The Informer

This week's energy news headlines: Corporates including BT and Landsec have called for a fossil-free grid by 2035; The Government has denied Labour claims of complacency over the energy crisis; Plans for an interconnector with Ireland which could supply 380,000 homes move ahead.

  • Major corporates call for fossil-free grid by 2035

    Some of the UK best-known companies have urged the Government to set a 2035 deadline for 100% decarbonisation of Britain’s power system. In a letter to BEIS Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng, the businesses – including BT, Landsec and Thames Water - said the “time is right” to signal an end to the use of unabated fossil fuels in the power sector. “We stand ready to play our part in delivering fully decarbonised electricity by 2035”, the group said in the letter. The businesses acknowledged meeting the target will be challenging, requiring new investments in renewable energy of up to £14 billion each year, a significantly greater level of investment than has been possible to date. “However, with a commitment from the Government to deliver a fully decarbonised power system by 2035, we are confident this ambition can be achieved.” The group said such a move will raise confidence in the Government’s net-zero vision for the UK in the crucial years ahead, “ensuring that every pound invested in the country’s electricity sector contributes to building a low-cost, sustainable, and resilient energy system based on renewable technologies.” Read more

  • Political row as more suppliers fail

    The Government has denied being complacent over the energy crisis after Labour claimed that ministers had been warned 18 months ago of a risk to energy suppliers. Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said energy regulator Ofgem warning of a “systemic risk to the energy supply as a whole” and accused ministers of being “complacent” about the shock that rising gas prices could wreak on the market and consumers. BEIS Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng said Ofgem’s concerns had been “interrogated” and that the supplier of last resort programme, where consumers are automatically transferred to a new provider if their supplier exits the market, was “found to work”. Several smaller suppliers have already collapsed and Ofgem’s Chief Executive has warned that more could go out of business in the coming months if gas prices remain high. In a call to business leaders this week, Kwarteng reiterated the government’s commitment to continue investment in renewable energy projects and “getting unreliable gas off our grid as the only long-term solution to bringing down costs for consumers and strengthening Britain’s energy security, whilst boosting the country’s competitive advantage in green technologies”. Energy UK's chief executive, Emma Pinchbeck said the current situation shows “why we must continue the low-carbon transition and further reduce our dependency on fossil fuels to remove the risk of being exposed to volatile international wholesale prices in future”. Read more

  • GB-Irish interconnector moves ahead

    A 500MW interconnector between Wales and Ireland has moved a step closer after a consortium was awarded the contract to build the 190km link. Germany’s Siemens and Japan’s Sumitomo Electric Industries will construct the Greenlink Interconnector for investment group Partners. The high voltage direct current (HVDC) link will stretch from the existing EirGrid Great Island substation in County Wexford, Ireland, to the UK National Grid’s Pembroke substation in south Wales. The subsea and underground electricity interconnector is due to be fully commissioned in 2024. Siemens Energy and Sumitomo will begin work at the start of 2022, once financial close is reached. The interconnector has a nominal capacity of 500 MW, equivalent to powering 380,000 homes. Meanwhile, plans have been unveiled to build a link to connect power generated at a solar, wind and storage facility in Morocco to the UK. The project, backed by Xlinks, aims to generate a total of 3.6GW in Morocco and supply it to the UK via subsea cables. Read more

  • Five suppliers ordered to make FiT payments

    Five smaller energy suppliers have been issued with provisional notices by regulator Ofgem ordering them to pay around £765,000 in total owed to the feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme. The five suppliers - Colorado Energy, Igloo Energy Supply, Neon Reef, Whoop Energy and Symbio Energy - each failed to make their payments by the due date. Any supplier that failed to pay its Year 11 FIT levelisation obligation by the deadline of 17 September is in breach of the rules of its supply licence. Ofgem said if the suppliers fail to comply with the order made against them, it may take further enforcement action and they could end up having their licences revoked or facing a financial penalty. Read more

  • UK’s largest low-carbon heat network announced

    Up to half a million businesses and homes across the east of London could eventually be served by a district heating scheme which will be the largest of its kind in the UK. Swedish energy company Vattenfall, which runs district heating schemes in across Europe, has joined forces with waste management company Cory Energy for the first stage of the project. The planned heat network will be installed in phases as additional homes and low and zero-carbon heat sources join the network, which will serve 75,000 homes by the 2030s. Mike Reynolds, Managing Director at Vattenfall Heat UK , said: “Most of London’s 3.5 million homes, and thousands of commercial buildings, are heated using fossil fuels - yet there are abundant other sources of cleaner heat, such as the ground, water or waste heat from industrial processes,” “We’ve got to think big when it comes to removing emissions from heating, on a scale which works for global cities like London. District heating presents the best option for consumers in urban areas. It’s the cheapest source of low-carbon heat, it’s reliable and it’s resilient against energy shocks.” Heating is responsible for a third of UK greenhouse gas emissions and over 25 million homes are still using fossil fuels to keep warm.
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