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NCE Live News Updates Tuesday 22 October 2013: Contractor sought for £357M Dartford Crossing system; UK Guarantees prequals 12 new schemes

As the realisation sets in that Hinkley Point C is finally given the green light, the scheme that is credited with playing a crucial role in its approval – UK Guarantees – is revealed to have 12 new additions.

3.30pm: The Highways Agency has begun procurement for the proposed “free flow” charging system to be introduced at the Dartford Crossing.

The Agency is seeking one contractor, main contractor or single consortium to deliver the work in a £357M contract.

The free flow proposal, which aims to reduce congestion at the M25 crossing through technology and new road layouts, was first announced in the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review.

1.30pm: Energy bosses from the big six energy companies have been called to appear before Parliament to discuss recent price rises.

The Energy and Climate Change Committee invited bosses from the big six energy companies along with those from other smaller energy suppliers to appear before Parliament on 29 October.

1.30pm: A fund linked to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has bought 6% of Spanish construction giant FCC

Gates’ fund is now the second largest shareholder in the company after Esther Koplowitz – one of Spain’s wealthiest women.

FCC is currently undergoing a corporate revamp and divestment of €2bn worth of assets under its new chief executive Juan Bejar.

It was recently named winner on the major bridge scheme at Mersey Gateway.

10am: Treasury secretary Danny Alexander revealed this morning that 12 new projects have been prequalified for the government’s UK Guarantees infrastructure scheme.

The new schemes

  • Helius Energy, Avonmouth 100MW biomass energy generation costing around £300M to build
  • Islandmagee £400M gas storage project for storing up two month’s worth of Northern Ireland’s total gas requirement.
  • Two Intergen gas-fired power generation projects at Spalding in Lincolnshire and the £600M Gateway Energy Centre in Essex.
  • Countesswells mixed use development in Aberdeen to include 3,000 homes
  • Neart Na Gaoithe 450MW Windfarm in the outer Forth Estuary, Scotland
  • Able Marine Energy Park port to aid manufacture, assembly and installation of offshore renewable technologies on Humberside
  • Chinook Energy plants, producing renewable energy from waste at sites around the UK
  • Gasrec, a producer and distributor of low carbon Bio-LNG fuel for UK commercial vehicle fleets
  • University of Roehampton campus redevelopment in South London
  • Tilbury Green Power 60MW waste wood fired power generation plant in Essex
  • The relocation of Northampton University from its current campus into Northampton Enterprise Zone
  • Five Quarter Energy plant to process unconventional gas extracted from below the North Sea to create low-cost energy for British manufacturing and new jobs in the North East

Forty projects are now at the stage known as prequalification, meaning that they are eligible for the UK Guarantee scheme. Over half that have prequalified are energy projects, helping ensure that Britain develops a sustainable future energy supply.

While further discussions, assessment and due diligence remain, the move could see them secure government agreement to act as a guarantor for a project, giving private lenders confidence that they will get their money back if the project cannot pay.

Of the £40bn of guarantees available, the government has already awarded a £75M guarantee to power plant Drax for its £700M programme to partially convert the UK’s biggest coal power station to biomass.

Also announced is the Northern Line Extension, Mersey Gateway and Hinkley C nuclear power in Somerset.



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