The Informer

This week's energy news headlines: Planned reform of the grid connection process could halve the current queue; Action is urged to prevent renewable investment being slowed by higher interest rates; The UK’s offshore wind industry sets out ambitious growth plans. 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 the latest decisions by the Secretary of State on energy infrastructure applications.

    The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has published an investigation into supply chain constraints across key renewable and network technology supply chains up to 2035.

    A consultation has been launched on new standards for energy smart appliances and organisations which provide demand side response services or can remotely control electrical load.

    The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero is seeking views on proposals to support Capacity Market auction liquidity.

    The latest monthly data on the UK’s renewables sector, including capacity, electricity generation and liquid biofuels consumption has been published.

  • Grid connection reforms could halve queue

    New moves to improve the grid connection process could potentially halve the size of the queue, according to the system operator.

    National Grid ESO is proposing retrospective application of its planned reforms which would enable earlier connection dates for viable projects.

    It’s ‘First Ready, First Connected’ reforms were initially to apply only to new connection and significant modification applications received from January 2025 onwards. But the new proposals would take effect across the whole of the current queue in a move the ESO said would also remove stalled projects and better utilise network capacity.

    In an Open Letter last week, Ofgem noted that despite some process improvements to date, the connections queue has continued to grow at an “unprecedented rate”.

    It believes the ESO’s proposals to reform the connections process has the potential to deliver the goals set out by the regulator and Government.

    “However it needs to be developed alongside a full assessment of risks and benefits, with a robust plan for regulatory and operational implementation,” it said.

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  • Interest rate warning for renewables investment

    A higher interest rate environment is putting vital investment in renewable capacity at risk, according to a new report.

    The analysis by consultancy Wood Mackenzie said increased cost of borrowing impacts on renewables and emerging low carbon technologies more than sectors such as oil and gas which tend to be less highly geared.

    However, the report said there are steps that governments can take to help offset or at least mitigate the burden of higher interest rates.

    “Policymakers need to remove obstacles such as slow permitting and project approval as well as offering clear, consistent, and sustained incentives, to support the uptake of low-carbon energy and nascent green technologies,” it said.

    A separate report by the Resolution Foundation has warned that if a high-interest rate environment continues, the cost of financing energy investment will be considerably more expensive, adding £29bn a year to household energy bills by 2050.

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  • Offshore wind industry sets out ambitious growth plans

    A blueprint has been published by industry leaders setting out how the UK can cement its place as a leader in the global offshore wind market.

    RenewableUK, the Offshore Wind Industry Council, The Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland have launched the Industrial Growth Plan which details how to triple offshore wind manufacturing capacity over the next ten years.

    The measures set out would support an additional 10,000 jobs a year and boost the UK’s economy by a further £25bn between now and 2035.

    The UK currently has the second largest global pipeline of offshore wind projects at all stages of development at nearly 100GW - more than six times our current capacity.

    RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Dan McGrail said: “Our Industrial Growth Plan is the deepest dive ever into the offshore wind supply chain, identifying the highest-value components and services which the UK should focus on to get the biggest economic bang for our buck from future wind farm development. “

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  • Scottish government admits 2030 target out of reach

    The Scottish government has admitted its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030 is now "out of reach".

    The decision came after a report from the Climate Change Committee (CCC) last month warned that the 2030 target was now "beyond what is credible".

    However, Scottish ministers said they remained committed to achieving Net Zero by 2045.

    Mairi McAllan, minister for Wellbeing Economy, Net Zero and Energy, said: "In this challenging context of cuts and UK backtracking, we accept the CCCs recent re-articulation that this parliament's interim 2030 target is out of reach.

    "We must now act to chart a course to 2045 at a pace and scale that is feasible, fair and just."

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  • £1.8bn power link with Denmark launches

    Viking Link, a record-breaking 475-mile-long land and subsea cable connecting British and Danish energy grids for the first time, has been formally launched.

    Running from a converter station in Lincolnshire to one in southern Jutland, Denmark, across both land and sea, the link enables the sharing of wind power between the two countries.

    In the first year of operating, Viking Link is expected to save 600,000 tonnes of carbon emissions – equal to taking 280,000 cars off UK roads.

    Group CEO of National Grid John Pettigrew said: “Over its lifespan, this record-breaking connection will deliver over five billion pounds in efficiencies for UK consumers, allow us to trade hundreds of gigawatts in surplus power and provide an indispensable tool in guaranteeing the continued reliability of our energy system.”

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