The Informer

This week's energy news headlines: An industry body calls for a major expansion of onshore wind to cut energy bills; A UK-France interconnector will take longer to repair than initially thought; The UK has slipped down the global league table for renewables.

  • Doubling onshore wind ‘could slash energy bills’

    Doubling the UK’s onshore wind capacity to 30GW by 2030 would reduce consumer bills by £16.3 billion this decade and help decarbonise electricity completely by 2035, according to analysis. RenewableUK’s Onshore Wind Industry Prospectus said the expansion would also generate £45 billion of economic activity and create 27,000 full-time jobs. The figures were published alongside new polling results showing onshore wind enjoys a high level of public support. The survey found 72% of the public want the Government to set a long-term target for wind ahead of the UN summit on climate change in Glasgow in November. RenewableUK’s prospectus sets out a wide range of actions for industry and Government, including introducing annual CfD auctions to stimulate more investment, improving planning systems in all four UK nations, and reforming Ofgem so that it sharpens its focus on net zero. Matthieu Hue, Chair of RenewableUK’s Onshore Wind Steering Group, said “As it’s one of the cheapest ways to generate new power, onshore wind will reduce energy bills for consumers who are being hit hard by massive increases in gas prices. It can also create tens of thousands of high-quality jobs in parts of the UK which need levelling up.” Read more

  • Fire-hit interconnector not back to full power until 2023

    The fire-damaged IFA interconnector between the UK and France won’t be fully restored for two years. A substation in Kent was hit by a fire last month and came as half of the 2GW capacity on the link was already down due to a planned outage. In an update by National Grid, it said extensive work is needed to safely return the 1GW hit by the fire to service. It plans to bring 500MW back to service between October 2022 and May 2023. It will then be able to undertake further work to bring the full capacity back by October 2023. However, National Grid said that it has been able to reduce the time of the planned outage of 1GW of capacity so that it will come back to service three days ahead of its previously published plan. “We are completely focused on getting IFA safely returned to service as soon as possible and ensuring we are able to support the security of supply,” it said. Read more

  • UK slips down global ranking for renewables

    The UK has slipped from fourth to fifth in a ranking of the world’s most attractive renewable markets. Developments in France, which has recently mapped out a 750MW offshore wind zone off the west coast which could be increased to 2GW in future, saw it overtook the UK despite a number of positive announcements of late. EY, which compiles the league table, cited the upcoming £265m CfD round and emerging hydrogen sector as evidence of strong momentum in the UK sector. The top three markets – US, China and India – saw their placings unchanged in the latest league table. EY said that with growing investment and policy support, the conditions appear ripe for renewable energy to continue growing at high speed. However, it said the sector must be careful to navigate around bottlenecks that could threaten the continuing rapid growth. Arnaud de Giovanni, EY global renewables leader, said: “Increasing investment and policy support has enabled renewables growth to continue at breakneck speed. If sustainability goals are to be met, however, a 50% increase in grid spending could be needed over the next decade as markets adapt for a net-zero future.” The UK is ranked at 7th in a new Corporate PPA league table published alongside the report and which aims to focus on the attractiveness of renewable power procurement via Corporate PPAs. Spain topped the table, followed by the US, France and Germany. Read more

  • Carbon pricing reform urged to cut emissions

    Carbon pricing needs to be reformed to ensure polluters are paying for the damage they cause and to ensure decarbonisation is done in a fair and responsible way, according to a think-tank. The Centre for Policy Studies said although the UK has set ambitious decarbonisation targets, it is still lacking in concrete policies to achieve them. The report notes that carbon pricing in the waste management and electricity generation sectors have been powerful decarbonisation tools, with emissions falling far more quickly than the economy as a whole. Eamonn Ives, report author and Head of Energy and Environment at the Centre for Policy Studies, said: “Carbon pricing and similar mechanisms have huge potential to achieve environmental goals, by putting the onus on to polluters to clean up their act,” he said. ‘By extending the reach of carbon pricing to more of the UK economy, sectors which have lagged behind those that have made an outsized contribution to decarbonisation in recent decades should begin to catch up, as they must if the UK is to meet Net Zero.” Read more

  • UK named as one of most Net Zero ready countries

    The UK has been named as the UK the most advanced of the world’s leading economies in terms of Net Zero Readiness but faces significant challenges ahead, according to a new report. KPMG’s first-ever Net Zero Readiness Index said Norway, the UK and Sweden make up the three most prepared nations globally. While the Climate Change Committee has highlighted in its latest annual report that the UK is not currently on track to hit its carbon budgets, the index said it is further advanced than some of its peers. The report points out that Net Zero ambitions in the UK enjoy cross-party political support and clear, legally-backed targets have enabled the “comparatively swift” decarbonisation of the country’s power generation sector. Despite being one of the world’s largest oil and gas exporters, Norway topped the index, partly due to private and public investment in renewable energy and electrified transport across the country. Read more