The Informer

This week's energy news headlines: The Government looks to boost energy security with new gas plants; A record £1bn+ funding pot is announced for the next CfD round; A European energy group unveils £10bn battery storage investment plans for the UK. Our industry round-up includes the latest updates from Government departments and energy regulators.

  • Regulatory news and consultations round-up

    The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has published a consultation on potential amendments to Allocation Round 7 and future rounds of the Contracts for Difference scheme.

    Ofgem has published a schedule listing the deadlines for data submission for the purpose of issuing Renewables Obligation Certificates, and the dates by which Ofgem intends to issue ROCs for the period April 2024 to March 2025.

    Ofgem has published an Initial Project Assessment of the third cap and floor window for electricity interconnectors.

    National Grid ESO has published its Digitalisation Strategy and Action Plan.

    Ofgem has said generator Dorenell Windfarm Limited (DWL) will make a payment of £5.53m following a breach of energy market rules.

  • Government to back new gas power stations

    The Government is to set out plans to support the building of new gas power stations to strengthen the UK’s security of supply.

    Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho said the new stations, which will replace existing plants many of which are reaching the end of their operational life, will “maintain a safe and reliable energy source for days when the weather forecast doesn’t power up renewables”.

    Coutinho said without gas backing up renewables, there was the “genuine prospect of blackouts”.

    “There are no easy solutions in energy, only trade-offs. If countries are forced to choose between clean energy and keeping citizens safe and warm, believe me they’ll choose to keep the lights on. We will not let ourselves be put in that position. And so, as we continue to move towards clean energy, we must be realistic.”

    The announcement is to be made as part of the second consultation on the Review of Electricity Market Arrangements (REMA) which includes proposals to introduce locational wholesale prices across the country in a move aimed at better matching supply and demand and bringing down costs.

    The plans for new unabated gas stations have been criticised by environmental groups.

    Doug Parr, policy director at Greenpeace UK, said: “The Government’s cunning plan to boost energy security and meet our climate goals is to make Britain more dependent on the very fossil fuel that sent our bills rocketing and the planet’s temperature soaring.” Read more

  • Record CfD funding pot for renewables

    Industry leaders have welcomed a record funding pot of over £1bn for Britain’s flagship renewables scheme.

    The Government said the increased budget for the sixth Contracts for Difference (CfD) allocation round would drive further investment into the UK’s thriving renewables sector and roll out more “clean, secure and affordable energy”.

    Offshore wind has been given a separate funding pot of £800m after the previous round failed to attract any bids from projects due to rising costs and supply chain challenges.

    Although RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Dan McGrail said the budget increase recognised that global economic conditions have changed, he argued more could have been done to maximise offshore wind’s potential.

    “We have more than 10 gigawatts of capacity eligible to bid in this summer. Building this is essential if we’re to make up lost ground from last year’s auction and create the substantial pipeline required to accelerate supply chain investment and growth in the UK. This funding will only secure between 3 to 5 gigawatts,” he said. Read more

  • Developer unveils plans for £10bn UK battery storage investment

    A European renewables developer has announced plans to invest £10bn in UK battery storage projects.

    The newly launched UK arm of NatPower said it is looking to submit planning applications for three gigaparks with a further 10 to follow next year.

    The firm plans to develop 60GWh of battery storage which it said will provide 15-20% of the energy storage needed in the UK by 2040. Further solar and wind projects will be announced this year.

    Stefano Sommadossi, CEO at NatPower UK, said: “The UK is unrivalled in its resources, skills, policy and potential, and ambitious leaders, government, investors, lenders, and developers, will get us where we need to go. The energy transition is not only the fastest way of providing cheaper, cleaner and more secure sources of power, but it is also a staggering opportunity for economic growth.” Read more

  • Nuclear boost in Spring Budget

    The UK’s state-owned nuclear business, Great British Nuclear, has struck a deal to buy two nuclear sites from Hitachi from £160m.

    The Wylfa site in Wales and the Oldbury-on-Severn site in South Gloucestershire are being bought as part of the Government’s plans to explore options for a new nuclear scheme in addition to Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C.

    Announcing the move in his Spring Budget, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said although no decisions have yet been made on projects the Wylfa site will play a “vital role" in delivering the government’s nuclear ambitions.

    Hunt also confirmed that the six companies chosen to progress to the next stage of a government competition to design small modular reactors have been invited to return tenders by June this year. Read more

  • Huge role for wave energy in UK Net Zero push

    The UK should look to harness 27GW of wave energy by 2050 to meet its Net Zero ambitions, according to a new report.

    The research by LUT University Finland said the wave resources along the Atlantic coasts of the UK and Ireland meant the technology had huge potential to help decarbonise.

    The report concluded that a broad combination of renewables must be applied in the UK with storage, sector coupling, and flexibility in order to reach 100% renewable energy. This will involve a mix of renewables including wind, solar, wave, tidal, geothermal, biomass and hydropower.

    Marine Energy Council Policy Director Richard Arnold said: “LUT University’s compelling report reinforces the importance of wave energy in the UK’s energy transition. It is critical that the UK Government provides a clear route to market and supports the wave energy industry investing in coastal communities and beyond. Read more