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Corus steelworks cuts carbon emissions

Corus unveiled a £60m energy saving project at its Port Talbot site in South Wales on Wednesday which has cut its carbon emissions by 240,000 tonnes per year.

The company, which has been owned by India's Tata Steel since 2007, produces 5 million tonnes of steel a year at Port Talbot and employs 3,500 people.

The investment was made at the site's basic oxygen steel-making process which converts molten iron into steel. Corus has fitted new gas recovery equipment which catches and stores carbon monoxide gas for use as a fuel elsewhere on site. Previously the gas was flared, wasting energy and releasing carbon dioxide.

The recovered gas is used in the power plant to generate 10% of the site's electricity needs. This allows higher-energy gas from the coke ovens to be used more effectively in the steel strip mill, reducing natural gas consumption at the mill by 60%.

The energy saving means the investment will pay back in just two years.

Gas recovery will reduce Port Talbot's annual carbon emissions by 3% and Tata Steel Europe's emissions by 1%. It will also reduce the site's emissions of particulate matter by 40 tonnes per year, improving air quality.

Paul Brooks, Corus's group environment manager, said although gas recovery is widely used on newer steelworks, retrofitting it to an existing plant was a unique and challenging undertaking that involved re-engineering the site's energy system, a task that had previously been considered too difficult and too expensive.

Tata Steel Europe's chief executive Kirby Adams said the project was the biggest investment in the UK Steel industry since Tata acquired Corus and part of the company's commitment to steelmaking in Wales.

Further information

Coalition agreement heralds shake-up in environmental policy

The new Lib Dem-Conservative government has agreed to make radical changes to policy on air transport and energy generation. But it will support a new generation of nuclear power stations, provided they require no public subsidy.

Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne, formerly home affairs spokesman, has taken control at the department of energy and climate change (DECC). He had opposed a new generation of nuclear power stations. Today he told the BBC the coalition had agreed the Lib Dems would abstain when parliament voted on the new National Policy Statement on nuclear power.

Caroline Spelman, a Tory, has been appointed Secretary of State for the Environment. She has many years' experience holding jobs connected with agriculture and is director of a food and biotechnology consultancy.

Ex-Conservative party chairman Eric Pickles will lead the communities department (DCLG), which he has shadowed, while Philip Hammond is transport secretary.

Few junior ministers have yet been announced.

A full document on the agreement between the two parties will be published in due course. But a brief summary of policy includes:

  • A third runway at London's Heathrow airport has been scrapped. Any expansion at Gatwick and Stansted will also be refused. A per-flight, rather than per-passenger, duty will be introduced on airlines.
  • Plans for a high-speed rail network have been brought forward.
  • Import and possession of illegally-logged timber will be criminalised.
  • A cap on carbon emissions from new power stations will be set, forcing coal-fired plant to fit sufficient carbon capture and storage to meet the standard. This would be permitted under draft EU legislation on industrial emissions (ENDS Report Bulletin 6 May 2010).
  • A floor price for carbon emissions trading allowances is promised, alongside an undertaking to seek full auctioning across the EU.

A "huge increase" in anaerobic digestion is promised, plus a boost to renewable generation and the roll-out of a smart grid and smart metering. A vague pledge of the "full establishment" of feed-in tariffs is part of the agreement.

Further information

·         10 Downing Street press conference

·         Cabinet posts

·         Coalition agreement between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats

·         Friends of the Earth press release

Internship Opportunity

We are offering an internship position to a highly motivated undergraduate or graduate.  The role will be primarily focused with the development, marketing and take up of Marches Energy Agency's online carbon management tool WeSave ( 

What does WeSave do?

" supplies users with the tools to perform their own energy audit through the interactive website, accompanied by its help screens and guide book.  This process gives ownership to their own carbon descent, increasing their involvement in the process and resulting in large impacts on your carbon descent. then continues to interact with the user, showing them how their energy consumption decreases over time and assisting with any future changes."

What does the internship role involve?

The tasks will involve:

  • The study of the current use of WeSave
  • Making case studies of positive examples in WeSave's use
  • The preparation of promotional materials for WeSave
  • The active involvement in the marketing of WeSave
  • Acting as an assistant in the preparation and delivery of training sessions in the use of WeSave.
  • General admin support

Gains for the successful applicant

The successful applicant will:

  • Gain valuable experience working for one of the country's leading sustainable energy and climate change social enterprises
  • Learn the ability to perform energy audits using WeSave
  • Develop the ability to teach others how to use the tool

What we are looking for

The successful applicant should be able to show:

  • Enthusiasm to combat climate change and their own part in making the world a better place.
  • The ability to act under their own initiative when required
  • A high level of adaptability, with the willingness to look up answers by themselves when required

The position will be for 3-5 days a week for 3 months (exact details to be agreed between the successful applicant and Marches Energy Agency).  The position is unpaid although all reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed.

Please express your interest along with your CV to .

Carbon Footprinting and Energy Bike in Buxton

Working with Transition Buxton we gave out 358 low energy lightbulbs to almost as many people in Buxton Town centre on Saturday 8th May.
Despite a chilly wind lots of people stopped to try out our Energy Bike which offers the chance to try to power both a low energy lightbulb and a traditional incandescent bulb using a push bike! Children and teenagers were especially keen to have a go.
A handful of people also worked out their carbon footprint using our paper tool (download it here) and received advice on how to lower their energy usage and save money at the same time. Their footprints varied from approx. 4.5 tonnes to just over 10 (compared to a national average of around nine tonnes – so not bad!)

Training - Save money and carbon in your community building

Funding has been secured from the Regional Improvement & Efficiency Partnership by Rural Community Action Nottinghamshire, and Marches Energy Agency to provide Carbon Management training
FREE OF CHARGE to 3rd Sector organisations.
The project is called CO2 Partnership Engagement (COPE). As part of this, training will be provided to organisations in two separate blocks, and will include:
·        Energy efficiency, leading to detailed understanding of energy consumption
·        Organisational and staff engagement
·        Carbon foot-printing of your organisation using an online Web-based tool, followed by carbon reduction action planning
·        Best practice and knowledge sharing, and mutual support
We will show you how to produce a report on your building(s), including the detailing of energy and cost savings from renovations (helping to attract funding). We will also provide email and telephone support and free energy monitors.
The first training session will be at 10am on Wednesday 19th May at the Newstead Centre, Nottingham. Please give me a ring or email me as below to reserve your place or for further information as soon as possible, or if you just want to have a chat about Carbon Management.
Phil Wilson
Partnership Engagement Officer, Rural Community Action Nottinghamshire (RCAN)
Tel: 01623 727600