The Informer

This week's energy news headlines: Labour plans to offer more incentives for communities to host renewable energy projects; The system operator is confident on meeting power demand this winter; The UK remains one of the world’s top markets for renewable investment; Industry round-up includes the latest updates from Government departments and energy regulators.

  • Starmer sets out Labour’s green energy plans

    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the party’s new green energy strategy would cut bills, create jobs and provide energy security. The plans include offering more incentives for local areas to accommodate clean energy projects. A new publicly owned company, GB Energy, would oversee the return of profits from successful projects to local councils to invest in the area. Sir Keir also confirmed Labour would not grant new licences to explore new oil and gas fields in the North Sea, although those in place at the time of the next election would be honoured. RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Dan McGrail welcomed the plans to increase the UK’s renewable energy ambitions,but said much would need to be done to enable them. “It's clear that delivering Labour’s renewable energy ambitions will require considerable reforms to planning, grid development, regulatory frameworks and skills policy,” he said. Read more

  • ESO confident on winter supplies

    National Grid ESO expects to have enough capacity to meet power demand this winter but plans to again use a scheme to incentivise households to use less. In its early view of winter report, the system operator said it expects an average de-rated margin - the difference between the supply and demand for electricity - of 4.8GW (around 8%) which is slightly higher than last winter. However, it said it expects to use its normal operational tools during cold periods and plans a return for the Demand Flexibility Service which was trialled last winter. It is also in discussions on the availability of having two coal units in contingency contracts this winter. “We are continuing to build resilience ahead of winter to mitigate the impact of risks and uncertainties due to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine,” it said. “We are actively engaging with Government, Ofgem, National Gas Transmission and industry stakeholders to ensure we understand and mitigate emerging risks for the upcoming winter.” The ESO will publish a full Winter Outlook Report in September or early October. Read more

  • UK remains one of world’s top markets for renewables investment

    The UK has maintained its global ranking as one of the world’s most attractive markets for investment in renewable energy. EY’s latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) places the UK at fourth. The US retains the top spot and Germany has overtaken China in second place. The UK is followed by France and India. Ben Warren, Chief Editor of the report, said a “generational opportunity” has emerged for the renewables industry to turbo-charge green energy demand more than subsidies have in the past. “For larger economies, it could even drive growth through scaling up capacity in the push for energy independence,” he said. Among the factors contributing to the UK’s continued high ranking is the UK Government plans to develop a globally recognised certification scheme for green hydrogen production by 2025 in a bid to build confidence in the sector. Read more

  • Wind power being wasted due to grid upgrade delays

    Britain wasted enough wind generation last year to power a million homes due to delays in electricity grid upgrades, according to a new report. Financial think-tank Carbon Tracker said the costs of inaction could treble by 2026, and cost the country £3.5bn a year by 2030, increasing average annual household electricity bills by nearly £200 and generating 6.8 million tonnes of emissions. The report said grid investments are not increasing in step with the rapid growth of wind power. Report author Lorenzo Sani said without significant improvement in the permitting timeframes for critical energy transmission infrastructure, the grid can’t support the government’s plans to decarbonise generation by 2035 or deliver on its vision of ‘affordable, homegrown, clean energy.” The report calls on policymakers and regulators to prioritise transmission project delivery as a matter of urgency, focusing on the need to fast-track permits and for better anticipation of growing demand bottlenecks requiring investment in strategic infrastructure, before they reach a critical phase. Read more

  • System operator consults on connections reform

    A consultation on long-term solutions to improve the connections process has been launched by the system operator. National Grid ESO said there was a “clear and urgent need” to reform the transmission connection process. “Renewable project developers are waiting too long to connect to the network, and this is hindering our progress to deliver net zero,” it said. More than 280GW of generation projects are currently seeking connections to the transmission network and an increasing number of those projects have dates into the mid to late 2030s. A range of actions are in place to address the problems now, but the system operator is also looking at a new ‘future-proofed’ connections process. The consultation will close on 28 July. Read more

  • Regulatory news and consultations round-up

    National Grid ESO has published its Early View of Winter Outlook report for the coming winter and also taken a look back at the 2022/23 winter.

    The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has published a letter setting out the Government’s intention to hold two Capacity Market auctions in 2024. The Department has also published the outcome of its consultation on proposals for reforms to the Capacity Market to strengthen security of supply and align with net zero.

    Energy UK has published its response to the Clean Heat Market Mechanism consultation.

    National Grid ESO has opened a consultation on the next version of its Demand Flexibility Service ahead of next winter. The consultation closes on 17 July.