fines on the individuals and companies involved if it is found  they have flouted the rules, however, until now it has not been a criminal offence.

    As well is facing a possible jail sentence, anyone convicted will also receive a criminal record, and companies that are found guilty will face similar sanctions.

    The government believes that by introducing an additional criminal offence, it will act as a deterrent.

    Commenting on the new announcement, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said:

    “Manipulating the energy market is absolutely unacceptable – which is why we’re introducing the strongest possible sanctions, including prison sentences”.

    “Tougher penalties will help to create a fairer and stronger market, providing more protection for bill payers and building on action we’ve already taken to increase competition, drive down bills and make it easier and quicker than ever for consumers to switch energy suppliers.”

    Ed Davey first proposed the new measures to criminalise energy price rigging in 2014 and a public consultation was later launched.

    Speaking at the time of the proposals, Energy UK told The Independent:

    “Energy companies welcome scrutiny about how the market is working and our members have nothing to hide.

    “Energy companies are also committed to quick switching and have kept government fully informed of the work already underway to cut switching times dramatically while making sure customers’ consumer rights are protected. Already around one quarter of a million customers switch every month, proving it is not only possible but easy.”

    Ofgem investigation

    There has been a previous year-long investigation into allegations of price rigging in the industry, however, after a 12 month review Ofgem and the Financial Conduct Authority concluded there was no further action to be taken regarding the claims.

  • Cryogenic Cluster Day 2015

    Tamo will be showing their range range of Relief Valves, Check Valves & associated equipment at the forthcoming Cryogenic Cluster Day 2015, at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxford, on Wednesday September 23rd.   The event will follow a pattern similar to previous years, comprising a mix of seminar, table-top trade show, a poster session, and lab visits.  Free for delegates to attend, thanks to the support of STFC & contribution from exhibitors, it is a highlight of the British Cryogenic Calendar, with an audience well over 100 from UK & abroad.

    CCD2

  • Cryogenic Cluster Day Exhibition Success for Tamo

    KF25s

     

    Tamo had a very successful & interesting Cryogenic Cluster Day Exhibition on the 25/09/2015 at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxford.  On show was range of equipment including their KF25 captured vent relief valve & the EDS electronic pressure switch. Tamo also featured a range of low flow control valves available with a CV as low as 0.00001 with a range options including a cryogenic bonnet version.  

     

    For more information please click here

     

     

    PDF Download

  • Didcot A demolition continues

    In 2012, Npower announced the famous Didcot A tower was to be demolished. Now, Npower has announced the demolition, which is being carried out by specialist firm Coleman and Company, is nearly a third of the way complete. So far, three of the cooling towers have been demolished and the Didcot A coal yard has also been destroyed.

    The 47 hectare site that was left behind following the demolition of the coal yard has now been sold to developers Clowes Development Limited and a consultation process is now underway to determine what will become of the land.

    In addition, Turbine Hall has also been demolished and recovery of the remaining scrap is still continuing. Thus far, 20,000 tonnes of scrap materials have been collected and 36,000 tonnes of concrete from the site has been recycled; many of the tanks that were used to fuel the Didcot A tower have been demolished and the external ductwork has been taken down.

    Work will continue on the site well into 2016. The main stations buildings are scheduled for demolition in the summer of 2015 and the north cooling towers and chimney are likely to be demolished the following year. It is predicted the demolition of the site will be completed by September 2016.

    The Didcot A power station closed in 2013 after being in use for more than four decades. Speaking at the time, a spokesperson for Npower said the decision to shut down the power station was “driven by government policy” and the need to replace less energy efficient means of power generation with low carbon alternatives.

    The first towers were felled in July 2014; it took less than ten seconds to demolish them. The demolition of the towers was described as a sad day and the end of an era for Npower.

    Speaking at the time, Alan Robinson Chief Commercial Officer for Npower, said:

    “In anticipation of the closure of older coal-fired power stations, such as Didcot A, RWE has invested strongly in modern gas-fired stations. Didcot A has played a vital role in ensuring security of supply for the UK for over 40 years. Our new gas stations are continuing where Didcot A left off by providing reliable, low-cost electricity.”

    “RWE has invested more than £6bn in the UK in new renewable technologies and state-of-the-art gas-fired power stations, which will continue to help keep the lights on whilst dramatically reducing environmental emissions”.

  • Didcot B back online following fire

    The Didcot B Power Station is back online following a fire that occurred in late October. It was eight days before the power station was in action again and repair work is still continuing; until the affected module is repaired fully the tower will only work at 50% of its usual capacity.

    The fire began on a Sunday evening and affected one of the cooling modules in the Didcot B Power Station; the tower stands alongside the Didcot A tower, which was decommissioned in 2012.

    When the fire broke out, an emergency team put in place a co-ordinated plan and worked alongside local emergency services to extinguish the flames as soon as possible. The Fire Brigade stayed on site until the next morning and then control of the cooling tower was handed back to the team at Npower. The fire caused millions of pounds worth of damage, and 25 fire engines were called to the scene.

    It is still not known what caused the fire; Npower have stated that an investigation is being held into the cause. While the investigation is underway, the cooling tower, which is one of two at the Didcot B plant, will remain out of use. Npower are unable to say how long the module will be out of action for.

    In a statement, Npower said that the power station was shut down as soon as the fire began to take hold and that there was no injuries caused to staff at the plant; the public were not put at risk as a result of the fire.

    Roger Miesen, Head of Hard Coal and Gas, on the RWE Generation board, said:

    ‘It’s good news that Module 5 is back online so quickly. It will be available to generate power this winter and essential repairs will be in the region of single digit million pounds. Didcot B, as part of RWE Generation’s wider fleet, has an important part to play in contributing to the UK’s security of supply.

    ‘Our thanks go out for the fantastic response and dedication of the emergency services who worked alongside RWE teams to bring the fire under control quickly and safely. Huge credit is also due to the RWE site and central engineering teams whose expertise meant that we are able to bring Module 5 back into service after only nine days.’

    The gas-fired power station creates enough energy to power 1 million homes, but energy supplies were not affected. 

  • EDS electronic pressure switch

    minicomb eds smallest

    EDS electronic pressure switch now available with pressure ranges up to 600 Barg

    With the success of the MINICOMB-EDS in lower pressures. The new MINICOMB EDS/HP has been introduced with ranges of 40, 60, 100, 160, 250, 400 & 600 bar.

    The pressure switch features the same robust design as the lower pressure MINICOMB EDS with a highly functional user friendly operating system featuring a multilingual plain text menu which clearly explains the selected menu item, ensuring a rapid and hassle-free installation is ensured.

    With the option of 1 or 2 switch output models or the 1 switch & 4 – 20mA output model a range of applications can be covered.  

  • Energy auctions drive renewable prices down

    The Department of Energy and Climate Change says its energy auctions have led to 27 renewable energy projects being offered new contracts. The Government says the energy projects will create enough power for nearly 1.5 million homes.

    As a result of the auctions, the National Grid predict £315 million a year in new contracts will now be made available to five renewable energy companies. Some of the contracts will be given to companies that specialise in renewable forms of energy such as onshore wind and solar power, which is growing in popularity. However, contracts are also to be offered to offshore technologies.

    The auctions were part of the Government’s Contracts for Difference initiative, which has been designed to help reform the energy market in the UK by encouraging investment into greener forms of power generation. Successful bidders will get contracts that will last for 15 years.

    As a result of the auctions, there could be two new offshore and 15 new on shore wind farms. It could also lead to the establishment of 5 new solar projects.

    Price Reduction

    The Government says the green energy auctions have helped to dramatically reduce prices for green energy by up to 58% in some cases; the move towards greener forms of power generation will also help to considerably reduce CO2 emissions, thus helping to create a cleaner environment.

    In a move to drive down the prices of renewable energy, as part of the auctions, contracts were only offered to the companies that gave the most competitive prices. The Government says this means consumers will get much better value for money.

    As well as a 58% reduction in the price of solar energy, offshore wind energy has been made 18% cheaper, while onshore forms of energy are 17% cheaper.

    Commenting on the auctions, Ed Davey, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said:

    “This world leading auction has delivered contracts for renewables projects right across the UK. These projects could power 1.4 million homes, create thousands of green jobs and give a massive boost to home-grown energy while reducing our reliance on volatile foreign markets”.

    “The auction has driven down prices and secured the best possible deal for this new clean, green energy.”

    The contracts will be awarded to companies based in England, Scotland and Wales and will include both small businesses and independent generators.

  • Exports stall for small and medium sized manufacturers

    While small and medium sized manufactures in the UK have announced new job opportunities, increased orders and more domestic orders, they are still struggling when it comes to exporting goods.

    According to the statistics from the CBI SME Trends Survey, domestic orders remained steady, but export orders show little sign of picking up. It is also predicted that domestic orders will continue to increase in the next quarter, but small and medium sized manufacturers remain pessimistic about the future for exporting.

    A quarter of the 426 businesses surveyed stated their exports increased, but 28 per cent said they have fallen. These statistics are the same as the last quarter and companies expect the export market to remain unchanged in the near future.

    Moreover, there was less optimism surrounding the future for exports in the coming year, and a number of firms expressed concerns over how the exports would be affected by political and economic conditions.

    Export Challenges

    There are several factors making exports a challenge for UK-based businesses. The increase in the Pound against the European currency means UK firms are less competitive, while the on-going financial problems in Greece are causing continued concern.

    Katja Hall, CBI Deputy Director-General, said:

    “Smaller manufacturers are reporting solid increases in output, orders and jobs. While growth was a little slower this quarter, they expect a pick-up in activity in the next three months.

    “However, prospects for exporting to the rest of Europe remain a concern. Sterling’s recent rises against the Euro may mean more money in the back-pocket of holidaymakers, but it makes it that bit tougher for British manufacturers to stay competitive and sell inside the Eurozone.

    “Business will also be keeping a close eye on how the Greek situation develops in the coming weeks.

    New Government

    However, with a new government about to be elected, firms are hopeful there will be a more concerted effort to develop a long-term export strategy for the future, and businesses hope that this will be adopted sooner rather than later, as the CBI makes it clear exports are key for helping to keep economic growth on track.

    Employment Prospects and Output

    Nevertheless, despite the continued negative outlook for exports, employment prospects are looking up. Job creation in the manufacturing sector continued in the last quarter and at better than average rates. Moreover, job creation is predicted to grow in the next three months as well.

    Output was also on the increase; this trend is expected to continue into the next quarter.

  • Four companies shortlisted for windfarm contract

    Four bidders have been added to a short list to own and run a transmission link for two offshore windfarms, Ofgem has announced. The competition to win the contract has been strong and the shortlisted companies are competing to own and operate more than £400 million pounds worth of high-wattage transmission links for two windfarms, which are based in the UK.

    The shortlisted bidders will now go through to the final stages of the bidding, and then Ofgem will make its decision over which company will be awarded the contract to own and manage the transmission links.

    The bids relate to the Westermost Rough and Humber Gateway projects and the bidding is part of the offshore regulatory regime, which was first announced as a partnership by the Department of Energy and Environment and Ofgem in 2009. The regime allows tendering for licensing offshore electricity transmission and the aim is to keep the cost of transmission links as low as possible for consumers.

    Once the contract has been awarded, the new Offshore Transmission Owner will be given a 20-year license to own and operate the links, Ofgem said. The four shortlisted bidders have been named by Ofgem as the Balfour Beatty Equitix Consortium (Balfour Beatty Investments Ltd and Equitix Ltd), the Blue Transmission consortium (3i Investments Plc and Mitsubishi Corporation), Mari Energy Transmission (Macquarie Capital Group Ltd and Frontier Power) and Transmission Capital Partners (Transmission Capital Partners Ltd Partnership and International Public Partnerships Ltd).

    Westermost Rough is situated in the North Sea and it is owned by WMR limited, which is part of Dong Energy A/S. There are 35 wind turbines on the wind farm and they are capable or producing 205 megawatts of electricity.

    A transmission system is being developed by the owner of the offshore windfarm, and as part of the construction there will be an offshore substation platform, offshore and onshore AC export cables and an onshore substation.

    Humber Gateway offshore windfarm is located off the coast of North Yorkshire and it is owned by E.ON Climate & Renewables UK. Eventually, it will have 73 wind turbines, which will have the power to produce 220 megawatts of electricity.

    Ofgem says that the transmission system is being constructed by the owner of the farm; as with the other windfarm the construction will include an offshore substation platform, offshore and onshore AC export cables and an onshore substation.

    Ofgem says that is expects to name the successful bidder for the Westermost Rough and Humber Gateway projects in 2015.

  • Fresh concerns over manufacturing industry

    CBI urges government to support manufacturing industry

    The CBI has urged the government to take more action to support the manufacturing industry. Carolyn Fairburn, Director-General of the CBI made a speech on Thursday, May 5, in which she called on the government to back an industrial strategy for the future.

    As part of the strategy, Ms Fairburn stated that each part of the manufacturing industry should have a strategic plan. The Director-General said:

    “Every manufacturing sector should have a plan for its future and many already do - we would suggest that each plan addresses these three questions.

    “First, is the sector strategic for the UK?  Second, is the sector currently globally competitive, and if not why not? Does the UK have a competitive advantage?

    “Third, what actions could government and business take to make it more competitive?”

    Key factors holding back manufacturing

    During the speech, Ms Fairburn detailed how three key factors: skills, energy and research and development were holding back the manufacturing industry.

    The director-general called for more action to be taken to encourage young people to join the industry by highlighting what manufacturing looks like in the 21st century, rather than the old fashioned image some might have of it.

    Energy Costs and Research and Development

    While measures have been put in place to reduce energy costs of businesses, Ms. Fairburn stated they needed to be more of effort to find cost effective sources of energy to fuel businesses, which will help make them more economical to run, and she also urged the government to commit more funding to research and development in the manufacturing industry.

    Concerns over Manufacturing

    Ms. Fairburn’s speech comes at a time when they are a number of concern over the future of the manufacturing industry in the UK. The steel industry faces an uncertain future as workers at Tata wait to find if a buyer for the plant will be found, and the PFI figures are the worse for three years.

    The uncertainty surrounding June’s Brexit vote is also fuelling the uncertainty that surrounds certain sectors of the UK’s manufacturing industry.

    Markit Performance Marketing Index

    The report by Markit highlighted concerns over the UK manufacturing industry and the effect this might have on the wider economy. Currently, there is a decline in domestic demand and in export orders. Moreover, there have been job losses in the sector in four consecutive months, according to the latest figures.

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