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  • 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.

  • Contracts for World’s biggest interconnector awarded

    Contracts worth €1.5 billion have been awarded to build an electricity link between England and Norway. When it is complete, the interconnector will be the longest in the world; NSN Link Limited gave the contracts to Nexans and Prysmian, who will be responsible for constructing the 740 km route.

    The England and Norway link will be the first time that two countries have shared a direct energy system; the project is a collaboration between the National Grid and Norwegian company Statnett SF.

    The cables will run from Blyth in Northumberland to Kvilldal in Norway. It will require almost 1500 km of cable to complete the project and there will also be a 10 km offshore route.

    Prysmian will be providing 950 km of the submarine and land cables; they will also be responsible for installing them. Prysmian will manufacture the cables in a factory in Naples and they will use a specially designed cable laying vessel, which is called the “Giulio Verne”.

    Nexans will be providing cabling for the Norwegian side of the connection; they will manufacture the cables in their Halden-based factory.

    Commenting on the project, Alan Foster, National Grid’s director of European Business Development, said

    “There is a huge programme of work for us to undertake over the next five years to deliver what will be the world’s longest interconnector.  Our contractors will have a big part to play in that successful delivery. But the benefits to both UK and Norway are also huge and when completed the link will deliver low carbon electricity for the UK and also add to security of supply for Norwegian consumers.”

    Håkon Borgen, Executive Vice President of Statnett, added that the project was vital for the future of the energy system in Europe.

    The licence that will allow the project to go ahead was first granted in 2013 when the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy gave permission for the interconnector to be built. Preparation work at the site will begin in 2016 and will continue into 2017 when construction will get underway

    The link between the two countries will have numerous benefits including helping to provide a more secure power supply for both the UK and Norway, and the construction work will help to provide jobs. When the link has been finished it will have the capacity to produce 1400 MW of power.

    It is expected that the work would be completed in 2019 and the interconnector will be operational by 2020.

  • 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

  • Cryogenic Control Valves & Equipment for the Industrial Gas Industry

    CPC-Cryolab produces state-of-the-art cryogenic valves and other advanced technology to the aerospace and industrial gas industries. Industrial gas producers such as Air Products and Chemicals, Praxair, Linde (BOC) and Air Liquide have all specified CPC valves to satisfy exacting materials and safety requirements. In addition, CPC was the primary valve supplier to the Super-Conducting Super-Collider (SSC) project for both magnet cooling and liquefier production.

    CPC has designed and manufactured valves, filters, manifolds and fill hoses for the space shuttle controlling the liquid oxygen and hydrogen used for engine fuel, breathing gas, and fuel cell power generation.

    cpc

    CPC-Cryolab - Products  Vacuum Jacketed Valves  Extended Stem Valves  Extended Bonnet Valves  Bellow Seal Valves  Gas Valves  Actuators  Pressure Relief Discs  Cryogenic Connections.mht

    More Information

  • 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. 

  • Didcot B repair work announced

    Npower has announced a programme of works to restore the Didcot B cooling tower, which was damaged as a result of a fire in October 2014.

    The energy company has been searching for contractors to undertake the project to repair the damage that was caused to module five of the Didcot B cooling tower in Oxfordshire. The search to find contractors took six months and Npower have now announced that SPX Cooling Technologies has been selected to complete the repair work.

    Cells 19 and 22 of the cooling tower were also damaged during the fire, but this was only minor. Npower states that they will be back in service in the summer of 2015 and cells 20 and 21, which received more extensive damage, should be restored and be back in use by September 2015.

    Work will also need to be completed to repair the fans of the cooling towers; it is expected that this work will be finished by December 2015.

    Due to damage that has been caused to the towers, Npower state that it will be necessary to rebuild the entirety of some units. However, components that weren’t so badly affected by the effects of the flames can be repaired.

    As well as employing outside contractors to do some of the work, the owners of Npower, RWE, will complete some of the repair work itself.

    Commenting on the repairs, the manager of the Didcot B power station said:

    ‘We are pleased to announce the project to repair the cooling tower of Module 5 has begun. The power station has been available to generate since the fire but the repairs will enable us to achieve a higher efficiency, and full station capacity as we approach the winter months.’

    ‘I would like to again thank the emergency services who worked alongside RWE teams to bring the fire under control quickly and safely.’

    The Didcot B power station fire made headline news in 2014. The BBC reported that 100 firefighters and 25 fire engines were called out to control the blaze. As a result of the fire, Npower said the station would need to be closed down for the foreseeable future while the repairs were carried out.

    The fire started in one of the Didcot B cooling station but soon spread to a number of the other towers.

    Following an investigation into the cause of the fire, Npower have since identified a fault within the fan unit, which the power company says started the blaze.

  • Doubt surrounds UK Steel manufacturing industry

    Uncertainty continues to surround the UK steel manufacturing industry following a review by Tata of its European Portfolio. In late March it was announced that due to the demand for steel being on the decline across the globe, the current excess of steel supplies and excessive manufacturing costs, the future of Tata steel plant in Port Talbot is now in doubt.

    A plan for Strip Products UK, which aimed to transform and restructure the business, was also deemed as unviable during the review, and it was decided that the Tata steel board would not be able to fund the plan.

    Heavy Losses and Proposed Sale

    It has been reported that the Port Talbot plant is losing £1 million and a day, however, these figures have not been confirmed and there is a question mark over the precise amount of the losses.

    There have been calls for the government to take ownership of the plant, but this is a plan that has been rejected by the Prime Minister and the only hope to save thousands of jobs is to sell the Tata steel plant.

    Sajid Javid Criticism

    Business Secretary Sajid Javid faced criticism for being on holiday at the time the news was announced, however, Mr David has said in a statement on his website that it was his efforts that convinced Tata to put the plant up for sale rather than close it down. The Business Secretary also defended his party’s efforts to support the manufacturing industry in the UK, specifically the steel industry.

    However, Stephen Kinnock, the Labour MP for Aberavon has described the Tory party’s response to the steel industry’s predicament as “a mixture of incompetence and indifference” and he has started the #saveoursteel campaign.

    CBI statement

    The CBI has issued a statement regarding the current steel manufacturing crisis. The CBI Deputy Director-General for policy and campaigns, Josh Hardie, said:

    “It’s clear that firms in our steel industry face major global challenges to stay competitive.

    “Our industrial base can best be supported by developing a long-term industrial strategy, protecting research and development investment to help raise productivity and ensuring energy costs remain competitive.

    “The Welsh and UK governments must work together, alongside businesses, to maintain and increase investment in Wales.”

    Liberty House and steel group with offices around the globe are reported to be interested in purchasing the plant, however, there are some concerns that government funding would need to be made available if the sale is to go ahead.

    It came shortly after the company has announced a deal to sell its plants in Scotland. The Clydebridge and Dalzell steel plants are to be sold to the Scottish government and they would then be sold on to liberty House.

  • 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.

  • Energy price rigging could lead to two year jail term

    New proposals put forward by Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey could lead to anyone found guilty of rigging energy prices facing a jail term of up to two years, it has been announced.

    If the new laws are introduced it could mean that energy regulators will be given new powers to prosecute if it is suspected that someone has rigged gas and electricity prices. Moreover, if the laws were brought into force it would mean that if anyone was to make misleading claims about wholesale energy prices in a bid to manipulate the market, they could be charged with an offence.

    Commenting on the proposed new laws, Ed Davey said:

    “Manipulating the energy market is absolutely unacceptable, and these proposals provide a much stronger deterrent – more in line with the approach taken in the financial markets.

    “The government is doing everything it can to help consumers by increasing market competition to drive prices down. We have also set up the first ever annual competition assessment, which has led to the first ever referral of the sector to the competition authorities.”

    Current regulations mean that energy regulators have the power to investigate anyone that is suspected of breaching the rules and they can impose fines. However, a change in the law would mean much harsher punishments and could lead to a prison term of up to two years.

    The government has announced the proposals as part of its attempts to reform the energy market so that consumers’ rights are put first. The announcement is part of the government’s attempts to loosen the stranglehold that the big six energy companies have on the energy market. The government also hopes that its actions will lead to greater competition in the energy sector

    It has also been announced that there is to be an investigation into competition and transparency in the retail energy market. The investigation is considered necessary to restore the confidence that has been lost in the power industry in recent years.

    Commenting on the new proposals, Rachel Fletcher, senior partner, markets, Ofgem, said:

    “Ofgem has a track record for taking strong action against companies that break the rules. And we want the strongest possible deterrents in place to guard against market manipulation and insider trading. We put forward the case to government for greater powers to take action if needed, and we welcome this consultation.”

  • 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.

  • Flow monitor in plastic for liquids

    RVP

    The RVP/U flow monitor has a PVC-U body & as standard comes with ½” BSP threads, other fittings can be supplied to integrate with standard plastic piping systems. Ranges start from 0.02 L/min up to 30 L/min with operating pressures up to 10 bar, the RVP/U can be installed in any orientation. A range of switch contacts can be supplied including ATEX.

    The RVP/U is the ideal flow monitor for cooling systems were plastic piping is used. 

    Read More

  • Flow switch finds ideal application in renewable energy.

     

    Wind turbine pressThe DKM range of viscosity compensated flow switches can be used for the monitoring of gearbox lubrication of wind turbines.

    Designed to work with oils & other viscous media so that reliable monitoring can be achieved with variations in viscosity between 30 cSt & 600 cSt.

    With working temperatures up to 160 degrees C & a working pressure range of up to 350 Bar these flow switches are ideally suited to applications were viscosities of medias can change.

    Ranges start at 0.5 L/min with brass & stainless steel versions, with a range of electrical switch types available from normally open through change over to an EX version to ATEX.

    Read more here 

  • Fortunes improve for small and medium-sized businesses

    Small and medium-sized manufacturing businesses in the UK are continuing to see their fortunes improve, according to the latest survey from the CBI. The survey, which reflects the last three months of trade, shows that the output in growth and the increase in orders have continued.

    For the fourth consecutive quarter, domestic orders and output both showed vigorous growth and it is expected that the upward trend will continue throughout the next quarter.

    Job Creation

    There was also good news on the job creation front. In the last quarter small and medium- sized manufacturing companies have seen a dramatic increase in the number of people employed in this sector; last quarter’s figures for employment showed the strongest growth since records began in 1988. However, while firm's optimism was up in the latest survey, it wasn’t as high when compared with the last quarter.

    Investment

    Smaller manufacturers also stated that they plan to invest in machinery in the next twelve months; however, many of the manufacturers don’t intend to invest in new buildings in the near future.

    Export Orders

    The one weak point for small and medium-sized manufactures continues to be exports. Exports remained flat in the last quarter. However, many were optimistic that export orders would begin to improve again in the next few months,

    Commenting in a press release, Katja Hall, CBI Deputy Director-General, said:

    "Smaller manufacturers are settling into a regular growth pattern, with their order books and output growing for the fourth consecutive quarter.

    "Firms remain upbeat about their business situation and they are hiring at their fastest rate since 1988.

    "But export orders have underperformed this quarter, which may in part be because of the strength of Sterling.

    "We need the Government to get behind our small and medium-sized manufacturers to help them to sell their products and services to new markets around the world, giving a sustainable boost to long-term growth."

    Key Findings

    Key Findings from the latest CBI survey showed that 36% of small and medium-sized businesses experienced a growth in orders in the last quarter.

    31% of companies said that their order output was on the increase and 16% experienced a decrease.

    36% of firms had an increase in domestic orders, but 19% of companies said that their orders fell.

    And 34% of companies announced an increase in employment, but 9% said that there had been a fall.

  • 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.

  • Future looking bright for valve, chemical and pharmaceutical industries

    The future is looking bright for the valve industry, according to the latest industry analysis and forecasts. Demand is growing in the food and drinks, pharmaceuticals, chemical and power generation industries, and this need is expected to remain strong into the foreseeable future, a report by Reportlinker indicates.

    Earlier reports had suggested that the control valve market will be worth more than $10 billion by 2020, and although Europe is expected to be among the areas performing well, the strongest growth is likely to be in the Asian-pacific markets, according to the Oil & Gas, Chemicals, Energy & Power, Water Management, Pharmaceuticals, Food & Beverages global forecasts.

    Growing interest in Expos

    The strong growth in the industry is reflected in the popularity of the expos that are held around the world in various venues. One of the most recent, the Valve World Expo in Dusseldorf, which was held in Mid-December 2016, attracted more than 12,000 trade visitors and over 700 exhibitors.

    The organisers have noted that the event has gone from strength to strength over the years, and it now attracts visitors from more than 80 countries around the world. The next event is scheduled for Dusseldorf in 2018, and a U.S. show is due to be held in July 2017.

    Chemical and pharmaceutical industry performing well

    Other sectors that are currently performing well are the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors in the UK. There had been concerns about these industries following the Brexit vote, but they have remained resilient, with exports and sales volumes increasing, and the pharmaceutical industry in particular is giving manufacturing a boost.

    The Chemical Industries Association predicted that despite the challenges facing the industry, such as a squeeze on price margins, companies in this sector are still expecting to invest in research and development, and it is likely there will be ‘strong growth’ in capital expenditure.

    Commenting on the more immediate future, Chief Executive of Chemical Industries Association, Steve Elliot, said:

    “Our sector continues to face challenges, including the uncertainty of Brexit, but chemical and pharmaceutical businesses are focussed on meeting customer needs and seizing opportunities all over the world and this latest survey suggests we are in good shape for the year ahead”. 

    However, despite the positive signs, Elliot is calling for the Chancellor Philip Hammond to use the spring budget as an opportunity to give a ‘confidence boost’ to manufacturing and to introduce reforms that will ‘further strengthen the backbone of UK industry’.

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