WRTL Exterior Lighting was called on to provide floodlighting for a series of dangerous canal locks as part of British Waterways ongoing restoration of the Caledonian Canal.

The series of locks, called Neptune’s Staircase, had become a public hazard. Should anyone have fallen in when the canal were unlit, they would not have been able to see the nearby safety ladders. Safety work therefore demanded the installation of floodlighting on the canal to illuminate the canal’s walls under aggressive environmental conditions.

The area lighting engineer at the Highland Council, Marshall Gillespie, said:

“WRTL’s floodlighting was an unobtrusive fitting, which could easily be attached in a difficult location on the walkway structure and, using 70W HQI lamps, WRTL’s scheme met the demanding light technical performance.

“Good environmental protection to IP66 means that the lantern will withstand the very wet conditions.”

Close to Fort William, Neptune’s Staircase comprises eight locks raising the level by 19 metres in under half a mile between Caol and Banavie. It features one of the highest non-mechanical lifts in Britain.

The IEE was named Best Supporting Company/Individual at the 2004 Annual Celebration of Engineering Awards, held last week at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich.

The awards – this year’s being the first with a combined sponsorship of Young Engineers for Britain and YEDA (Youth, Electronics, Design, Applications) – recognise supportive organisations and honour enterprising young engineers.

Sir Robin Saxby, an IEE trustee, accepted the award. Dorrie Giles, director of qualifications for the IEE, said: “Engineering is one of the cornerstones of the nation’s future economic prosperity and it is therefore critical that we continue to highlight the achievements of the next generation of outstanding British engineers.”

Over £50,000 worth of prizes was on offer at the awards. The two top prizes of Young Engineer for Britain 2004 and the Duke of York’s Award for the most creative use of electronics technology were both won by Alexander Warren of John Hampden Grammar School, High Wycombe for his Fire Fighter Helmet Range Finding Sensor.

The secretary of state for trade and industry, Patricia Hewitt, this week announced an extra £50m is to be invested in the development of wave and tidal power technologies.

The new Marine Research Development Fund is hoped to speed up the commercial deployment of tidal power so the UK is less reliant on wind power to meet its target of producing 10% of electricity from renewable sources by 2010.

Announcing the fund, Hewitt said: "The UK's wave and tidal flows are the greatest in Europe and I want to ensure we harness these immense natural resources to generate power for the UK.

"Renewable energy, through wind, wave and other sources, plays a vital part in our fight against climate change, and we are committed to further developing renewable energy to play an increasing role in the UK's energy mix. Today's announcement reflects that vision and puts us firmly on the path to becoming the world leader in renewable energy."

Gambica's Controlgear Technical Committee has published guidelines on the application of the new European harmonised installation cable core colours and how they relate to industrial control products. It recommends that equipment live conductors should all be coloured black or be the same as the installation cable core colours, unless the product standard states otherwise. It also strongly recommends that colours should not be relied on for identification of conductors.

The guidelines are available on the Gambica website: www.gambica.org.uk/publ/.

Government figures show targets for doubling the capacity of combined heat and power schemes are unachievable. The New Electricity Trading Act brought in to prevent the big generators artificially boosting electricity prices has also stopped the development of CHP schemes. Many proposed schemes have been cancelled and the latest DTI figures show that last year 35 CHP plants were closed.
Climate change targets require the current CHP installed capacity of 5,000MW to be doubled by 2010. Doubling CHP capacity would reduce carbon emissions by 7m tonnes per year;

American Electric Power sold two UK coal-fired power plants and related commodities contracts to Scottish and Southern Energy for $456m (£251m) on Friday. With more than three million electricity customers and one-and-a-half million gas customers in England, Scotland and Wales, Scottish and Southern is one of the UK’s largest energy suppliers.

The transaction comprised Fiddler’s Ferry – a four-unit, 2,000MW station on the River Mersey; Ferrybridge – a four unit, 2,000MW station on the River Aire; and commodity contracts, which include electricity sales contracts, coal purchase and sales contracts and freight contracts.

A sum of $248m (£137m) was agreed for the generating units and related stocks and $208m (£114m) for the commodities contracts. Proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce debt and improve AEP’s balance sheet.

AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer Michael Morris said: “We’re pleased at the value we received for these plants in a very difficult UK energy marketplace. This sale removes operations that have been a drain on earnings and resources.

“We still have some smaller assets on the market, including natural gas storage in Louisiana and a 50% interest in a power plant in Mexico. But it’s clear that our strategic focus is on what we do best: operating our transmission and distribution grid and the nation’s largest generation fleet to provide reliable, affordable electricity to our customers and to others in the wholesale market.”

AEP is the United States’ largest electricity generator and owns more than 36,000MW of the nation’s generating capacity. The company is also one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, with over five million customers linked to AEP’s 11-state electricity transmission and distribution grid.

Last month JD Wetherspoon, which operates more than 500 pubs, warned that its current year’s profits would be £4m lower than expected due to a 40% increase in gas and electricity prices. The Financial Times

The Department of Trade and Industry has confirmed that the UK’s implementation of an EU law requiring businesses to recycle their old IT, electronics and electrical equipment will be delayed until October.

The Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive and the Restricting Certain Hazardous Substances (ROHS) Directive in electrical goods came into effect in February 2003. It should be implemented in all member states by August 2004.

It sets criteria for the collection, treatment, recycling and recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment. It makes “producers” responsible for financing most of these activities, and the DTI suggests a maximum penalty of two-years’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine for those failing to comply. Producers include manufacturers and resellers of equipment purchased outside the EU. Private householders are to be able to return such equipment without charge.

Last week, citing a delay in publishing the draft regulations and guidance notes, the DTI confirmed that it would not meet the implementation deadline of 13 August 2004.

The drafts are due to be published in the next few weeks and a three-month consultation period will follow. The DTI hopes that the regulations will be laid before parliament for approval shortly thereafter.

Gambica, a trade association for instrumentation, control, automation and instrumentation companies, has announced the launch of a compliance scheme to meet the needs of business-to-business product manufacturers and importers under the forthcoming WEEE regulations.

B2B Compliance will be registering as a compliance scheme primarily focusing on categories 3, 8 and 9 of the WEEE Directive. The scheme is intended to take over many of the obligations of its individual company members in complying with WEEE legislation.

A series of seminars will take place in October covering the regulations and the benefits of scheme membership. Places can be booked through www.b2bcompliance.org.uk.

London Energy has launched Energy Zone, an online electricity account service for its major business customers. It allows customers to view and download data for any specific half-hourly meter or account and obtain data for any range of invoice periods.

Energy Zone provides the consumption data for smaller properties with non-half-hourly meters that are read on a monthly or quarterly basis. Users can choose any range of dates, including, in some cases, data prior to registration. Available online data includes meter number, read date, invoice date, maximum demand and rate types. Customers can also submit meter readings for their non-half-hourly metered properties.

The on-line scheme will allow subscribers to post documents and data related to their energy accounts into Document Exchange, a secure online environment that is accessible at any time. Document Exchange enables customers to keep all their important energy account information in one secure place and to control who has access to these files.

For further information, visit www.ebusiness-energy.com.

Almost 60% of IT professionals believe their networks have inadequate protection from future power outages, according to a recent survey conducted on behalf of American Power Conversion.

The research was carried out in May and comprises over 300 responses from IT-decision makers, including CIOs, IT directors, IT managers and facilities managers. The findings show that 50.3% of respondents were concerned about the condition of the National Grid and 64.3% said their business had experienced a power outage in the last 12 months.

The APC managing director for UK and Ireland, Michael Adams, said the results were a wake-up call for many businesses. “Trends such as consolidation and compaction, bringing with them the large-scale deployment of multiple racks of ultra-compact blade servers, may reduce the demand for data centre real estate but they dramatically increase heat density and, with that, the requirement for forced air cooling.

“Companies will need to look at the bigger picture, otherwise problems at the physical layer will start to show in equipment failures and reduced availability. For example, a simple question that needs to be asked is have we got the air-conditioning system condensers on power back-up along with the servers and switches? It was exactly this situation that saw last year’s power cut bring IT users in cities like New York to their knees.”

For more on how to protect data centres from power outages, see the July issue of Electrical Review.

Schneider Electric has been awarded a £205,000 contract to provide variable speed drives, transformers and ring main units to KMI Water for the development of the St Helen’s wastewater treatment plant in Merseyside.

The company will supply the products through its three global brands – Merlin Gerin, Square D and Telemecanique. These products include 15 Telemecanique Altivar VSDs, ranging from 29 to 315kW, for blower and feed-pump applications; three Merlin Gerin 800kVA and three 1,000kVA transformers; and three Merlin Gerin RN2 ring main units. The VSDs in each motor control centre are fitted with active harmonic filters.

The plant will serve around 138,000 people and should treat 127 million litres of sewage a day when it enters service in March 2005.

KMI Water is developing the plant as part of a £245m United Utilities project to renew the west Lancashire and north Manchester water industry infrastructure.