Movers and Shakers in Energy & Sustainability
Eric Wright Facilities Management has appointed Wayne Calland as Energy Manager.
Wayne, 44 from Bolton, has a proven track record in the energy industry and has worked for companies including E-fficient Energy Systems Ltd, Inenco and EDF Energy, specialising in bespoke energy management and carbon reduction strategies.
Working within EWFM’s professional and technical services team, Wayne will provide a variety of energy management services including cost management and utilities procurement, energy management and carbon reduction strategies to existing clients and new business prospects. Read more
Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) has appointed Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President and Head of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility (CR) to Ericsson’s Global Leadership team, effective May 7, 2014. In addition, Weidman-Grunewald will also assume the role as Head of Ericsson Response, which will become part of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility.
Richard Round, the former chief financial officer at Aquamarine Power, will take the helm at hydroelectric firm Green Highland Renewables. Round spent four years at Aquamarine, prior to which he was acting chief executive at Novera Energy. He has now been appointed as chief executive officer at the Perth-based hydro firm, which specialises in small-scale ventures.
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Following 10 years with the WWF, Lovegrove will join Kingfisher’s Net Positive team on 2nd June reporting to Group Sustainability Director, Richard Gillies, who joined from M&S in October 2013
In his new role, Lovegrove will be responsible for developing the group’s sustainability strategy and policy framework across all environmental and social issues.
Tasks include managing Kingfisher’s relationships with its cohort of external partners and advisors, and supporting Kingfisher’s international operating companies with their local sustainability strategies.
Commenting on the appointment, Gillies said: “I am delighted that Dax will be joining Kingfisher’s Net Positive team in June this year.
“His experience in corporate sustainability and green innovation will be crucial to Kingfisher as we look to progress our Net Positive ambitions on an international scale,” he added.
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Taiwan’s anti-nuclear activists have been protesting a nuclear facility under construction an hour outside Taipei since the 2011 meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. Like Japan, Taiwan is in the seismically active Pacific region known as the Ring of Fire, and activists fear a similar catastrophe in their backyard. The protests came to a head in late April, when thousands of demonstrators took over a main thoroughfare in Taipei and a 73-year-old activist (and former opposition party leader) waged a nine-day hunger strike. On April 27, President Ma Ying-jeou announced that work on the plant, the island’s fourth, would be halted until a nationwide referendum could be held regarding its completion.
Taiwan isn’t the only country dealing with post-Fukushima anti-nuclear sentiment. Germany, which once produced 30 percent of its energy at nuclear facilities, closed eight nuclear plants in 2011 and plans to phase out the remaining nine by 2022. French President Francois Hollande has also pledged to reduce his country’s dependence on nuclear energy from some 77 percent to 50 percent. But Taiwan’s ruling Kuomintang Party has been pushing the fourth reactor ahead since the 1980s over the protests of anti-nuclear activists, intellectuals, and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party. In 2000, the Kuomintang even launched an effort to recall DPP President Chen Shui-bian after he promised that his government would cease work on it. (The Kuomintang held a legislative majority at the time.)
If the referendum succeeds, Taiwan—which gets 18 percent of its electricity from nuclear sources—seems likely to follow Germany’s path to a nuclear-free future. The island’s three existing facilities are already scheduled to be decommissioned between 2018 and 2025. The abandonment of the project would surely cheer the activists, but it’s likely to have a negative effect on the economy. As Credit Suisse economist Christiaan Tuntono points out in a recent note entitled “Denuclearization in Taiwan: To Be or Not To Be?”, that would negatively effect the state’s trade balance, currency, debt, inflation, and economic growth.
The problems would start at the troubled wholly government-owned Taiwan Power Company, which has accumulated losses of TWD 207 billion ($7 billion). The Taiwanese government enforces strict electricity price controls, but the utility has to contend with price variations in the imported nuclear fuel, coal, liquefied natural gas, and oil that it relies on to produce 98 percent of its power. Although Taiwan has slashed electricity subsidies over the last two years, Tuntono says, it still loses money on every kilowatt-hour of electricity it produces.
TPC has already spent TWD 330 billion ($11 billion) building the fourth nuclear plant – one of the reactors is already finished – and it would have to write off the asset completely if the project were cancelled. Tuntono calculates that the government could be forced to inject up to TWD 540 billion ($18 billion), or 3.7 percent of GDP, simply to keep the utility solvent. The government would likely have to float bonds to cover the expenditure, which is equivalent to one-fifth of annual government spending. That would increase the general government debt 3.7 percentage points to 46.1 percent of GDP, bringing the total public debt at all levels of government very close to the statutory limit of 50 percent.
The fiscal bind would tighten further come 2018, when the first of the three existing nuclear reactors is scheduled to go dark. Producing energy from fossil fuels is nearly three times more expensive than using nuclear power, leaving Taiwan Power and the Taiwanese government with two choices: Absorb the increased costs or pass them on to consumers. In the latter scenario, electricity prices would rise 10 to 15 percent each time a plant went offline – in 2018, 2021 and 2025, Credit Suisse Taiwan equity strategists Chung Hsu and Michelle Chou wrote in a late April research note. Tuntono estimates these higher electricity prices would ultimately boost consumer price inflation, which now stands at 1.61 percent, by 0.7 percentage points.
Higher power prices would also hurt corporate earnings. Steel manufacturers would be among the hardest-hit, with an earnings hit of as much as 5 percent for each 10 percent increase in electricity prices. Finally, buying fossil fuels to cover Taiwan’s energy needs would increase total imports by $4.8 billion, or 27 percent, thereby slashing the island’s $57 billion current account surplus by 8.3 percent. That, in turn, would put pressure on the Taiwanese dollar.
A temporary halt in construction of the plant is a prudent move for a government trying to “fend off immediate political pressure while keeping the nuclear power option open for Taiwan,” say Hsu and Chou. But the current Kuomintang government is walking a tightrope. Ma’s approval rating is a dismal 13 percent, and the anti-nuclear demonstrations have attracted large crowds. On the other hand, following in Germany’s denuclearized footsteps would have meaningful economic consequences that the general public may not entirely understand. An April 29 opinion poll showed that 58.7 percent of Taiwanese surveyed favored abandoning the plant completely, while another 27.2 percent said they wanted to halt it temporarily. At the same time, however, 50.3 percent of respondents said they weren’t prepared to deal with the electricity price hikes scrapping the plant would entail. But they can’t have it both ways.
Above: Antinuclear protesters march in Taipei. Photo by Kyodo via AP Images
A record number of entries have been shortlisted for the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence, reflecting the very high standard of submissions this year. The awards, which celebrate the very best in planning, will be hotly contested with 63 projects, consultancies and Local Authority teams competing across ten categories.
Cath Ranson, President of the RTPI, said: “I would like to congratulate all of our shortlisted candidates and thank all those who entered the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence. In this the RTPI’s centenary year I am delighted we are able to celebrate the contribution that planners and planning make to society, to the economy and to the environment, and highlight through these awards truly exceptional examples of planning. It is wonderful to see that there is a pride and confidence in the profession and its achievements which continue to bring forward these high quality and diverse submissions.”
Projects on the shortlist have been recognised for their national contribution to planning and demonstrate how significant schemes can be delivered speedily through the planning and other consents systems. The RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence comprises two parts, awards for projects and awards for people.
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As the importance of sustainability grows, a poll conducted by BSI, the business standards company, has found that 44% of sustainability experts believe that until energy management impacts the bottom line it will not advance to the top of the corporate agenda.
The poll carried out at Sustainability Live, investigated what businesses are doing to manage their energy consumption in an uncertain energy market. It found the biggest concern for many organizations in regard to energy was rising costs (77%), followed by the increased risk of blackouts (12%), and risk of reputational damage (12%).
Effective cost management is important to every business, but interestingly many organizations are still grappling with how to progress energy management programmes with top management. With 37% citing the lack of awareness by senior management on the merits of an energy management system and the initial costs of implementing an energy management system (32%) as their key challenges.
”We know organizations are looking at three areas of savings to improve their bottom line – water, energy and waste. By embedding energy management into all aspects of business you will be able to establish, monitor and spot anomalies in your energy consumption, helping to predict future consumption and improve waste management,” said Mark Gouldstone, Sustainability Management Expert at BSI
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