The Informer

This week's energy news headlines: PM Rishi Sunak tells world leaders they need to go further and faster on climate change; The new demand flexibility service to boost security of supply this winter gets underway; A report claims central government departments are failing to lead by example on Net Zero; Our industry round-up includes the latest updates from Government departments and energy regulators.

  • Sunak urges acceleration of shift to clean energy

    UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, told the COP27 summit that the world needs to move “further and faster” in the shift to renewable energy to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. Sunak, who reversed an earlier decision to not attend the event in Egypt, said it was vital that nations stick to pledges made at the previous summit in Glasgow and that there was an opportunity for "a global mission for new jobs and clean growth". "The world came together in Glasgow with one last chance to create a plan that would limit global temperature rises to 1.5C. The question today is: can we summon the collective will to deliver on those promises?" he said. “Putin’s abhorrent war in Ukraine and rising energy prices across the world are not a reason to go slow on climate change. They are a reason to act faster. Because diversifying our energy supplies by investing in renewables is precisely the way to insure ourselves against the risks of energy dependency.” At the opening of the summit, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned countries that they need to work together immediately to cut emissions or condemn future generations to climate catastrophe. He urged the richest countries to provide poorer nations with the funding they need to reduce emissions and cope with the immediate impact of climate change. Read more

  • ESO’s demand flexibility service launches

    National Grid ESO’s Demand Flexibility Service to help ensure security of supply this winter has launched following approval from Ofgem. The scheme runs to 31 March 2023 and the ESO is now looking to run the first demonstration events for the service. Ofgem has confirmed that the trials will include a guaranteed acceptance price for the providers that participate, set at £3,000/MWh. Further details on how these demonstration events have performed will be made public following delivery. Fintan Slye, Executive Director of the ESO, said the service “will help mitigate the potential risks that the ESO has outlined in its Winter Outlook and will allow consumers to see a financial return for reducing their electricity use at peak times”. “As a responsible operator of the electricity system, we have developed this innovative service to complement the robust set of tools we already use to balance the electricity system every day.” Read more

  • Government ‘failing to lead by example’ on Net Zero

    The UK Government is failing to lead by example on the road to Net Zero, according to MPs. A report from the Public Accounts Committee is critical of the poor quality of emissions measuring and reporting across central government. Despite the time and resources being committed by central government bodies, the Committee said it was not convinced that they or the wider public sector are using emissions data to drive decision-making.
    Fewer than half of departments comply fully with the mandatory elements of HM Treasury’s reporting requirements. BEIS has overall responsibility for delivering net zero, but does not “hold individual departments to account”, according to the committee. Dame Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the committee, said: “The targets set to maintain our world in a liveable state are not ‘nice to have’. The government made a legally binding commitment to deliver net zero by 2050. “Government promised to lead the way to national decarbonisation but isn’t even putting its own house in order. Vague guidance and lack of follow up make it hard for the public to hold the Government to account.” Read more

  • Government denies Sizewell C under review

    The Government has refuted reports that plans for the new Sizewell C nuclear power plant are under review. Although the Government is looking at major projects as it looks to reduce spending, it has said the plant in Suffolk was not part of that. Sizewell C is expected to provide up to 7% of the UK's total electricity needs when it starts generating electricity. The plant, which is being developed by EDF, will be built next to Sizewell B and the decommissioned Sizewell A site. A spokesman for the Prime Minister told the BBC said it "hoped to get a deal over the line as soon as possible” and said talks with private firms over funding had been constructive. The Stop Sizewell C campaign group said the project "definitely should be under review", and claimed it was not crucial to meeting Net Zero. Read more

  • G20 fossil fuel support highest since 2014

    The G20 group of leading world economies last year provided the highest levels of fossil fuel support since 2014, according to new figures. The $693bn of support for coal, oil and gas is at odds with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, concluded a report by Bloomberg Philanthropies and BloombergNEF (BNEF). China accounted for the largest share of the support at 26%, but was below other G20 nations on a per-capita basis compared. Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions, said: “Governments continue to subsidize fossil fuels – undermining the pledges they’ve made, harming public health, and shrinking our chances of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. “We need to dramatically speed up the shift to clean energy and away from coal and other fossil fuels, and this report highlights some of the most important steps governments can take.” Read more

  • Regulatory news and consultations round-up

    Ofgem has issued a Call for Input on options to address high balancing costs. It sets out the regulator’s proposal to introduce a new electricity generation licence condition to reduce balancing costs and better ensure the market delivers in the interests of consumers. More details here.

    The regulator has also issued an update on Renewables Obligation certificates presented and the redistribution of the Buy-Out Fund for 2021-22. More details here.

    The UK ETS Authority bodies have responded to the private consultation on the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) registry data publication policy. More details here.

    Elexon has published its response to BEIS Net Zero Review, and said it believes that innovation across the market needs to accelerate. More details here.