The Informer

This week's energy news headlines: Plans to accelerate grid connections and capacity are unveiled; New renewable projects will be exempt from the windfall levy; Industry leaders move forward on plans to boost UK offshore wind; Our industry round-up includes the latest updates from Government departments and energy regulators.

  • Major power network reform unveiled

    Plans to speed up connections and boost grid capacity have been unveiled by the Government in a move to bring forward £90 billion of investment over the next 10 years.

    It said the package of measures announced at the Autumn Statement will ensure the country’s infrastructure is “fit for the green industries of the future”.

    The measures are in response to the Electricity Networks Commissioner’s report on accelerating electricity transmission network build. The Government has accepted his recommendations in all areas and the measures will halve the time it takes to build high-voltage power lines. 

    A connections action plan will also cut the average delay time projects face to connect to the grid from 5 years to 6 months. Communities hosting new power infrastructure could benefit directly with lower electricity bills and money for projects in their local areas.

    The Government also announced £960m for the Green Industries Growth Accelerator, which will accelerate advanced manufacturing capacity in key net zero sectors, including offshore wind, networks, carbon capture, usage and storage, hydrogen and nuclear. 

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  • New renewables projects exempt from windfall levy

    New renewables projects will be exempt from the Electricity Generator Levy following an announcement by the Government.

    The measure was introduced last year and imposed a temporary 45% tax rate on “extraordinary profits” for generators amid higher power prices.

    The Government said the exemption will apply to new renewable projects where the “substantive decision” to proceed is made on or after 22 November 2023.

    New projects will include new standalone stations, capacity increases and wholescale replacement of generating plant of existing stations.

    The Government said the move would strengthen the incentives for investment in renewable energy generation.

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  • Plan to boost UK offshore wind moves forward

    Plans to develop a new industrial growth plan to boost long-term expansion of the UK offshore wind sector are underway.

    Such a plan was a key recommendation of the final report by the Offshore Wind Champion, Tim Pick, who called for a “sober and thorough strategic competency analysis” of the UK’s comparative advantages and opportunities.

    The plan, expected to be published in early 2024, will be used to guide future investment as the UK seeks to build up its domestic clean energy supply chain in the face of increasing global competition.

    RenewableUK, the Offshore Wind Industry Council, The Crown Estate & Crown Estate Scotland are involved in the project, supported by KPMG.

    RenewableUK CEO Dan McGrail said: “The UK has a solid foundation on which to build a globally competitive supply chain but we’re battling headwinds from high inflation, investment challenges and increased ambition from competitor nations.

    “That’s why this is the right time to take a more strategic approach that defines our position and the unique value offering the UK can bring to the international supply chain and meet our domestic targets.”

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  • Concern over corporate decarbonisation progress

    Corporate progress on sustainability initiatives is slowing as the focus on low-hanging fruit comes to an end, according to a report.

    The latest EY Sustainable Value Study found a decline in the reduction of GHG emissions from a median of 30% in 2022 to 20%.

    It also found a delay in the target year to achieve climate ambitions among businesses from a median of 2036 to 2050.

    The report’s authors conclude that progress on sustainability is “falling short of what is needed to keep pace with global targets”.

    “Turmoil may well be the new normal for business, but tinkering around the edges on greenhouse gas emissions will not improve resilience at a time when it is needed more than ever,” they said.

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  • UK and South Korea strike green energy partnership

    The UK and South Korea have struck an agreement to boost energy security and accelerate the clean energy transition.

    Under the partnership deal the two countries will strengthen cooperation on areas including low carbon technologies, nuclear power, and domestic climate policies.

    The partnership comes alongside South Korean businesses injecting more than £10 billion of new investment into the UK, backing renewable energy and infrastructure projects across the country, and supporting more than a thousand highly skilled jobs across the renewables supply chain.

    Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said: “The UK and the Republic of Korea already have a strong relationship on energy security and tackling climate change.

    “The new partnership will see us collaborate even more closely, driving forward shared plans to accelerate clean energy sources, like renewables and nuclear power.”

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  • Regulatory news and consultations round-up

    Scottish Renewables has published its response to Ofgem’s open letter on strategic transmission charging reform.

    The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero is seeking views on proposals for a new 6-year Climate Change Agreements scheme to begin in 2025.

    Ofgem has published its decision to reject the ESO's proposal in relation to an update to the Terms and Conditions related to balancing.

    Ofgem has published a consultation on three Capacity Market rule change proposals. CP368 is related to a half-hour delay to the Capacity Volume Register publication deadline, CP369 adds an extra control point for secondary trades that require aggregation rules, and CP373 is about the shifting of some responsibilities from Delivery Body to Settlement Body.

    Ofgem has launched a review into standing charges on energy bills. It is looking for responses by 19 January.