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Industry News Roundup June 2018

Friday 29/06 –   National Grid announces that solar output has exceeded 8GW every day for the last seven days. Centrica acquires a 50% stake in one of the UK’s largest biomethane suppliers, Barrow Green Gas.

Thursday 28/06 – The Committee on Climate Change releases its annual report to Parliament warning of tougher challenges ahead to meet the next carbon budgets, particularly with regard to buildings and transport. Trade associations including Energy UK and Renewable UK back the CCC’s calls for a route to market for low-cost renewables. Ørsted and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy sign a deal for supply of turbines for the Hornsea Project Two offshore wind farm. 

Wednesday 27/06 – Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark announces a £200mn sector deal for the nuclear industry. Plans for a £685m investment at a renewable energy facility in Pembrokeshire are rejected on planning grounds. Generation and storage developer Statera Energy completes debt refinancing for its 49.99MW lithium-ion battery located near Bishop’s Stortford.

Tuesday 26/06 – The International Energy Agency predicts that global gas demand will grow at an average rate of 1.6% a year to 2023. At its Power Responsive conference, National Grid reveals that its target of procuring 30-50% of balancing from demand-side response could be met two years early. Vattenfall applies to UK planning authorities to construct its 1.8GW Norfolk Vanguard offshore wind project.

Monday 25/06 – Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark announces that the government has decided not to go ahead with the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project as it will not deliver value for money and would increase bills for businesses. Economist Martin Cave is confirmed as the preferred choice as Ofgem’s new Chair. Scottish investment company Intelligent Land Investments announces plans for a new 400MW pumped hydro scheme east of Loch Ness.

Friday 22/06 – The government consults on whether to widen eligibility for energy intensive industries for exemption from the indirect costs of the renewable electricity support schemes, in a move that could raise bills for small and medium businesses. The judicial review of Ofgem’s decision to cut so called “embedded benefits” is rejected by the High Court, in a move expected to save end users over £370mn/ year. EDF opens both the 41.5MW Blyth offshore windfarm off the Northumberland coast and the 49MW West Burton B battery storage facility.

Thursday 21/06 – BEIS Permanent Secretary Alex Chisholm delivers a speech predicting that the UK is “on the cusp” of the next transformational change in energy, which would allow the sector to move “beyond the trilemma”. The UK’s first energy positive office, which generates more solar energy than it consumes. is opened at Swansea University. Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts cheap batteries will enable renewables to produce 50% of the world's electricity by 2050.

Wednesday 20/06 – European industry association Eurelectric calls on policymakers to minimise disruption to the energy and climate agenda resulting from Brexit. SSE confirms that its Seagreen project is aiming to secure a Contract for Difference in the Spring 2019 auction. The National Audit Office warns that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has an expected overspend of up to £913mn in its decommissioning of Sellafield.

Tuesday 19/06 – The Energy Institute Annual Barometer survey finds energy professionals are increasingly concerned about the lack of clarity over the impact of Brexit. A Cornwall Insight paper explains and evaluates the supplier offerings emerging for electric vehicles, and how policy and regulatory frameworks need to adapt to accommodate them. The Scottish government wins its fracking legal contest against Ineos.

Monday 18/06 – The government announces the winners of an £8.8mn innovation competition aimed at helping small businesses control their energy with tailored smart meters. Ofgem delivers its annual report on the Capacity Market, finding aspects of National Grid’s performance against the Capacity Market incentives was below baseline levels.

Friday 15/06 – Samsung announces that its facilities in China, Europe and the USA will run on renewable energy by 2020. A report by the Environmental Industries Commission warns of weaknesses in the regulatory framework designed to improve the energy efficiency of UK commercial buildings. 

Thursday 14/06 – The EU agrees a binding renewable energy target for 2030 of 32% with an upwards revision clause by 2023 and a sub-target that at least 14% of transport fuel must come from renewable sources by 2030. Media reports indicate that Centrica plans to sell its 20% stake in eight British power plants by the end of 2020, but it has yet to start marketing the assets. Thrive Renewables and Aura Power announce a joint venture with the aim of providing battery storage systems to medium and large energy users for free.

Wednesday 13/06 – Appearing before MPs, BEIS Minister Richard Harrington states a lack of specificity is needed in the 2040 target around transport decarbonisation due to the development of technology. Vivid Economics research finds the UK could meet its future power demand predominantly through wind and solar generation without jeopardising security of supply. Orsted officially opens the 573MW Race Bank offshore windfarm.

Tuesday 12/06 – The government awards £22mn in funding to facilitate the development of ultra-fast charging for electric vehicles. Shadow Business and Energy Secretary Rebecca Long Bailey attacks the government for pursuing a “shambolic policy on the solar and onshore wind sectors in recent years”. Data shows Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions were down almost 50% in 2016 on 1990 levels.

Monday 11/06 – At the start of onshore wind week, Scottish Renewables publishes analysis showing the benefits the technology could deliver to Scotland. BVG Associates finds that awarding contracts for 5GW of new onshore wind from 2019-25 could benefit consumers by £1.6bn. UK Power Reserve announces a partnership with global energy storage technology provider Fluence to deliver 60MW of battery storage.

Friday 08/06 – The Renewable Energy Association sets out a series of actions local authorities can take to boost electric vehicle uptake. A group of corporate buyers including Google, Microsoft, IKEA and Amazon join the RE-Source Platform, pooling resources and coordinating activities to promote a better framework for corporate renewable energy. London Mayor Sadiq Khan plans a substantial extension of London's ultra-low emission zone. 

Thursday 07/06 – BEIS announces that the Nuclear Safeguards Bill has successfully completed its passage through Parliament, meaning the UK will continue to comply with international nuclear rules post-Brexit. National Grid releases its Winter Review and Consultation, calling for views on how effective gas notifications are in the wake of the “Beast from the East” event. BP’s solar arm, Lightsource BP, adds a further 57MW of capacity to its portfolio through its £1bn partnership with investment company BlackRock.

Wednesday 06/06 – The government issues its response to issues raised in its December 2017 Contracts for Difference consultation, including allowing remote islands wind into “less established” auctions. A joint report by the Association for Decentralised Energy and RenewableUK outlines the potential to harness the synergies offered by demand response from businesses and renewables deployment. Drax Power Station starts converting its fourth unit from coal to biomass.

Tuesday 05/06 – The Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill completes Report Stage in the Lords. New data shows that demand for hybrid and plug-in cars grew by more than a third year-on-year in May. The European Climate Foundation finds that policies that look to create a more circular economy – one in which businesses reuse materials and improve resource efficiency – could more than halve Europe’s industrial emissions by 2050.

Monday 04/06 – A group of global investment companies calls on world leaders to increase efforts to tackle climate change ahead of the G7 summit in Canada on 8-9 June. Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark announces that the government is to consider direct investment in the proposed Wylfa nuclear power station. Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones calls for the proposed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project to be offered the same price support terms as the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant.

Friday 01/06 – A cross-party group of MPs urges the government to establish in law a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target in this Parliament. The Crown Estate reveals it is considering eight UK offshore windfarm extensions totalling 3GW. Media reports suggest the government has decided to reject support for the Swansea Tidal Lagoon.

Written By Graham Paul


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