National Grid response to Labour proposals for state ownership

15 May 2019

“National Grid is one of the most reliable networks in the world, we are also at the heart of the decarbonisation agenda.  Only a few days ago we broke the record for the longest period of time the country has gone without coal generation.

“We deliver reliability, investment and innovation for just 3% of the average energy bill.

“These proposals for state-ownership of the energy networks would only serve to delay the huge amount of progress and investment that is already helping to make this country a leader in the move to green energy.

“At a time when there is increased urgency to meet the challenges of climate change the last thing that is needed is the enormous distraction, cost and complexity contained in these plans.”

Europe’s largest LNG importation terminal to offer ~8 mpta of cost competitive capacity to the market

08 May 2019

Grain LNG importation terminal has announced that up to 350 GWh/d (8.3 mtpa) of redelivery capacity, 390,000 m3 of associated storage and over 100 berthing slots could be made available at the Grain LNG terminal in 2025.

The capacity on offer is a combination of new build and existing capacity which comes out of contract in 2025.  The expansion will increase the size of the Grain terminal, located on the Isle of Grain in Kent, to approximately 1.2 million cubic metres. 

Nicola Duffin, Commercial Manager for Grain LNG, said:

“Grain already has the largest storage tanks in Europe, which offer our customers the flexibility to store their LNG and optimise send out in response to market prices.  With the expansion of Grain we will further optimise our existing assets, which means we’ll be able to be more competitive than typical new build capacity.

“We’re also ideally located in the South East of the UK, so tariffs to NBP are very favourable. Our customers benefit from the short haul tariff to the IUK and BBL interconnectors, allowing them to easily move gas to other European price hubs such as TTF.  We have two entry points to the NBP, a high-pressure entry point and a low- pressure entry point that offers our customers further savings on entry costs and a much lower minimum send out requirement compared to competitors.”

Grain could also benefit from proposed changes to the gas specification rules in the UK, which would significantly reduce variable costs for LNG shippers.  The UK’s Wobbe Limits currently require some sources of LNG to be blended with nitrogen to meet UK gas specifications.  Plans are underway to increase these limits, which could come into force by April 2020 as part of the Gas Safety Management Regulations (GSMR). Proposals call for the Wobbe Limit to be changed to 52.85 MJ/m3 – a limit that would allow all but rich LNG to enter the grid without blending. 

Nicola added: “LNG would be subject to lower processing and variable costs. Lower costs will make the UK a more attractive destination for LNG, which ultimately benefits UK energy consumers.”

The Grain terminal is the only terminal in the UK offering small-scale solutions to the market. Additional services available at Grain include reloads, transshipments and a multi-bay facility for reloading road tankers, and ISO containers. A marine breakbulk facility is planned for 2021/22.

UK terminals have seen a considerable increase in utilisation this winter as new global supplies have come online and the economics of moving LNG from the Atlantic to the Pacific basin have failed to stack up. 

St Helen’s gasholder to be dismantled

11 Apr 2019

National Grid is starting work to dismantle an unused gasholder on its Navigation Road site in St Helen’s.

The site will be cleared as part of National Grid’s on-going nationwide gasholder dismantling programme. Gasholders are no longer required due to investments made to improve the national network, meaning gas can be stored in the pipe system underground. Work is expected to be complete by the autumn.

The Coleman Group, specialist contractors appointed by National Grid, will first remove and treat any water from the gasholder, before removing the sludge and any other debris from inside. The holder will then be dismantled.

When removing the sludge, an unpleasant smell, similar to diesel, is sometimes noticed. This smell is not harmful to people who live in the surrounding community or the environment. National Grid will do everything they can to make sure it does not become an issue, including using odour suppressants.  National Grid’s gas safety guidance remains unchanged by the work. If anyone thinks they can smell gas they should contact the freephone gas emergency number 0800 111 999.  All reports will be investigated by gas engineers to check if there is a gas escape.

The site will remain securely fenced at all times with full CCTV coverage. The work will be strictly controlled to minimise any potential disturbance for people who live and work close by.

Hannah White, Land Regeneration Manager for National Grid, said: “We will remove the gasholder as safely, quickly and efficiently as possible to minimise the impact on the local community and the environment.

“We have written to people who live and work in the local area to explain what we will be doing. If anyone has any questions about the project they can contact our community relations team on 0800 8199 071.”

Work paused on New Forest pylon project

29 Mar 2019

Despite strong support, National Grid has decided to pause work on its landscape enhancement project to remove eightpylons from Hale Purlieu in the New Forest National Park following advice from legal experts, the regulator and its independent Stakeholder Advisory Group.

The work is part of National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project, which makes use of £500m provision from Ofgem as part of the current price control period to reduce the landscape and visual impact of existing overhead transmission lines in nationally important landscapes in England and Wales.

The decision has been made due to emerging complexities surrounding the European regulations designed to protect the natural habitats of protected species. While these regulations are designed to prevent the permanent loss of habitats, and not stop short-term work that we believe could have provided a net gain to the environment in which we were working, it is evident that the legal position is complex and, importantly, untested for a project of this nature. It is therefore unlikely that a planning application for this project would receive approval before the funding deadline. 

David Wright, Director, Electricity Transmission, at National Grid, said: “This project would remove eight electricity pylons while enhancing a nationally important landscape, and potentially improving and extending the important habitats in this beautiful part of the New Forest National Park. It has been developed over three years with the close collaboration and support of many local people and national environmental bodies. Our extensive community and stakeholder engagement throughout has shown strong support for these plans.

“However, the current round of funding is only available for a limited time, and due to what we believe is an unintended consequence of the regulations it has become clear that we will not be able to complete this in time.

“We would like to thank everyone for their engagement and involvement to date and sincerely hope that it will be possible to return at some future date when the legal position has been resolved.”

The decision was made in consultation with National Grid’s independent Stakeholder Advisory Group, which comprises representatives from national organisations with an interest in enhancing landscapes and environments throughout England and Wales.

The Group’s Chairman and leading environmentalist, Chris Baines, said:

“After three years of extremely intense work, it is disappointing to have to recommend pausing this project.

“There has been terrific support from many local people and environmental professionals, and I remain convinced of the long-term landscape and environmental benefits of this scheme. I do believe that it remains possible in the longer term to deliver exceptional visual improvement whilst at the same time enhancing the wildlife habitat at Hale Purlieu.

“However, there is a need to build confidence in the legal process before the project can move forward again.”

National Grid will continue to progress its other VIP projects to replace pylons with underground alternatives in the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Peak District and Snowdonia National Parks.  Early works on the construction of the fully-consented Dorset project to remove 22 pylons near the villages of Winterbourne Abbas and Martinstown began earlier this year.

ENDS

National Grid starts work on dismantling Manchester gas holders

20 Mar 2019

National Grid is starting work to dismantle two unused gasholders and storage tanks on its Common Lane site in Partington.

The site will be cleared as part of National Grid’s on-going nationwide gasholder dismantling programme. Gasholders are no longer required due to investments made to improve the national network, meaning gas can be stored in the pipe system or underground. Work is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Erith, specialist contractors appointed by National Grid, will first remove and treat any water from the gasholders, before removing the sludge and any other debris from the base. The holders will then be dismantled.

When removing the sludge, an unpleasant smell, similar to diesel, can occur. This smell is not harmful to people who live in the surrounding community or the environment. National Grid will do everything they can to make sure it does not become an issue, including using odour suppressants.  National Grid’s gas safety guidance remains unchanged by the work. If people do think they can smell gas they should contact the freephone gas emergency number 0800 111 999.  All reports will be investigated by gas engineers to establish if they are related to the gasholder dismantling work or are genuine gas escapes.

The site will remain securely fenced at all times with full CCTV coverage. The work will be strictly controlled to minimise any potential disturbance for people who live and work close by.

Chris Taylor, Land Regeneration Manager for National Grid, said: “We will remove the gasholders as safely, quickly and efficiently as possible to minimise the impact on local people and the environment.

“We have written to people who live and work in the local community to explain what we will be doing. If anyone has any questions about the project they can contact our community relations team on 0800 8199 071.”