ENA Bulletin 5 April

Issue 290: Thursday 5 April 2012

  • ENA victory over cashless regime for scrap metal dealers

  • ENA give thumbs up to planning reform

  • ENA welcomes Chancellor’s commitment to gas in Budget

  • ... But DECC Heat Strategy falls short 

  • ENA point to safety advice after balloon accident

  • UK nuclear club just got smaller

  • ... But CCS is back on the agenda

  • All these Government energy announcements – is there a theme here?

  • ENA/SBGI Utility Seminar – Street Works Minister to speak

  • ENA SHE Conference 2012 

  • Brussels update

  • Forthcoming events organised and/or supported by ENA 

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ENA victory over cashless regime for scrap metal dealers

ENA celebrated victory on 20 March in the House of Lords as we saw a new cashless model for scrap metal dealers enshrined in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. The Lords agreed to the Government amendment without a vote. However, vital changes still need to be made to make the new law work.

It was a historic victory for ENA having campaigned for some time and at last being listened to. However, this was marred by the Government still insisting on an exemption for itinerant traders. The exclusion of these 'rag and bone men' opens up a dangerous loophole that undermines all the good work that the Government are doing.

We have joined many in the scrap metal industry itself who believe this opens up a dangerous loophole. Two attempts were made in the Lords at Report and then at Third Reading last week by Lord Faulkner of Worcester to get the exemption removed. During the debates it became clear that the Government have no idea how many itinerant traders there are and it is clear from a survey across the country that the regulation of these dealers is sparse to say the least.

Lord Faulkner concluded the debate by saying he was “not going to apologise for bringing the subject back at Third Reading”.

Lord Jenkin made a valiant effort to get clarity on the issue in the Third Reading debate too on 27 March. He said “this is knocking a very large hole in the measures that we are taking to deal with what has become a very mighty scourge of the community in all sorts of ways”.

He also pointed out another key concern around avoiding the cash ban. “The more widely this exemption is known, the greater the number of traders who will seek to bring themselves under it. That is what frightens me about this”, he said.

Home Office Minister Lord Henley said the issue was one “that we can look at in future”. However, he said the itinerants would be caught by the registration process.

The issue moves back to the Commons in a couple of weeks and already the Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has signalled that the Opposition will be making an issue over this continuing exemption.

So we have achieved a cashless system and the Government are drafting a new Scrap Metal Dealers Act, which should become law by the end of the year.

All in all a great success getting this issue debated and the progress so far but we will continue to work with other sectors to ensure that we do not lose sight of the prize of a comprehensive set of changes to the law.
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ENA give thumbs up to planning reform

ENA welcomed the new National Planning Policy Framework that was published on 27 March.

The Framework puts energy development at its heart. We made clear that without a planning policy that facilitates this development we will not be able to secure our low carbon energy future.

We particularly welcomed the streamlined approach and the way it reflects energy policy as set out in the National Policy Statements. For too long this has not always been the case.

The Framework consolidates, to a great extent, Government planning policy and reflects energy policy as set out in the National Policy Statements. This is a welcome development as it reinforces the Government presumption in favour of major energy development (including networks) to secure a low carbon future.

In particular, local planning authorities should include in their strategic priorities for the area the provision of infrastructure for energy including heat.

Local planning authorities must also recognise the responsibility on all communities to contribute to energy generation from renewable or low carbon sources. They should:

  • Have a positive strategy to promote energy from renewable and low carbon sources.

  • Design their policies to maximise renewable and low carbon energy development while ensuring that adverse impacts are addressed satisfactorily, including cumulative landscape and visual impacts.

  • Consider identifying suitable areas for renewable and low carbon energy sources, and supporting infrastructure, where this would help secure the development of such sources.

  • Support community-led initiatives for renewable and low carbon energy, including developments outside such areas being taken forward through neighbourhood planning.

  • Identify opportunities where development can draw its energy supply from decentralised, renewable or low carbon energy supply systems and for co-locating potential heat customers and suppliers.

Full report available here.
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ENA welcomes Chancellor’s commitment to gas in Budget

There have been some encouraging words coming out of Government recently on the future for gas. An emphatic commitment came in the Chancellor’s Budget on 21 March. The Chancellor said “Gas is cheap, has much less carbon than coal, and will be the largest single source of our electricity in the coming years.”

This had followed encouraging words from the new DECC Secretary Ed Davey a couple of days earlier when he said “there is an essential and long-term role for gas in delivering a secure and low carbon energy future”.

The Chancellor also gave a Budget Infrastructure Update highlighting electricity and gas transmission and distribution investment.

Full Budget papers available here.
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... But DECC Heat Strategy falls short

The much awaited Government Heat Strategy was published on 29 March and ENA expressed concern that it had failed to see the whole picture with gas as an option apparently being dismissed. ENA had the opportunity to discuss the issue with Shadow DECC Secretary Caroline Flint a day before the publication of the Strategy.

Domestic use of bio-gas has not been considered. As the Strategy points out, currently 81% of the UK uses gas for its heat and hot water. DECC also accept that natural gas will supply the majority of heat demand “well into the 2020s”. However, implicit in that is the proposal that gas for domestic heat be phased out in only a decade or so. The Strategy has also not considered the cost implications for the public. All this needs to be seen against the backdrop of the potential impact on supply and price of new unconventional gas sources across the world, such as shale gas. It should also consider the cost of decommissioning the most comprehensive gas network in the world. The cost of this could be in the billions.

Of course the Government are faced with the mighty challenge of taking carbon out of households by 2050. For the UK to meet its Renewable and Carbon targets, it needs to virtually eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from our buildings by 2050, and to see 70% reductions in emissions from industrial processes. DECC Secretary Ed Davey sees this fundamental change as an opportunity. The key themes running through this thought process are diversity of supply and economic opportunity.

ENA have commissioned a major study on domestic heat out to 2050 that will address these issues. In the study, Delta Energy and Environment will look to answer the following questions:

  • What are the potential low-carbon technologies that can reduce the carbon intensity of domestic heat?

  • What barriers do these technologies face? e.g. Technical, Consumer, Economic

  • The role of gas in the future space and water heating scenarios

  • The practicality of fully electrified domestic heating?

  • What potential appliance mixes are suitable up to 2050 in light of policy targets?

  • What are the impacts on customers regarding potential domestic heat changes?

  • What are the different heating solutions for different kinds of property?

The study will use relevant data sources (including the ENA/Redpoint scenario work) as the framework for the analysis but will examine the domestic heat market in more detail to provide a range of realistic heating solutions based on the UK housing stock and available heating appliances/technology.

Each scenario developed will quantify the change in carbon emissions from the domestic heating sector and consider what would need to happen for the UK CO2 and renewable energy targets are to be met. The report will also look to establish full behavioral and economic impacts on individual consumers across the scenarios.

ENA hope to have the interim findings of the study by early May, with the final report due in early summer.

DECC sees the strategy as a national transformation, and also a local one, with different solutions for different localities/geographies as households, businesses and local authorities choose the approach that will work best for them. We agree and that is why a lot more work needs to be done before we can arrive at a final policy solution.

The Heat Strategy can be read here.
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ENA point to safety advice after balloon accident

Following the hot air balloon collision with power lines in Northamptonshire a week ago, which saw three people trapped, the message to balloonists from ENA was clear. Before you go up always make sure you know where all the overhead lines are in the vicinity of where you will be taking off from and landing.

The CAA map shows the major transmission lines, because of their height but does not show other high and low voltage overhead lines. So consider driving to your destination first to personally inspect it.

ENA has produced a leaflet detailing all the measures balloonists should take to ensure their safety. It is vital they read it before going up.

The ENA public safety leaflet for balloonists can be downloaded from the ENA website here.
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UK nuclear club just got smaller

Government energy policy took a hit last week with the announcement from RWE npower and E.ON UK that they would not proceed to develop new nuclear power projects in the UK through the Horizon joint venture.

They blamed the global economic crisis, which has meant that capital for major projects is at a premium.

The continuing impact of Fukushima could be felt with the accelerated nuclear phase-out in Germany also playing a part.

Energy Minister Charles Hendry said EON and RWE's withdrawal was “clearly very disappointing” but that “the UK's new nuclear programme is far more than one consortium and there remains considerable interest” he added.
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... But CCS is back on the agenda

However, the future for gas and even coal for generation took a step forward as the Government launched a new competition for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) on 3 April.

DECC also published the first UK CCS Roadmap. This sets out the steps that the Government is taking to develop a new world-leading CCS industry in the 2020s, including; £1bn capital funding, and additional support, subject to affordability, through low carbon Contracts for Difference; and £125m funding for Research and Development, including a new £13m UK CCS Research Centre. DECC Secretary Ed Davey said “the potential rewards from Carbon Capture and Storage are immense: a technology that can de-carbonise coal and gas-fired power stations and large industrial emitters, allowing them to play a crucial part in the UK's low carbon future”.

Full details can be read here
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All these Government energy announcements – is there a theme here?

All the energy announcements by the Government over the last couple of weeks seem to have a welcome common theme. There is a new energy focus in the corridors of power and indeed possibly a bit more realism. A cleansing and revitalising wind is blowing through policy certainties and the clearly identified key to unlock it is the vital role for infrastructure. The Prime Minister set the theme for all the energy announcements on 20 March in a speech that most commentators focused on for his proposals to privatise the road network. However, there was a big chunk on energy. He said the Government were planning a “bold transformation” in energy. “We need to find diverse, secure sources of energy that can meet demand, keep prices stable and cut the impact of carbon on the planet” he added. He said the networks needed to be renewed as they were “out-of-date”.

He also set the policy gauge for gas when he said “gas power will continue to be absolutely vital for our electricity system - and we will work with industry to develop a new gas generation strategy that draws in investment and secures electricity supply”.

The Chancellors clear policy intervention on gas, coming as it did when the DECC Secretary has only just begun arranging his new desk, points to new interest in the Treasury. This is reflected in new political realism across the Political Parties. There was an interesting speech by Caroline Flint last week.

She is Mr Davey’s opposite number and in her speech to a Fabian conference said the future energy narrative must be about “bills and not bears” alluding to David Cameron’s polar visit when in opposition. She said the reference point for all discussion in the future must look at the legitimate interests of the public. This reflects what ENA have been saying and is something we pointed out to the Shadow Secretary of State. That is what is behind our domestic heat project and goes to the heart of what we believe smart networks can deliver (with £16 billion savings over the next few decades in a smart future according to an Imperial College London study for ENA).

The politics of energy is entering a new realm. The key is the customer and for that, read voter. That is the common theme in what the key players are saying. It will be about savings and that aligns with what ENA are saying and will be saying more over the next few months. We have a packed programme of engagement with some of these key players over this period and you can be rest assured that the message will made loud and clear.
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ENA/SBGI Utility Street Works 2012 – Street Works Minister to speak

The Street Works Minister Norman Baker MP will be the headline speaker at Utility Street Works 2012. He will give an update on Government thinking as well as launch a Safe Digging Charter.

The 1-day seminar is taking place on 26 April 2012 at the Institution of Civil Engineers, 1 Great George Street, London.

Building on the success of recent years, the event once again provides timely and topical presentations on all aspects of street works spanning policy and regulation, stakeholder interests, safety, partnerships, technology and best practice. This year’s event will also include inputs from English and Scottish regions.

In an Olympic year and with ever increasing pressure on utilities to replace ageing infrastructure in crowded urban environments – and with minimal disruption – the event provides an ideal opportunity to hear from experts in the field, to network with peers, and of course sample the supporting industry exhibition.

Speakers include: Les Guest, CEO NJUG, Office of the Scottish Road Works, Staffordshire CC Roads & Highways, Westminster City Council Commissioner for Transport, Scotia Gas Networks, National Grid, J Murphy and Sons Ltd, National Underground Assets Group, Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions (BBUS) and Morrison Utility Services.

Sponsored by: J Murphy and Sons Ltd and Morrison Utility Services.

Supported by: Utility Week, NJUG, PIG, SBWWI, and UKSTT.

For enquiries or further information on sponsoring, exhibiting, or attending contact: [email protected].
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ENA SHE Conference 2012 – Wednesday 2 to Friday 4 May 2012

Over many years the Annual SHE conference has become the must attend event drawing large numbers from across the energy industry. The 2012 conference promises to deliver thought provoking discussions around worker involvement, occupational health and how we deliver safety in a high hazard industry.

The 23rd ENA Safety, Health and Environment Management Conference (SHE2012) will be held on the 2–4 May 2012 at The Guoman Tower Hotel, London and will be hosted by UK Power Networks.

SHE2012 will bring together health and safety professionals and trade union representatives within the energy industry along with Government policy makers, regulators and experts from outside the sector to discuss and debate best practice in the management of SHE issues.

Keynote speakers confirmed for SHE2012 include: Judith Hackitt (Chair, HSE), Basil Scarsella (CEO UK Power Networks), Ed Mitchell (Director of Environment and Business, Environment Agency), and Robert Davis (CE EA Technology Ltd).

SHE2012 Delegate Fees:

Members: £749
Non members: £849

To book your place at SHE2012, please click here.

Click here to view the programme.
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Brussels update

ENERGY COMMISSIONER DEFENDS EU ENERGY POLICIES

ENA recently participated at a European Energy Forum (EEF) dinner debate at the European Parliament in Brussels, at which MEPs fiercely quizzed the Energy Commissioner, Oettinger, on the Commission’s energy initiatives, and future strategies.

There was a full and frank exchange of views at the EEF dinner, held in the MEP’s own restaurant, and hosted by UK Conservative MEP Giles Chichester. The Commissioner was up for the challenge, and spoke well and at length about his proudest achievements and hopes for the future.

Energy Roadmap 2050

The Commissioner began by pointing proudly to the 2050 Energy Roadmap, which DG ENER published at the end of 2011. This was effectively the first time, perhaps surprisingly, that the Commission had undertaken work to look in detail at the longer term perspectives. They had recognised and accepted (after some badgering by the industry, ENA included) the importance of trying to give energy companies and their investors some degree of certainty about the Commission’s legislative ambitions.

The Roadmap contains a range of fuel mix scenarios, all focusing on 2030, and consistent with the EU’s overall agreed objective of an 85% reduction in the 1990 level of emissions by 2050. The Commission’s view is that decarbonisation, although costly, could be less expensive than current policies, in the long run. Furthermore, they want to promote an accelerated move from energy systems with high fuel and operational costs, to systems with higher capital expenditure costs, particularly for the grids and power plants, but lower anticipated fuel costs over time.

The Roadmap scenarios include:

  • ‘Business as usual’; 

  • Current policy initiatives (e.g. 3rd Energy Package implemented); 

  • High energy efficiency; 

  • High renewables; 

  • Delayed CCS; and

  • Low nuclear.

The clear message coming though from all the scenarios is the need for higher levels of energy efficiency and renewables, and overall a growing reliance on electricity in every sector, including transport and heating.

EU Renewables strategy

The Energy Commissioner has said that the Commission will be publishing before the summer, probably in May, a Communication i.e. policy document on the renewable energy market, which might be followed by legislative action. This Communication will describe the current situation of renewables, what is being done by Member States to meet the EU 2020 renewables target (15% for the UK) and consider what actions will be needed to rectify any problems, with further consideration of the 2020–2030 timescales. This Communication will kick-start a debate at EU level on what additional actions are required up to 2020 and then towards 2030.

The Commissioner was in evangelical mode about renewables; saw their ability to transform consumer lives as coal did in the 19th Century. However, certain MEPs e.g. Roger Helmer, energy spokesman for UKIP, were more sceptical about the risk of climate change and questioned whether the EU’s focus on renewables risked making it uncompetitive as against, for example, India and China. The Commissioner responded by citing many other industrialised nations e.g. the US and Australia, which had also introduced legislation in this area.

Energy Efficiency

The Commission is disappointed that, to date, EU Member States are on track to achieve only a 10% improvement in energy efficiency by 2020, in spite of the 20% target agreed by Heads of State back in 2009.

The new Efficiency Directive is currently under discussion in Brussels. The Commissioner has said they don’t want to put ‘unnecessary burdens’ on industry in this area, but believes there are some cost effective solutions. He expressed confidence that there would be political agreement on the Directive between the Council and Parliament under the Danish Presidency. But if Member States do not make real progress towards accelerating achievements towards meeting their share of the EU efficiency target, then consideration would be given to bringing in mandatory targets in 2 years time.

Infrastructure package

The Commissioner expects the Parliament to give the Commission strong support in its proposals to address barriers to energy infrastructure project development e.g. planning and financing. The report from the Energy Committee (ITRE) Rapporteur Correia de Campos was published this week.

The Rapporteur proposes some helpful changes to the text of the Trans European Networks Regulation that ENA lobbied for through GEODE and Eurelectric:

  • Annex III, 1.1) includes DSOs as members of the Regional Groups in terms of selection of projects.

  • Annex IV, 1 e) deletes the limitation to 10KV voltage levels for smart grids projects at distribution level and authorizes projects at any voltage level.

However, other restricting criteria still remain, and in addition to these, the Rapporteur is now suggesting that any project eligible for EU funding should involve three rather than two Member States, as the Commission had originally proposed. ENA would say that this will make it harder for projects to get off the ground.

ENA will continue to work with the Parliament and Council on the infrastructure proposals looking for a positive outcome. However, we know that the Member States, while supportive of many of the aims, will be reluctant to find any money to do this from the EU budget. €9.1bn is being sought by the Commission to finance energy infrastructure projects, which may be over optimistic.

Financial services

Vicky Ford, UK Conservative MEP, raised the issue of financial services legislation with the Commissioner. She cautioned against unintended consequences, and asked the Commissioner to open a dialogue with energy industry and their investors on this important matter, to ensure the final legislation is in good shape.

EURELECTRIC POWER FACTS DATABASE 2011

ENA is an active member of several European energy associations, including Eurelectric.

Eurelectric has now established a potentially useful resource, a Power Facts database, available on their website, which includes updated factual information on all the major areas of the electricity sector, including networks, power generation, markets, and environmental issues.

Sources for the facts include the industry, governments, NGOs and think tanks as well as generic EURELECTRIC & VGB data and research.

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Oh and by the way ... a Happy Easter to all our readers


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