Sector round-up 02/01/2018

Shell to buy First Utility

Oil and gas giant Shell has bought First Utility, the British domestic energy and broadband provider.

Mark Gainsborough, Shell’s Executive Vice President of New Energies, said: “This combination will enable Shell to enter a new part of the energy market in the UK and to improve choice for customers by delivering innovative services at competitive prices.”

First Utility will become part of Shell’s European gas and power marketing and trading business.

> See...

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Energy price rise fears over gas supply issues

Concerns have been voiced over the security of the UK’s energy supplies after a series of setbacks saw the price of gas rise sharply on wholesale markets.

Discovery of a crack in the Forties pipeline, which carries gas from the North Sea, was followed by an explosion at an Austrian distribution site which affected supplies from the continent.

Wholesale gas prices soared by 50% over the course of 24 hours, pushing up costs to their highest level for six years although they have since fallen...

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Green Investment Bank sale criticised by audit body

The National Audit Office (NAO) has criticised the UK Government’s sale of the Green Investment Bank (GIB).

The watchdog praised the GIB’s progress in stimulating investment in the offshore wind industry.

But it concluded: “GIB’s impact in other sectors is less certain and in deciding to sell the Department [for Business, Innovation & Skills, now the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy] lacked clear criteria or evidence to show that GIB had achieved its intended...

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Energy firms appeal watchdog’s transmission charges decision

Power companies SSE and EDF are appealing against Ofgem’s decision not to refund money they believed they were overcharged for using the national transmission system.

SSE said it had been overcharged by 25% based on a European Union directive.

EDF added that Ofgem’s decision “risks creating uncertainty in the electricity market” if it is not reversed.

The energy firms are bringing their case to the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA).

‘£120m cost to consumers’

Ofgem responded:...

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Call to reduce nuclear costs and delays

A report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) has called for the UK Government to streamline the approval process for building nuclear power stations.

The professional body wants ministers to commission an independent review of the generic design assessment (GDA) process to keep costs low.

A GDA for each nuclear reactor built in the UK must be approved by regulators.

IMechE wants the process simplified so small modular reactors (SMRs) can be built.

Skills shortage

Jenifer...

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Power giants in green bond pledge

Nine European industrial giants have pledged to further develop the green bond market.

The companies – which included EDF, SSE and Scottish Power-owner Iberdrola – have together already issued a total of €26 billion (£23bn) in green bonds, representing more than 10% of the market.

They pledged to continue issuing bonds to improve liquidity in the market.

Reports on the environmental impact of the projects funded by the bonds will also be released.

Sharing experience

The group said:...

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World Bank to stop funding oil & gas projects

Projects that extract oil and gas will no longer receive funding from the World Bank after 2019.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim made the announcement at the One Planet Summit convened by President Emmanuel Macron of France and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The bank said that it would only fund gas projects for the poorest countries in “exceptional circumstances”.

To qualify for finance, such projects would still have to fit within each countries’ commitments to...

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19/12/2017 - Sector Round-Up

Ofgem chairman to step down

David Gray has announced his intention to retire as chairman of Ofgem when his five-year term ends in September 2018.

Prior to his appointment as chairman, Gray was an executive director at Ofgem’s networks division between 2003 and 2007.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy will appoint his successor.

> View Ofgem's statement

 

Atlantis in “transformational” GFG tie-up

Tidal energy firm Atlantis Resources has a struck a...

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Network operators in £17bn smart grid pledge

A commitment made by electricity network companies to help Great Britain’s fast developing smart grid could help deliver £17bn back to the economy by 2050, according to an industry body.

Electricity network companies operating across England, Scotland and Wales have announced the joint pledge to “create new markets to enable flexibility services that will compete alongside traditional investment”.

They said the move will help reduce the cost of running the network to customers and provide new ...

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Parliamentary group predicts 12GW of battery storage possible by 2021

A new report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Energy Storage believes 12GW of battery storage deployment in the UK is possible by the end of 2021.

The Renewable Energy Association, the report’s authors, estimates that in 2016 only 0.06 GW of battery storage was installed and operational in the UK.

The report argues that increasing that 12GW of battery storage would have a positive impact on UK energy security, would support the creation of domestic battery manufacturing and...

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