Iran pays arbitration debt in full to Turkey

Iran paid full compensation of $1.9 billion to Turkey through the provision of 8 billion cubic meters of free natural gas, the Managing Director of National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Hamid Reza Araghi announced late Monday.

According to Iran's Fars News Agency, Araghi said that Iran has now settled its debt through free gas exports to Turkey and from Monday, Feb. 5 onwards, Iran will revert to billing Turkey for gas imports from Iran.

In 2012, Turkey brought Iran to the International Court of Arbitration for overpricing on gas purchases during the four-year period from 2011 to 2015.

The court ruled in favor of Turkey in February 2016 and ordered that both parties agree on a reduction between the rates of 10 percent and 15 percent in the price of Iranian gas exports to Turkey. In addition, Iran had to pay $1.9 billion in compensation to Turkey in line with the decision of the International Court of Arbitration

Turkey already buys around 10 billion cubic meters of gas from Iran per year.

Iran became Turkey's second largest gas supplier after Russia after it began exporting gas to Turkey in 2001.
Source: Anadolu Agency

Turkey to support entrepreneurs in clean technology

The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) and Global Environment Fund (GEF) will support entrepreneurs who work on innovation in clean technology, the council's head has said.
TUBITAK President Prof. Ahmet Arif Ergin told: "Entrepreneurs who succeed in the Clean Innovation Program will be supported by a $3 million fund from the GEF and TUBITAK."

The program, conducted with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) under the financial support of the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP), has been hosted by TUBITAK since 2014 in Turkey, he said.

Within the scope of the program, clean technology innovation is being encouraged, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups that work on energy and water efficiency, renewable energy, waste management, green buildings and transportation field, are being backed, he said.

According to UNIDO, the GCIP "promotes an innovation and entrepreneur ecosystem by identifying and nurturing clean-tech innovators and entrepreneurs; by building capacity within national institutions and partner organizations for the sustainable implementation of the clean-tech ecosystem and accelerator approach".

Ergin said the program's first phase was complete and entrepreneurs were receiving support in the fields of education and mentorship. "Over 100 startups in energy and environment sectors have successfully the education," he added.

He said a competition was being organized to raise awareness about the program's success. "Ideas which rank among top three will be rewarded with cash prizes and winners will represent Turkey in the Global Forum 2018 in Los Angeles and California," he said.

He said invitation to the program's phase two, which would be supported by the $3 million fund, would start next year.


Greece's Public Power Corp. eyes expansion in Turkey

Greece's Public Power Corp. (PPC) aims to expand its investments in Turkey, the company's chairman Manolis Panagiotakis said Tuesday.

The country's major power utility has an 85 percent share in the retail market, but agreed to reduce its share below 50 percent from 2020 as part of the country's bailout terms with the EU.

In a bid to diversify its assets, PPC is now looking to invest more in Turkey and in the Balkan region. To this end, PPC is working with an international consultancy to develop a strategy for the Turkish energy market, he said. "We feel that it is the right time to have a vivid presence in Turkey," Panagiotakis said in an interview.

"What we are looking for is the possibility of cooperation and expansion of investments in Turkey in the wind sector, in some small hydroelectric projects, and also taking part in a geothermic investment in Cappadocia," he explained.

The company already has a presence in Turkey through activities of its subsidiary company since 2014, PPC Elektrik, which is involved in electricity trading. Renewables are not the company's only pursuit. The company bid in a tender for a coal power station in Turkey's Eskisehir along side with China's Shenhua, Panagiotakis said.

Its headway into the Balkan region involves the acquisition of Macedonia's EDS Group, at a time when Greece is trying to resolve a quarter-century dispute with its neighbor over the naming of Macedonia. Greece does not accept Macedonia’s name as it has a region by the same name in the north of the country. Greece also argues that the former Yugoslav Republic has claims on its territory and its historical heritage.
Since 2017, negotiations have stepped up, as the new government in Skopje wants a deal over its name with Athens, which can veto its NATO and EU membership.

"We don’t discriminate based on other similar issues," Panagiotakis said, when asked whether the top-agenda issue of recent Greek politics would affect their investment. He also said that the acquisition would help PPC to become a regional player.

"Why FYROM [Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia]? Because we have had many years of cooperation with this country. Our place there may help us expand in other markets like Serbia, Kosovo and also Slovakia," he argued, pointing out parameters such as development and peace in the region.

EDS, a major supplier in Macedonia, also has subsidiaries in Serbia, Slovakia and Kosovo, and holds trading licenses in several other Balkan countries.

At home, PPC, with more than 7 million customers, is battling to collect its overdue bills. The company has launched new methods to collect its debts through the introduction of installments payments and incentives for regular payers to improve its balance sheet.

Panagiotakis said provisions for overdue bills stand at a €2.1 billion and the maximum was estimated to be €2.4 billion. "It will take time for these figures to be reduced," he said, but remained hopeful that repayments would speed up.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Smart finance for smart buildings: investing in energy efficiency in buildings

At its meeting on 6 February, the Board of the European Investment Bank (EIB) approved the creation of a brand new financial instrument, the Smart Finance for Smart Buildings initiative. The aim is to make investments in energy efficiency projects in residential buildings more attractive to private investors, through the intelligent use of EU grants as a guarantee.

This new instrument, together with other EU policy initiatives for smart buildings, aims to unlock a total of €10 billion in public and private funds between now and 2020 for energy efficiency projects. It is estimated that this could support up to 220,000 jobs, and help establish a renovation market for small businesses worth up to €120 billion. In addition, up to 3.2 million European families could be taken out of energy poverty.

Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, said: “I warmly welcome the EIB board’s decision. The building and housing sector accounts for 40% of Europe's energy consumption, but it needs much more investment, and this initiative will help reduce the gap. It will also create local jobs and reduce energy poverty by using EU funds intelligently in a cost-effective way. This shows that ‘energy efficiency first’ is more than just a slogan: practical solutions such as the one approved by the EIB Board yesterday strongly support our transition to a low carbon economy and help us attain our Paris Agreement commitments”.

The Smart Finance for Smart Buildings facility will improve use of public EU funding and will multiply the effect of the EU money invested. It will help to de-risk investments in the buildings sector, giving investors and financiers a better understanding of the risks and benefits of energy efficiency investments. Moreover, it will offer assistance with project development, as many households lack the skills and capacity to set up, implement and finance ambitious energy efficiency projects.

Source: European Commission
More Gaza hospitals shut over power shortage

Three hospitals and ten medical centers have suspended services over an acute fuel shortage in the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. In a statement, Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said emergency generators had stopped at three medical centers on Sunday, taking the total number of medical centers suspending services to ten.

The spokesman warned of grave health consequences of the fuel crisis on the lives of patients in the blockaded Palestinian territory.

Home to nearly two million people, the Gaza Strip boasts a total of 13 Ministry-run hospitals and 54 primary health care centers that account for roughly 95 percent of all health services in the coastal enclave.

Gaza, which continues to groan under a decade-long Israeli siege, has struggled with severe electricity shortages since 2006. Although the territory requires an estimated 600 megawatts of electricity, it currently receives only 120 megawatts from Israel and another 32 megawatts from Egypt.

Gaza's sole functioning power plant, meanwhile, is only able to generate 60 megawatts of electricity, according to the Palestinian Energy Authority.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Elon Musk's Falcon Heavy rocket launches successfully

US entrepreneur Elon Musk has launched his new rocket, the Falcon Heavy, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mammoth vehicle - the most powerful since the shuttle system - lifted clear of its pad without incident to soar high over the Atlantic Ocean. It was billed as a risky test flight in advance of the lift-off.

The SpaceX CEO said the challenges of developing the new rocket meant the chances of a successful first outing might be only 50-50. "I had this image of just a giant explosion on the pad, a wheel bouncing down the road. But fortunately that's not what happened," he told reporters after the event.

It is designed to deliver a maximum payload to low-Earth orbit of 64 tonnes - the equivalent of putting five London double-decker buses in space. Such performance is slightly more than double that of the world's next most powerful rocket, the Delta IV Heavy - but at one third of the cost, says Mr Musk. With this debut, the Falcon Heavy becomes the most capable launch vehicle available.

For this experimental and uncertain mission, however, he decided on a much smaller and whimsical payload - his old cherry-red Tesla sports car. A space-suited mannequin was strapped in the driver's seat, and the radio set to play a David Bowie soundtrack on a loop.

The Tesla and its passenger have been dispatched into an elliptical orbit around the Sun that reaches out as far as the Planet Mars. The Falcon Heavy is essentially three of SpaceX's workhorse Falcon 9 vehicles strapped together. And, as is the usual practice for SpaceX, all three boost stages - the lower segments of the rocket - returned to Earth to attempt controlled landings.

Two came back to touchdown zones on the Florida coast just south of Kennedy. Their landing legs made contact with the ground virtually at the same time. "That was epic," said Mr Musk. "That's probably the most exciting thing I've ever seen, literally."

The third booster was due to settle on a drone ship stationed several hundred kilometres out at sea. Unfortunately, it had insufficient propellant left to slow the descent, missed the target vessel and was destroyed as it hit the water at some 500km/h.

By then, the upper-stage of the Falcon Heavy, with its Tesla cargo, was heading on a trajectory that would hopefully take it towards Mars' orbit. That required the engine on the upper-stage to fire on three separate occasions, with the third and final ignition only occurring after a long cruise phase - something which was confirmed some six hours after the launch.

Having such a large and powerful rocket should open up some fascinating new possibilities for Mr Musk and his SpaceX company. These include launching: Much bigger satellites for use by US intelligence and the military. The scale of these satellites is limited by current rocket performance.

Large batches of satellites, such as those for Mr Musk's proposed constellation of thousands of spacecraft to deliver broadband across the globe. Bigger, more capable robots to go to the surface of Mars, or to visit the outer planets such as Jupiter and Saturn, and their moons.

Huge telescopes. Hubble's successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, is having to be folded origami-like to fit in its launcher next year. But it is the low cost - brought about through the recovery and reuse of the boosters - that Elon Musk believes will be a game-changer when allied to the new performance.

"It'll be game-over for all other heavy-lift rockets," he told reporters on Monday. "It'll be like trying to sell an aircraft where one aircraft company has a reusable aircraft and all the other companies had aircraft that were single-use where you would parachute out at your destination and the plane would crash-land randomly somewhere. Crazy as that sounds - that's how the rocket business works."

Source: BBC


Guidance on submitting complaints data for domestic customers and microbusinesses

As part of the monitoring duties Ofgem needs to monitor customer complaints in an accurate and timely manner. This helps them better understand the problems consumers may face in the retail energy market and the actions they could take to protect their interests.

This document provides guidance to energy suppliers on how to submit monthly and quarterly complaint information as required by enduring request for information pursuant Standard License Condition 5. The requirement applies to all active licensed suppliers of electricity and/or gas to domestic customers and/or microbusinesses.

Reporting arrangements for monitoring complaints were revised. The main changes include:

  • Enhanced and streamlined data requirements
  • More targeted monthly and quarterly templates
  • Clearer guidelines to suppliers for the completion of templates

The changes have been subject to consultation including with suppliers, Citizens Advice and the Energy Ombudsman.

This guidance is published on 30 January and suppliers must start recording complaints in accordance with it from 1 July 2018. The first monthly submission is due by 28 August 2018, covering July 2018 complaints data. The first quarterly submission is due by 28 October 2018, covering Q3 2018 complaints data. In the meanwhile, suppliers who are already submitting complaint information should continue to do so through the existing templates.

This document replaces all previous guidance and templates related with complaints information submission.

Please click here to read the full report.