Friday, 21 December 2012

Renewable energy increases share of UK's electricity mix


Renewables’ share of UK electricity generation increased by more than 2 per cent in the third quarter of 2012.

Renewable electricity generation was 9.5 TWh in the third quarter of 2012, an increase of 25.2 per cent on the 7.6 TWh in the third quarter of 2011.

According to the latest UK Energy statistics, offshore wind generation rose by 54.2 per cent, while onshore wind generation rose by 38.2 per cent, due to increased capacity.

Generation from hydro fell by 16.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2012 compared with a year earlier, due to lower rainfall in North Scotland.

Renewable electricity capacity was 14.9 GW at the end of the third quarter of 2012, a rise of 42.1 per cent (4.4 GW) on a year earlier, and 4.4 per cent (0.6 GW) on the previous quarter.

Due to high gas prices, gas’s share of generation in 2011 in each of England, Scotland and Wales fell in 2011, to a record low for each country in the 2004 to 2011 period covered.

Nuclear’s share of generation in 2011 increased in England, Scotland and Wales, due to increased availability, after extensive outages in 2010.

The share of renewables increased in all four countries in 2011, as a result of increased capacity and higher rainfall and wind speeds.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Ofgem must take firmer action, MPs say


Stronger action is needed to ensure energy customers get a fair deal, a committee of MPs has told the regulator Ofgem.

The MPs have called on it to be less timid in dealing with "anti-competitive" behaviour by suppliers.

They also warned that recent plans by Ofgem and the government might still fail to help customers make meaningful price comparisons "at a glance".

Ofgem said it would analyse the details of the report before responding.

The report of the Energy and Climate Change Committee said: "We find it unsatisfactory that Ofgem should be so hesitant about launching preliminary investigations into potentially anti-competitive behaviour.

"We understand that Ofgem plans to reduce barriers to competition... but we believe that a more proactive approach should be adopted."

Sale of bankrupt 'green' battery maker to Chinese firm raises alarms on Hill


The spoils of a bankrupt company funded with a $249 million grant from President Barack Obama’s stimulus package for alternative energy will go to a Chinese business if the federal government approves the deal.

The Wanxiang Corporation successfully bid last week for the assets of the failed A123 Systems, prompting warnings from both sides of the political aisle that the sale poses a risk to national security.

Lawmakers say that A123’s core intellectual property is used in several contracts worth millions of dollars with the Defense Department to build unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles, power grids, unmanned ground and portable power systems, high-energy lasers and advanced armor.

“That gives us pause and it does concern us,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), incoming vice chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “I just think that this is something we don’t want in China’s hands.”

Wanxiang’s purchase price of $256 million does not include the research and development contracts with the military or the sensitive technology that A123 manufactured—lithium-ion batteries for military vehicles and renewable energy. That end of the business has already been sold to Massachusetts-based Navitas Systems for $2.25 million.

But Blackburn says that only a bookkeeping process separated the commercial and government contracting side of the business. “The core technology was used in all of their applications,” Blackburn said.

Amazing Solar Power Breakthrough - New Nano-Mesh | Catalyst Commercial Services - The Market Leading Business Energy Broker


However, a new innovation from Princeton University in the United States could well be the piece of news the solar industry has been waiting for.

Dubbed Plasmonic Cavity with Subwavelength Hole array or ‘PlaCSH’, scientists at the Ivy League university have created a nano-mesh that works with existing solar panels to boost efficiency.

Currently, industry-standard silicon and indium-tin-oxide-based solar cells are approaching the theoretical limit of 33.7% efficiency, however nanomesh reduces reflectivity and boosts efficiency of light capture to create a panel that is more than three-times more effective.

Green energy venture transforms landfill to clean power generator

DECC publish solar and biomass support packages


The government released two consultation papers in September setting out proposals for the Renewables Obligation (RO) covering the period 1st April 2013 to 31st March 2017. One paper covered the levels of banded support for solar PV while the other addressed biomass affordability and sustainability.

DECC’s aim is to incentivise solar projects on buildings and so from next April these will receive higher rates than ground-mounted projects which will encourage the installation of solar projects on large buildings such as factories and warehouses. Ground mounted systems will receive 1.6 Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC’s) per MWh while building mounted systems will receive 1.7 ROC’s per MWh. While the new support is higher than the 1.5 ROC’s per MWh originally proposed by DECC it also falls short of the 1.8 ROC’s/MWh that the industry argued was necessary to attract investment.

UK energy firms should fully disclose power trades - MPs

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

UK energy regulator announces major electricity and gas upgrade

Amazing Solar Power Breakthrough - New Nano-Mesh


Nano-Mesh Set to Brighten Solar Future

Solar energy seems to have had a rough time as of late; government subsidies have been reduced, installations are down and it seems as though every other form of green energy has had some major innovation – leaving solar in the shade. But there have been a few rays of hope for, arguably, the most readily available low-carbon energy source. Earlier in the year German was able to meet 55% of it’s private and commercial electricity needs with solar power, a vast new solar array has been installed in Greece, and we featured a new style of fibre-optic solar panel just last week.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Ofgem permits £12 energy bills rise for grid upgrade


The energy regulator will permit firms running the UK's electricity and gas grids to add an average £12 to annual energy bills for the next eight years to pay for upgrades and maintenance.

Energy bills will rise £12 a year to pay for network upgrade


MAJOR projects to improve the UK’s gas and electricity networks will add an average £12 to annual bills over the next eight years, according to energy regulator Ofgem.

The regulator’s final recommendations will allow companies such as National Grid to spend a total of £24.2 billion on upgrading ageing electricity and gas grids, including the laying of new undersea cables linking Scotland with England and Wales.

A further £7bn is expected to be spent on connecting 80,000 households to the gas network for the first time, whilst ensuring the gas networks to homes and businesses remain safe and reliable. National Grid yesterday said it was reviewing the “lengthy and wide-ranging” plans.

These latest fuel price hikes came as Consumer Focus Scotland yesterday revealed that 37 per cent of Scottish householders are struggling to pay fuel bills – the highest percentage ever recorded. In a major survey of more than 1,000 households across Scotland, the watchdog also found that 12 per cent of households in Scotland cut back on food shopping in winter to save money for energy bills, whilst 35 per cent of Scots worry more about fuel bills than council tax payments.

The average council tax bill in Scotland is currently £985, while the average annual fuel bill is £1,264 for dual fuel direct debit customers, and £1,355 for cash and cheque customers.

Trisha McAuley, deputy director at Consumer Focus Scotland, said: “It’s just the start of a long cold winter and people are telling us that they will struggle to keep themselves or their family warm and they are less able to put food on the table.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Could Shale Gas To Deal With Country’s Energy Crisis


If Chancellor George Osborne and fellow conservatives have their way, shale gas could see an increase in use with a substantial tax regime. The chancellor and fellow conservatives don’t like what they’ve seen in the renewable energy sector, which are lots of greens and subsidy junkies. He recently told the public that an initiative approach involves financing in renewable energy, which Osborne stated should be done with opening up the recently found shale gas under the land.Osborne said the lavish new tax regime for shale gas is so Britain doesn’t get left behind when gas prices begin to drop across the Atlantic. He said the UK shale gas industry could use all the help it possibility can – as only a few wells have been drilled. The industry needs hundreds, if not, thousands of wells that would help in knowing how much gas could be let go from fracking.

Fracking splits coalition over future for British energy

Fuel Bills To Rise As Networks Get Upgraded


The energy watchdog has announced a major upgrade to Britain's gas and electricity networks that will be funded by a rise in consumer bills.

The £24.2bn investment in the UK's ageing infrastructure will see a rise in fuel bills of up to £15.10 a year on average, Ofgem said.

The total amount is more than the £22.7bn proposed by the regulator in July, but less than the £29.4bn originally requested by the industry.

Ofgem said this reduction was made to "ensure value for money for consumers".

National Grid's high voltage electricity network, high pressure gas networks and low pressure gas networks across Britain will benefit from a £15.5bn upgrade.

The company, which had accused the regulator of not going far enough to incentivise companies to carry out the necessary work, said it would take time to review the proposals before commenting on them by March.

Some 7,000 jobs will be created in the supply chain as a result of the work.

A further £7bn will be spent connecting 80,000 households to the gas network for the first time, and ensuring the connections to homes and businesses are safe and reliable.

UK smart meter supplier -  Bglobal racks up losses

Friday, 14 December 2012

Gas 'will add more to energy bills than renewables' – government advisers | Environment | The Guardian

Energy bills could rise by £600 if the UK remains dependent on gas - Home News - UK - The Independent

Graphic: how shale gas is extracted through fracking


The UK has an estimated £1.5 trillion worth of underground shale gas deposits, which could "contribute significantly to our energy security, reducing our reliance on imported gas, as we move to a low-carbon economy," said Mr Davey.

The extraction technique, known as "fracking", is controversial due to the toxic chemicals and amount of water needed to release the trapped gas, and the subsequent risk of seismic activity.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Gas 'will add more to energy bills than renewables' – government advisers |

Mini-nuclear reactors in Government energy plan | This is Money


The Government is considering a dramatic increase in nuclear power generation through the use of mini-reactors.

The plants – the height of a three-storey building – would create enough power to light a small town and would be six times cheaper to build than the huge new power stations being planned.

Next month, the Department of Energy and Climate Change will publish a long-term strategy for nuclear power. The Government is keen for Britain to become a world leader in constructing such plants.

But as we lack the research required, finance ministers are encouraging scientists at the National Nuclear Laboratory, headquartered in Sellafield, Cumbria, to collaborate on international projects into small modular reactors (SMRs).

Read more:

Fracking: Shale gas decision by government awaited


Cuadrilla had to stop test-drilling in 2011 after fracking caused two minor earthquakes near Blackpool.

The decision due later will be watched closely by the industry and opponents.

Meanwhile, government advisers say a dependence on gas could force household bills much higher than relying on renewable energy and nuclear power.

Green power 'insurance' against gas


The latest analysis by the Committee on Climate Change confirms that consumers are set to see bills increase by £100 by 2020 to support green energy such as offshore wind power. But the committee described the investment in low carbon power as "insurance" against the risks of high costs of gas in the future.

The average household electricity bill could rise by £600 by 2050 if the UK relies on "unabated" gas power that has no technology to cut its emissions, as a result of rising gas prices and the cost of paying for carbon pollution.

Bills would only be £200 higher than today by mid-century if the country pushes ahead with a low carbon system, and consumers would be much less exposed to price shocks, the research showed.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Worlds First Ever Fibre Optic #Solar Cell | Catalyst Commercial Services


Starting with optical fibres made from glass, the research team injected n-, i- and p-type silicon into the fibre using a process called high-pressure chemical vapour deposition. Essentially turning the new composite into a solar cell, these silicon-enhanced threads use the same photovoltaic effect that their 2D-cousins use – but the 3D tubular shape of the these fibre-optic versions intrinsically allows a more efficient capture, as it doesn’t matter which way the cell is facing or how it’s positioned.

Read more:

UK Government Could Buy 50% of Electricity From Renewables

Independent Scotland ‘would see #energy bills increase significantly'


UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey has claimed it is logical to assume that energy bills will rise “significantly” for Scottish families after independence if the burden of paying for the country’s renewable sector falls upon consumers north of the Border.

Speaking at a Scotsman Conference on energy in an independent Scotland yesterday, Mr Davey claimed subsidies which are currently borne by 26 million households across the UK could instead be shared among Scotland’s 2.5 million homes.

He warned that would mean a “significant” increase in household bills.

But his claims were rejected at the conference by SNP energy minister Fergus Ewing who

accused the UK government ministers of rushing to Scotland like an “abstentee landlord” fearing that Scotland, with its rich oil and renewables reserves, was set to leave the UK.

Mr Ewing said UK ministers would end up accepting a continuation of the current single energy market across the UK after independence, on the grounds that, without Scottish energy feeding into the national grid, the “lights would go out” on England.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Eon customers facing £100 rise in energy bills as company becomes last of the 'big six' to raise tariffs | Mail Online


Millions of E.on customers face an increase of more than £100 a year in energy bills after it announced a rise in tariffs.

The company, which will put up prices from January 18, is the last of the ‘big six’ suppliers to hit customers with an increase.

Read more:

Two-thirds of world's top companies have set #green targets :


Last year, $260 billion was invested in clean energy globally, marking the one trillionth dollar put into the sector since 2004 and the first time that clean energy saw more investment than fossil fuels.

As a new report shows, much of that activity is being driven by large corporations that are setting internal sustainability goals that include targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or targets to procure renewable energy and energy efficiency.

According to a new analysis from Ceres, WWF, and Calvert Investments, 68 percent of companies in the Global 100 list have set targets to lower global warming pollution or purchase clean energy. In addition, 58 percent of companies in the Fortune 100 list have set similar targets.

Tough questions for Cameron as his 'greenest government' vow crumbles


The Prime minister promised to lead the "greenest government ever" when he won the 2010 election. Since then he has been silent on the climate and energy agenda, allowing other voices in his government to dominate. Today he will face tough questions from MPs on the Liaison Committee about the slide away from his green promise.

The tragic irony is that action on climate change and renewable energy is one of the few bright areas for economic growth in the UK, but the negative political signals coming out of government are seriously damaging investment confidence. Cameron urgently needs to get a grip on his government and live up to the promises of leadership on climate change that he made so clearly .

With the energy bill and gas strategy now out, the tensions in the UK's energy and climate policy debate – and within the coalition government – are now plain for all to see. It is increasingly clear that the chancellor is gearing up to dilute the UK's emission reduction ambitions under the Climate Change Act.

Monday, 10 December 2012

New research series kicks off with look at energy business models

E.ON to raise energy prices


The newspaper, citing sources, said dual-fuel gas and electricity prices are to increase by 8.7pc, pushing up the average bill by £109 a year.

It expects an announcement to be made on Monday.

A spokesman for E.ON said on Friday that the company would announce any energy price rises first to its customers and that it had made "no announcement" yet.

E.On is the only Bix Six supplier not to have announced an autumn or winter price rise. It has previously said that it would leave prices unchanged for the rest of the year.

EDF Energy will increase gas and electricity prices by 10.8pc from today, while British Gas, Npower, SSE and Scottish Power have already raised their prices.

RBS unveils £200m fund to help firms shrink their energy bills


The state-backed lender is tapping into the £80 billion Funding for Lending scheme to offer reduced-rate loans for UK firms looking to install energy-efficient heating and lighting, or to generate their own power from wind turbines.

Today’s launch of the bank’s carbon reduction fund comes just weeks after the Green Investment Bank (GIB) officially opened for business in Edinburgh. The GIB can lend £3bn of taxpayers’ money over the next three years. Its first investments included £8m for a plant in north-east England that will generate power from waste, and £5m to reduce energy consumption at manufacturing firm Kingspan.

Investment in Scotland’s renewable sector is on track to top £1bn this year according to trade body Scottish Renewables, while the Civil Engineering Contractors Association found the sector accounted for £1 in every £8 spent on infrastructure north of the Border in the past year.

Friday, 7 December 2012

The Amazing New Plastic Light Bulb


A new type of plastic light bulb developed in the US has been developed and is already promising better energy efficiency and a better quality of light.

Developed at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, researchers believe that their latest invention has enough benefits to replace current fluorescent bulbs. Created from three layers of light-emitting polymers, each of the bulbs’ layers contains nanomaterials that glow when charged with and electrical current.

Dubbed Field-Induced Polymer Electroluminescent technology – or Fipel, for short – Inventor Dr David Carroll says that his creation is a huge improvement over compact fluorescent bulbs that are often sold as ‘energy efficient’.

Green energy experts call for stronger consumer protection


Renewable energy experts H2ecO and YouGen, a national independent renewable energy website, are calling on the Government to ban ‘deal on the day’ consumer sales calls.

The call for increased protection comes following examples of pressurised selling practices taking place in people’s homes, and is also hot on the heels of the Office of Fair Trading saying that consumers have made a record 35,000 complaints about doorstep traders.

An open letter has been sent to Minister for Consumer Affairs Jo Swinson and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker asking them to amend statutory regulations with regard to sales tactics and practices in the home, with Annette Brooke, Lib Dem MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole giving the campaign her backing.

Whiter Than White: The New Plastic Light Bulb | Energy Live News


A new type of plastic light bulb developed in the US has been developed and is already promising better energy efficiency and a better quality of light.

Developed at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, researchers believe that their latest invention has enough benefits to replace current fluorescent bulbs. Created from three layers of light-emitting polymers, each of the bulbs’ layers contains nanomaterials that glow when charged with and electrical current.

Dubbed Field-Induced Polymer Electroluminescent technology – or Fipel, for short – Inventor Dr David Carroll says that his creation is a huge improvement over compact fluorescent bulbs that are often sold as ‘energy efficient’.

“Fluorescent bulbs have a bluish, harsh tint to them, “he told journalists at the reveal of his invention in the journal Organic Electronics, “it is not really accommodating to the human eye; people complain of headaches and the reason is the spectral content of that light doesn’t match the Sun – our device can match the solar spectrum perfectly. We are brighter than one of these curlicue bulbs and I can give you any tint to that white light that you want.”

Once dubbed as the future, Organic LEDs are also a distant second to Fipel bulbs, according to Dr Carroll, “OLEDs don’t last very long and they’re not very bright,” he said. “There’s a limit to how much brightness you can get out of them. If you run too much current through them they melt.”

Dr Carroll is most confident, however, in the efficiency of his new creation; “What we’ve found is a way of creating light rather than heat. Our devices contain no mercury, they contain no caustic chemicals and they don’t break as they are not made of glass.”

With a retail model pencilled for release in 2013, the Fipel bulb could have a huge knock-on effect in the worlds of both private and commercial electricity. With lighting accounting for around 19% of global power use, if the majority of light bulbs in use were switched with Fipel replacements, these low-energy bulbs would save the equivalent output of 600 power plants.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Whiter Than White: The New Plastic Light Bulb | Energy Live News


A new type of plastic light bulb developed in the US has been developed and is already promising better energy efficiency and a better quality of light.

Developed at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, researchers believe that their latest invention has enough benefits to replace current fluorescent bulbs. Created from three layers of light-emitting polymers, each of the bulbs’ layers contains nanomaterials that glow when charged with and electrical current.

What Does The Energy Bill Mean


After weeks of writing, speculating and – in some quarters – dreading, the UK government finally unveiled it’s long-awaited Energy Bill last week. The Energy Bill is to act as both a road map and rulebook for both private and commercial energy in the UK for the foreseeable future, tackling such weighted topics as decarbonisation, outsourcing, renewables and nuclear power, The Energy Bill was finally unveiled on Thursday.The overall reaction would seem to be a positive one, as Ed Davey – energy and climate change minister – seems to have manage an admirable balancing act between renewable and fossil fuels, short and long-term goals and keeping business in the UK, whilst ensuring fair charges are employed where possible.

SSE opens up cheapest energy tariff

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Retail shake-up to bring big benefits for businesses energy customers


Most significantly, Ofgem is proposing to increase the number of businesses able to benefit from existing safeguards aimed at ensuring energy suppliers are fair when dealing with small businesses.

These rules specify that, before entering into a contract with a business, the supplier must explain key terms and conditions, and make clear the contract is binding. When the contract is due for renewal, the supplier must contact the business at least 60 days prior to its termination with details of its new offer. It must give the business at least 30 days to let it know if it wants to sign up, or to switch supplier once the current deal ends.

Extending the rules will mean 150,000 more businesses will benefit.

£2bn of UK aid to help Third World go green


Each household will contribute £70 to schemes to tackle climate change in developing countries before March 2015, under plans championed by Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary.

Conservative MPs were furious last night at the scale of the bill, which was unveiled as George Osborne prepares to announce a series of tax rises and spending cuts in today’s Autumn Statement.

Lord Lawson of Blaby, a former Chancellor, also criticised the “appalling waste of money” at a time when household budgets are already squeezed.

Senior Conservatives were also dismayed at the timing of the announcement, but Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, hailed the cash as “fantastic news”.

Video - Supermarkets offered cash from ‘green energy pot’


Wind farms risk losing billions of pounds of subsidies under the Government’s Energy Bill, which was published yesterday.

Under the proposals, money from levies on household energy bills will instead go to heavy industry and large businesses to encourage them to cut their energy consumption.

The renewables industry was in shock over the Government’s apparent change of direction, warning that Britain would risk missing its green targets.

Ed Davey: Energy Bill will 'renew and expand' industry

UK public 'unaware' of #Green Deal, says report


As much as 96% of the UK’s population has not heard of or does not understand the Green Deal, the government’s flagship energy efficiency scheme that is due to launch early next year.

In a survey by electrical distribution company Rexel, 61% of UK adults said they had not heard of the Green Deal while 35% did not understand it.

This was in spite of three quarters of survey respondents saying they were concerned by rising energy bills and almost 70% saying they were interested in making energy efficiency improvements to their homes.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Crude oil and annual wholesale gas and power prices

Catalyst Energy Market Brief December 2012


Annual wholesale gas and power prices were affected by a number of conflicting factors in November. The net result was that prices remained stable across the month. Initially low carbon and oil prices were offset by a rise in coal prices and forecasts of a colder winter ahead. The annual power contract climbed 0.3% month-on-month to an average of £52/MWh. Annual power prices have climbed 10% since June and are now only 4% below 2011 levels. The annual gas contract was up 0.8% to a monthly average of 66.3p/th. The annual gas price has climbed 9% since the summer and is now 1% below year-ago levels.

Eurozone concerns caused oil prices to dip at the beginning of November. But by the end of the month prices had started to climb, driven by continued conflict in the Middle East. Month-ahead Brent crude oil dropped 3% to a monthly average of $109.1/bl.

Coal prices recovered slightly as demand picked up across the EU. The monthly average price of coal rose 0.3% to $96/t and reached an eight-month high of $103.5/t on 12 November. Even so, coal prices are still 16% below last year.

Read More -

British economy would be £20bn-a-year better off with focus on wind power, says think tank


Britain’s “dash-for-gas” strategy has been undermined just a day before chancellor George Osborne is set to place the fossil fuel at the heart of UK energy policy, as a new report finds the economy would be better off harnessing offshore wind instead.

The British economy would be £20bn-a-year better off by 2030 if it favoured offshore wind over gas-fired generation as the driver of an essential overhaul of the country’s energy infrastructure over the next two decades to replace aging power plants and keep the lights on, according to Cambridge Econometrics, the think tank.

Paul Elkins, professor of resources and environmental policy at University College London (UCL) said: “Much of the debate around the choice between gas-fired and offshore wind electricity generation in the years post-2020 assumes wind is more expensive. This study represents powerful evidence to the contrary.”

The report calculates that, as well as increasing Britain’s gross domestic product by 0.8 per cent by 2030, carbon emissions from the UK’s power sector would be two-thirds lower under the wind-based scenario, bringing country’s overall carbon footprint down by 13 per cent. This would make Britain far more likely to meet its ambitious, legally-binding target of reducing its overall emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.

The report envisages a rush into offshore wind between 2020 and 2030 that would triple the amount of energy it generates to 38 per cent of the UK’s electricity supply.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Why gas can’t solve the UK’s energy woes |


The role of natural gas is at the heart of the increasingly fractious debates about UK energy policy – whether it is the pros and cons of shale gas, the heated arguments over renewables policy, or the allegations of price manipulation in wholesale energy markets.

Gas supplies 30 per cent of the energy we use in the UK: to heat our homes, to power industry and to generate electricity. Within the low carbon transition that the UK needs to make, gas will continue to be important. It will be some time before the millions of households that rely on gas will be able to switch to electric or renewable heating. Gas also accounts for 40 per cent of UK electricity generation, and the shift to gas in this sector has delivered a large share of our emissions reductions to date.

UK gas trading probe could trigger new rules -


A probe into possible price manipulation in Britain's gas market, Europe's largest, could result in tighter regulation of energy trading, Angela Knight, chief executive of the EnergyUK lobby group, said on Friday.

"We need to see whether there is any more that needs to be done so there's the proper regulation in place to secure confidence in the market," said Knight, who moved to EnergyUK in September after heading the British Bankers' Association (BBA).

Centrica considering £500m share buyback


The plan, most likely to take the form of a share buyback, is understood to be one of a number of options that could follow withdrawal from a project to build new nuclear plants in the UK.

The British Gas owner will announce its full-year results at the end of February, which would be the most likely point for it to review its shareholder returns.

By then, it is due to have taken a decision on whether to utilise its 20pc option in the EDF-led consortium to build reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Centrica is widely expected to withdraw amid concerns over spiralling costs, with the plant estimated to cost £14bn, and doubts about the attractiveness of returns on the investment.

While it has a portfolio of investment options, including further expansion in US markets, investment in UK power generation appears uncertain. Centrica said after last week's Energy Bill that "investors require clarity and stability before committing capital and there remains much detailed work to be done in order to achieve this".

Analysts at Citigroup have calculated that from 2013 Centrica could spend £1bn on capital expenditure and £500m on acquisitions in the US or "upstream" oil and gas production assets annually while still having more than £500m "excess cashflow".