The Informer

This week's energy headlines: A new scheme to reduce peak demand over winter saved enough power for nearly 10 million homes; Residents in communities hosting wind farms could benefit from lower energy bills under Government proposals; Leading businesses attend the first meeting of a new Net Zero body; Our industry round-up includes the latest updates from Government departments and energy regulators.

  • ESO hails success of new demand flexibility scheme

    National Grid ESO’s new scheme to reduce peak demand over winter saved enough power for nearly 10 million homes, according to new figures. The Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) saved over 3,300MWh of electricity as consumers and businesses reduced demand at key times. A total of 1.6m households and businesses took part in 22 demand reduction events held across this winter. National Grid ESO said the national smart meter network, operated by the Data Communications Company (DCC), also played an important role in the successful rollout of the service. The ESO is currently undertaking a review of the service alongside industry participants and consumers to assess how the service could be improved in future. The outcomes of the review will be published later this summer. Claire Dykta, Head of Markets for the ESO, said: “Across this winter the DFS successfully demonstrated the interest of UK consumers and businesses in playing a more active role in balancing our electricity needs. “We are now working with industry and consumers to establish how this world leading service can grow from strength to strength and support the continued evolution of consumer flexibility in the UK.” Read more

  • Plans unveiled to boost onshore wind rewards

    Local communities could be offered improved rewards from onshore wind developers under new proposals. The Government has launched a consultation on the plans which could see residents benefit from lower energy bills. It said it wanted a more localist approach that offers local authorities greater flexibility to respond to the views of their communities. The proposals build on benefits already offered by developers to areas that agree to have onshore wind farms locally. These include holding a stake in a turbine, which gives them the potential to receive profits from the site’s operation, or funding for new community facilities, such as charging points for electric cars or new sports and recreation facilities. Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Graham Stuart, said: “Onshore wind is a vital part of our plans to deliver cheaper, cleaner, and more secure homegrown energy. “Our proposals will ensure developers and local residents can work together more efficiently to maximise community benefits for supportive communities while delivering the clean and secure energy the country needs.” Industry body, RenewableUK, said alongside “much-needed planning reforms”, the consultation provides an opportunity to increase the amount of cheap clean power we can generate for consumers as well as strengthening our nation’s energy security. Read more

  • Business leaders join first meeting of key Net Zero body

    Leaders of banks, energy companies, technology giants and finance firms were among those attending the first-ever meeting of the UK’s Net Zero Council. Co-chaired by Energy Minister Graham Stuart and Co-op Group chief executive Shirine Khoury-Haq, the council will support the industry to help cut emissions and develop greener practices. Energy Minister, Graham Stuart, said: “The Net Zero Council provides the high-level forum for government, business and finance leaders to work together to unlock the opportunities of the green transition. “Tackling emissions can make businesses more energy efficient, improve UK energy security and, in turn, cut costs. It can open up opportunities to export UK developed solutions around the world, expand UK market share and create jobs.” Construction, manufacturing, retail and water and waste were identified as priority sectors to support and focus on, alongside the UK’s world-class university and R&D sectors, with capabilities of building cutting-edge technologies of the future, such as green aviation, hydrogen, CCUS and batteries. Read more

  • Green heat projects share £91m in funding

    Seven innovative projects are to share £91m of funding to help drive the development of low-carbon heat for businesses and homes. The Government’s Green Heat Network Fund is providing the backing for the projects which include the UK’s first system drawing heat from deep underground to provide low-cost heating for nearly 4,000 homes. Heat networks take heat found underground or use excess heat generated through manufacturing or waste management, and supply heating and hot water through a connected network. The projects include the Langarth Deep Geothermal Heat Network which will involve drilling to a depth of 5,275 meters to extract the heat from granite rocks beneath the United Downs Industrial Site in Cornwall. Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, said: “These innovative projects will not only benefit the communities they serve, by reducing emissions and providing low-cost heating that helps to drive down energy bills, but also support the nation’s push for greater energy security and independence. “They form part of our energy revolution – creating hundreds of new jobs for our ever-expanding green economy”. The Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) is a £288m scheme that opened in March 2022 to public, private and third sector applicants in England and is anticipated to run to 2025. It replaced the Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP) scheme which closed for applications in January 2022. Read more

  • Site of former coal plant to become battery storage project

    The site of a former coal-fired power station is to be turned into a battery energy storage project under plans unveiled. SSE Renewables has taken a Final Investment Decision to proceed with the 150MW project at the decommissioned Ferrybridge coal-fired power station in West Yorkshire. A grid connection has been confirmed for June 2024 and the project is expected to be fully operational by late 2024. It will be SSE Renewables’ second battery storage project being delivered following the start of construction on a 50MW site in Salisbury. Richard Cave-Bigley, Director Solar and Battery at SSE Renewables, said: "This important new project demonstrates clearly the transition to net zero while supporting new green jobs.” The Ferrybridge coal-fired power station was a prominent feature of the West Yorkshire landscape for decades before being decommissioned by SSE in 2016. Read more

  • Regulatory news and consultations round-up

    Ofgem has published details on the redistribution of the Renewables Obligation (RO) Quarter 3 Mutualisation payments for the 2020-21 compliance period. A total of £52.9m was redistributed.

    Ofgem has published guidancefor generators on co-location of electricity storage facilities with renewable generation supported under the Renewables Obligation or Feed-in Tariff schemes.

    The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has launched a consulationon its proposed Strategy and Policy Statement for energy policy in Great Britain. It closes on 2 August.

    The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has launched a consulation seeking views on the design of a market-based mechanism to support the development of the market in low-carbon electric heat pumps.