The Informer

This week’s headlines: The fracking industry has vowed to try and overturn a ban imposed on the practice by the Government; £175m of funding is announced to help boost industrial energy efficiency; and a report claims 25 million electric vehicle charging points will be needed to hit net zero.

  • Fracking halted over tremors

    The UK Government has imposed a ban on shale gas extraction - or fracking – amid concerns over potential earthquakes.

    Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said the ban, which came in the wake of a report which said it was not possible to predict the probability or size of tremors, may be temporary "until and unless" extraction is proved safe.

    Politicians from Labour, the Lib Dems and the Green Party welcomed the move although some also criticised it as ‘electioneering’ and environmentalists reiterated their calls for a permanent ban on the practice.

    Energy company Cuadrilla has said it hopes to address concerns so that the moratorium can be lifted.

    Ken Cronin, chief executive of industry group UK Onshore Oil and Gas, added: "Hydraulic fracturing stimulation is a long-standing technology used around the world and in a number of industries, including the oil and gas, water and geothermal sectors.

    "Going forward, we are fully committed to working closely with the Oil and Gas Authority and other relevant regulators to demonstrate that we can operate safely and environmentally responsibly."

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  • New funds launched to decarbonise UK industry

    Three new funding opportunities have been unveiled by government agencies Innovate UK and UK Research & Innovation to boost industrial energy efficiency.

    The Industrial Decarbonisation challenge will commit £170 million towards deploying technologies such as hydrogen networks and carbon capture and storage in industrial clusters.

    “Competition 1” covers deployment, while “Competition 2” covers roadmaps towards decarbonisation.

    Grants of up to £5m are also up for grabs for “fast start” projects that can improve the energy efficiency of some of the UK’s “foundation” industries.

    Bulk chemicals, cement, ceramics, glass, metals and paper are covered by the grants from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

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  • £48bn network upgrades needed to hit net zero

    The UK needs to install 25 million electric vehicle charging points and 23 million heat pumps to hit its net-zero target, according to a new report.

    The investment in infrastructure – which is equivalent to 4,000 charging points and heat pumps each day until 2050 – must include £48 billion to reinforce the grid.

    A total of £286bn will need to be spent to transform the heating and transport networks according to Capital Economics report commissioned by ScottishPower.

    The utility has launched a Zero Carbon Communities campaign, with Liverpool stepping forward as the first city to take part.

    Keith Anderson, Chief Executive at ScottishPower, said: “As our report sets out, the route to net zero is clear, and by devolving power to communities we can add £5.4bn of benefit to the economy and support 115,000 skilled jobs along the way.”

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  • Global annual energy storage market risks contracting

    A slowdown in China and South Korea could see the global energy storage market contract during 2019, according to the latest report from analysts at Wood Mackenzie.

    Regulatory and policy changes have affected the two Asian markets, but the longer-term global outlook appears brighter, with 4GW expected to be deployed in 2019, before rising to 15GW in 2024.

    Rory McCarthy, a Senior Analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said: “The market is expected to bounce back quickly from this near-term slowdown by accelerating in 2021, driven by large-scale utility procurements targeting GWs of storage – often paired with renewables – over the next three to five years.”

    In the UK, the report claims that frequency markets are near saturated, but intraday and balancing offer opportunities.

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  • Offshore wind body for Scotland targets 8GW by 2030

    A new body has set out a vision for 8GW of offshore wind power capacity to be operational in Scotland by 2030.

    The Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council is chaired by Scottish Government Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse and Brian McFarlane, Head of Projects, Offshore Development at SSE Renewables. Other members include Scottish Renewables, Scottish Enterprise, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, Crown Estate Scotland, Red Rock Power and the Energy Skills Partnership.

    McFarlane said: “Offshore wind will play a key role in our efforts to tackle the climate emergency and achieve Scotland’s ambitious net-zero emissions target, and the members of the Council are committed to ensuring that Scotland makes the most of this most innovative of technologies as we seek to further decarbonise our energy system.”

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