Ford to investment £140 mln in Uk EV plants to boost output

( via — Thur, 1st Dec 2022) London, UK —

Ford Motor Co (F.N) will invest an extra 149 million pounds ($180 million) to boost output of electric vehicle (EV) power units by 70% at its engine factory in northern England as the U.S. carmaker accelerates its push to go electric.

Electric drive unit production capacity at the Halewood plant will increase to 420,000 units a year, from 250,000 units, starting in 2024, the Detroit-based carmaker said on Thursday.


The move will bring Ford's total investment in the combustion engine factory's transition to production of EV parts to 380 million pounds.

“This is a very significant and important part of scaling up for our transformation,” said Tim Slatter, head of Ford in Britain. “This is a really big deal for Ford’s business in Europe.”

The EV power unit, which consists of an electric motor and gearbox, replaces the engine and transmission of a fossil-fuel vehicle.

Ford has committed to selling only fully electric cars in Europe by 2030 and only electric commercial vans by 2035. That puts it ahead of the European Union's plans to effectively ban the sale of new fossil-fuel passenger cars by 2035.

Slatter said Ford plans to have nine fully electric models on sale in Europe by 2024, with Halewood supplying power units to assembly plants in Romania and Turkey for five high-volume models, including an electric version of the popular Puma SUV.

Halewood is expected to supply 70% of the 600,000 EVs the company aims to sell in Europe annually by 2026, Ford said.

The latest Ford investment includes 125 million pounds in the plant itself and 24 million pounds in the development and testing of new EV parts for production at Halewood.


Ford said the investment will safeguard more than 500 jobs.

The UK government contributed to the initial EV power unit investment at Halewood, which was announced by Ford last year.

By Nick Carey

Sizewell C nuclear plant confirmed by UK government with £700m public stake

( via – – Tue, 29th Nov 2022) London, Uk – –

EDF’s Suffolk plant will create 10,000 highly skilled jobs and help secure UK energy security, ministers say

The government has confirmed the Sizewell C nuclear power plant in Suffolk will go ahead, backing the scheme with a £700m stake.

Ministers said the move, first announced in Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement, would create 10,000 highly skilled jobs, provide reliable low-carbon power to the equivalent of 6m homes for more than 50 years and would help secure UK energy security.


The government also said it would set up an arm’s-length body, Great British Nuclear, which would develop a pipeline of nuclear projects beyond Sizewell C.

The plant in Suffolk, developed by the French energy company EDF, will be the second of a new generation of UK nuclear power reactors, after the delayed Hinkley Point C scheme in Somerset, which is under construction but has experienced delays and climbing costs since it was first given the go-ahead.

The EDF chief executive, Simone Rossi, said replicating Hinkley Point C’s design at Sizewell would provide more certainty over schedule and costs, adding: “It will deliver another big boost to jobs and skills in the nuclear industry and provide huge new opportunities for communities in Suffolk.”

However, opponents of the scheme criticised the approval decision on cost and environmental grounds. The Greenpeace UK policy director, Doug Parr, said: “The launch of Great British Nuclear is clearly ironic as new nuclear is neither great nor British. Projects have been plagued by massive delays and ballooning costs while the government is seeking to have Sizewell C – a French-designed and built reactor – funded by foreign investment funds.

“It’s hard to work out what drives the government’s enthusiasm for new nuclear. It‘s not cheap, or clean, or necessary as there are better, quicker and less expensive options to deliver electricity. Not to mention that technology is steadily becoming available to cover the periods when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. On top of all that, there’s no value-for-money assessment available for Sizewell C so UK taxpayers are essentially buying it sight unseen.”

A spokesperson for the Stop Sizewell C campaign said: “Sizewell C can neither lower energy bills nor give the UK energy independence. Despite the government’s paltry £700m, there is still a huge amount of money to find, and no one is prepared to come clean about what the ultimate cost will be.”

The Sizewell announcement comes after ministers also set out plans to reduce energy demand by 15% by 2030, with a new £1bn Eco+ energy efficiency scheme, and a public awareness campaign – previously blocked under Liz Truss’s administration as being too “nanny state” – to help save energy this winter.

It also comes as Rishi Sunak is facing pressure, including from some Tory MPs, to U-turn on plans to keep the ban on onshore windfarms in England – one of the cheapest forms of energy.

The business and energy secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “We need more clean, affordable power generated within our borders … today’s historic deal giving government backing to Sizewell C’s development is crucial to this, moving us towards greater energy independence.”

The Nuclear Industry Association chief executive, Tom Greatrex, hailed the announcement as “a defining moment for UK energy security”. He said: “Sizewell C will be one of the UK’s most important green energy projects ever, cutting fossil fuels, providing clean, affordable power for a very long time, and creating thousands of highly skilled jobs.


“This investment, alongside the support for Great British Nuclear and the energy security bill, shows the government is serious about building new nuclear capacity alongside renewables and paves the way for the development of a pipeline of new nuclear projects, including small modular reactors, to strengthen energy independence.”

The chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, said: “Today’s investment in Sizewell C represents the biggest step on our journey to energy independence – the first state backing for a nuclear project in over 30 years.

“Once complete, this mega project will power millions of homes with clean, affordable, homegrown energy for decades to come.

By Guardian staff and agency

Co-op supermarket to trial reduced lighting in stores

( via – – Wed, 12th Oct 2022) London, Uk – –

Co-op is trialling reduced lighting in stores as a way of saving money as energy bills continue to soar.

The supermarket is rolling out dimmer lighting in around 500 of its 2,500 convenience stores across the UK.

It is understood the cost saving measures could reduce electricity bills by up to £4,000 a year for a single store.

It follows supermarket chains such as Sainsbury's and Morrisons making similar moves.



Co-op could potentially cut its energy bills by as much as £10m if similar savings were made across all of its stores.

A spokesman for the company said it was trialling the initiative to reduce its environmental impact and help cut costs in the long run.

The company is reviewing how it can become a “more energy efficient business, without compromising safety and still achieving a positive store environment and shopping experience” for customers, the spokesman said.

Co-op is not the first retailer to cut back on the use of lighting in stores.

Sainsbury's lowers lighting when it is bright outside or during less busy hours.

This is part of its long-running environmental plans to save energy and meet its goal of being net zero in its operations by 2035.

Last year, it finished the roll out of LED lighting right across its supermarkets to cut energy consumption.

It also uses a system that automatically monitors and controls lighting in stores to ensure that its sites are only lit when required.

Morrisons also dims the lights for the first and last hour of trade in most of its stores, as well as its “quiet hour” on a Saturday. The supermarket has done this since the coronavirus pandemic and it helps to reduce its energy bill.

Costs jump

The UK faces “a significant risk” of gas shortages this winter, industry regulator Ofgem said last week, which could have an effect on electricity supplies.

Energy costs, which were already rising, have soared as the conflict in Ukraine reduces the availability of Russian gas.

Prices have also risen because demand for energy has rocketed since Covid restrictions ended.



The National Grid has also announced it will launch a scheme from 1 November which incentivises businesses and households to reduce their electricity use at key times to help reduce pressure on the energy supply this winter.

The company said larger businesses will be paid for reducing demand, for example by shifting their times of energy use or switching to batteries or generators in peak times.

Britain at ‘significant risk’ of gas shortages this winter, says regulator

( via — Tue, 4th Oct, 2022) London, UK —

 UK faces a “significant risk” of gas shortages this winter and a possible emergency due to the conflict in Ukraine and limited supplies in Europe, the energy regulator has said.

Although Russia only meets about 4% of Britain's gas needs, a disruption in supply to Europe has contributed to driving up British prices and makes it harder for Britain to secure gas from others.

In a letter to power company SSE (SSE.L), regulator Ofgem said Britain faced the possibility of a “gas supply emergency” in which gas supplies to some gas-fired power plants are curtailed, which can stop them from generating electricity.


Responding to the publication of the letter, Ofgem said in an email: “This winter is likely to be more challenging than previous ones due to the Russian disruption of gas supplies to Europe.”

In the event of gas supply issues the regulator and Britain's National Grid could be forced to curb supply of gas to gas-fired power stations to make sure enough supply remains available to households.

“We need to be prepared for all scenarios this winter,” Ofgem said in the email.

“As a result, Ofgem is putting in place sensible contingency measures with National Grid ESO (Electricity System Operator) and GSO (Gas System Operator) as well as the government to ensure that the UK energy system is fully prepared for this winter,” Ofgem said.

SSE had contacted Ofgem for clarity over imbalance charges which could see power generators forced to pay for failing to produce promised electricity, if emergency measures meant they did not get the gas they needed.


Gas-fired power plants were responsible for more than 40% of Britain's electricity production last year while the fossil fuel is also used to heat around 80% of British homes.

Britain's National Grid (NG.L) said in July there could be periods where electricity supply is tight this winter, given uncertainty over supplies of Russian gas to Europe, but that it expects to be able to meet demand.

National Grid is expected to announce its winter outlook on Thursday.

Reporting by Susanna Twidale and Sachin Ravikuma


Oil and gas companies’ green initiatives fall short of the hype, according to -Study

( via – – Thur, 8th Sept 2022) London, Uk – –

BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and TotalEnergies spend $750m a year burnishing climate credentials but only 12% of capital on low-carbon development

Big oil and gas companies are spending tens of millions publicising their environmental work, while only about a 10th of their investment goes into low-carbon development, a report claims.

A comprehensive study of public communications from five oil and gas firms by InfluenceMap, a climate finance thinktank, found that 60% of the publicity made at least one claim highlighting the companies’ positive climate actions. But on average, the five companies devoted only 12% of capital expenditure to low-carbon activities – and this included some gas projects.

Less than a quarter of the publicity material highlighted the companies’ fossil fuel activities, InfluenceMap said, which suggested that the companies were spending about $750m a year on communications aimed at burnishing their climate credentials.


Researchers looked at 3,421 public communications materials published by BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and TotalEnergies in 2021, including articles and blogposts on corporate websites, press releases, reports, speeches and company and CEO social media accounts.

The researchers did not look at adverts as it was not possible for them to obtain a full data set of any company’s global advertising

They found that 60% of the publicity meterial made at least one green claim, with the most popular being centred on efforts to “transition the energy mix”. However, analysis of the capital expenditure of the five companies found that all were forecast to increase their oil and gas production, with the exception of BP, which was expected to have similar levels in 2026 as in 2021.

“Essentially, we found that big oil is spending millions of dollars on this green PR, and it is a really systematic campaign to portray themselves as pro-climate,” said Faye Holder, program manager at InfluenceMap. “But at the same time, they are still lobbying to lock in fossil fuels and investing in a really unsustainable energy future with high levels of oil and gas, and very low spend on low-carbon activities.”

None of the “About us” pages on the firms’ websites described them as oil and gas companies, Holder said. “The best instance, in my mind, was BP – on their ‘Who we are’ page, they only mention the word ‘oil’ twice. And it’s at the bottom of the page, under a section called ‘Our history’, where they describe how they have always been a transitioning energy company, from coal to oil to gas to this lower-carbon future.

“So it’s really clear they want to dissociate themselves from oil and gas, and attach themselves to this climate agenda.”

Shell made the most green claims, with 70% of public communications stressing pro-environmental activities, while just 10% of capital expenditure was invested in low carbon, which included some gas projects, according to InfluenceMap’s report. ExxonMobil made green claims in 70% of its communications, while devoting 8% of capital expenditure to low carbon. For TotalEnergies, 62% of communications made green claims, with 25% of capital investment going towards low carbon.

Shell contested the findings, saying InfluenceMap had failed to take into account low-carbon businesses included in its marketing division, including EV charging and low-carbon fuels, and a joint venture in Brazil that is a world-leading bioethanol producer. The company has previously said more than 35% of capital expenditure in 2022 would go towards low-carbon energy, as well as “non-energy products”.

“We are already investing billions of dollars in lower-carbon energy,” a spokesperson said. “To help alter the mix of energy Shell sells, we need to grow these new businesses rapidly. That means letting our customers know through advertising or social media what lower-carbon solutions we offer now or are developing, so they can switch when the time is right for them.


“The world will still need oil and gas for many years to come. Investment in them will ensure we can supply the energy people will still have to rely on, while lower-carbon alternatives are scaled up.”

A spokesperson for ExxonMobil said: “ExxonMobil continues to mitigate emissions from its operations and achieved its 2025 emission-reduction plans four years earlier than planned.

“This progress supports the company’s more aggressive 2030 emission-reduction plans and its ambition to achieve net zero scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions from operated assets by 2050. ExxonMobil is investing more than $15bn between now and 2027 on lower-emission initiatives, and we anticipate a tripling of investment by 2025.”

TotalEnergies, Chevron and BP did not respond to requests for comment.

By Damien Gayle