The Informer

This week's energy news headlines: Clean energy investment is bouncing back but is forecast to fall well short of what is needed for net zero; Prices for REGOs continue to recover as energy demand rises; A vehicle-to-grid trial highlights opportunities for homeowners to save by providing grid flexibility.

  • Net zero gap despite rebound in clean energy investment

    Investment in clean energy projects is set to rise by 7% this year but that falls well short of what is needed to be on track for net zero by 2050, according to a new report. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said the gap between current investment trends and the required spending on climate mitigation is “a critical fault in the clean energy transition”. The organisation expects a 10% rebound in overall energy investments to £1.35 trillion this year, with clean energy projects accounting for £530bn. But it warns that still falls “far below” the expenditure needed and said clean energy spending needs to triple in the 2020s to deliver net zero. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, said: “The rebound in energy investment is a welcome sign, and I’m encouraged to see more of it flowing towards renewables, but much greater resources have to be mobilised and directed to clean energy technologies to put the world on track to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.” Read more

  • Demand for REGOs set to continue to rise

    Prices for Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificates have risen strongly since the start of the year with further increases expected ahead, according to a survey. Cornwall Insight’s latest Green Certificates survey found prices for REGOs – which enable suppliers to purchase certificates from renewable generators to match their supply profile - have increased by some 50% since January 2021. Prices had fallen sharply during last year’s lockdown as energy demand fell and have still not fully recovered. Factors cited for the rise include end-of year demand from suppliers, uncertainty surrounding the future acceptance of European Guarantees of Origins and greater climate ambition from businesses. Survey respondents also believe the positive momentum will continue, with prices set to continue to increase over the next year as electricity prices fully recover to pre-pandemic levels. “Demand has increased across all sectors of the market, with the survey respondents reporting the biggest demand increases from large industry and corporates,” said Luke Ansell, analyst at Cornwall Insight. Some 11% of respondents to Cornwall Insight's survey said they expected a “strong upward trend” in price. Earlier this year, generators Scottish Power and Good Energy called for Ofgem’s regulations around REGOs to be tightened to improve transparency and tackle ‘greenwashing’. Read more

  • Motorists could earn £725 a year from V2G services

    Motorists could earn up to £725 a year by using their electric vehicles to supply electricity to the grid, according to a new study. More than 300 homes had chargers installed in the BEIS-backed study which was the world’s largest ‘vehicle-to-grid’ trial of its kind. However, installing a vehicle-to-grid charger will currently cost between £4-5,000, compared to around £1,200 for a regular smart charging device. The companies involved in the project, known as Sciurus, believe this figure could come down to around £1,000 within a year, making the payback period around 3 years. Conor Maher-McWilliams, head of flexibility at Kaluza which took part in the trial, said: “The trial has provided some of the earliest insights into how the technology works in the real world and what is needed for it to be rolled out at scale. The V2G opportunity is a hugely exciting one which we are actively exploring here in the UK and internationally.” Project Sciurus is funded by BEIS and the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), in partnership with UK Research and Innovation. Partners also include OVO Energy, green consultancy Cenex, and Nissan. Read more

  • Scotland’s renewable energy industry now worth £5bn+ a year

    The renewable energy industry now supports more than 22,000 jobs in Scotland and accounts for output of £5.2 billion a year, according to a report. The statistics, from the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute, show onshore wind is the nation’s biggest employer, followed by offshore wind and hydropower. The industry, which provides the equivalent of 97% of Scotland’s electricity consumption, also has a large impact on other parts of Scotland’s economy, supporting almost 3,000 jobs in construction and 2,200 jobs in manufacturing. Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “These new figures show not just the number of people employed by our members and others, but also the reach of the industry into other parts of the economy. “Armed with this data we can now begin the process of mapping the industry’s growth as it takes a central place in the recovery from coronavirus and, of course, as we deploy more of the energy generation technology needed to meet our 2045 net-zero carbon emissions target.” Read more

  • Renewable generation records highlight GB’s ‘energy transformation’

    The new records achieved by renewable generation in May underline the significant transformation underway in Britain’s energy grid, according to the system operator. Last month saw an all-time high for wind power, with the record being broken twice and now standing at 17.7GW. That also saw a new record for the highest share of wind on the system, with May’s gales contributing just over 62%, beating a record that stood since August last year. National Grid ESO pointed out that on only three half-hour occasions in the last decade has coal – once the country’s dominant power source – made up over 60% of the mix. Isabelle Haigh, Head of National Control, said the ability to able to harness such growing volumes of zero carbon power on the grid showed the transformation underway. “While May’s winds set records, they were intermittent, and we also saw some cooler, wetter weather which was a contributing factor in gas making up a high proportion of the mix on average across the month,” she said. “June’s weather is forecast to be warmer and drier – a more promising outlook for the grid’s carbon intensity.” Read more