Energy utilities take up office space

June 22nd, 2008

Two of the biggest energy utilities in the United Kingdom are due to take occupation of over two hundred thousand square feet of office space in Newport and Cardiff. This is expected to be a big boost to the real estate sector in Wales.

A subsidiary of British Gas wants rent seventy thousand square feet from MEPC. This is at the Callaghan Square and this is one of the largest real estate deals since the year 2006. Scottish and Southern Power on the other hand is set to rent one hundred and forty thousand square feet at the Celtic Springs Business Park in Newport. The property belongs to AWG Property.

At Callaghan Square again, Centrica is set to lease approximately sixty eight thousand five hundred and eighty nine square feet at Building 4. This will be for around twenty sterling pounds per square feet.

Rumours are also flying around that Rightacres which is the joint venture partner of MEPC on Callaghan Square is planning with Centrica to engage in a part exchange of Helmont House which is located along Churchill Way.

The agreement on the Callaghan Square deal is set to be sealed in coming two weeks. Centrica is said to be upgrading and transferring its call centre to the new complex. It will be one of the biggest deals in the city ever since Glamorgan University which owns and occupies part of the building purchased Enterprise House from British Telecom for about nine million sterling pounds. The floor area of Enterprise House is approximately seventy thousand square feet.

Wind farm approved

June 22nd, 2008

After a consultative meeting with members of the public a wind farm is likely to be given the go-ahead. The wind energy project will consist of thirteen wind turbines. The firm behind the wind energy project is known as AMEC and the wind farm is likely to be developed at Aultmore Forest close to Buckie.

AMEC was engaged in consultations with approximately fifteen community councils and recreation groups based locally. Most sent in their responses in first quarter of the year.

The curtailed use of the Aultmore Forest currently and the need to have an improvement in the access to the forest were some of the suggestions given. Other suggestions included improving the forest tracks and setting aside a place for parking cars. Also suggested was the proper marking of key routes in the forest.

The development director of the wind farm developer in Aultmore, Robert East, expressed his delight at the suggestions that had been made especially by the members of the recreation group. He added that any improvements that would be made would only be made if the relevant land owners agree which in this case would be the Forestry Commission Scotland. Some of the money that would be required to improve the recreational facilities would be taken out from the wind farm community fund.

Moray’s forest district manager, Phil Whitfield, was delighted by the fact that the local groups were involving themselves in affairs that affected their community. He added that some of the suggestions that had been made were good.

Earlier the wind farm developer had wanted to erect over thirty wind turbines but this was revised downwards after protests.

Wind farm rejected again

June 21st, 2008

Campaigners of renewable energy have been left with disappointment once again after a wind energy project proposal was rejected yet another time. In 2007 Awel Aman Tawe was unable to get approval for a proposal to develop a wind farm close to Pontardawe at a place called Mynydd y Gwrhyd.
This time around the planners at the Neath Port Talbot Council planners have turned down an application for a wind farm comprising of two wind energy turbines.

Dan McCallum the project manager expressed disappointment saying that the community situated around the proposed location of the wind energy scheme had agreed to the project. The project manager added that addition of renewable energy generation capacity was necessary to reduce the carbon emissions that are causing climate change.

Awel Aman Tawe had initially made an application for consent to set up a wind farm comprising of four wind energy turbines in 2004. The local authority of Neath Port declined to give consent in 2005 and the renewable energy firm immediately appealed. But a year later the appeal was turned down by the planning inspector which then necessitated a judicial review. The following year the appeal was thrown out of court.

The project manager could not however say whether they would appeal against the latest decision. He however disclosed that they would meet with the trustees first and give it a thought.
The councillors who rejected the wind farm plan did so on the advice of Geoff White who heads the planning department at the local authority.

Councillors reject wind farm plans

June 21st, 2008

Proposals to develop a wind farm on the coast of Essex were turned down in dramatic fashion by councillors. The firm behind the wind energy scheme was Npower Renewables.

Npower Renewables had put in an application to develop 5 wind energy turbines each rising to a height of four hundred and ten feet. A substation was also to be built nearby.
The wind farm and substation proposal was however met by protests from the locals. A pressure group known as South Tendring Acting to Protect Our Local Environment was formed to lead the opposition to the scheme.

The planning committee members of the Tendring District Council however arranged a meeting and even though the officers of the council were all for the wind farm and had made a recommendation to that effect the councillors unanimously voted against the project in front of one hundred and eighty civilians who were watching the goings on.

The Member of Parliament for Harwich and Clacton, Douglas Carswell, expressed his pleasure at the decision arguing that there was no need of developing wind energy projects on shore when it was better done offshore. He added that developing wind farms onshore would have a great effect on the locals since the wind turbines were giant ones which were not eco-friendly at all.

Other reasons which the councillors gave for voting against the wind energy scheme included the noise the turbines would generate as well as the visual impact on the landscape. They also claimed that the wind turbines would affect the reception of television sets in the area.

Wind farm likely to be approved

June 21st, 2008

The erection of a wind farm and the regeneration of a rural Moray community will proceed simultaneously. This has been disclosed by the firm behind the planned move. The company behind the project is known as Infinergy.

Infinergy has submitted an application of one thousand and eight hundred pages to the government of Scotland declaring their plans to develop a wind on the Glenfiddich Estate at Dorenell Farm. The wind farm will consist of fifty nine wind energy turbines. Earlier Infinergy had proposed to develop a wind farm consisting of seventy one wind energy turbines. This came after extensive consultations with the members of the public.

Infinergy has in the past said that the project enjoys widespread support despite the fact that there has been strong objections mounted against the proposal. Infinergy has insisted that the project would be highly beneficial to the area in various ways.

A report on the neighbouring Cabrach community concluded that the wind energy scheme would be a great opportunity to help in regenerating the community.

Infinergy totally agreed with the report and disclosed that over the twenty five years in which the project would be in existence approximately nine million sterling pounds would be pumped into the community.

Every year three hundred and fifty four thousand sterling pounds will be going to the community fund. The administration of the money will be done by an independent charitable trust whose members will be drawn from the community.

Cabrach Community Association’s member, Gillian Gordon, welcomed the community fund saying it would boost the area economically.

Electricity prices expected to go up

June 20th, 2008

Energy analysts are warning that the cost of electricity and gas could go up by as much as forty per cent before the year comes to an end.

This translates to mean that the average household could end up incurring up to one thousand four hundred and sixty seven sterling pounds per year in energy bills alone. At such a high record level, it would mean that the prices of electricity and gas have doubled since the beginning of 2006 when the average annual energy household bill was approximately seven hundred and thirty five sterling pounds.

This projected increase was made by John Hall who advises some of the largest energy firms in the United Kingdom. The energy expert further projects that the six leading suppliers of energy in the United Kingdom would be required to increase their prices by between thirty per cent and forty per cent to ensure that the rising wholesale energy prices do not eat into their profits.

The renowned energy expert expressed pessimism that barring a huge downward trend in energy prices, his projected percentage increase was what everyone should expect.

As per Platts a research firm specialising in the energy sector, the wholesale price of gas has increased by seventy four per cent since the year begun. The wholesale price of gas closely follows the trend set by oil. This month oil reached a record high of close to one hundred and forty dollars while in January his year it was costing one hundred dollars.

UK lagging behind in renewable energy

June 20th, 2008

Members of parliament have claimed that the goals that have been set by the government for renewable electricity are not adequate. The members of parliament further claimed that there is also the danger of them not being met because of lack of focus and dynamism by the government.

Some of the shortcomings by the government which have been cited by the members of parliament include a shortage of skills in the sector, research funding being too complex, bureaucracy and limited access to the national grid.

These shortcomings were listed in a report by the committee of Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee. The committed recommended that the United Kingdom borrow a leaf from Germany and give incentives to home owners who set up renewable energy generating devices such as combined heat and power boilers in their households.

The Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee also recommended that such electricity generating householders should be let to supply any extra electricity they produce to the national grid. This would of course earn them an income and would boost renewable electricity production by householders.

The chairperson of the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee, Phil Willis, expressed disappointment due to the lack of urgency displayed by the government in readying itself for the huge task ahead. In that regard Phil Willis argued that they found the likelihood of the United Kingdom attaining the goal of producing ten per cent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by the year 2010 highly unlikely.

Power cuts in Wealdstone

June 20th, 2008

Wealdstone has been hard hit by power outages in the last five days where there has been 3 blackouts recorded. This has left business people in the area reeling from losses encountered due to the power blackouts.

For instance some shops had to be closed after the electricity went off along High Street, Wealdstone, first on Saturday last week, then on Tuesday and then on Wednesday this week. Some shoppers had to turn back and take the business elsewhere.
He manager of Visioncare, Surekha Rughani, approximated the losses in her shop to be in the range of between eight hundred sterling pounds and one thousand sterling pounds. This is because she had to shut down her shop for 2 of the 3 days that the shortages occurred. She admitted that she had to cancel all appointments with her patients while the blackout lasted. Even worse the manager could not get an explanation when she called the electricity supplier.

A receptionist at Visioncare has had to calm down a lot of angry customers whose appointments had been cancelled and rescheduled.

The vice-chairperson of manager Wealdstone Traders’ Association and the manager of Pineapple Boutique, explained that most of the enterprises cannot open the shutters when there is no power and so they had to resort to the manual way of doing which takes close to half an hour.

A spokesperson for EDF Energy, the electricity supplier for the affected area sent out apologies for the power cuts. She attributed the power shortage to a fault with the underground cable.

Protest over wind farm

June 19th, 2008

The families that are up in arms against a plan to set up a wind energy project close to their residential area have obtained more support than they thought they would. The wind turbines are planned to be one hundred metres high.

The application for the planning permission was made in 2007 in February to set up 4 wind energy turbines on Carsington Pasture. The area faces a reservoir and a number of villages.
The locals hailing from Hopton and Carsington came together to start a campaign against the wind farm proposal but planners from the Derbyshire Dales District Council did not agree with them. Of late however they have made a decision to revive their anti-wind farm campaign. They are hoping they are going to succeed against an appeal lodged by West Coast Energy which is the firm behind the proposed wind energy scheme.

The members of the anti-wind farm campaign team have set up an information stand in the village of Carsington in a bid to get support from the villages as well as visitors to the area. The campaigners are also planning a petition and presently over five hundred signatures have been collected.

Besides the petition, the anti-wind farm campaigners have collected over four hundred letters which are planned for sending to the planning inspectorate.

Protect Carsington and Hopton Action Group’s Janice Southway disclosed that one of the things that the campaign had already achieved was assist in highlight the fact that the proposal would have an effect not only on the surrounding villages of but also to the tourists who visit the area.

Wind farm gets approval

June 19th, 2008

A wind energy project along the coast of Essex that has stirred controversy is set to obtain approval despite the protests the project has received from the locals living in the surrounding location where the wind farm is planned to be situated. The firm behind the wind energy project along the coast of Essex is Npower Renewables.

Npower Renewables has made an application to set up 5 wind turbines each rising to a height of four hundred and ten feet. The firm also made an application to build a substation on Earls Hall Farm close to Clacton-on-Sea.

The plan by Npower Renewables is projected to generate enough electricity to meet the requirements of between five thousand and six thousand households. However there is strong opposition especially from a protest group calling itself the South Tendring Acting to Protect Our Local Environment or STAPLE.

Officers from the Tendring District Council have made the recommendation that the wind energy project get the approval. It is understood that Tendring District Council will meet soon to make a decision on the wind farm.

The location for the proposed wind farm is adjacent to Little Clacton and St Osyth villages and is close to the north western side of Clacton. A report by the local authority has already determined that the wind energy project would not adversely affect the environment in the area. Npower Renewables is hoping to obtain planning permission that will last for two and a half decades which is the projected lifespan of the wind energy turbines.

Public inquiry for wind farm

June 19th, 2008

The firm behind the proposal to set up a wind energy project conversely situated from the Rothesay Bay has lodged an appeal against the move by the local councillors to refuse to grant the wind energy scheme the required planning permission.

Cowal Wind Energy Ltd which is based in the Mold part of Flintshire lodged the appeal against the unanimous move by Bute and Cowal councillors to deny the wind energy developer permission to set a wind energy scheme on Corlarach Hill. The wind farm was to comprise of fourteen wind turbines.

After the appeal was lodged, a decision on the application will involve a public hearing which is expected to be held towards the end of the year. The names of those expected to make an appearance at the public inquiry are yet to be known. The exact dates and venues are also yet to be decided.

The application for planning permission for a wind farm was unanimously rejected by members of the committees of the local authorities after what had a lengthy meeting held in Dunoon at the Queen’s Hall. This was at the beginning of the year. Cowal Wind Energy, the firm behind the proposed wind farm is West Coast Energy Ltd’s subsidiary.

The application by Cowal Wind Energy received both support and opposition. More than nine hundred and forty two letters were sent of which seven hundred and forty declared their support for the plans and the wind farm. Suspicion about the project arose when it was realised that most of the support hailed from areas as far away as Mississauga in Ontario Canada. There was also some support from France and even from Dubai.