The Informer

This week's energy news headlines: The UK stands at a crossroads for making enough progress to enable Net Zero; Phantom renewables projects are holding back progress on green investment; The head of the UK’s biggest business group urges the next government to prioritise green growth. Our industry round-up includes the latest updates from Government departments and energy regulators.

  • Regulatory news and consultations round-up

    National Grid ESO is inviting views on its Operability Strategy Report Operability Strategy Report which sets out its strategy for meeting the challenges of running a net zero electricity system. The deadline for comments is 5 July.

    The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has launched a consultation on proposed approach for siting fusion energy facilities. The consultation closes at 17 July.

    Ofgem has set out its decision on Capacity Market Rule change proposals CP368, CP369 and CP373

    Ofgem has approved a modification to the Connection and Use of System Code (CMP428) around defining liabilities for generators connected via onshore transmission.

    Scottish Renewables has published an update to its Scotland onshore wind pipeline analysis 2024-2030.

  • UK at crossroads on Net Zero

    The incoming government will have ‘no time to waste’ to rapidly expanding electricity infrastructure to enable Net Zero, a report warns.

    The Mission Zero Coalition, chaired by former energy minister Chris Skidmore, said the UK’s journey to the target is at a crossroads.

    “The country’s climate leadership is being challenged by other nations and this generational economic opportunity could slip away without renewed vigour,” it concluded.

    The ‘At a Crossroads – Pathway to a Net Zero Future’ report said five times more electricity infrastructure needs to be built in the next five years than has been during the past three decades.

    Areas the report addresses include improvements to the planning process to encourage high quality applications for renewable projects which also deliver community benefits, and a more strategic approach to building an electricity system to balance supply and demand at lowest cost to consumers.

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  • Warning over ‘phantom’ renewables projects

    Two thirds of renewables applications are failing to get through the planning stage, according to new analysis.

    Cornwall Insight’s Renewables Pipeline Tracker shows that 63% of projects were either abandoned, refused, withdrawn, or ultimately expired.

    The data reveals only 20% of projects remain in development statuses that could see them coming to fruition, meaning they are now at the planning submitted, awaiting construction or under construction stages.

    The low success rate of applications is blamed in part on an increasing number of speculative applications being submitted.

    Industry reports show a rise in so called ‘phantom projects’, where developers submit multiple applications for many sites, with the expectation being that very few will connect. These speculative and duplicate applications have seen the connections queue grow, increasing the work needed to progress projects.

    Lucy Dolton, Assets and Infrastructure Manager at Cornwall Insight, said: “It’s clear that an increasing number of the applications submitted are speculative, raising the numbers in the connections queue, and creating obstacles for projects that are mostly ready to connect.”

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  • Business leader calls for clear strategy on green growth

    The next Government “can’t be pro-growth without being pro-green”, the leader of business group the CBI has warned.

    In a speech, the organisation’s chief executive Rain Newton-Smith said there was still too much talk in politics of whether the country can afford to go for Net Zero.

    “The real question is – can we afford not to?” she said.

    Newton-Smith warned of the cost of falling behind in the global race for cheaper, more reliable, more efficient energy and said countries that moved fast are securing huge global advantages.

    “Whoever forms the next government has to let the world know it’s serious about the investment opportunities from net zero, and we’re in this for the long-haul. Make decisions and stick to them.”

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  • Climate bodies call for just transition

    Leading climate organisation have urged a just transition for workers and communities reliant on the oil and gas sector.

    Bodies including Greenpeace UK, Friends of the Earth and Extinction Rebellion has signed the open letter sent to party leaders ahead of the election.

    The letter is based on a report created in consultation with workers in the offshore oil and gas industry which calls for a jobs guarantee that ensures every employee can find equivalent, alternative employment or funded retraining.

    It also urges a UK-wide industrial strategy, including substantial investment in domestic manufacturing and skills, expansion of publicly owned energy, and reorganising the tax system for public good.

    Greenpeace UK climate team leader Mel Evans said: "The transition to end our dependence on fossil fuels and get us onto clean energy must bring communities and workers along with it, and that means providing adequate support on skills and retraining.

    "We urgently need the next government to bring forward a bold green industrial strategy and transition plan to support workers into low carbon jobs.”

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  • Final delivery to last coal-fired power plant

    The final fuel shipment has been made to the UK’s last operational coal power station ahead of its closure in September.

    The 1,650-tonne delivery by GB Railfreight, enough coal to generate electricity for around 500,000 homes for an eight-hour period, was sent to Uniper’s Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station.

    The power station, commissioned in 1967, has four 500MW units and is capable of producing enough electricity to power more than two million homes.

    The coal delivery marks a significant landmark for the power station and the country given the government’s target to end coal generation in 2024.

    Mike Lockett, Uniper UK Country Chair said: “The last coal delivery will be a significant moment and one that heralds the end of the story for the power station. However, it’s not the end for the site, as we look towards a future where it could become a zero-carbon technology and energy hub for the East Midlands.”

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