News

Monthly archives: August 2012

U.K. officials have signaled a preference for Chinese partners in two consortia competing for RWE AG (RWE.XE) and E.ON AG’s (EOAN.XE) Horizon nuclear power project in the U.K. to be minority partners, the Financial Times reported on its website Sunday, citing several people familiar with the sale process.

One consortium, led by Toshiba Westinghouse, includes State Nuclear Power Technology Corp of China, while a second consortium includes China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp., the FT reported.

The website quoted a person familiar with deliberations in the U.K.’s energy department as saying “it has always been understood that the Chinese could not have more than 50%, for reasons of public acceptance and political acceptance.”

U.K. officials say the government doesn’t have a “fixed view” on the composition of the consortia, the FT reported.

Originally published on Fox Business.

Original article published on Financial Times.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will pledge 100 million pounds ($156 million) for two investment funds that seek to back renewable and energy efficient projects.

The government will channel the money through Equitix and Sustainable Development Capital, two funds that will aim to attract foreign investment to nurture clean and renewable energy companies. Clegg will also welcome the creation of the world’s first food-grade plastic bottle recycling plant in east London and the expansion of Spain’s Grupotec Tecnologia Solar SL solar panel works in the west of the capital.

“We seek nothing less than a clean, green, low-carbon economy,” Clegg will say in a speech in London, according to remarks released by the government’s business department. “There is a global energy revolution under way. And the U.K. is not going to be left behind.”

Last month, the government granted tax relief for natural gas drillers and cut subsidies for renewable energy, signaling more reductions in the months ahead as it balances demand for cheaper power against a goal to lower pollution from fossil fuels. The Department of Energy and Climate Change cut subsidies for onshore wind by 10 percent, offered less financial support than expected for biomass and said it may cut solar further.

Drax Group Plc (DRX), owner of the U.K.’s largest power station and biomass consumer, fell by a record 15 percent on July 25 when the government published the plan. Gas drillers get a tax credit worth 500 million pounds.

Clegg will make the comments at an investment conference attended by company executives including Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica Plc (CNA), Steve Holliday, chief executive office of National Grid Plc (NG/) and Keith Howells, chairman of Mott MacDonald Ltd.

Originally published on Bloomberg.com

While photovoltaic generated electricity remains politically controversial in some parts of the world, for Tokelau, it will provide a cost-effective and environmentally sound solution for the entire territory in the coming months.

Tokelau comprises three atolls in the South Pacific. Photovoltaic arrays have currently been installed on one island, and the installation of another two systems are scheduled to be complete by this October. Overall, 4,032 modules, 392 inverters and 1,344 batteries will provide electricity supply for the island. The first system on the atoll Fakaofo will be switched on in two weeks.

New Zealand solar company, Powersmart is supplying and installing the project. Due to the island locations of the installations, they will have to be able to withstand cyclone force winds up to 230 km/h.

Previously Tokelau relied entirely on expensive diesel to provide electricity between 15 and 18 hours a day. The territory has a population of 1,500 people across a combined land area of 10 square kilometers. Around 200 liters of fuel were previously burned for electricity daily. This required around 2,000 barrels to be shipped from New Zealand at a cost of NZD1 million (US$810,000) a year.

Powersmart director, Mike Bassett-Smith said the solution on Tokelau can be an example across the South Pacific. “Energy costs underpin the economic and social development of these nations and making a positive impact on these issues is the single most important reason we started this business.”

The company claims the project is the largest off-grid solar power project in the world and the largest solar system in the South Pacific. Coconut-oil fired generators will provide backup capacity for cloudy days.

The Tokelau project has come at a cost of NZD7.5 million (US$6.11 million) and was funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Even at today’s diesel prices, the array will have paid for itself in less than a decade.

The change is being welcomed by the Tokelauan community. “It’s going to be an amazing change from using fossil fuel,” says Foua Toloa. “It avoids expenses, but also bringing them there, it’s dangerous and any spill will affect the environment.”

After testing is complete on Fakaofo, work will commence on the remaining atolls of Atafu and Nukunon.

Originally published on PV Magazine.

David Cameron has been urged to stand up for renewable energyagainst what environmental campaigners see as attacks by the Treasury.

More than 170 green businesses signed a letter to the prime minister, drafted by the Renewable Energy Association, calling for a public declaration of support for green energy and a resolution of the uncertainty that surrounds government plans for renewable power subsidies.

The signatories include Frances O’Grady, deputy secretary general of the TUC, Sir Tim Smit of the Eden Project, and Penny Shepherd, chief executive of the Sustainable Investment and Finance Association of investors, as well as veteran green campaigners Jonathon Porritt and Tony Juniper, adviser to Prince Charles.

They are worried that recent government U-turns on support for renewables are putting off much-needed investment in the sector. They point to the recent decision on future subsidies, which was long delayed and left significant issues unresolved so creating uncertainty for investors. For instance, although offshore wind subsidies are now clear until 2017, those for onshore wind face another review, and solar subsidies are likely to be reviewed again next year. This was confusing and scaring off financial backers for renewable energy projects, they said.

The letter to Cameron invoked the Olympic spirit. It : “We urgently need you to deliver a united ‘Team GB’ effort to secure the UK’s place as a world leader in green skilled jobs and technology. Massive investment in renewable energy is taking place across Europe and Asia and the UK cannot afford to miss out – neither can we afford to miss our carbon targets.”

Martin Wright, chairman of the Renewable Energy Association, said: “Renewables must not be treated like a political football, kicked between the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Treasury. Government shouldn’t squander this once in a generation opportunity to transform our energy system into one fit for the future, with all the jobs and inward investment this will bring.”

The signatories also referred to recent high-profile rows within the cabinet over the future of renewables. Aides to chancellor George Osborne have been briefing heavily that he wants to see more investment in gas-fired power generation, even though it is a fossil fuel with a highly volatile price.

The high cost of gas has been the biggest factor behind energy price rises in recent years, according to the government’s analysis. But Osborne believes that potential investors in gas will be put off by support for renewables – even though more than 10GW of new gas-fired generation is already in the advanced stages of planning or, in some cases, construction.

In a speech to potential overseas investors in UK energy on Tuesday, the chancellor failed to mention green energy at all, but praised oil and gas, pledging that gas would continue to be the UK’s biggest source of energy into the 2020s and beyond. He said: “There is no better example of the significant contribution that [the energy] sector makes to our economy than the UK oil and gas industry. This has long been one of our great industrial success stories.”

Originally published on The Guardian.