The Informer

This week's energy news headlines: A new service will enable smaller generators to benefit from helping balance the network; A business lobby group calls for more Net Zero consistency to help firms play their part; A £10m fund is launched to support community energy projects; Our industry round-up includes the latest updates from Government department

  • New route to market for smaller generators

    A new service is to provide an additional route to market for smaller electricity generators and unlock network connection capacity. A tie-up between the Electricity System Operator (ESO), UK Power Networks and National Grid Electricity Distribution has enabled the launch of the ‘MW Dispatch Service’. The system operator said the development extends the options available to its control room beyond the generators currently operating in the Balancing Mechanism. The service will enable smaller electricity generators connected to distribution networks to be instructed to reduce their output at times of system constraint and to receive payments for the electricity they would have otherwise generated. Consumers will also benefit, as the service will provide a cheaper alternative to the existing constraint management process, helping to reduce costs for consumers. Claire Dykta, Head of Markets ESO, said: “Collaboration across networks is helping us to unlock new solutions to manage the network of the future. Alongside other steps on our Markets Roadmap, the MW Dispatch Service is unlocking new tools to deliver long-term management of constraint costs and to deliver new service options for distributed assets.” Read more

  • More Net Zero policy consistency urged for businesses

    Businesses need more consistency from government on Net Zero plans to help them contribute to the push, according to a new report. The British Chambers of Commerce and Lloyds Bank report said there was a need for a review of support and advice to SMEs on moving to Net Zero. Large businesses and institutions must also continue to drive behaviour change in their supply chains. It followed an earlier BCC survey of more than 1,000 businesses which found that nine out of 10 don’t fully understand what the Government’s target of making the UK Net Zero by 2050 means for them.  Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the BCC, said many smaller firms “feel lost in a fog of conflicting information and are reluctant to invest in new technologies when they fear betting on the wrong horse”. “Mixed messages from Government on the importance of Net Zero are only compounding the problem, as well as a ‘stick’ heavy approach to enforcing change,” she said. Read more

  • £10m community energy boost

    A £10m funding pot is being established to help develop community energy projects across England. The Community Energy Fund, which will open to applications in the early Autumn, will help to kickstart projects including small-scale wind farms and rooftop solar partnerships, as well as battery storage, rural heat networks, electric vehicle charging points, and fuel poverty alleviation schemes. Minister for Nuclear and Networks Andrew Bowie said: “Local communities are at the heart of our plans to boost our energy security and grow the economy. “Importantly, these energy projects could expand beyond local areas by attracting further investment from the private sector, in turn inspiring other communities to power their area with energy from England.” As with the former Rural Community Energy Fund, the new fund will be delivered through Local Net Zero Hubs, which support local authorities to develop net zero projects and attract commercial investment. Read more

  • Energy groups welcome biomass strategy

    Industry groups have welcomed Government plans to accelerate the use of biomass energy. Bodies including Energy UK and the Renewable Energy Association said the publication of the strategy would be a boost for investment across the sector. “It also helps push forward policies to deliver strategically important innovations including bioenergy carbon and storage (BECCS),” they said. The strategy points out that biomass can play a significant role in decarbonising nearly all sectors of the economy and stressed the UK is already a global leader in biomass policy and technologies, with biomass accounting for 8.6% of energy supply in 2022. “Through biomass, we can achieve both low carbon energy sources and some of the negative emissions necessary to reach net zero,” it said. However, the industry groups also said there is an “urgent need to go further” by providing workable routes to market for ‘negative emissions’ through BECCS. Read more

  • Wales launches publicly owned energy company

    A publicly owned energy company has been launched by the Welsh government. Ynni Cymru will be based in Anglesey and aims to expand renewable energy initiatives across the nation. The Welsh government said early scoping work had indicated that a strong opportunity exists for Ynni Cymru to position Wales at the forefront of developing and delivering smarter local energy projects. Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “The current market-based approach to the energy system is not delivering decarbonisation at the scale or pace necessary for the climate emergency and has not been retaining sufficient benefit in Wales. “Local use of locally generated energy is an effective way to support net-zero and keep the benefit in our communities.” Read more

  • Regulatory news and consultations round-up

    Elexon is staging a webinar to explain the Balancing and Settlement Code P395 modification (Aligning BSC Reporting with EMR Regulations) and what companies need to know so that they can benefit from the changes. The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has published the outcome of its consultation into the role of biomass in achieving net zero. The Capacity Market prequalification submission window is now open. Participants can apply to bid for agreements to receive capacity payments based on the auction clearing price for the 2024/25 and 2027/28 delivery years by 5pm on 19 September. Ofgem has published details of the Renewables Obligation Quarter 4 Mutualisation Payment Distribution for 2020-21.