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Industry News Roundup November 2017

Thursday 30/11 – New government figures reveal an increase in smart meter installations during the third quarter of 2017, with 9.44mn installed in homes and businesses across Great Britain to date. OPEC and non-OPEC producers led by Russia agree to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018. The Welsh government calls for continued support for onshore wind and solar technologies.

Wednesday 29/11 – Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark confirms £80mn of investment in a new automotive battery development facility with an aim to help the UK establish itself as one of the “world leaders in battery technology and innovation”. The Green Investment Group launches a service to provide private and public organisations with end-to-end technical and funding support that will enable distributed energy and energy efficiency projects. The EU’s Industry and Energy Committee agrees on a binding target to reduce energy consumption by 40% by 2030 at EU level.

Tuesday 28/11 – Climate Change and Industry Minister Claire Perry states that BEIS is examining ways to allow new onshore wind to develop in parts of the UK where it has support. The Policy Institute at King’s College London calls for BEIS to be refocussed as the Department for Industrial Strategy. At a post-Budget briefing, Shadow Business and Energy Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey says Labour will aim to meet its renewables and energy goals with a combination of public and private investments. Researchers from Imperial College London and Stanford University find the oil industry could play a role in carbon capture and storage development. 

Monday 27/11 –  The government’s Industrial Strategy is launched, indicating support of clean growth and the intent to exempt more energy intensive industries from the costs of renewable policy on energy bills. A government consultation on this is set to follow. In addition, BEIS also commits up to £8.8mn to develop innovative approaches to energy management for small businesses using smart meter data. A Green Alliance report calls on the government to back emerging economies in its “inclusive low-carbon transition”.

Friday 24/11 – The Environmental Audit Committee announces the launch of an inquiry to scrutinise the government’s approach to develop “world leading” Green Finance capabilities. The EU’s Third Report on the State of the Energy Union argues that the energy transition is not possible without adapting the infrastructure to the needs of the future energy system. Centrica reveals key economic sectors could generate almost £1bn in annual energy cost savings through distributed energy solutions.

Thursday 23/11 –  A new study released by the University of Cambridge and the Centre on Regulation in Europe finds both the UK and EU-27 “benefit substantially” from mutual participation in the current energy market arrangements. The Shetland New Energy Solution proposal put forward by National Grid and Aggreko is rejected by Ofgem. Shadow Wales Office Minister Chris Ruane criticises the government for not using the Budget to approve the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.

Wednesday 22/11 – Chancellor Philip Hammond delivers the Budget, confirming the government will not introduce any new low-carbon electricity levies outside of existing commitments, until the burden of current costs falls. The Public Accounts Committee finds the government did not do enough to assess the impact on consumer bills when reaching the deal to support Hinkley Point C. EU member states endorse the provisional deal that had been reached on reform of the EU Emissions Trading System post-2020.

Tuesday 21/11 – It is confirmed that exemptions for Energy Intensive Industries under the Renewables Obligation are set to come into effect on 1 April 2018, subject to Parliamentary approval. New analysis from Artelys, E3G and partners in the Energy Union choices consortium, find renewables can increase to 61% of the EU electricity mix by 2030, above current targets and at a lower cost. BP agrees to sell a package of its interests in the Bruce assets in the North Sea to Serica Energy.

Monday 20/11 – The UK Energy Research Centre calls for a strategy to avoid policy “cliff edges” for the energy sector after Brexit. The Energy Networks Association launches a consultation on its Electricity Network Innovation Strategy, saying this could deliver savings of £1.7bn. Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts the global energy storage market will double six times between 2016 and 2030.

Friday 17/11 – The UK and Canada launch a global alliance to lead the rest of the world in committing to an end to the use of unabated coal power, working with businesses, civil society and governments. NextEnergy Solar Fund confirms in its interim results that it intends to build nearly 60MW of subsidy-free solar projects in the next year. Academics at the University of Edinburgh map energy plans and initiatives across all UK Local Authorities, finding considerable activity in energy efficiency and heat.

Thursday 16/11 – A number of trade associations, unions and energy storage companies raise concerns about gas imports post-Brexit in a letter to Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark, calling for an inquiry into the supply and cost risks that could result from Britain’s reliance on imported gas and lack of storage capacity. The Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency announce they are progressing to the next phase of their assessment of a General Nuclear System’s nuclear reactor design for the UK.

Wednesday 15/11 – Ciaran Martin, Chief Executive of the National Cyber Security Centre confirms Russian cyber operatives have attacked Britain’s media, telecommunications and energy sectors over the past year. Analysis by Imperial College London finds the rate of decarbonisation in Britain between 2012 and 2016 was “unrivalled” with the carbon intensity of its electricity production falling more than twice as quickly as any other major country. Research by the Hydrogen Council highlights the long-term potential of hydrogen and set out a road-map for its deployment in the energy sector.

Tuesday 14/11 – Ofgem Chief Executive Dermot Nolan confirms that energy regulation needs to be re-written to keep pace with the rapid changes in how energy is generated and consumed. The International Energy Agency finds that over the next 25 years, rapidly falling costs will make solar power the cheapest source of new electricity generation. Bloomberg New Energy Finance reveals increased deployment of renewables will lead to “markedly” more system volatility in the UK.

Monday 13/11 – The Global Carbon Project’s Carbon Budget 2017 finds that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry are on track to grow globally by 2% in 2017, following no growth from 2014-16. innogy posts adjusted profits of around €3.1bn for the first nine months of 2017, up 5% on the same period in the previous year, but cuts the value of its UK arm npower by £427mn, amid a “difficult situation” in the UK retail market. New research finds that local councils across the UK have £16.1bn of their employees’ pensions invested in fossil fuel companies, showing they are “failing to take account” of climate change risks in their investment policies.

Friday 10/11 – The Scottish government’s State of Economy report gives a positive update on Scotland's oil and gas sector. Research by ResPublica makes the case for investing in new nuclear generation in the UK, arguing that new nuclear should not be viewed as an alternative to renewables, but instead as an integral part of a wider set of solutions, that collectively can achieve a sustainable, low-carbon and secure energy mix.

Thursday 09/11 – As it releases half year results, National Grid defends itself against calls for some, or all, of its roles to be renationalised, highlighting falls in network costs. Aggregate Industries and Open Energi launch a new tool that uses artificial intelligence to connect, aggregate and optimise distributed energy assets to help businesses reduce their energy costs.

Wednesday 08/11 – SSE and innogy confirm they have entered into an agreement to merge part of their businesses to create a new independent energy supply company. In a speech to the Innovate UK Conference, Climate Change and Industry Minister Claire Perry announces £16mn of funding to support smart energy systems innovation. Members of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development call for governments to collaborate with the private sector to set meaningful carbon prices and improve climate resilience whilst at COP23.

Tuesday 07/11 – Following the delivery of Dieter Helm’s Cost of Energy Review, the government issues a call for evidence on the review’s findings, as well as asking more broadly for views on ways to reduce the cost of energy. The Supreme Court rejects RSPB Scotland’s latest legal appeal against the Neart na Gaoithe offshore windfarm. Gas shippers hold a meeting with Ofgem, arguing the case for prompt action on the volatility of Unidentified Gas that has affected the industry since the implementation of Project Nexus.

Monday 06/11 –  The government seeks views on bringing forward compliance deadlines for UK companies that participate in the EU’s carbon market to avert issues related to Brexit. Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn highlights the benefits that nationalising the energy industry could have for businesses in a speech to the CBI. The Energy Technologies Institute Heat Infrastructure Development project sets out eight research pathways that could see the capital costs of heat networks fall by 40%.

Friday 03/11 – Centrica acquires the demand side response aggregator REstore NV for £62mn. A coalition of car manufacturers announces plans to build a European-wide “high power charging network” for electric vehicles. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announces that the world’s first Ultra-Low Emission Zone will come into operation in the capital in April 2019 effectively replacing the T-charge.

Thursday 02/11 – Regen SW calls for further measures to support the deployment of energy storage in the UK.  INEOS announces the acquisition of Total’s interests in shale licences in Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

Wednesday 01/11 – Analysis by EY finds business interruption due to storms, catastrophic events and cyber-attacks are the biggest threats to power and utilities companies. Ørsted – formerly DONG Energy – agrees to sell a 50% stake in its Walney Extension windfarm to a consortium of two Danish pension funds. BP announces plans to become an electricity supplier to UK commercial and industrial firms.

Written By Graham Paul


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