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NCE Live News Updates 23 May 2013: Minister reaffirms commitment to new nuclear

Business and energy minister Michael Fallon has said the government remains committed to new nuclear.

5.05pm WSP owner Genivar has confirmed its decision to adopt the brand name WSP Global for the merged operation as of 1 January next year. It has also stated plans to grow to to a CAN$2.3bn (£1.4bn) turnover company by the end of 2015 from £1.1bn today. This is a modest increase on the £1.3bn target set by chief executive Chris Cole at the time of the merger last September. The company said it would target approximately £320M in net revenue growth through the acquisition of complementary and like-minded firms.

Staff numbers will increase from around 14,500 to 20,000, the firm said.

1.15pm A Japanese consortium led by Hitachi has got the green light to begin work on an innovative energy scheme in Wigan in Greater Manchester.

The consortium, which includes Daikin Industries, Mizuho Corporate Bank and Mizuho Information & Research Institute, plans to install and monitor up to 300 electrical heat pumps in various types of housing across Wigan.

Known as the Smart Community Demonstration Project (SCDP) the scheme is scheduled to begin on site at the end of March following a feasibility and demonstration phase with the former due to be completed by the end of the year.

The project is being funded by Japan’s New Energy Development Organization which hopes the trials will prove the efficiency of cutting-edge Japanese technologies including heat pumps and ICT systems.

1pm: Contractor Kier has begun construction of an 800-home residential quarter in Cardiff’s multi-million pound International Sports Village (ISV) development.

Working in partnership with developer Helium Miracle, Kier will deliver the first two phases of the scheme’s “sustainable residential quarter”, called Cardiff Pointe.

The Cardiff Bay site already encompasses the city’s International Swimming Pool and when complete in 2017 it will include hotels, retail space, a 150m indoor ski slope and the National Ice Stadium, which will be home to the Cardiff Devil’s Ice Hockey team.

11.30am Business and energy minister Michael Fallon has claimed that the government remains committed to new nuclear development.

Speaking ahead of a meeting today with executives from Hitachi and Horizon, which are investing £20bn in nuclear plants at Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire, Fallon said the industry was not just about one project.

Negotiations have been protracted between the government and Hinkley new nuclear developer EdF on agreeing a strike price that it can charge for future electricity generation.

“Nuclear in the UK is about more than just one project,” said Fallon. “Three ventures – including the Horizon project I’m visiting – are making serious progress.

“I want to be clear that we are firmly committed to ensuring that new nuclear goes ahead in this country. Nuclear already provides around a fifth of our electricity, so it is vital for our energy security now, and in future.

Meanwhile chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander yesterday told the Association for Consultancy and Engineering centenary conference in London that there would be an agreement on strike price before parliament breaks up for summer recess. More to follow on this story soon.

9.30am Smart grid technologies should save £135M on the cost of distributing electricity in London, the South East and East of England from 2015 to 2023, according to a senior director at UK Power Networks.

Nick Heyward, UK Power Networks project director for future networks, delivered the forecast as part of a talk on Designing for Tomorrow’s Next-generation Networks’ at a conference yesterday in Stratford-upon-Avon. The estimated savings are included in UK Power Networks’ draft business plan which will determine the level of investment needed to continue delivering reliable power supplies to its 8.1M customers.

The company which owns and runs a quarter of Britain’s electricity networks is carrying out a number of projects, supported by regulator Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund, to understand the environmental and financial benefits of smart grids, including Low Carbon London, Flexible Plug and Play and Smarter Network Storage.

9am: The government has been urged to publish the prices it intends to pay for on and offshore wind generation up to 2018.

Independent statutory body the Committee on Climate Change called for a range of measures to support investment in low-carbon technologies.

As well as pricing information, these included introducing a target to reduce the carbon intensity of power generation to 50cCO2/kWh by 2030.

Committee chairman Lord Deben said: In order to secure maximum economic benefit for the UK, it is crucial the government gives certainty to investors by legislating to chart a clear course well beyond 2020.”

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