The Informer

This week's energy news headlines: Acceleration of investment in new energy infrastructure is urged by a major report; Reforming transmission charging could have a significant impact on Net Zero progress; Global progress on fossil fuel phase-out is hailed as the start of a new era; Our industry round-up includes the latest updates from Government departments and energy regulators.

  • Step up in energy infrastructure investment urged

    Much greater investment is needed in the UK’s energy infrastructure to meet climate goals and boost economic growth, according to Government advisors.

    The National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) five-yearly review also calls for the backing of electrification as the “only viable option for decarbonising buildings at scale”.

    It suggests the Government fully subsidises the costs of installing heat pumps for a third of households – based on income – and offers £7,000 support to all others to switch to a heat pump or heat network.

    The report also calls for the addition of more low carbon, flexible technologies to the electricity system to ensure a highly renewable energy system remains reliable, and for the creation a new strategic energy reserve to boost the nation’s economic security.

    Sir John Armitt, Chair of the NIC, said: “We stand at a pivotal moment in time, with the opportunity to make a major difference to this country’s future. But we need to get on with it.

    “People often talk about infrastructure as the backbone of our economy: what our infrastructure needs now is the collective mettle to turn commitments into action that will reap rewards for decades to come.”

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  • Network charging reform could unlock faster Net Zero

    Reforming transmission charges could have as much of an impact on decarbonisation as the radical market reforms currently being considered, according to a new report.

    The report, from Cornwall Insight in partnership with SSE, argues that the Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charges faced by renewables generation, battery storage, and flexible demand are often not reflective of their impact on the system.

    That leads to uncertainty among investors, driving up costs, and hindering the deployment of technologies crucial for achieving net zero.

    The paper highlights a number of potential changes including TNUoS demand credits which could operate in a similar way to generation in areas where it provides benefit to the system, and an energy storage specific tariff.

    Adam Boorman, Principal Consultant at Cornwall Insight, said: “At a time when the government is considering revolutionary energy market reforms, there is also merit in considering the potential of more gradual approaches that can still deliver transformative results in less time and with minimal disruption.”

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  • World on cusp of new era of fossil fuel decline

    Half of the world’s economies are already at least five years past a peak in power generation from fossil fuels, according to new data.

    Economies which are at least one year past the peak represent 50% of global demand, setting the stage for a peak and subsequent decline in global power sector emissions the report from not-for-profit think tank Ember found.

    The vast majority (78) of the economies already five years past a peak in fossil power have displaced fossil generation through the expansion of clean power.

    Dave Jones, Global Insights Lead at Ember, said: “Not many people realise just how many countries’ power sectors are already well into a phase of fossil decline. For many countries, this was done simultaneously to rising electricity demand. We are on the cusp of a new era of fossil decline in the global power sector.”

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  • New initiative aims to highlight public support for renewables

    A new initiative to support the development of more renewable energy projects across the UK has been launched.

    Developer Ripple Energy has launched ‘Generation YES’ to enable members of the public to pledge their support for projects in their area via an interactive map.

    The initiative aims to draw attention to the growing demand from consumers for real action to be taken against climate change and offer them a platform to be heard.

    Sarah Merrick, founder and CEO of Ripple Energy, said: “The UK is at risk of stalling new renewable energy projects. Grid connection delays, consenting difficulties and offshore auction prices which are too low are all preventing progress.”

    She said Generation YES is aimed at encouraging the British public to pledge their support for more renewable energy projects and “show the Government that now is the time for action”.

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  • Hydrogen ‘backbone’ moves ahead

    The next stage of work to develop a hydrogen backbone connecting industrial regions across Britain has begun.

    National Gas has named the partners which will help it work the next stage of Project Union which will be capable of transporting 100% hydrogen, connecting hydrogen production and storage with end users.

    Through the phased repurposing of existing high pressure gas transmission network infrastructure - alongside the construction of selected new pipelines - Project Union will create a hydrogen network of up to 2,000km, equivalent to 25% of Britain’s current methane transmission network.

    Jacobs and ERM will now work with National Gas to develop strategic route options. Danielle Stewart, Project Director of Project Union at National Gas, said the move “represents the next step in providing widespread access to low carbon hydrogen in Britain, leading to system resilience and efficiency by using shared network infrastructure”.

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  • Regulatory news and consultations round-up

    Ofgem has published an open letter on regulatory arrangements for independent distribution network operators. It outlines recent developments which it said have contributed to its view that the benefits of competition in extra high voltage connections may need to be reviewed.

    Scottish Renewables has launched its submission ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

    The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has published an open call for evidence on UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions reporting. It seeks views on the costs, benefits and practicalities of Scope 3 reporting.

    Ofgem has published an open letter setting out its intention to allow the Market Stabilisation Charge to expire at the end of its current extension period in March 2024.

    The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has launched a consultation on its Phase 2 proposals and 10-year review of the Capacity Market. It closes on This consultation closes on 8 December.