Gas transmission/distribution

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A £150 million gas pipeline located 30 metres underneath the River Humber has become operational, National Grid has announced. The Feeder 9 project was begun in 2016 with joint venture project partners Skanska, A.Hak and Porr. It replaces a trench-laid gas pipe which had become exposed.
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Ofgem has issued its final determinations for the RIIO2 price controls beginning in April next year, raising the baseline profit margin for investors in the transmission and gas distribution sectors by more than a third of a percentage point when compared to its draft determinations in July. Utility Week looks at where Ofgem has changed tack and gauges reaction.
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A former partner at Ofgem has said she is still mystified as to why the regulator handed some companies penalties and others rewards under the new business plan incentive mechanism for the RIIO2 price controls. Maxine Frerk said Ofgem needs to provide more clarity on exactly how networks’ business plans are judged. Its chief executive, Jonathan Brearley, told Utility Week some companies had initially failed to show their plans were in the interest of consumers.
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Politicians and business leaders want the country to deliver a green revolution, create jobs and boost the economy. As part of our Build Back Better campaign, Utility Week in association with Addleshaw Goddard has published a major new report exploring the significant role utilities can play in fulfilling these ambitions.
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If hydrogen is to fulfil its potential as a driver of decarbonisation then large-scale production projects need to kick off in the next few years. According to Gas Goes Green Champion, and former Cadent chief executive, Chris Train, the first step should be to start the process of allowing gas networks to blend hydrogen into the grid.
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Utility Week examines the changes to spending allowances in Ofgem’s RIIO2 final determinations, including an almost £2.45 billion rise for National Grid. The figure is just over half of the £4.8 billion in requested expenditure which the regulator disallowed at the draft determination stage in July.
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Ofgem’s decision to raise the baseline profit margin for investors as part of its final determinations for the RIIO2 price controls has “probably done enough” to deter network companies from appealing the settlement, an industry analyst has told Utility Week.  Colm Gibson, a managing director for the Berkeley Research Group, said the uplift represents a compromise between the regulator’s draft position and the preliminary findings of the Competition and Markets Authority in the appeal of four water companies against their final determinations.
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National Grid Electricity System Operator has announced several changes to its leadership team, with Isabelle Haigh replacing Roisin Quinn as its head of national control from spring next year. Quinn will be replaced in her ambassadorial role of chief engineer by Julian Leslie, who will remain head of networks at the same time.
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Ofgem has awarded £18 million to a project led by SGN to build a first-of-a-kind green hydrogen network serving 300 homes in Fife. The project was among five winners to receive a collective total of around £58 million in the regulator’s eighth and final Network Innovation Competition.
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A new report from Utility Week, in association with MSA Safety io explores how cloud technology can help utilities maintain real time updates direct from workers' wearable gas detection devices, improving safety and boosting efficiency in compliance.
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The government’s new targets around the decarbonisation of heat have been welcomed by industry figures, who said ministers should avoid taking a strategy of “wait and see”. Speaking to Utility Week, they said the broad ambitions listed in its 10-point plan for a "green industrial revolution" must now be backed up with the right policies, regulations and funding.
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The first hydrogen boilers have been installed in demonstration houses built as part of a mock-up of a hydrogen gas grid in Northumberland. The homes have been constructed for the HyStreet project at DNV GL’s test site in Spadeadam and will be supplied a dummy distribution network installed by Northern Gas Networks.
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Citizens Advice has warned against plans to impose a fixed per-meter charge on gas customers to fund a new support scheme for biomethane injection. The charity said a flat fee would leave households “bearing a disproportionate share of costs”, noting that a studio flat will be paying the same levy as a large manufacturing facility.
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The lack of a clear strategy and high regulatory barriers are preventing the UK from the taking the lead on hydrogen and handing the first mover advantage to other countries in Europe, according to Aurora Energy Research. Utility Week speaks to research director Richard Howard about his findings.
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