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Industry News Roundup January 2018

Wednesday 31/01 – Figures from the Office of National Statistics find the UK’s low-carbon and renewable energy economy grew at almost three times the rate of GDP in 2016. The Heat Network Task Force, led by the Association for Decentralised Energy, calls for the creation of a regulatory framework to reduce investment risk in heat networks. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks announces it will proceed with plans to reinforce the existing North East and East Coast onshore transmission system following National Grid’s Network Options Assessment.

Tuesday 30/01 – BEIS-commissioned research finds the most viable business model for the transportation and storage of carbon from Carbon Capture and Storage plants is a 100% public entity. Analysis by think tank Sandbag and Agora Energiewende finds the UK achieved the biggest drop in energy demand across the EU since 2010, with its share in wind, solar and biomass production in its generation mix rising by 20 percentage points (pp) over the same period. During BEIS Oral Questions, Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, Claire Perry says the government will target business energy efficiency as one way to fill shortfalls identified in the Clean Growth Strategy.

Monday 29/01 –  The Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee warns that the UK may be more vulnerable to energy supply shortages after Brexit. The government urges critical industries, including the energy sector, to boost their cyber security measures or face fines. The government’s Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill completes the Report and Third Reading stages in the Commons and moves to the Lords.

Friday 26/01 – Lord Mendelsohn, Labour’s energy spokesman in the House of Lords, resigns. In a new report, PwC calls for government and industry to develop a “sustainable and comprehensive” roadmap for EVs in the UK. BEIS seeks views on a permanent solution for the disposal of the UK’s radioactive waste.

Thursday 25/01 – A new report by Policy Exchange finds that Small Modular Reactors could be a crucial technology in the decarbonisation of the energy system, having the ability to provide reliable, affordable and low-carbon energy. In a written statement, Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark confirms the government will look at the financial resilience of all companies wishing to carry out hydraulic fracturing operations as “a matter of policy” in future. BEIS launches its energy innovation investment portfolio, offering information on innovative low-carbon companies that have received government support since 2012.

Wednesday 24/01 – BEIS confirms ministerial responsibilities, with Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth Claire Perry taking over much of the energy brief. Head of the Green Investment Group, Edward Northam claims the UK’s reported 56% year on year fall in clean energy investment will not mean new capacity installations have been reduced by the same extent. Defra confirms that restrictions on emissions from combustion plants and generators will come into force after the necessary statutory instrument was passed by Parliament.

Tuesday 23/01 – Ofgem welcomes the High Court’s decision to refuse an injunction to prevent reductions to the triad benefit for embedded generators from 1 April 2018. The Faraday Institution announces that it is providing up to £42mn in funding for four energy storage research projects. A report by the RE100 initiative confirms that 25 members reached 100% renewable electricity by the end of 2016.

Monday 22/01 –  The Scottish government announces that applicants can apply for funding from its £60mn Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme.  A group of 30 MPs and former ministers call for Ofgem to take action against excess profits made by distribution network companies. Ørsted announces that first power has been generated from the final phase of its Walney Extension offshore windfarm.

Friday 19/01 – The government confirms it is extending by 12 weeks to 5 October 2018 the deadline for when energy suppliers have to stop installing less sophisticated energy meters in small non-domestic premises. Britain and France agree Clean Growth research links following the UK-France Summit, including on smart energy innovation.

Thursday 18/01 – BEIS publishes its response to its consultation on controlling the costs of biomass conversion and co-firing under the Renewables Obligation. The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult seeks a UK university to partner on offshore wind electrical infrastructure research. Sir John Armitt is appointed as Lord Adonis’ replacement as Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission. 

Wednesday 17/01 –  The Committee on Climate Change welcomes the “strong commitment” to meeting UK climate targets in the Clean Growth Strategy, but advises that further policy action is needed beyond this to meet future carbon budgets. The European Parliament endorses proposals for binding EU-level 2030 targets at a higher level of ambition than proposed by the EU Commission.

Tuesday 16/01 – Environmental Audit Committee Chair Mary Creagh warns that the UK may miss its climate targets after Bloomberg New Energy Finance data showed a drop in renewables investment in 2017. Professor Dieter Helm criticises calls for subsidy-free Contracts for Difference auctions for onshore wind when giving evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee.

Monday 15/01 –  EY research reveals that by 2022 it will cost the same for European consumers to self-generate and store power as it would be for them to purchase it from a supplier. Ofgem announces that from April it will introduce a new streamlined organisational structure to improve consumer outcomes. Infrastructure firm, Carillion, which has been responsible for a series of major infrastructure projects, including in the energy sector, enters liquidation.

Friday 12/01 –  Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark confirms the UK will seek a close association with Euratom and look to include Euratom in any implementation period negotiated as part of wider Brexit discussions. Bernstein predicts that policy makers will delay tackling the heat decarbonisation challenge, warning of substantial barriers, including under-developed technologies, unproven costs and inertia among end users

Thursday 11/01 – The government's 25-year Environment Plan pledges to “take all possible actions” to combat climate change. The Crown Estate Scotland announces that the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult is undertaking a study to assess the potential economic benefits of more floating offshore wind projects in Scotland. 

Wednesday 10/01 – The government publishes its Automotive Sector Deal, with £400mn of investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and £100mn of funding for plug-in car grants. Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones offers financial aid in the form of a “substantial equity and/or loan investment” to help progress plans for the £1.3bn tidal lagoon energy project in Swansea Bay. 

Tuesday 09/01 – The ministerial reshuffle confirms Greg Clark will remain Secretary of State for BEIS, while Margot James leaves BEIS, Andrew Griffiths joins as a junior minister and Claire Perry is promoted to the Cabinet with an expanded portfolio as Minister for Energy and Clean Growth. Ofgem confirms a 4.2GW increase in GB interconnector capacity after publishing its decision to grant three projects a cap and floor regime. The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association argue that green gas could play a key role in achieving the goals set out in the Scottish government’s Energy Strategy.

Monday 08/01 – SSE announces it is to apply to construct a new 2GW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power station at the existing Ferrybridge C site. Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts that the global offshore wind market is set to grow at a 16% compound annual rate from 2017 to 2030. The Q3 2017 EEVS/Bloomberg Energy Efficiency Trends Survey reveals just one in 10 (11%) of respondents consider non-domestic energy efficiency policy effective, while a majority of respondents (59%) feel the Clean Growth Strategy’s energy efficiency targets should be more ambitious.

Friday 05/01 – BEIS issues its response to its coal closure consultation, confirming that unabated coal will be regulated off the system by 2025 through use of an emissions limit. Ofgem publishes the Renewables Obligation late payment distribution for 2016-17.

Thursday 04/01 – Brookfield Business Partners announces it is to purchase Westinghouse from Toshiba for £3.4bn. Responding to the UK government’s consultation on streamlined energy and carbon reporting, the UK Green Building Council says that while the new reporting will deliver much-needed transparency, it will not lead to the “significant energy saving potential” that the consultation identifies.

Wednesday 03/01 – Carbon Brief reports that in 2017 nuclear and renewable electricity producers in the UK generated more electricity than all fossil fuel generators combined, meeting over half of electricity demand. Media reports indicate EDF has stated it can build a new nuclear power station at Sizewell for up to £5bn less than Hinkley Point C. Upside Energy secures £5.5mn of funding from Innovate UK to accelerate the commercialisation and deployment of its cloud-based smart-grid platform.

Tuesday 02/01 – National Grid reduces the procurement targets for the upcoming T-1 and T-4 Capacity Market auctions. BEIS research suggests that the UK could achieve 97% and 95% of the carbon reductions required to meet the fourth and fifth carbon budgets respectively. The first shipment of liquified natural gas from Russia, the Christophe de Margerie tanker, docks at the Isle of Grain in Kent, although its supplies are not for UK consumption.

Monday 01/01 – National Grid reports 13 electricity system records were broken in 2017. These include the first 24-hour period without coal. Media reports suggest Centrica is looking for a second joint venture partner to boost its oil and gas production business after a recent deal with German-owned Bayerngas Norge.

Written By Graham Paul


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