The Informer

This week's energy news headlines: Britain has become the fifth country in the world where wind capacity outstrips all other generation types; The New Energy secretary believes a pragmatic approach to Net Zero is vital; The regulator invites industry views on reforms to transmission charging; Our industry round-up includes the latest updates from Gov

  • Wind capacity overtakes gas for first time

    Britain has now installed more wind capacity than any other type of power generation, according to new figures.

    The nation’s fleet of wind farms grew to 27.9 GW of capacity over the summer, overtaking combined cycle gas power stations for the first time.

    The latest Drax Electric Insights report said Britain is only the fifth country in the world to have achieved the milestone. The wind capacity is split equally between onshore (14.1 GW) and offshore (13.8 GW) farms.

    Gas had been Britain’s largest source of power capacity for the last 10 years, and before that coal reigned supreme since the Victorian era.

    Dr Iain Staffell of Imperial College London, lead author of the report, said: "Wind power is blowing away gas and coal from Britain’s energy mix and in just a decade, we’ve gone from relying completely on the polluting fuels of the past to embracing the clean energy technologies of the future.”

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  • Energy Secretary pledges ‘pragmatic’ Net Zero Approach

    New Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho has said that “pragmatic policies” which bring the public on board are needed to get the UK to Net Zero.

    Her comments came amid a review being carried out by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of current policies ahead of the next general election.

    Writing in The Sun newspaper, Coutinho said: “Despite the huge progress this Government has made, we in the UK only account for one per cent of global emissions.

    “Put simply, we can’t do this alone, and hard-working families should not be forced to change their lives or have extra financial burdens put on them.”

    Coutinho added you “can’t punish people to reach net zero”.

    “You have to take people with you,” she said.

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  • Ofgem seeks views on transmission charging reform

    Ofgem is seeking industry views on the future role and design of electricity transmission network charging.

    In an open letter the regulator points out that the future energy system will look “very different to the one our current charging framework was designed to serve”.

    Changes ahead include significant expansion of the transmission network to accommodate geographically dispersed generation.

    The open letter poses questions including whether that locational transmission charges should reflect the network as it is expected to be in the future rather than the existing model.

    It also asks whether transmission network charges play a role in encouraging households and small businesses to make efficient investments in low carbon technologies.

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  • Battery storage investors ‘need more sophisticated approach’

    Investors in battery storage need to consider more sophisticated strategies to maximise revenues, according to a report which found the market has suffered a sharp fall in profits.

    LCP Delta’s report said that since the unprecedented highs of 2021 and 2022, the GB market has experienced a sizeable drop in profits compared to the past two years. This has been further compounded by falling wholesale power prices and energy trading values.

    It said markets such as Firm Frequency Reserve (FFR) and Dynamic Containment (DC) had become saturated.

    Chris Matson, Partner at LCP Delta, said the fundamentals for battery storage remain strong but investors and asset owners will need to “refamiliarise” themselves with the landscape they are now operating within and understand potential challenges.

    “As the durations of assets increase and frequency response markets saturate, sophisticated energy trading and revenue stacking will be crucial,” he said.

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  • Government backing to help firms decarbonise

    Businesses are to share nearly £46m from the Government to support the use of cleaner, home-grown energy.

    A total of 26 companies will receive help under schemes including the Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator Competition and the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund.

    They include Tweed Valley Maltings in Northumberland which is establishing a low carbon energy centre including a wind powered electric boiler, The new facility will cut bills, reduce emissions and secure energy independence.

    Minister for Energy Consumers and Affordability Amanda Solloway said: “As we continue towards our goal of reaching net zero by 2050, we want to ensure businesses have all the support they need to power our transition to a cleaner, cheaper energy system.

    “With industry responsible for producing an estimated 16% of our emissions at present, the Government is taking action to support businesses onto greener paths.”

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  • Regulatory news and consultations round-up

    Connection and Use of System Charges Modification Proposal CMP288 has been sent back by Ofgem to obtain greater clarity on the proposed categories of costs to be introduced into the CUSC.

    Energy UK has published its response to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee inquiry into long-duration energy storage.

    The Government has launched an open consultation to further assess the case for hydrogen blending. into GB gas distribution networks. It closes on 27 October 2023.

    Latest monthly data on Renewables Obligation certificates and generation has been published.

    Ofgem has issued a consultation on supply and generation licence conditions to implement new ownership arrangements for Elexon.