This years National Grid Winter Outlook has revealed that supplies will be secure throughout the winter. The Winter Outlook is a report that is regarded as a key indicator for the UK’s energy supply and if there was any concerns regarding supply, it would show up in the report.
A fourth well is to be drilled at York Gas Field by Centrica, who have invested £80 million to extract gas from the field till 2020. The additional well will allow Centrica to access an additional 20 billion cubic feet of gas, which is enough to heat half a million homes throughout the year.
A 660MW offshore wind farm that will be located off the coast of Cumbria has been given a final investment decision. The wind farm will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world and will supply enough electricity to power 460,000 homes.
An investment totalling £132 million pound has been made to improve the North West’s power lines, underground electrical system and substations. The investment has came over the past 12 months and will benefit almost 5 million electricity users from Merseyside to Cumbria.
The improvements to the network included a £20 million fund dedicated to improving overhead power lines and pylons, as well as a £3.7 million investment to cut down trees that could cause a risk to the power lines.
Changes in environmental policies, increasing energy efficient technology and more affordable renewable energy will cause fossil fuel demand to drop significantly by 2040. That is according to an analysis by Carbon Tracker which challenges the major energy firms predictions that the fossil fuel industry will continue to rise.
The Energy Efficiency Financing (EEF) Scheme has revealed that SME’s in the UK are wasting more than £82 million on their energy bills each year. The analysis stated that the overspending on energy was due to SME’s having old energy efficiency technology fitted on their premises and using old equipment that would not be as energy efficient as newer models of the same equipment.
The announcement this week that China will be investing in the UK’s nuclear energy industry has been met by mixed reviews. Under the plans china will own around a third of the new nuclear power station that will open in Hinkley over the next decade.
China will also invest in other nuclear projects throughout the UK said to be worth billions of pounds, and supporters of the plans point to the strength of the Chinese economy and the fact that investment from such a strong economy will help build and strengthen the UK economy.
With news of the ESOS deadline extension sinking in, it has lead to some to question whether the extra time will be enough for some companies. Under the new guidelines companies will need to notify the Environmental Agency if they are going to miss the old deadline of December the 5th, which will then give them until January 29th.
With the extension falling over the Christmas period with factory shutdowns and holidays overlapping, many experts believe that despite the extension a large number of companies will still fail to comply.
The UK’s only planned gas power station is now in doubt after it emerged that Carlton Power, the company who was awarded a government subsidy to build the plant, had failed to secure financial backing. The plant was due to be built in Trafford, Manchester and was due to start producing electricity for the UK in 2018, however that now looks in doubt.
The Environment agency has announced that it will be extending the deadline to comply with ESOS and will not be sanctioning any businesses that miss the December the 5th deadline. Instead the deadline to comply will be moved to January 2016.
When the rest of the UK opens the water market to competition in 2017, following in Scotland’s footsteps, the savings could be huge. Scotland’s water market opened up to competition in 2008 and it has so far saved Scottish businesses £65 million. With a greater number of businesses in England and Wales the saving are predicted to be substantially higher than that.
A new consultation is to advise the government that its policies for carbon taxation and carbon reporting need to be more streamlined. Currently businesses have two energy tax schemes through the Climate Change Levy (CCL) and the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) as well as three separate carbon reporting requirements in the forms of ESOS, CRC and mandatory Carbon Reporting.
It has been suggested by the World Energy Council that the energy sector will be put under considerable pressure over the coming decades because of climate change. The number of extreme weather events has increased by over 400% from 1980 to 2014, and it is because of statistics such as this that the World Energy Council are warning the energy sector.
According to Wall Street analysts the oil market over the next couple of years is in for a bumpy ride. The price of oil had fell from close to $135 per barrel in the beginning of 2014 to just over $50 per barrel in January 2015. There were some signs of recovery up until June 2015 as prices rose to $60 per barrel, however that was short lived as prices then crashed to $45 per barrel.
Analysts have indicated that this turbulent market will continue over the next couple of years as factors such as Iranian oil coming back onto the market and a slowing Chinese economy take affect.
An agreement has been reached by the EU, Ukraine and Russia over the supply of natural gas throughout the Winter. It was thought the tensions between Ukraine and Russia would make reaching an agreement difficult, leading to worries of a natural gas shortage throughout Eastern Europe. The conflict between Ukraine and pro Russian soldiers in the east of the country has killed almost 8,000 people since it began in 2014.
It has been big news recently that Volkswagen are under investigation and are facing fines that would make any company sweat. They have already admitted that they ‘totally screwed up’ and their CEO Martin Winterkorn has resigned this week despite saying that he personally had not done anything wrong.
The cost of commodities has been steadily falling throughout the year, reaching levels not seen for years. However, although the wholesale costs of commodities has been falling, pass through charges or third party charges have been sharply rising. This has meant businesses have not felt the fall in commodity costs as much as they would have, if the pass through charges did not exist. It has also meant that people purchasing the energy such as energy consultants or an in house purchasing team have not been able to deliver the saving you would expect when testing the market.
The announcement that Ofgem will be delaying the introduction of a code of conduct for Third Party Intermediaries (TPIs) has caused much frustration throughout the industry. The code of conduct was going to make it mandatory for energy consultants and energy brokers to declare the amount of commission they are charging.
Energy consultants and energy brokers often do not inform their clients of the fees they are charging, and in some cases tell the client their services are free. They are currently allowed to do this with the market being unregulated.
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) expects a quarter of Europe’s electricity to be generated by wind power by 2030. This is if all member states meet their pledges on climate and energy.
Europe can currently generate 128.8 GW of wind power on a normal wind year which is around 10% of the demand. Over the next 15 years this is expected to increase dramatically with the installation of 66 GW offshore and 254 GW of onshore.
A recent report has found that students who attended state schools have outperformed students that attended private schools at degree level In 2014. 82% of people who attended a state school achieved a first class or upper second class degree last year compared with 73% who attended private schools.
Part of these results can be explained by state school pupils getting better A Level results, however, this does not explain the 9% gap. There have been calls recently to make degrees harder as the number of students getting top grades increases.