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NCE Live News Updates: Thursday 3 October: £500M Crystal Palace plan unveiled; Heathrow told to freeze airport charges

A £500M plan to rebuild Crystal Palace is unveiled and Heathrow Airport’s £3bn investment programme is at threat after its owners are told by regulator CAA that airport charges should be subject to a real terms price freeze.



17.30pm: Southern Electric Power Distribution has started work on £13M project to renew under-sea power cables between the Isle of Wight and the mainland.

The firm intends to replace one of the three high voltage cables linking the island to England, and to update the other two so that all three are “state of the art”.

“The new cable will make the electricity network to Isle of Wight more robust and less prone to external damage by anchors and marine actions which, in turn, reduces the risk of power cuts,” said SEPD head of capital project delivery Chanrda Trikha.

The work will be carried out by VolkerInfra and is expected to be completed by October 2014.


17.00pm: An agreement to build four windturbines at the Bristol sewage treatment works has been reached between Triodos Renewables and Wessex Water Enterprises’ waste to energy company GENeco.

“Developing another wind farm on a brownfield/industrial site fits well with our commitment for sensitively siting renewable energy projects,” said Triodos Renewables managing director Matthew Clayton.

The windfarm is expected to produce an estimated 8.2MW of electricity – enough to power 4,500 homes.


2.10pm: EDF Energy and the government to agree contract for the new generation of nuclear power station “within weeks”, according to energy minister Michael Fallon.

The Financial Times has quoted Fallon as saying: “We’re not quite there yet, but I hope we will be in the next few weeks.”

Though a spokesperson from the department for energy and climate change has played down reports of an imminent deal: “Negotiations remain on-going between Government and EDF on the potential terms of an investment contract for Hinkley Point C. No agreement has as yet been reached. A contract will only be offered it is value for money, fair and affordable, in line with Government policy on no public subsidy for new nuclear and consistent with state aid rules.” 

Contract details between the government and the French-owned energy firm have stalled over the last year due to disagreements over the ‘strike price’ – the price per megawatt hour that the company is allowed to set for its nuclear-sourced electricity.


1.39pm: Temco has confirmed that another leak of radioactive water has occurred at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima power plant.

The firm has estimated that around 430 litres has leaked and possibly flowed into the sea from one of the power plant’s water storage tanks. This occurred during the redistribution of water following a surplus caused by a typhoon.

The level of the four water storage tanks is uneven and spillage happened when water was transferred to the lower tank.

An employee discovered the leak on Wednesday evening. It is the latest in a series of leaks at the plant since the 2011 meltdown.

Temco has since contained the spillage with sandbags and has apologised for the “extreme anxiety and inconvenience caused”.


1.30pm: Rest and Be Thankful suffers another landslide

Heavy rain is believed to have triggered a landslide which resulted in the closure of the troubled A83 Rest and Be Thankful route in Scotland earlier today.

More than 100t of material was washed onto the road in the incident, which is the latest to hit the landslide-prone road. Read more here.


12.29pm: Dong Energy to receive DKK 11bn (£1.2bn) investment

Goldman Sachs (Goldman Sachs), Danish pension funds Arbejdsmarkedets Tillægspension (ATP) and PFA Pension Forsikringsaktieselskab (PFA) have bought into the company, reducing the government stake to 60% (previously 81%).

“We believe in this vision and are excited to work with the company and the Danish State to help grow the business and provide environmentally friendly energy and infrastructure for European markets,” said Goldman Sachs’ head of merchant banking division for Europe Andrew Wolff.

The agreement is expected to be finalised by the end of the year.


11.30am: Leeds-based engineering firm Construction Marine Ltd has more than doubled its number of employees over the last 18 months.

The company has grown after receiving addition Network Rail contracts in the last two years.

“It’s a tribute to the hard work and commitment of our staff. Everyone in the business takes pride in their work and delivering the very best to our customers,” said CML’s managing director Geoff Mortimer.

The firm has also opened a new depot at Deneby, near Doncaster.


10.50am: Plans to rebuild The Crystal Palace and restore the surrounding park have been unveiled by Chinese investment bank ZhongRong Group

London mayor Boris Johnson welcomed the £500M investment.

The ambition is to rebuild The Crystal Palace as a major new cultural destination for the capital on the site of the original Victorian building, which burned down in 1936. Arup is on board as designer.

More here


10.20am: More on the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)’s final proposals - this time good news for Gatwick.

The CAA said that Gatwick’s proposal for average price to grow by RPI + 0.5% per year for seven years is a “fair price” and in passengers’ interests. Gatwick’s proposals will be backed by a licence to ensure that they are honoured.

Gatwick’s proposal of a RPI + 0.5% price rise compares with Heathrow’s proposal of a RPI + 4.6% increase. Heathrow’s airlines had asked for a 9.8% per year cut.

10.15am: London mayor Boris Johnson is set to reveal a £500M plan to rebuild the Crystal Palace and restore it’s park in South London by ZhongRong Group.

NCE is at the launch event this morning with details to follow shortly.


10am: Heathrow Airport is fuming this morning after being told by regulator CAA that airport charges should be subject to a real terms price freeze (RPI +0%) from 2014 to 2019.

The CAA’s figure is derived from its forecasting of future passenger numbers, retail revenues, operational efficiencies, and the cost of financing capital investment.

Since the publication of its initial proposals in April, Heathrow has argued that the CAA has fundamentally underestimated the cost of raising capital to invest in new facilities.

Heathrow Chief Executive Colin Matthews said: “This proposal is the toughest Heathrow has ever faced. The CAA’s proposed cost of capital of 5.6% is below the level at which Heathrow’s shareholders have said they are willing to invest. The CAA’s settlement could have serious and far-reaching consequences for passengers and airlines at Heathrow.

“We want to continue to improve Heathrow for passengers. Instead, the CAA’s proposals risk not only Heathrow’s competitive position but the attractiveness of the UK as a centre for international investment. We will now carefully consider our investment plans before responding fully to the CAA.”

Heathrow has invested £11bn over the last ten years in new facilities such as Terminal 5 and the new £2.5bn Terminal 2. Heathrow’s own proposals, submitted to the CAA in July, would have seen a further £3bn invested to further improve the airport and passenger experience. This would have been funded by an increase in airport charges of RPI + 4.6%, equating to around £1 a year per ticket.

The CAA said its proposals will put an end to over a decade of prices rising faster than inflation at Heathrow. “This has supported significant investment in Heathrow over the last decade and our current proposals will also create a supportive environment for further capital expenditure,” it said.

Read what the £3bn would be spent on here


9.50am: Carillion to restructure energy business

Carillion has said that it is to scale back its energy business because of limited opportunities in the sector.

In a trading statement covering the third quarter of 2013, the contractor said that the slow start to the whole of the Green Deal market, which, together with the delayed start to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) market, was affecting its revenue expectations from energy services. 

“The development of the Green Deal market continues to be slow and ECO may now be subject to further delays,” it said. “Consequently, we will restructure this area of our business during the remainder of 2013 to ensure that it is aligned in size to the markets in which it operates. 

“We are still assessing the extent of the restructuring required, while ensuring we maintain an effective offering and service delivery model.”      




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