The Informer

This week's energy news headlines: The UK must act decisively to provide renewable investors with confidence; Over 110 countries have pledged to help triple green energy at COP28; Businesses will find it easier to install rooftop solar after planning changes; Our industry round-up includes the latest updates from Government departments and energy regulators.

  • Warning over competition for renewables investment

    Fierce competition for renewables investment from the US and EU could threaten financing for UK projects, according to a new report.

    Analysis by Cornwall Insight looks at the impact of subsidy and policy schemes such as the US’s Inflation Reduction Act and the EU’s Green Deal Industrial Plan which it said could give these regions a competitive edge over the UK.

    The report said with a limited global pool of renewable investment, this could cause significant damage to the UK’s Net Zero plans which are already facing challenges from rising inflation, supply chain disruptions, and labour shortages already hindering investment.

    Jamie Maule, Research Analyst at Cornwall Insight: “Right now, the UK is certainly not a lost cause for investors, but it must act clearly and decisively if it is to rebuild investor confidence and maintain progress towards net zero.

    “Timely government policies and proactive decisions are crucial. Waiting for events, like the lack of offshore wind bids in the last CfD allocation round, is a luxury the UK can ill afford.”

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  • COP28 sees ambitious green energy pledge

    More than 110 countries have pledged to play their part in tripling global renewable energy capacity by 2030 in one of the headline agreements of the COP28 climate summit.

    The commitment made at the Dubai summit also includes a doubling in the annual rate of energy efficiency improvements.

    There has also been a landmark deal to help the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries pay for the impacts of climate change. The loss and damage fund aims to meet some of the costs caused by extreme weather and sea level rise.

    Earlier, King Charles III warned humans are carrying out a "vast, frightening experiment" on the planet, taking the natural world "outside balanced norms and limits".

    UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also said climate change could only be tackled "if we take people with us".

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  • Boost for rooftop solar for businesses and homes

    Businesses will be able to install rooftop solar panels more easily under new rules announced by the UK Government.

    Current rules that require businesses to apply for planning permission if solar panels will generate more than one megawatt of electricity will be scrapped, meaning organisations will be able to install more solar panels on rooftops without the delay and cost of applying for planning permission.

    Other changes will mean homeowners with flat roofs will be able to install panels without planning permission, bringing rules in line with those for businesses.

    Currently those who have to go through the planning system are having to wait over eight weeks and face extra costs.

    Energy Security and Net Zero Minister Graham Stuart MP said: “Removing the 1MW restriction for industrial rooftop solar will help us meet our target of 70GW of solar power by 2035 while supporting hundreds of long-term skilled British jobs, bolstering our world-leading renewables sector and reducing bills for consumers with panels.”

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  • Industry leaders highlight nuclear’s key role in cold snap

    The UK grid has relied on nuclear reactors that would have retired years ago without extra investment to keep the lights on during the current cold snap, according to new analysis.

    The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) said during one recent evening, margins on the grid were projected to be less than 2.5 GW with more than 3.3 GW of generation being supplied by EDF’s sites at Heysham, Hartlepool and Torness.

    National Grid has estimated the margins on the grid this winter would be 4.4 GW compared to the 4.7 GW of generating capacity provided by the UK’s four nuclear AGR stations.

    The association pointed out EDF has invested £7 billion in the UK’s existing nuclear fleet since it acquired them and obtained 30% higher output than anticipated at acquisition.

    Chief Executive of the NIA Tom Greatrex said: ‘When margins are tight, it is nuclear that keeps the grid running. With demand high and the temperature low, nuclear keeps generating when we need it, cutting carbon, cutting gas, and cutting bills.”

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  • Supplier to pay £1.67m after Ofgem investigation

    Ofgem has proposed a £1.67m penalty on an energy supplier following issues including serious overcharging of business customers.

    The regulator found ten breaches of licence conditions by Hudson Energy Supply UK Ltd (HES) which served up to 1,600 business customers across the UK.

    Ofgem’s enforcement team found that HES had failed to ensure appropriate arrangements were in place to achieve compliance with its licence obligations throughout the duration of the relationship with a third party.

    Cathryn Scott, Director of Enforcement and Emerging Issues at Ofgem, said: “Through taking this action Ofgem is sending a firm signal to the market that it is not possible to outsource compliance with the licence conditions: the licence holder is responsible for any breaches and any harm caused to its customers.”

    Ofgem said HES admitted to all of the breaches, with Shell, who took over the ownership of HES in 2019, having taken appropriate remedial actions to ensure that these failures are not repeated in its business.

    Separately, the regulator said it is also launching an investigation into Maxen Power Supply Ltd, focussing on the fair treatment of businesses and the rates they are charged.

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  • Regulatory news and consultations round-up

    The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has published an update to projections of energy demand, greenhouse gas emissions and electricity generation from 2022 to 2040.

    The government has updated its set of carbon values to be used in policy appraisal and evaluation.

    Ofgem has published its decision on Grid Code modification proposal GC0162 which proposes changes to allow for certain critical sites to be protected within Demand Disconnection of between 20% and 40%.

    Scottish Renewables has published its draft response to the Capacity Market 2023 Phase 2 proposals and 10 year review.

    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.