Leading property firm in renewable energy deal

Construction, residential development and property support services firm Willmott Dixon has taken a major step towards achieving its ambition to halve the carbon it emits by 2020 compared to 2010.

It’s teamed up with SmartestEnergy to provide electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind and hydro-electric to all offices that can procure their own supplies. This will see over a dozen offices across the country switch to ‘green’ fuel.

It follows Willmott Dixon’s backing in 2014 of the Aldersgate Group’s campaign to improve electricity labelling to allow companies to see the carbon implications of energy purchasing.

Group Chief Executive, Rick Willmott said:

“Climate change is a major threat to our planet and I believe every company is responsible for limiting its own impact on the environment to reduce global warming. It’s been a key priority for us and over the past five years we’ve reduced our emissions relative to turnover by over 30%. We are now committed to halving emissions by 2020 (compared with 2010) and better energy labelling has helped us make the right decision when it comes to electricity purchase.”

> Read more here

National Grid to pay £3m over gas network repair targets

National Grid has agreed to pay £3 million to fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) after failing to meet Ofgem’s target for repairing non-urgent gas escapes on its gas distribution networks.  

The energy regulator has also cut the amount of revenue National Grid can earn from its gas distribution networks by £2m after the company failed to meet targets on customer satisfaction.

Maxine Frerk, acting senior partner, networks, Ofgem, said: “National Grid recognises that it did not have proper management processes in place to meet these targets.”

> Read Ofgem's announcement

Australian bank backs UK solar farms

National Australia Bank is lending renewable energy provider Spower nearly $48 million (£34m) to finance its four solar farms in the UK.

Spower, which is based in Salt Lake City in the United States, has 150 power sites in the US and UK.

The four UK solar farms have a combined capacity of 33.5MW.

> See Spower's statement

Whitbread invests in solar panels at Premier Inns

Whitbread has installed solar panels on the roofs of 88 of its Premier Inn hotels.

The panels are expected to generate 1,326MWh of power each year, cutting the hotels’ electricity bills by around 10% and saving the company £280,000 a year.

James Pitcher, Corporate Social Responsibility Director at Whitbread, said: “It will support us in meeting our 2020 target of reducing carbon by 15% relative to sales turnover, and we’ll continue to develop our energy management strategy in line with the growth of our business.”

> Find out more about Whitbread's energy strategy

Longannet ends coal generation in Scotland

Coal-fired electricity generation in Scotland has ended following the closure of the Longannet power station in Fife.

Longannet was the largest coal power station in Europe when it came online in 1969, with a capacity of 2.4GW, enough to power two million homes.

Hugh Finlay, Generation Director at ScottishPower, said: “Longannet has contributed more electricity for the national grid than any other power station in Scotland’s history, and it is a sad day for everyone at ScottishPower.”

> See ScottishPower's statement

Atlantis hands back tidal leases

Atlantis Resources has handed back its licenses to develop two parts of the UK’s seabed, the Anglesey Skerries site in Wales and the Kyle Rhea site in Scotland to The Crown Estate.

Tim Cornelius, Chief Executive of Atlantis, said: “This strategy will enable us to focus our resources on our most developed sites in order to drive progress and deliver continuous, clean, and predictable supplies of energy, quickly and at scale, to power homes and business throughout the UK and contribute towards the UK’s energy infrastructure needs.

“Due to the abundance of natural resource and a supportive government, Wales remains a jurisdiction of high interest to Atlantis and we will continue to actively seek out commercially and financially viable project development and investment opportunities and would welcome commercial approaches from any developer with commercial scale project locations in Wales.”

Atlantis Resources is behind the MeyGen tidal stream project in Scotland which has signed a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with SmartestEnergy.

> Read Atlantis's announcement