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Industry News Roundup March 2019

Friday 29/03 – The government publishes a technical note on the carbon emissions tax in the event of a no deal Brexit scenario, stating it would aim to maintain a carbon price for those stationary emitters currently covered by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. This scheme enables large energy users to trade the right to emit carbon with the aim of reducing emissions. The government announces that the UK has secured a contract extension for the world’s largest fusion research facility.

Thursday 28/03 – The government publishes several sets of energy-related statistics including information that renewables accounted for a third of all UK generation in 2018 and that smart meter installations by large suppliers in Q4 2018 were 16% lower than the same period in 2017. Labour Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman declares a national environment and climate emergency in a House of Commons Debate.

Wednesday 27/03 – The Scottish government launches a consultation on improving energy efficiency in all properties in Scotland. SSEN announces a partnership that will utilise the Piclo platform to offer flexibility services for consumers in its distributed regions. Flexibility enables energy consumers such as businesses to earn extra revenue and take advantage of cheaper electricity through changing their consumption behaviour.

Tuesday 26/03 – Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Labour Shadow Treasury Minister for Sustainable Economics Clive Lewis table a Private Members’ Bill, the Decarbonisation and Economic Strategy Bill, that would force the government to enact a Green New Deal. During a Parliamentary BEIS Committee evidence session on energy efficiency, Committee on Climate Change Chairman Lord Deben calls for government to change home building regulations to help to achieve emissions reduction targets. The Renewable Energy Association publishes a report calling for government intervention to maximise the potential of bioenergy. National Grid ESO publishes its Summer Outlook Report 2019, predicting that energy demand and reserve requirements should be met at all times across the coming summer.

Monday 25/03 – The government launches a consultation on the design of its £315mn Industrial Energy Transformation Fund to support businesses’ transition to a low carbon future. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Business and Industry Richard Harrington, who is responsible for industrial strategy, nuclear and sector deals, resigns from government. The Welsh government publishes responses to its Achieving our Low Carbon Pathway to 2030 consultation, finding that respondents largely agreed with its proposals, which include reducing emissions by 80% by 2050.

Friday 22/03 – The government announces the establishment of the Carbon Capture Usage and Storage Advisory Group, which includes Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry. The Renewable Energy Association urges the government to introduce its Smart Export Guarantee promptly to replace the Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) scheme due to end after March. The FiT scheme is a subsidy that pays small-scale generators, such as businesses with solar panels, for exporting their power to the grid.

Thursday 21/03 – Cardiff University is announced as the main hub for a new UK £5mn carbon emissions reduction centre to address climate change. Research from the UK Energy Research Council shows that that wind now generates twice as much electricity as coal does in Britain.

Wednesday 20/03 – John Lewis commits to converting its entire transport fleet to zero carbon by 2045. The Welsh government publishes its new low carbon strategy, setting out plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.

Tuesday 19/03 – BEIS announces that the European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager has said, in a letter to Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, that the European Commission is to carry out a full investigation into the Capacity Market and published its opening decision. The Capacity Market is the scheme which guarantees the UK’s energy security. The department also publishes The Capacity Market (Amendment) (No.2) Rules 2019, putting in place legislation to hold an auction to replace the cancelled T-1 auction for delivery in 2019-20. A Parliamentary BEIS Committee report describes the government’s Offshore Wind Sector Deal as a “welcome step” towards decarbonising the UK’s economy.

Monday 18/03 – In a letter to EU heads of state and the European Commission, Climate Action Network Europe calls for an EU target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest. Energy Systems Catapult launches a new small- to medium-sized business incubator to offer a route to market for SME innovators. A report published by the UK Marine Energy Council and Scottish Renewables says that marine energy can play a major role in decarbonising the UK.

Friday 15/03 – The BEIS Committee publishes a letter from Claire Perry to committee chair Rachel Reeves offering clarity on several areas related to the Rough Gas Storage Facility – this was the UK’s largest until it was shut. Think tank RenewableUK data shows that offshore wind generated more electricity than any other source over the week.

Thursday 14/03 – The Scottish government publishes its vision for gas and electricity networks up to 2030, including proposing new transmission links with the rest of Great Britain and Europe. The European Parliament adopts a non-binding resolution supporting two specific pathways outlined in its A Clean Planet for All.

Wednesday 13/03 – Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond delivers his Spring Statement, announcing a consultation on an energy efficiency scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises. Drax’s proposed 299MW Open Cycle Gas Turbine power station in Bedfordshire is granted planning permission by BEIS – the facility will be used to provide fast, responsive power to quickly boost supply.

Tuesday 12/03 – The company behind the development of the 500MW UK-Ireland Greenlink Interconnector announces that global private markets investment manager Partners Group has acquired a stake in it. E.ON announces it is to decommission the 2MW Blyth offshore demonstration wind farm, the UK’s first ever.

Monday 11/03 – In a Written Statement to Parliament, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry confirms the extension of the deadline for UK operators to surrender their EU Emissions Trading Scheme allowances to 26 March. The scheme incentivises reduced emissions by allowing companies to trade the right to emit carbon. A risk tracker report published by Greener UK says that the UK’s climate and energy are high risk areas, stating that Brexit has led to a slowdown in decarbonisation efforts.

Friday 08/03 – Research from Highlands and Islands Enterprise sponsored by BEIS outlines the potential for wave and tidal energy in Scotland and calls for greater action regarding routes to market for emerging technologies. The government publishes the outcome of the Capacity Market and Emissions Performance Standard review: call for evidence, with the “overwhelming majority” of respondents agreeing there is a need to maintain the Capacity Market.

Thursday 07/03 – BEIS publishes the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, announcing that one-third of UK electricity could be generated by offshore wind energy by 2030. The department also launches another consultation proposing further technical amendments to the Capacity Market. A Sustainability First paper published in response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s review of utilities regulation offers four recommendations, including a roadmap to 2030.

Wednesday 06/03 – The High Court rules that key elements of the government’s national fracking policy, including failing to carry out a lawful public consultation on the revision policy, are unlawful. Utility Week reports that the Energy Networks Association’s Open Networks Project proposes a blueprint setting out the foundations of Britain’s Internet of Energy, presenting it as a solution to the challenges of decarbonising Britain’s heat and transport.

Tuesday 05/03 – Tempus Energy issues a claim for judicial review against BEIS to stop it operating the Capacity Market during its standstill because of state aid law obligations. The Capacity Market is the scheme which guarantees the UK’s security of energy supply. BEIS publishes the Capacity Market (Amendment) Rules 2019.

Monday 04/03 – The British Vehicle Renting & Leasing Association suggests that taxes and incentives must be aligned with long-term targets related to plug-in electric vehicles and company fleets. As reported by The Daily Telegraph, a report from Carbon Brief shows that carbon emissions fell for the sixth year in a row in 2018.

Friday 01/03 – As reported by Insider Media, the UK’s first corporate power purchase agreement (PPA) is signed between Danish energy company Ørsted and water company Northumbrian Water. The deal means that Northumbrian Water will take almost one-third of its renewable energy demand from Ørsted’s Race Bank offshore wind farm. As reported by The Engineer, sustainable energy company Gridserve signs a deal with Warrington Borough Council to build the “two largest solar farms to be built in Great Britain since 2016”.

Written By Graham Paul


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