The Informer

This week’s headlines: the Government believes over 100 large-scale new battery projects could be built after it relaxes planning barriers; the target capacities for the next Capacity Market auction have been unveiled; and work gets underway on a new interconnector to link the UK and Denmark.

  • Battery storage projects could triple as barriers come down

    The removal of planning barriers could pave the way for a tripling of battery storage projects on the grid, according to the Government.

    Secondary legislation has now been passed by ministers to allow for projects above 50MW in England and 350MW in Wales.

    Minister for Energy and Clean Growth Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The key to capturing the full value of renewables is in ensuring homes and businesses can still be powered by green energy even when the sun is not shining, or the wind has stopped blowing.

    ”Removing barriers in the planning system will help us build bigger and more powerful batteries, creating more green-collar jobs and a smarter electricity network.”

    Frank Gordon, Head of Policy at the Renewable Energy Association, said the previous cap on projects was “largely arbitrary and skewed the market.”

    “As energy storage built alongside new renewables projects is crucial to unlocking subsidy-free deployment, the old system acted as major barrier to achieving our Net Zero target and building low-cost generation sites.”

    But he added that there are a “matrix of changes that need to be made to the way our grids and energy system are managed if we are to fully decarbonise.”

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  • Capacity Market auction parameters set out

    The Government has set out the parameters for the next Capacity Market auctions to ensure demand can be met in the years ahead.

    BEIS said a target capacity of 0.4GW has been pencilled in for the T-1 auction for the 2021/22 delivery year, despite a recommendation from the system operator that it is not needed.

    It said the target is justified because of the uncertainty and potential risks from the pandemic, recent plant outages; and “compliance with our long-standing commitment to set a target capacity for T-1 auctions, which is at least half the capacity that was set-aside when determining the target capacity for the T-4 auction for the same delivery year.”

    A total target capacity of 41.2GW has been set for the T-4 auction for the 2024/25 delivery year.

    BEIS added the parameters for the auctions may be adjusted following the auction prequalification and any related appeals processes.

    The T-1 auction is planned for January 2021 and the T-4 auction for February 2021.

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  • Work underway on UK-Denmark interconnector

    Work has begun on the 765km Viking Link interconnector between the UK and Denmark.

    National Grid said the link, which will take three years to construct, will have the capacity to supply enough renewable energy to power one and a half million UK homes.

    By 2030, 90% of electricity imported via National Grid’s interconnectors will be from zero carbon sources.

    Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng, said: “Not only will the scheme create local green collar jobs across the county, it will also bolster our energy security, reduce bills for consumers and give our homegrown renewable generators a greater chance to export zero-carbon electricity around the world.”

    Viking Link will connect Bicker Fen in Lincolnshire with Revsing in Denmark and is a joint venture between National Grid Ventures and the Danish electricity system owner and operator Energinet.

    Meanwhile Ofgem has given SSE approval to construct a 600MW interconnector between mainland Scotland and the Shetland Isles in a move which opens the way for the construction of the 443MW Viking wind farm on the islands.

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  • London Underground to be powered by zero-carbon PPAs

    Transport for London (TfL) is looking to source all the tube network’s electricity from zero carbon sources by 2030 via power purchase agreements (PPAs).

    TfL is one of the largest consumers of electricity in the UK, with a requirement for 1.6 terrawatt-hours a year which is currently sourced electricity via the public sector procurement body Crown Commercial Service.

    TfL said that by developing plans to purchase power from renewable generators through PPAs, it would enable its services to be powered by energy sources including wind and solar power.

    Khan said: “As one of the single biggest purchasers of energy in London, it is important that TfL leads the way on green energy."

    “This is a vital step towards my ambitions for TfL – and London – to be zero-carbon by 2030.”

    Renewable Energy Association chief executive Nina Skorupska welcomed the move which she said will help decarbonise the Capital’s tube and reduce energy costs.

    “This is a major step forward for both the low-carbon transport and power sectors, and we hope to see other London boroughs also getting involved.”

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  • Onshore wind represents £29bn opportunity for the UK

    Removing barriers to new onshore wind farms and solar could deliver a huge boost to the UK economy and create 45,000 new jobs, according to a report.

    Analysis by Thrive Renewables said the UK’s legal obligation to achieve net zero carbon emissions is providing a significant investment opportunity and that 5GW of onshore renewables must be rolled out every year between now and 2035 to be on track - more than triple the amount approved over the last year.

    Dealing with the blockers to ‘shovel-ready’ projects could see £28.9bn pumped into the UK economy by 2035 and save UK consumers up to £1.5bn a year.

    “By providing policy certainty and creating a more positive environment for onshore renewables, the Government can unleash huge private sector investment, create thousands of jobs and deliver a greener, cleaner UK", said Thrive Managing Director Matthew Clayton.

    He said more a uniform approach to planning and more certainty over mechanisms such as the Contract for Difference auctions would better support the business case for renewable energy.

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