The Informer

This week's energy news headlines: Up to 20GW of clean energy projects are to be connected to the grid faster; The UK and Germany are to strengthen co-operation on renewables and energy security; Smaller firms need more help to cut energy costs and reduce carbon footprint; Our industry round-up includes the latest updates from Government departments and energy regulators.

  • Connection of 20GW of clean energy projects accelerated

    Up to 20GW of clean energy projects are to be connected to the grid earlier than expected as part of a push to boost capacity. On the transmission network, 19 battery energy storage projects worth around 10GW will be offered dates to plug in averaging four years earlier than their current agreement. On the distribution network in the Midlands, South West of England and South Wales, an additional 10GW of unlocked capacity will accelerate the connection of scores of low carbon technology projects, bringing forward some ‘shovel ready’ schemes by up to five years. National Grid said the accelerated 20GW equates to the capacity of six Hinkley Point C nuclear power stations and that the work is part of ongoing collaborative industry efforts, together with Ofgem and government, to speed up and reform connections. Alice Delahunty, President of National Grid Electricity Transmission, said: “Bringing these battery projects forward is one of a range of actions that our electricity transmission business is delivering alongside the system operator and wider industry to unlock clean energy capacity in England and Wales.” Read more

  • UK and Germany strike energy partnership agreement

    The UK and German governments have struck a deal to strengthen co-operation on renewable energy and promote energy security. Under the new partnership, Europe’s two largest economies have also doubled down on commitments made under the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. The energy and climate partnership will see the countries will work together on areas including offshore wind and electricity interconnection. The countries will also share industry knowledge and expertise to improve the exploration of carbon capture, utilisation and storage, including the cross-border transport of CO2. Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said: “The UK and Germany agree on the importance of clean, affordable energy and we both recognise its crucial role in growing our economies and guaranteeing national and global energy security. “We are already working together in the North Sea to deliver our world-leading offshore wind ambitions, as well as linking our countries with subsea electricity cables.” Read more

  • Ofgem highlights benefits of wholesale pricing change

    The introduction of locational wholesale pricing could deliver ‘material benefits’ for energy consumers, according to an Ofgem report. The regulator has set out the key findings from its assessment of the potential impacts of introducing locational pricing – where prices would be determined by factors such as local supply and demand - to support the UK Government’s consideration of options as part of its Review of Electricity Market Arrangements (REMA). It said improving the accuracy and effectiveness of locational signals could deliver benefits including improving the co-ordination of generation, storage, demand, and network infrastructure, reducing the amount of new infrastructure needed. However, Ofgem said further work is needed to develop a “more realistic counterfactual” of improving locational price signals through other reforms such as changes to network charges, access arrangements and balancing markets. Renewable energy industry associations have previously warned that switching to a new system would introduce increased uncertainty to the market and undermine investor confidence, Read more

  • Smaller firms need more help to decarbonise and cut energy costs

    Small and medium sized firms need more help to reduce their costs by improving energy efficiency and taking advantage of low-carbon technologies, according to a report. The Energy UK research highlights key areas including the challenge of access to finance and the cost of the transition to SMEs, the need for more widespread adoption of smart meters and greater long-term regulatory certainty and blockers such as planning and the connections process.   The report said as well as benefits for the businesses themselves, improving the energy efficiency of premises can deliver wider dividends by reducing system costs and improving security of supply through cutting overall demand on the system and the amount of grid upgrades required. Charles Wood, Deputy Director of Policy at Energy UK, said: “A concerted approach is needed in partnership with the Government to remove barriers to SMEs choosing when and how to invest in low-carbon technologies, helping them to decarbonise their demand and reduce their energy bills in the long-term.” Read more

  • Waste heat from data centres to benefit businesses

    Businesses and homes are to benefit from waste heat from data centres for the first time in the UK. The Government is provided backing of almost £65m for five green heating projects across the country.
    They include the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation in London which will be the first of its kind to recycle waste heat from large computer systems storing internet data to supply heating for the local community.
    The heat network will connect 10,000 new homes and 250,000 square metres of commercial space to a low-carbon energy source that will help keep bills low and contribute to the UK’s drive to reach net zero by 2050.
    Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, said: “Keeping homes warm with waste heat from technology is a glimpse into the future - and demonstrates just how innovative this country can be when it comes to reducing our carbon emissions.” Read more

  • Regulatory news and consultations round-up

    Ofgem has sent a letter to non-domestic energy suppliers setting out its expectations for this winter. It also provides an update on the market review and subsequent policy development.

    RenewableUK has published a new guide which aims to explain to investors and policy makers how the government’s Hydrogen Production Business Model works.

    Scottish Renewables has published a letter to Ofgem regarding delayed decisions on code modifications.

    Ofgem has published its decision to approve BSC Modification P460 to amend the responsibility to propose and consult on a “Market-Wide Half-Hourly Settlement) MHHS migration plan.

    The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has published the outcome of its consultation into a UK Low Carbon Hydrogen Certification Scheme. It confirms a commitment to launch a scheme from 2025 to aid the decarbonisation of the UK economy and support the ambition to reach Net Zero by 2050.