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  • 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’.

  • Galloper Windfarm gets £1.5 billion investment

    Three companies have invested into the Galloper windfarm project, helping to secure £1.5 billion of funding. The new project partners are the UK Green Investment Bank, Siemens Financial Services and Macquarie Capital. Each of the companies will have a 25% equity in the windfarm, and they will be joining forces with RWE Innogy to move the project a step closer to reality.

    Welcoming the announcement, Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said:

    “This is fantastic news for the region and the whole of the UK, reflecting the fact that we are open for business and the best place in the world to invest in offshore wind. This milestone shows how the UK’s offshore wind industry is going from strength to strength.”

    Commenting on the investment from the three firms, Hans Bünting, CEO of RWE Innogy said:

    “Today’s announcement is the culmination of many months of successful negotiations with our partners and investors and shows that the UK is still a strong market for offshore renewables”.

    Bünting added that securing the financing from the three partners was vital for keeping the project “on track”.

    In addition to its investment, Siemens will be supplying and installing 56 6 MW turbines as part of the Galloper windfarm, and they have signed up to a 15 year contract to provide ongoing maintenance.

    Head of Investing for the UK Green Investment Bank, Ed Northam, described the investment as a significant milestone in the development of the UK offshore industry.

    Construction work on the project, which is situated off the coast of Suffolk, will begin in November 2015. It is estimated the construction work will create approximately 800 new jobs, and when it is complete the windfarm is expected to produce enough energy to power more than 300,000 homes.

    When the project is up and running, the windfarm is likely to employ 90 people to keep the site operational.

    Project completion

    Permission for the Galloper windfarm was first granted back in 2013; cabling work got underway in 2014. It will be situated 27 km of the Suffolk coast and it will have the capacity to create 336 MW.

    In January 2016, work will begin at Sizewell beach to lay the cables and offshore construction work is scheduled to start in November 2016. The completed project will also have 6MW turbines and one substation.

    When it is finalised, the Galloper windfarm will be situated near to the Greater Gabbard windfarm, which opened in 2012. The Galloper windfarm is expected to be operational from 2018.

  • Gas and oil production in the UK predicted to increase

    The UK’s gas and oil production increased by 7 per cent in 2015, according to new figures released by Gas and Oil UK, however, it is warning that it will be difficult to sustain these levels during the coming year.

    In a statement, Oil & Gas UK’s chief executive Deirdre Michie, said:

    “Government data for the first 10 months of 2015 shows that the total volume of oil and gas produced on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) was up 8.6 per cent compared with 2014, with the production of liquids up 10.6 per cent and gas up 6.1 per cent.

    “Output in November and December tends historically to be more stable, but even so, Oil & Gas UK now expects year end production for the full year of 2015 to be seven to eight per cent higher than last year.”

    However, Michie also made it clear that gas and oil production will face many challenges in the year ahead; the most pressing challenges for the offshore gas and oil industry include the low prices for oil, and the sector is also facing job losses.

    In a recent statement, Michie also spoke of the importance of a resilient gas and oil industry, and it is imperative that the gas and oil industries adapt their strategies if they are going to compete globally and gain vital investment.

    The official announcement that production was on the increase followed predictions issued by the government in late 2015, but figures are expected to decline from 2020, according to the UKCS Oil and Gas Production Projections.

    New Initiatives

    A number of new initiatives were introduced in 2015 to help bolster the gas and oil sector in the UK. In late 2015, an Industry Behaviours Charter was signed by the Oil and Gas UK Board. The aim of the charter was to improve efficiency in order to transform the offshore gas and oil industry and enhance collaboration between SMEs, contractors and operators, as well as to develop new business models.

    In addition, the Rapid Efficiency Exchange was launched to allow gas and oil companies to come together to share useful advice on improving efficiencies in the industries, while also providing a forum to discuss the challenges that face the sector.

    Government support

    Oil and Gas UK added that an important factor for the future of the industries would be support from the government and HM Treasury.

  • Government announces energy security measures

    The government has announced a series of steps intended to reform the Capacity Market and secure energy supply. The reforms follow an earlier consultation, which was held in March.

    The changes announced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change are being taken to better cater for the demands of energy during peak times, to help keep costs down for both businesses and domestic households alike, and to help secure the future of energy supply in the United Kingdom.

    The core reforms

    The reforms have resulted in a number of core changes. The first major transformation announced is that more energy is to be purchased, and the date for buying it is to be brought forward. There will also be increased sanctions for companies that do not comply with their Capacity Market agreements.

    As a result of the reforms, the next energy auction is due to be held in January 2017 to help secure energy supplies for the coming year. The government is yet to set a target of how much energy is to be purchased, but it is likely to increase significantly in order to enhance capacity. However, a final decision will not be made until June, when the final details will be made public.

    The Energy Bill

    In a further effort to secure energy supply, the government has formerly introduced the Energy Bill. The bill includes a number of measures in order to help the government reach its commitments to affordable, greener forms of energy.

    The Energy Act will introduce a number of powers to ensure stronger support for the North Sea oil and gas industry. It will also give local communities a greater say when it comes to the introduction of new wind farms, and it will mean the Renewables Obligation subsidy will face an earlier closure; it will no longer be available to new offshore wind projects.

    As a result of the new act, the Oil and Gas Authority will be given a much broader range of powers, and the regulatory controls that were previously the responsibility of the Secretary of State are to be transferred to the Authority.

    Commenting on the announcement, Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said:

    “By strengthening the Oil and Gas Authority and giving it powers to drive greater collaboration and efficiency in the industry, this Act shows that the broad shoulders of the UK are committed to helping our oil and gas industry attract investment, support jobs and remain competitive for the future”.

  • Government announces licenses for 27 onshore blocks

    The Oil and Gas Authority has announced that 27 onshore areas of land or blocks, are to be offered to businesses as part of the 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round. The announcement of the fresh licensing round was first made in 2014.

    Other blocks of land that were applied for are to undergo further assessments to establish the environmental impact of the applications, and when this has been completed licenses will then be offered to the companies. The announcement regarding the remaining companies that have been awarded licenses is due to be made later in 2015.

    Commenting on the new licences, Lord Bourne, the Energy Minister for the UK, stated:

    “Keeping the lights on and powering the economy is not negotiable, and these industries will play a key part in providing secure and reliable energy to UK homes and businesses for decades to come.

    “It’s important we press on and get shale moving, while maintaining strong environmental controls

    The Government said that close to one hundred companies had applied for the initial licenses for shale gas exploration, and chemical company INEOS has revealed that it is one of the successful applicants.

    With three licenses granted for shale gas exploration in the East Midlands, this opens up brand new opportunities for INEOS Shale, who pledged a £640 million investment into shale gas exploration last year.

    Gary Heywood, CEO for INEOS Shale said:

    "We are keen to move quickly to evaluate the potential of this resource, and determine if we can economically produce gas from our licenses.  This will depend on the pace of planning approval. If we can, it will provide a local source of competitive energy and raw materials to support manufacturing jobs in the UK.”

    Ministers say that the new rounds of blocks are essential to secure UK energy supplies into the future, and that they will also be a vital part of the continued UK economic recovery by creating new jobs.

    Controversy

    Shale gas has its opponents and there has been controversy caused by plans to allow shale gas exploration in the UK. However, others argue that it is important for finding fresh sources of energy and it is vital for job creation, and for ensuring energy production into the future. The Government predicts that investment in shale gas could be worth as much as £33 billion, and it could assist in the creation of more than 60,000 jobs.

  • Government draws up draft regulations for fracking

    The Government has drawn up a set of draft regulations that set out which areas will be protected from underground fracking.

    The regulations also detail the additional protections that will be given to Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, World Heritage Sites, and National Parks etc.; when fracking is permitted in these areas, restrictions will be put in place to protect them.

    Despite this, environmental groups have reacted angrily to the announcement that areas such as National Parks could be used for fracking. However, in a statement, Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said:

    “The UK has one of the best track records in the world when it comes to protecting our environment while also developing our industries – and we’ve brought that experience to bear on the shale gas protections.

    “We need more secure, home grown energy supplies, and shale gas and oil have a vital role to play – much better that we use what we have at home than relying on supplies from volatile foreign imports.

    Ms. Leadsom added that the fracking industry would be “developed safely with world class environmental protections, creating jobs and delivering better energy security while safeguarding of some of our most precious landscapes.”

    Task Force on Shale Gas

    The draft regulations from the Government come at the same time as the latest report from the Task Force on Shale Gas, which examines the possible health implications and environmental concerns that could be caused by the shale industry in the United Kingdom.

    In its report, the Task Force detailed a number of recommendations to make the fracking industry safer. This includes companies providing full details of the chemicals that are used as part of fracking and regular monitoring from the Environment Agency to ensure that chemicals are kept at safe levels.

    The Task Force also suggested that a National Advisory Committee should be formed so that data could be collected and monitored, making it possible to analyse any possible impact that fracking could have on health and the environment.

    Commenting on the report, Lord Chris Smith, who chairs the Task Force on Shale Gas concluded by saying that:

    “Only if the drilling is done properly and to the highest standard, and with rigorous regulation and monitoring, can shale gas fracking be done safely for local communities and the environment.”

    Fracking has long been used in the U.K, but it gained more prominence when proposals were announced to use the method to extract shale gas; efforts are already being stepped up by several communities to prevent fracking in their local areas.

  • Grangemouth project to receive £4.2 million funding

    £4.2 million worth of government funding has been made available to carry out a feasibility study for the proposed Caledonian Clean Energy Project. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has given funding of £1.7 million, while the Scottish government has given £2.5 billion in funding.

    The money will enable the Summit Power Group, who are based in Seattle, to carry out an intensive research and a feasibility study for the full–chain 570 MW Carbon-Capture-Storage (CCS) coal-gasification power station, which is planned for Grangemouth.

    According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the feasibility study and research phase will help to plan the design, sighting, and financing of the power station as well as the building work that will be required.

    Commenting on the funding, Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said:

    “Carbon Capture and Storage could be crucial in helping us meet our ambitious climate change goals. The UK is one of the world’s frontrunners in this sector and the UK Government is leading Europe with its support of the two competition projects at Peterhead in Scotland and White Rose in Yorkshire.

    “Developing CCS more widely is vital if it is to become cost-competitive technology, and I’m excited at the prospect of Grangemouth contributing to the UK’s low carbon future.

    Development Work

    The next phase of making the Grangemouth project a reality will involve carrying out the research and development work, which is scheduled to last for 18 months. The results of this aspect of the project are important; there are plans to share it across the industry to help boost the understanding of successfully developing and deploying carbon capture storage commercially.

    Unique project

    The project at Grangemouth is the first of its kind, and if it is successful, it will combine a state-of-the-art coal gasification and carbon capture technologies all into one individual unit.

    The carbon capture storage technology would make it possible to retain the majority of the CO2 emissions that escape; these would then be transported off the site via onshore pipelines, which would then be stored deep under the North Sea.

    Carbon Emissions Pledge

    The government has pledged to take action to reduce carbon emissions and it has come up with numerous initiatives to encourage companies to come up with solutions to emit CO2 emissions and to fund greener forms of technology. If the Grangemouth project is implemented successfully in the future it will offer another way to reduce carbon emissions. 

  • Growth remains steady, but manufacturing faces challenges

    New figures from the CBI show that there is encouraging news for the economy. Growth in the UK continues to remain steady, however, the CBI predict that it might level off slightly during the final quarter of the year.

    Despite the positive news of steady growth, the CBI did sound a note of caution and stated that: “Expectations for growth are not as strong as earlier in the year”.

    Commenting on the latest growth indicator figures, Rain Newton Smith, Director of Economics for the CBI, said:

    “This shows a continuing story of solid growth.

    “Previously pent-up demand delivered a strong boost to growth during the first half of the year but this effect may be fading. The UK is continuing to expand on a healthy trajectory, returning now to steadier and more sustainable growth rates.  

    “Domestic political uncertainty is an issue for businesses but the global backdrop is a greater concern. The Eurozone is weak, with a real risk of deflation, growth in emerging markets has slowed and geo-political tensions in the Middle East and Ukraine are the biggest threats to confidence.”

    Manufacturing Industry

    One of the strongest performers was the service sector, but news wasn’t all good for the manufacturing industry. Economic indicators from the CBI showed manufacturing growth was still weak, but it has performed better in the last quarter with 15 of 18 of the manufacturing sectors reporting an increase in output. However, the reduced demand for exports meant that the growth in the manufacturing sector was stalling when compared with figures from earlier this year.

    Mixed outlook for manufacturing

    421 manufacturers were surveyed by the CBI and most indicated they expect output volumes to remain low in the near future. The majority of sectors stated export orders remained low, with the mechanical engineering sector suffering the most.

    Manufacturers also expect their output prices to increase over the next quarter due to price inflation.

    In addition, there  were mixed views on the possibility of growth in the next three months; 28% manufacturers think orders will increase while 18% predict they will fall.

    Moreover, there was a mixed picture for output in the last quarter; 36% of those surveyed said that output had increased in the last quarter, and 22% stated it had fallen.

    The CBI stated that manufacturers were facing many challenges in the export markets such as slow growth in the Eurozone and greater competition from countries like China.

  • Growth slowed in the last quarter, but businesses remain optimistic

    In recent months, the news for the economy has been largely positive, with many businesses reporting new growth and feeling optimistic about future job creation and expansions. However, the latest set of figures that have been released were not as encouraging.

    New figures recently issued by the CBI show that growth slowed in the last three months to August. More than 700 businesses from the manufacturing, retail and services industry responded to the CBI survey; figures showed that growth in the manufacturing and businesses and professional services industries slowed in the last quarter. However, there was good news for the retail industry as figures indicated that sales volumes in the retail sector have remained strong.

    However, it wasn’t all bad news for the manufacturing and services industries, as although growth had slowed, it is still remains at above average and the CBI growth indicator shows that UK businesses are positive about the next three months.

    Businesses were looking forward to the next quarter; they expect the next three months to be “robust” and to reach near record levels.

    Commenting in a press release, Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Director of Economics, said:

    "There are a few early signs that momentum in the economy may ease slightly in the second half of the year.

    "However, growth is set to remain robust, and there are positive signs that the recovery is continuing along the right track.

    "Alongside the strong showing from the retail sector, it’s encouraging that firms feel particularly upbeat about growth prospects as we head into the autumn.

    "Businesses will continue to keep a weather eye on developments overseas, as subdued prospects in the Eurozone and international political uncertainty make the global economic environment that bit more challenging."

    Future Growth

    Despite the news of stalling growth, the CBI has issued a statement outlining its forecast for the rest of 2014 and it remains positive about future growth. The CBI stated that the UK recovery is on “sold ground” and said that it expected that the on-going recovery would remain on an “even keel” throughout the coming months.

    However, the CBI warned that although business growth is performing better than expected, it has still to reach the pre-crisis levels of 2008. The CBI also urged politicians to keep their focus on building long-term economic security and not to just concentrate on “winning the political race”

  • Hinkley Point C could face further delays

    There is speculation that plans for Hinkley Point C could face further delays. The EDF Worker’s Committee are due to make a decision this weekon the future of the proposed nuclear power station and it is thought likely that they are to ask for it to be postponed.

    Legal action is also being taken by unions in France in a bid to delay the project. However, while plans for the Hinkley Point C plant don’t have the support of some French unions, it has the backing of four major unions in the United Kingdom.

    Unionsupport for Hinkley Point C

    Len McCluskey of Unite and Mike Clancy of Prospect are among the supporters of the new plant who have signed a letter to Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF UK urging him to make the final investment decision in “a timely fashion”.

    The letter also stated:

    “From an energy perspective, the UK needs the electricity. We are rapidly losing capacity and this process will continue as the UK coal stations and nuclear stations reach the end of their operating lives.

    “At the same time, we are committed to making a transition to a carbon-neutral balanced energy policy in the UK, including nuclear and renewables.

    “Much is at stake in both France and the UK in terms of jobs, skills, social dialogue, industrial capability and prosperity into the future.”

    Consultation Process

    The consultation process was due to come to an end on July 4 and union bosses are calling for a decision on the final financing to be made as soon as possible. Previously, the announcement on funding was due to be made in May, but this was deferred until September 2016.

     “Project is ready”

    Despite there reportedly being some concerns over funding, at a meetingwith the Energy and Climate Change Committee in May, Vincent de Rivaz announced that the “money is there”. He also noted that the French Trade Unions wished to delay the project further.

    However, de Rivaz went on to say that a delay wasn’t necessary as the “project is ready”. He also added that the project mustn’t be postponed “because the UK needs the electricity from Hinkley Point C at the time it’s due to come on line”.

    It is estimated that the building of the new nuclear plant will cost £18 billion, and it would generate 7% of electricity in Britain once it comes into use. It also has the potential to create thousands of jobs.

  • Hinkley Point C Power Plant gets state aid approval

    The European Commission has approved the Hinkley Point C State Aid case, it was announced this week. The announcement will lead the way for a new nuclear power station being built in the UK – the first for a generation.

    The Government says that nuclear power stations such as the one planned at Hinkley will be essential for providing energy security to Britain as the majority of the countries existing stations are due to be decommissioned by 2023.

    Building the new power stations is also an essential part of The government plans to reduce energy bills and carbon emissions; the building of the new plant at Hinkley is part of the government’s strategy to create cleaner, greener sources of energy for the future.

    Once Hinkley is in use, it will have the power to provide electricity for six million homes, and the Government states that 25,000 construction jobs are to be created as a result.

    Energy company EDF will be responsible for the running of the new nuclear power plant, and there are plans to share the benefits with energy customers should the building of the plant come in under budget.

    The Government stated that it is continuing to work with EDF to complete the final details of the contract.

    Commenting in a press release, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said:

    “This is an important next step on the road to Britain’s first new nuclear power station in a generation. While there is much work still to do before a final contract can be signed, today’s announcement is a boost to our efforts to ensure Britain has secure, affordable low carbon electricity in the 2020s.

    “After a thorough, detailed and independent analysis of our proposed project with EDF, this decision shows the European Commission agrees that this is a good deal for consumers and enables us now to proceed to the next stage.”

    In the coming years, more nuclear plants are planned to replace the current ones, which cause too much pollution. The government says that the new stations will offer the United Kingdom a greater energy resilience and provide cleaner fuel.

    It is estimated that building the new stations will save the consumer £90 a year on their energy bills by 2030, and the plant operator will be responsible for all of the costs of decommissioning as well as having to cover some of the costs of waste management.

  • Improved manufacturing performance in last quarter

    Manufacturing growth ended on a high in 2014, according to the latest figures from the British Chamber of Commerce; statistics from the Quarterly Economic Survey were positive news for the manufacturing industry following a period of slow growth in the sector.

    Nearly 7,000 companies were interviewed for the survey and the results showed a marked increase in growth for the last quarter in 2014. Analysts say that the strong performance of the last quarter is a good sign of continued economic growth throughout 2015, however, this will only be possible if U.K businesses get the support that they need from the government.

    Strong Growth and Job Creation

    The figures from the Chamber of Commerce show strong growth all round with an increase in domestic and turnover confidence. Export sales were also on the increase, however, they were still slow. According to the statistics, there was an increase in the number of firms investing in training in the last quarter of 2014, and an increased amount of manufacturing firms are now operating at full capacity. The figures are also good news for future job creation as many companies indicated that they intend to recruit new staff members and were actively searching for new employees.

    Commenting in a press release, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce said:

    “British businesses are well placed to grow in 2015 – a testament to their hard-work and resilience. It is particularly pleasing to see the manufacturing sector bounce back, despite signs of a slowdown in recent months. However we must aim for growth that is sustainable for the long-term, rather than settle for second best.”

    “With employment and investment intentions at historically high levels, businesses are gearing up for a big year in 2015. It is now vitally important that firms are able to convert their growth ambitions into reality. Strengthening our business finance system, which constrains the growth aspirations of too many firms, will remain a decisive factor in securing a sustainable recovery. Low interest rates and reduced regulation will also go a long way to creating an environment that encourages enterprise and wealth creation.”

    Economic Recovery

    Despite the positive news, Longworth also added that the U.K. economic recovery still faced many challenges, and while businesses are “bouncing back” he warned that the economic recovery might face a set back “if political point scoring outweighs sound economic policies” Longworth also urged politicians from all parties to outline what they will do to make sure that business investment and growth continues over the long term.

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    IND100BSP

     

     

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  • Industrial Valve Summit to be hosted in Italy in May

    The Industrial Valve Summit, which is held in collaboration with ISA, the European Commission, NACE International, the European Sealing Association and other organisation, is set to get underway on May 27th, 2015. The two day event will be held in Bergamo, Italy, and it is open to individuals from a wide range of industries including the power generation and co-generation, food and beverages, chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology, oil and gas distributions industries, and many other manufacturing businesses.

    The summit, which attracts some of the best-known names in the valve industry, is aimed at allowing attendees to share their expertise and experience with other people from the same field.

    In addition, the summit provides a forum for those working in the industrial valves industry and allows people to network with experts and specialists. Another benefit to attendees is that it is a way of allowing companies in the valve industry to keep up-to-date with the latest technologies and news.

    Typical products that will be exhibited and demonstrated include valves, pipes and fittings, leak detectors, lubricants and software.

    Opportunities and Demonstrations

    At the Industrial Valve Summit, there is ample opportunity for anyone involved in operations, management or maintenance to review and compare a range of new products from exhibitors, and to watch demonstrations to they can gain a better understanding of how the newer technologies could aid their business.

    Focused Market

    Another aim of the Summit is to allow exhibitors to reach a focused market to gain new clients and to network with already existing customers. Both managers and specialists can use the Summit as a way of gaining important information about valve products and also gives them access to a “knowledge hub” of hundreds of attendees that would not normally be gathered together.

    Changing Trends and Contacts

    Visitors to the Industrial Valve Summit can also benefit from identifying possible trends in the valve industry when they attend the event and it can help visitors to find valuable contacts for their new and existing valve products; attendees that exhibit at the Summit also have the opportunity to take part in promotional packages to promote their existing and new products.

    Attending the Summit

    Although the Summit is some months away, organisations that are interested in attending are invited to sign up as a visitor to the summit in advance. Further information can be found about this by going to the official website at http://www.industrialvalvesummit.com/

  • Jordan Sliding Gate Valve Seats

    Jordan Sliding Gate Valve Seats

    Simple Concept, Superior Performance

    Straight Through Flow

    The control element in the Jordan Valve sliding gate design is perpendicular to the flow, unlike the traditional globe style design. With the straight thru flow design, the sliding gate design reduces turbulence & provides superior trim life.

    Short Stroke, Fast Response

    The total stoke length of a sliding gate valve is just a fraction of the equivalent globe or rotary style valve. In pressure regulators, the length is typically 1/3 that of a globe valve, reducing the amount of droop (deviation from set point) in the regulator. In the Jordan control valve, the stroke length can be as little as 1/6 that of a conventional globe or cage guided design. This allows the use of smaller actuators, reduced air consumption & weight. 

  • Killingholme Closure date confirmed

    Centrica has confirmed the closure date for the Killingholme power station. The energy company first made the announcement that the Lincolnshire based station was to close in 2015 due to the losses that Centrica’s gas fired power stations were making; in an official statement recently released, the power company stated that it will close Killingholme A on March 1, 2016.

    In a press release, Centrica’s Operations Director Mark Futyan, said:

    “I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has played their part at Killingholme over the past 21 years of operation. We will continue to support the site team, as we have since we announced the potential for closure earlier in the year.

    “For the final few months of winter, Killingholme will remain ready to step in and help at periods of high demand until the time comes to switch off for the last time.”  

    Plans to sell the gas power plant got underway in 2014, but as the bids did not reach expectations, Centrica announced proposals to close the loss-making Killingholme A power station.

    The Killingholme A power station is currently functioning under the National Grid’s Supplemental Balancing Reserve, but this will cease on February 29th, 2016, hence the official closure of the plant.

    Killingholme A, opened in 1994 and was originally owned by National Power; it was purchased by Centrica in 2004 and had a capacity to create 665 megawatts of power.

    South Humber Bank

    However, there is better news for Centrica’s South Humber Bank power station, which is now secure until 2027. It is to be returned to full power in 2017, and Centrica has announced that £63 million is to be invested in the gas turbines at the plant, which is based in North East Lincolnshire.

    Killingholme B

    In 2015, E.on announced that it would be withdrawing the Killingholme B power station and its 900 MWs of capacity from the market, and that the Transmission Entry Capacity would be released in the National Grid.

    At the time, the company also stated that the power station could face permanent closure, and E.on UK’s chief executive, Tony Cocker, spoke of the challenges for the gas-fired power stations.  In June 2015, E.on  officially announced that the Killingholme B station was to close with the loss of at least fifty jobs.

    Killingholme B is owned by E-on and was brought back into service in 2005 after two years of work and a £25 million investment.

  • Lynemouth biomass plant given EU state approval

    Plans to convert a coal fuelled plant in Lynemouth to biomass have been granted state aid approval, the EC has announced. Owners RWE now intends to press ahead with the plans for conversion.

    The European Commission opened its investigation early in the year and made its ruling on December 1, 2015. It announced that the UK government support for the project was in compliance with EU state aid rules and said the conversion would help the UK to reach the environmental and energy targets set out by the European Union without “unduly distorting competition”.

    Plans to convert the station were first announced in 2014, and the government is supporting the project by paying a premium in addition to the market price. The project will continue to receive aid until 2027.

    Commenting on the announcement, Andree Stracke, Chief Commercial Officer of RWE Supply and Trading GmbH said:

    "We welcome this confirmation of the government support for biomass power generation, which provides a reliable base load to complement other renewables such as wind and solar.”

    Stracke added that the company hope to have converted the plant within the next 18 months and he said it would allow the export of 390 MW of low carbon electricity to the National Grid, thus aiding the government’s climate change aims

    The government has set itself a target of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. One of the ways the government intends to reach its aim is by switching to low carbon alternatives and becoming less dependent on fossil fuels.

    When the conversion goes ahead, Lynemouth power station intends to use renewable wood pellets, which will be exported from the United States, Europe and Canada. In addition, a sustainability management system will be put in place to ensure that the biomass fuel produced by the plant will meet the minimum sustainability standards that have been set out.

    The plant, which is based in the Northumberland in the UK, has the capacity to make enough electricity to power more than 450,000 homes. In addition, converting the Lynemouth plant from coal power will have a positive impact on the environment and on the economy in the north east.

    Moreover, it will burn 1.5 million tonnes of wood pellets annually, and produce an estimated 2.3 TWh of power.

    The Lynemouth power station has been powered by coal since the early 1970s and was previously owned by Alcan. In 2012, RWE took over the running of the plant and as a result the Lynemouth Power Company was established.

  • Majority of businesses unconcerned about power cuts

    A new study shows that most small and medium sized enterprises in the UK aren’t worried about winter power cuts. The research by British Gas Business indicated that 83 per cent of SMEs don’t view power loss as a threat to their business, and just 17 per cent of the 500 UK-based SMEs said power cuts were a concern.

    Senior managers working in small businesses said they had lost an average of two working days in the last five years due to power cuts, while larger businesses with turnovers of £50 million or more had lost six days due to black outs. 

    However, small and medium sized enterprises are being warned against complacency, and they are being urged to put an action plan in place now rather than risk losing access to heating or hot water in the winter.

    Testing procedures and maintenance

    The survey also indicated that only a limited amount of companies carry out testing procedures, and 72 per cent of businesses don’t have a maintenance plan in place. Moreover, 41 per cent of senior managers revealed they hadn’t organised annual services for boilers and other appliances; this figure was higher in smaller companies.

    James Bennett, Managing Director of Business Services at British Gas, said:

    “With winter fast approaching, now is the time for small businesses to make sure they have well maintained heating and hot water systems. Companies with annual servicing or maintenance plans in place are better positioned to focus their time on creating revenues and growth.” 

    Employers are also reminded of their legal requirements to keep gas appliances, flues etc., well maintained.

    Reduced risk of winter black out threat

    However, there is less chance of black outs this winter, according the National Grid’s latest outlook report. The National Grid has taken steps to increase power capacity after warnings in the summer about the record low levels of spare capacity.  

    The Telegraph reports the National Grid invested £123 million into ten power stations so they would stay open as part of an emergency scheme. Extra payments would be made to the power companies if the back-up support is needed.

    Eggborough reprieve

    The news that the Eggborough power plant in Yorkshire is to stay open has also resulted in extra capacity for the months ahead. The plant had originally been scheduled to close in March 2016, but the agreement with the National Grid means it has got a reprieve, and the plant will supply power under the Supplemental Balance Reserve scheme should capacity fall this winter.

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