The Informer

A new report says businesses and consumers will have a key role to play in driving the investment needed in renewables as the global energy market transforms; the regulator is being urged to stand firm on its plans to slash network costs; and a partnership is launched to promote the benefits of Corporate PPAs to tech firms.

  • Energy markets set for ‘fundamental restructure’ as renewables grow

    Decisive policy measures and greener choices by companies and consumers will be critical to accelerate the growth of renewables as energy markets “fundamentally restructure” in the years ahead, according to BP’s latest future of energy report.

    The oil giant’s latest Energy Outlook report also said that global oil demand may already have peaked and may not now return to pre-Covid-19 levels and that renewable power is now growing faster than any other fuel in history.

    The report expects fossil fuels to continue to give way to renewables in an increasingly electrified world where energy demand is set to rise in the decades ahead. Falling technology costs could see renewables share of the global energy mix reach almost 60% by 2050.

    Although government policy measures will be critical to achieve net zero, companies and consumers also have an important role to play by switching to low-carbon energy sources. However, the report warns that the world is currently “on an unsustainable path”.

    “A rapid and sustained fall in carbon emissions is likely to require a series of policy measures, led by a significant increase in carbon prices,” it said.

    “These policies may need to be reinforced by shifts in societal behaviours and preferences. Delaying these policies measures and societal shifts may lead to significant economic costs and disruption.”

    BP Chief Executive Bernard Looney said the analysis in the report shows that, with decisive ‎policy measures and more low carbon choices from both companies and consumers, the ‎energy transition can still be delivered.

    “It is one of the reasons I remain optimistic about the future and I hope readers will find the ‎report helpful as we all try to make a difference.”‎

    Read more

  • Ofgem urged to ‘hold nerve’ on network cost cuts

    Ofgem has been urged to stick to its guns over plans to significantly reduce returns for network operators in the next price control period.

    Following a series of warnings from network firms over the impact of the regulator’s RIIO-2 price control proposals, Citizens Advice has argued that Ofgem could go even further and save energy consumers a further £1.7 billion during the next set of price controls.

    In its response to Ofgem’s consultation, the organisation says the regulator has still been too generous to the networks and could do more to lower the cost of capital, saving customers £1.7 billion over the course of the five-year price control.

    Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Ofgem has made significant progress on delivering a price control that is value for money for consumers. But right now energy networks are aggressively pushing back against the regulator’s proposals. They’ve even claimed the price control will put more people at risk of blackouts and jeopardise the net-zero transition."

    “But the only thing really at risk here are the excessive profits these companies have made by overcharging consumers. The regulator must hold its nerve in the face of the significant pressure from the networks and look at whether it can go further.”

    Read more

  • Trade bodies join forces to highlight Corporate PPA benefits

    Technology firms in the UK are being urged to look at buying their energy through long term power purchase agreements to stimulate investment in renewable generation.

    Trade bodies techUK, the Solar Trade Association (STA) and RenewableUK have launched a new partnership which aims to promote the transition to a net zero economy.

    The STA and RenewableUK will be also encouraging their members to work more closely with the UK technology sector on issues such as integrating smart systems into the growth of the renewable and energy storage industries and assess the potential of emerging technology such as AI and machine learning in the renewables sector.

    Julian David, Chief Executive of techUK, said: “The technology sector is already the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world."

    “We are committed to working with the UK’s renewable sector not only to bring more new renewables onto the grid as part of our own efforts to decarbonise our operations, but also to support companies in the sector in understanding how emerging technology can support their businesses.”

    Read more

  • Funding to develop robots to repair wind turbines and power stations

    Funding of £15m has been announced by BEIS to support the development of robots which could maintain and repair wind turbines and nuclear power stations.

    The cash boost is part of a £65m pot being allocated to technologies to help the transition to a low carbon economy.

    The robotics being developed by universities and businesses will also be used to address new problems resulting from the pandemic, including ones that can operated remotely and make contact-free deliveries or move hospital beds.

    The BEIS funding will also help develop the next generation of high-performance batteries for electric vehicles and wind turbines, and to complete the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre in Coventry, West Midlands, creating 100 high-skilled jobs.

    Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “We want to build back better by putting the UK at the forefront of new technologies to create high-skilled jobs, increase productivity and grow the economy as we recover from coronavirus.

    “This new funding will strengthen the UK’s global status in a range of areas, including battery technologies for electric vehicles and robotics, helping us develop innovative solutions to some of our biggest global challenges and creating jobs in rewarding careers right across the country.”

    The financial support is being made available through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

    Read more

  • Investors urge companies to step up decarbonisation

    A campaign group representing investors has written to more than 160 companies urging them to set net-zero targets and demonstrate they are changing their business models.

    Climate Action 100+ has also revealed plans to set up a benchmark to track corporate progress towards the net-zero by 2050 target.

    The campaign group has targeted high carbon emitters and calls for them to increase their ambition around decarbonisation and become more transparent with their sustainability reporting and climate disclosure.

    It said the benchmark will identify companies which are “particularly unresponsive or poorly performing”.

    Stephanie Pfeifer, of the Climate Action 100+ steering committee, said: “Companies across all sectors need to take more ambitious action to ensure the otherwise devastating impacts of climate change are avoided while they still can be."

    “Supported by investor engagement, we’re seeing encouraging commitments and ‘net-zero leaders’ beginning to emerge, but a broader step change is urgently required if global warming is to be limited to 1.5°C. The benchmark will ensure it is clear which companies are acting on climate change as a business-critical issue and embracing a net-zero future. Investors will be paying particular attention to those shown to be falling short.”

    Read more