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Industry News Roundup January 2020

Friday 31/01 – The UK officially leaves the EU at 11PM. The T-3 Capacity Market (CM) auction provisionally clears at £6.44/kW per year and procures 45,058.832MW of de-rated capacity. The CM is the scheme which guarantees GB’s security of electricity supply. A new report by Carbon Tracker reveals that the longer nations put off acting on climate change, the greater the risk of stranded assets if governments are forced into a “handbrake turn.

Thursday 30/01 – The Environment Bill is reintroduced to Parliament. The government is taken to the High Court over its approval of planning permission for Drax to build four new gas turbines at its Selby plant in North Yorkshire – the claimant, ClimateEarth, argues that this goes against the government’s own decarbonisation agenda. The National Audit Office concludes that electricity networks, under Ofgem’s regulation, have provided a good service, but the costs for consumers have been too high.

Wednesday 29/01 – Former Business Secretary Greg Clark is elected Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, replacing Norman Lamb, who stepped down as an MP at the last General Election. Ofgem confirms that OVO Energy is to pay £8.9mn in redress for issuing inaccurate or incomplete information to customers, and for under- and over-charging customers due to IT issues. The regulator also announces Utility Warehouse is to refund and compensate 3,430 Warm Home Discount customers £450,000 after they were overcharged following a system error.

Tuesday 28/01 – Sainsbury’s commits £1bn over 20 years to become net zero by 2040, ten years earlier than the government’s UK target. The Association for Consultancy and Engineering and Environmental Industries Commission have joined forces in a new net zero taskforce for businesses.

Monday 27/01 – The House of Commons announces that Labour MP Rachel Reeves was re-elected unopposed as Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee. The committee scrutinises the work of the BEIS Department.

Friday 24/01 – Ofgem publishes the RIIO-2 (the upcoming changes to how network companies are regulated) challenge group’s final report on the price control business plans networks submitted to Ofgem in December. Rolls-Royce tells BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme that it is planning to build and install small modular nuclear reactors by 2029. The company says prefabricated parts, advanced digital welding and robotic assembly could dramatically reduce the cost of building them, leading to cheaper electricity.

Thursday 23/01 – An investigation by BBC Newsnight in conjunction with Greenpeace finds that UK Export Finance is spending billions on supporting fossil fuel projects abroad, with estimated carbon emissions “of a country the size of Portugal”. Citizens Advice warns the government that it risks “fatally undermining” the country’s ability to reach net zero by 2050 if it does not involve citizens in the process.

Wednesday 22/01 – The government publishes new research which found that 9.7mn (just over one-third) households have not taken steps to change their home energy usage, despite the opportunity of saving hundreds of pounds. The 105 citizens chosen to take part in the UK’s first Climate Assembly will meet for the first time this weekend to begin a process to give Parliament and the government an understanding of “what people across the UK really think about how the UK can reach the target of net zero emissions by 2050”.

Tuesday 21/01 – Government funding for on-street chargepoints will be doubled to £10mn next year, the Department for Transport announces. Kaluza announces that it is providing a paid flexibility service to Western Power Distribution – flexibility enables energy users such as businesses to access cheaper electricity or sell excess electricity back to the grid.

Monday 20/01 – Big Energy Saving Week begins – aiming to help people cut their energy bills and get all the financial support they are entitled to. The International Energy Agency publishes a report which calls for the oil and gas industry to step up its climate efforts.

Friday 17/01 – The Department for Transport announces it will invest £3.4mn in wireless charging for electric taxis in Nottingham. SSE announces that construction on the 3.6GW Dogger Bank windfarm has begun. UK Power Networks has become the first electricity network operator to achieve the Carbon Trust Standard for Carbon.

Thursday 16/01 – The Prime Minister appoints former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney as a key COP26 adviser. National Infrastructure Commission Chair Sir John Armitt calls for the government to subsidise charging solutions in rural and hard-to-reach areas that are unlikely to be served by the market in the short term. The Office of National Statistics publishes its annual Low Carbon and Renewable Energy Economy, UK: 2018 survey, and finds that that turnover in the UK low carbon and renewable energy economy (LCREE) was estimated to be £46.7bn in 2018.

Wednesday 15/01 – Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom defends her government’s record on plans for tackling climate change during a debate on A Green Industrial Revolution in the Commons. SSE completes the sale of SSE Energy Services to OVO Energy for £500mn.

Tuesday 14/01 – The Electric Vehicle (EV) Energy Taskforce publishes a report, making recommendations to the government on EV and energy policy. The European Green Deal’s Investment Plan is presented, which the EU says would lead to €1trn investment from both the public and private sectors.

Monday 13/01 – Ørsted and Equinor announce plans to lead a newly established Action Coalition to represent the offshore wind sector. National Grid launches its first green bonds, with the aim of raising £430mn to finance UK electricity transmission projects with environmental benefits. The New Economics Foundation called on the government to increase investment in green infrastructure to prevent a recession in new report, Recession Ready. A report by Atkins has urged the government to act rapidly if it is to achieve net zero by 2050 and to prioritise consultation on alternative financing models for nuclear.

Friday 10/01 – The Sustainable Energy Association publishes a report proposing a carbon intensity regulation of heating to help the UK meet the 2050 net zero target. Ofgem announces that it is consulting on issuing nine energy suppliers with final orders for breaching the requirement to be Data Communications Company users.

Thursday 09/01 – National Grid ESO issues updated recommended procurement targets for the upcoming Capacity Market auctions. For all three auctions the recommended capacity level was lower than the target previously confirmed by the Secretary of State. The government says it has no plan to turn the moratorium on fracking into a ban. Ofgem issues Gnergy with a notice of failure after the supplier failed to comply with a final order over unpaid Renewables Obligation payments. Ofgem opens an investigation into Utilita’s compliance with the prepayment meter price cap.

Wednesday 08/01 – National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) publishes its Operability Strategy Report 2019, setting out its plan for the coming years.

Tuesday 07/01 – Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid announces that the Budget will take place on 11 March. Treasury Minister Simon Clarke tells the Commons that a review into the country’s transition to a net zero economy and its subsequent funding will not be published until the autumn.

Monday 06/01 – Ofgem confirms the medium electricity Profile Class 1 Typical Domestic Consumption Value falling from 3,100kWh to 2,900kWh from April 2020. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders confirms that, whilst UK new car registrations have fallen -2.4% in 2019 to 2.3mn units, registrations of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) rose by +144% to 37,850 units, overtaking plug-in hybrids and breaking previous records.

Friday 03/01 – Ofgem announces that Hornsea One Lt, RWE and UK Power Networks were fined £10.5mn over the 9 August power outage. Citizens Advice Scotland calls for an increase in funding to make Scottish homes more energy efficient and to ensure the cost of meeting its climate targets will not fall on those least able to pay.

Thursday 02/01 – Gresham House Energy Storage Fund PLC confirms that it has completed its investment in the 49MW Red Scar battery project.
Wednesday 01/01 – National Grid confirms that 2019 saw wind, solar and nuclear energy, alongside energy imported by subsea interconnectors delivering 48.5% of GB electricity in 2019, compared to 43% generated by fossil fuels for a full 12 months. Suppliers published their tariff rates under the Smart Export Guarantee.

Written By Graham Paul


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