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Industry News Roundup March 2018

Friday 23/03 – Claire Perry indicates BEIS will hold another auction that brings forward onshore wind and solar. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government confirms that Sajid Javid has blocked the development of the Druridge Bay coal mine in Northumberland. Defra launches £260mn of clean air funding, including funding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. 

Thursday 22/03 – National Grid confirms that 2017-18 was the first time that all three triad peaks were below 50GW since the turn of the century. Ofgem confirms that 38 of the 112 proposed changes to the Capacity Market Rules will be taken forward. The International Energy Agency finds that global energy demand grew by 2.1% in 2017, but that a slowdown in energy efficiency improvements meant that energy-related CO2 emissions also increased by 1.4%.

Wednesday 21/03 – Appearing before a Lords select committee, Claire Perry indicates the UK will look to remain in the EU Emissions Trading System, at least until the end of the current phase in 2020. Ofgem publishes its Renewables Obligation Annual Report covering the 2016-17 obligation period, finding that 86.2mn Renewable Obligation Certificates (Rocs) were issued in that time compared to 90.4mn Rocs in 2015-16. NatWest surpasses its sustainable energy funding target, announcing that it has provided £3.5bn of lending to UK renewable energy and energy efficiency projects over the past three years.

Tuesday 20/03 – Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry confirms the government will be undertaking a formal review of the Capacity Market this year. The Offshore Wind Industry Council details the industry’s vision for 2030, including 30GW of new capacity and £48bn of investment in UK infrastructure. The government loses two votes in the House of Lords over its plans for successor arrangements for Euratom post-Brexit.

Monday 19/03 –  BEIS consults on potential actions in the 2020s to phase out the use of high-carbon fossil fuel heating in buildings located off the gas grid. Oil and Gas UK predicts that production from the UK Continental Shelf will increase by 5% in 2018.  Research by the Green Alliance think tank calls for a strategy to accelerate the roll-out of electric vehicles in the UK, highlighting the potential benefits that EVs may bring.

Friday 16/03 – BEIS launches a consultation on the setting of standards for smart appliances. O2 research finds that 5G technology will help to unlock the next generation of smart energy grids. Solar Power Europe finds the global solar market grew over 29% in 2017 to 98.9GW.

Thursday 15/03 – A joint report by four parliamentary committees calls for an acceleration in the electrification of transport and a new Clean Air Act. BP’s Technology Outlook predicts that by 2050 onshore wind will be the most economic source of electricity generation. The SNP argues that the improved outlook for the North Sea oil and gas industry, revealed in the Spring Statement, must not result in the Treasury “resuming its cash grab of North Sea revenues.  Statoil announces it will be rebranding to Equinor.

Wednesday 14/03 – As part of sanctions against Russia, Prime Minister Theresa May says the UK will “look to other countries” for gas supplies. The Public Accounts Committee finds that the Green Investment Bank was never able to live up to its original ambitions and that there is no guarantee that it will ever do so. The Unite union sets out a roadmap for the UK becoming a global leader in electric vehicle (EV) technologies in a new report, warning the biggest current barrier to investment and innovation in EVs “remains government inactivity.”

Tuesday 13/03 – Chancellor Phillip Hammond delivers the Spring Statement, with the Office for Budget Responsibility lowering its forecast of environmental levy costs by £0.5bn/ year due to lower than expected Capacity Market clearing prices. The Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee takes evidence on the implications of Brexit for the UK’s participation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The committee hear there is a growing need for certainty over the UK’s future carbon trading arrangements and it would be preferable for the UK to remain in the ETS until the end of phase three, rather than exit at the same time as it does the EU.

Monday 12/03 –  The Aldersgate Group urges the UK government to provide long-term visibility and transparency on policy direction in a bid to overcome barriers to green infrastructure investment. Private-equity firm Gore Street Capital announces it will launch the world’s first energy storage fund, aiming to raise £100mn from an initial public offering. Energy UK consults on the development of standards on smart charging for electric vehicles.

Friday 09/03 – National Grid sets out its view on the role of gas out to 2050, calling on the government to develop a decarbonisation of gas strategy and identifying carbon capture and utilisation as a critical technology. IMechE calls for the UK to develop a more resilient and reliable energy network to support digital infrastructure. Data from the Office for National Statistics finds GB’s fuel trade deficit rose by £3.1bn to £5.4bn in the quarter to January 2018, a period in which the primary pipeline for transporting UK oil and gas faced problems.

Thursday 08/03 – The Public Accounts Committee opens an inquiry into the Renewable Heat Incentive in GB. The government responds to a BEIS report on Brexit and the civil nuclear sector, stating it is confident the Office for Nuclear Regulations will be able to deliver a domestic safeguards regime that meets international standards by March 2019. Research by think tank, Carbon Tracker, warns fossil fuel companies could waste €1.6tn in investment by 2025 if they fail to take global climate goals into account.

Wednesday 07/03 – Ofgem opens a consultation on its RIIO-2 price controls, which will probably run over a five-year period, with a proposed cost of equity allowance of between 3% and 5%. Analysis by Carbon Brief finds that at the end of 2017, the UK’s total CO2 emissions were 38% below 1990 levels and were as low as the levels of emissions in 1890. Statkraft signs the first Optimisation Service Agreement for a grid-scale battery storage site with Grid Battery Storage Limited.

Tuesday 06/03 – The Scottish government confirms that it will soon introduce a new Climate Change Bill to raise its climate ambitions even higher, and with a strong focus on community and local energy. The government encourages UK businesses to keep applying for funding and participating in projects under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. BEIS confirms that it found “strong support” for amending UK legislation to enable EU Emissions Trading System compliance deadlines to be brought forward in the UK to ensure allowances are still valuable.

Monday 05/03 –  The government consults on its draft National Planning Policy Framework, proposing to place greater emphasis in planning on ways that help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Infinis announces it has reached an agreement to acquire Alkane Energy for a total consideration of £125mn. The International Energy Agency finds greater investment is needed to meet global oil demand from 2020.


Friday 02/03 – National Grid withdraws its Gas Deficit Warning at 4.45am after supplies came back into balance overnight. Prime Minister Theresa May confirms in a speech that post-Brexit, the UK will look to secure broad energy co-operation with the EU. Barking and Dagenham Council joins 84 cities and local authorities who have committed to cut carbon emissions and decarbonise by 2050.

Thursday 01/03 – National Grid issues its first ever Gas Deficit Warning in response to a series of significant gas supply losses, resulting in a forecast end of day supply deficit. Large energy users reiterate calls for a government inquiry into gas supplies. Valero announces plans to invest £127mn to construct a 45MW combined heat and power unit at its Pembroke refinery.

Written By Graham Paul


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