Almost two dozen employees from companies including the energy giants British Gas and npower are working at the Department of Energy and, in most cases, are being paid by the government to do so, documents released under freedom of information rules reveal. Oil companies such as Shell and ConocoPhillips also have staff inside the department, and civil servants have travelled in the opposite direction to work for the companies. The Green party MP Caroline Lucas, who made some of the FOI requests, said: “Fossil fuel giants should have no place at the heart of government given that their current investment strategies run contrary to the need to build a low-carbon future that delivers both security and prosperity. It’s even more outrageous that taxpayers are footing the bill for some of these secondments, including from British Gas-owner Centrica, at a time when British Gas customers are struggling in the face of a 6% rise in their energy bills, and the company is expected to make £1.4bn profits after tax this year. “These corporations obviously don’t lend out their employees without expecting something in return.”
Guardian 30th Dec 2012 more »
The Government is paying staff from powerful firms including energy giants and a leading bank to work at the heart of Whitehall, official documents have revealed. The papers – released under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act – show that employees from the “big six” energy firms such as British Gas owner Centrica have been seconded to work at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc).
Independent 31st Dec 2012 more »
Spain is seeking compensation after Bolivia nationalised four Iberdrola subsidiaries in President Morales’s latest bid to increase state control over energy and mineral resources. Iberdrola’s headquarters in La Paz were under armed police guard yesterday after Mr Morales decreed the seizure of Electropaz, which distributes power to 470,000 customers, and Elfeo, which supplies 80,000. Bolivia also appropriated two smaller companies owned by Iberdrola, which has been operating in the country since it bought American-owned distribution networks in the Nineties.
Times 31st Dec 2012 more »
FESSENHEIM, France—The owner of the local nuclear power plant, Electricité de France SA, is spending €20 million ($26.4 million) to upgrade it and extend its life span for another decade, seemingly breathing new life into this town on the German border. But the French governent—EDF’s majority shareholder—says it plans to close the site in 2016, amid an effort to reduce the country’s reliance on nuclear power and promote renewable energy. Amid uncertainty, EDF’s overhaul is proceeding. But the conflict at Fessenheim illustrates a broader dilemma facing France and other European Union countries.
Wall Street Journal 30th Oct 2012 more »
Scottish Water has become the latest company to reveal ambitious plans to generate its own clean energy, after announcing it is planning to develop a 54MW wind farm on land by one of its reservoirs as part of its drive to become energy self-sufficient. The state-owned utility earlier this month confirmed it has entered a partnership with wind energy developer Eneco to develop the proposed 18 turbine Macritch Hill project, which would be sited at Backwater Reservoir near Kirriemuir in Angus.
Business Green 31st Dec 2012 more »