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Industry News Roundup October 2017

Tuesday 31/10 – Ofgem’s State of the Energy Market 2017 assessment finds the market is working well for big businesses, but less well for small businesses. ENGIE announces the sale of its 75% stake in three UK thermal generation assets to Energy Capital Partners for £205mn. The Oil and Gas Authority finds that UK reserves remain at a level that could sustain production for at least the next 20 years.

Monday 30/10 –  The latest Low Carbon Economy Index from PwC shows that the UK achieved a 7.7% reduction in carbon emissions between 2015-16 – the highest of any country in the G20. National Grid confirms a series of changes to how it will tender for its balancing services. The former CEO of EDF Energy Vincent de Rivaz says he expects the Sizewell C nuclear power station to begin generating power in 2031. Grid Battery Storage announces a partnership with Siemens to offer grid-scale storage, combined with a new “energy storage as a service” offering, to help high energy use industrial users to increase grid resilience and achieve cost savings.

Friday 27/10 – Centrica Business Solutions releases an energy resilience report illustrating the impact of energy-related failures on businesses. The Energy Technologies Institute launches a new project to identify nuclear cost drivers and potential cost reduction strategies. Former Cabinet Minister Lord John Hutton is confirmed as the new Chair of Energy UK.

Thursday 26/10 – The Helm Review’s conclusions are backed by manufacturers’ group EEF, with the organisation calling for measures to bring down industrial energy costs to be taken forward. The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association describes the government’s decision to further delay legislation to reform the Renewable Heat Incentive as a “significant threat” to meeting climate goals. Ofgem confirms it will not apply any penalties for Distribution Network Operators under the incentive on connections engagement.

Wednesday 25/10 – Dieter Helm’s Cost of Energy Review finds energy costs are significantly higher than is necessary to meet climate targets, meaning homes and businesses are not benefiting as they should from the falling costs of energy resources. The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit think tank suggests that outdated policy is preventing the development of onshore wind in GB, potentially adding £1bn to energy bills over 4-5 years. Energy Minister Richard Harrington tells a House of Lords Committee that Brexit will not impact energy security.

Tuesday 24/10 – MSPs vote in favour of the Scottish government’s decision not to support unconventional oil and gas extraction, effectively imposing a ban on fracking in Scotland. The Energy Networks Association launches the next phase of its innovation strategy. The Confederation of British Industry finds that 58% of businesses are not confident that energy infrastructure will improve in the coming years. MEPs back increasing the EU’s binding renewable energy targets to 35% of final consumption by 2030.

Monday 23/10 – The Smart Power Industries Alliance launches – backed by a wide range of industry groups, it aims to help deliver a smart energy pathway for the UK. SSE and Drax say they need long-term clarity on the future of carbon pricing if they are to replace their existing coal-fired power stations. ENGIE announces a strategic review of its upstream and midstream liquified natural gas activities. A paper by the Centre for Policy Studies warns that the UK is becoming too dependent on power imports from Europe.

Friday 20/10 – Cadent finds that by 2050 renewable gas produced from waste and non-waste feedstocks could generate between 68-183TWh of biomethane. Stoke-on-Trent announces a new energy partnership with the Swedish city of Helsingborg to develop energy systems fit for the future, maximising economic opportunities for both areas. The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult seeks a power analyser system for a so-called e-grid project at its Blyth testing centre in the north-east UK.

Thursday 19/10 – Energy UK finds that the energy sector created £24bn in economic value and delivered £11bn of investment during 2016. The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham launches the Greater Manchester Big Clean Switch campaign, backed by many major businesses, driving a switch to 100% renewable electricity. A project led by SP Energy Networks aimed at facilitating quicker and cheaper network access for local energy projects in Dufmries and Galloway is granted £8mn by Ofgem.

Wednesday 18/10 – The government lays out measures to ensure homes and small businesses continue to get the most from their smart meters as it introduces the Smart Meters Bill 2017-19 to Parliament. Think tank Challenging Ideas sets out a set of new regulatory principles that could govern energy production, supply, trading and consumption and related infrastructure. The final turbine is installed at the 6MW MeyGen tidal area in the Pentland Firth.

Tuesday 17/10 – InfluenceMap finds the Big Six have undue influence on UK energy policy and regulation, hindering the clean energy transition. The Energy Technologies Institute calls for a whole energy systems approach to deliver Clean Growth Strategy. European gas regulator ENTSO-G issues its winter supply outlook for 2017-18, finding that the European gas system offers sufficient flexibility across the winter season in Europe, even in the case of high demand during an extremely cold winter.

Monday 16/10 – The government opens a consultation on options to give energy suppliers flexibility to meet the installation deadline to move over to the next generation of smart meters. Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark says the Nuclear Safeguards Bill has been prepared on a contingency basis to ensure nuclear power stations continue operating post-Brexit. Business group the CBI places an emphasis on energy efficiency in its Budget submission to Chancellor Phillip Hammond and calls on the government to build on the Clean Growth Strategy.

Friday 13/10 – The National Infrastructure Commission delivers its Interim National Infrastructure Assessment. The Mayor of London launches the first phase of the London Community Energy Fund, which aims to support the development of community solar energy projects. DONG Energy announces that it has entered an agreement with Gas Power Developments and GAM Capital for the operation of three 6MW flexible gas peaking plants.

Thursday 12/10 – BEIS releases its Clean Growth Strategy, detailing actions where progress is most needed to achieve the fifth carbon budget. Measures embrace carbon capture and storage, renewable heat and transport, and there is a distinct reemphasis on energy efficiency, especially for businesses. National Grid releases its Winter Outlook, showing comfortable security of supply situations for electricity and gas. The government also publishes a diverse range of different documents and consultations, including a new scheme to invest in low-carbon heat.

Wednesday 11/10 – The government announces it will provide up to £557mn for less established technologies through Contracts for Difference auctions, with the next, third auction planned for Spring 2019. The government also confirms Scottish islands wind will be allowed to compete. The Nuclear Safeguards Bill is published in Parliament, in preparation for the UK leaving the Euratom treaty as part of Brexit. The government’s £9.2mn Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator opens for applications.

Tuesday 10/10 – First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirms that the Scottish government will set up a publicly owned, not for profit energy company by the end of the Scottish Parliament in 2021. The UK remains in the top 10 most attractive countries for renewables in EY’s RECAI rankings. The National Audit Office criticises the handling by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority of the Magnox decommissioning contract, which cost taxpayers £122mn.

Monday 09/10 – The Low Carbon Contracts Company confirms that 10 successful projects from the second Contracts for Difference Allocation Round have signed a total of 16 CfDs. At a select committee hearing senior civil servants involved in agreeing the deal for the Hinkley Point C nuclear project say any renegotiation would have put the project at risk, damaging energy security. E.ON completes the installation and grid connection of a 10MW battery storage project at the Blackburn Meadows biomass plant.

Friday 06/10 – E.ON launches a renewables-powered tariff for electric vehicle owners. An IRENA report calls for electricity storage to play crucial role in enabling the next phase of the energy transition. New research from the Energy Technologies Institute reveals that bioenergy has the potential to help the country meet future energy demands and mitigate climate change. Third Energy announces it is set to conduct five fracks in North Yorkshire before the end of 2017.

Thursday 05/10 – Energy UK releases a report on the opportunities and challenges for investment in the future energy system, finding that if the government provides certainty and stability, then investors and the energy industry feel they can deliver the investment required. Ofgem states at an industry meeting that there will be a Judicial Review over its decision to cut certain payments to small generators.

Wednesday 04/10 – Business groups warn of the possibility of unintended consequences of the domestic energy price cap plans announced by Prime Minister Theresa May. A study shows a carbon capture network on the east coast could bring a £160bn boost to the UK economy. Vital Energi signs a contract with Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to deliver a second energy project, taking the Trust’s energy savings to over £13.4mn over the contract terms.

Tuesday 03/10 – Energy Minister Richard Harrington suggests the government is unlikely to use again the complex funding arrangements that support the Hinkley Point C nuclear project. The Scottish government says it will not support the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland, effectively imposing a ban on fracking.

Monday 02/10 – Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark announces that a consortium of seven universities will receive government funding for research into the next generation of battery technology. Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference, Climate Change Minister Claire Perry calls for a debate on the impact of green levies on bills. System operator National Grid announce that overnight the carbon intensity of the electricity on the grid was just 73gCO2/kWh, the lowest level on record. A new report by energy law firm Foot Anstey reveals the UK energy sector is missing out on £4bn a year by “hoarding data”.

Written By Graham Paul


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