Energy networks chief responds to criticism

Energy Networks Association (ENA) Chief Executive David Smith has hit back at critics who accused network companies of making “excessive returns”.

Writing in Utility Week, Smith responded to criticism of his members from Citizens Advice, which followed the publication of Ofgem’s latest Revenue = Incentives + Innovation + Outputs (RIIO) report.

“As tightly regulated companies, networks are the most transparent part of the energy industry and the latest Ofgem reports provide clarity and detail on...

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Public accounts committee opens CCS inquiry

The House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has launched a probe into carbon capture and storage (CCS).

CCS theoretically involves capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal- and gas-fired power stations and storing the gas underground, potentially in empty gas wells under the North Sea.

The UK Government’s initial £1 billion CCS development competition was cancelled after the Treasury pulled its support, with the process having cost £68 million.

A second competition has resulted ...

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Marine renewables potential estimated at 300GW

Global marine energy capacity will reach at least 300GW by 2050, according to a new report.

The study predicted marine power could create 680,000 direct jobs by the middle of the century.

If the forecasts are proved correct then the installed capacity would save 500 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

The report’s authors think the rate of growth of marine energy between 2030 and 2050 will match that experienced by the offshore wind market over the past two decades.

Slow progress so far

The...

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Sector Round Up - 14/03/2017

SSE announces price rise

SSE has become the latest Big Six energy firm to increase its prices for domestic consumers.

The company said it was raising its standard electricity tariff by 14.9% from 28 April but is holding gas prices at their current rate.

The impact for a typical dual fuel customer will amount to a 6.9% - or £73 - increase in their annual bill.

SSE said the price change reflects the increasing cost of supplying electricity, and specifically higher costs associated with delivering...

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Ofgem proposes steep cuts to embedded benefits

Ofgem has unveiled proposals to cut the Triad embedded benefits paid to smaller generators - by up to 95% for some generators and to zero for others.

Embedded generators are connected to the lower-voltage distribution network instead of the main high-voltage transmission lines and receive specific payments from suppliers for helping them to reduce the biggest element of the electricity transmission charges they face at peak times.

Ofgem said its view was that the current level of Transmission...

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Court challenge over Green Investment Bank sale

One of the bidders for the Green Investment Bank has called for a judicial review into the sale.

Sustainable Development Capital has applied to the High Court in London to challenge the proposed sale to Australian infrastructure investor Macquarie.

“SDC understands that the preferred bidder’s bid was not compliant with the criteria set out by the government,” the company said.

“The fact that no deal was completed within the targeted timetable attests to the fact that the preferred bid was neither...

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One in six renewables jobs at risk, finds survey

Businesses working in the Scottish renewable energy sector are anticipating a sixth of their workforce will be lost within the next 12 months, a new industry survey has shown.

Scottish Renewables polled its members on employment levels and confidence over the next year, with respondents predicting an average decrease in full-time equivalent posts in Scotland of 16.9%.

Jenny Hogan, Director of Policy at Scottish Renewables, said: “These results show that changes to and closures of support schemes...

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Energy complaints at three-year low

The number of complaints made by consumers against energy companies has dropped by 32% year-on-year during 2016.

Ofgem and the Energy Ombudsman said complaints fell from around five million to 3.5 million to hit a three-year low.

Complaints had stood at 6.7 million in 2014.

Some 90% of complaints against the “big six” and medium-sized power companies were solved within eight weeks.

‘Up their game’

The Energy Ombudsman ordered firms to repay £3.3m last year.

Dermot Nolan, Chief Executive at Ofgem,...

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US manufacturer to build battery storage facilities in UK

NEC Energy Solutions has unveiled plans to build two energy storage facilities in the UK.

A 40MW facility will be constructed at Glassenbury in Kent and a 10MW site will be opened at Cleator in Cumbria.

Both facilities are being built in partnership with VLC Energy, a new joint venture created by Low Carbon, a renewable energy investment company, and VPI Immingham, the owner of one of the largest combined heat and power plants in Europe and part of the Vitol Group.

The two sites secured contracts...

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Ofgem announces £2bn power link shortlist

Six companies have made the shortlist to own and operate the transmission lines to the Dudgeon, Race Bank and Rampion offshore wind farms.

Balfour Beatty Investments, Diamond Transmission Partners, Equitix and Transmission Capital Partners have made the shortlist for all three wind farms.

Mari Energy Transmission has been shortlisted for the Dudgeon and Rampion lines, while Triton Transmission has been shortlisted for Race Bank.

The three links are together worth £2 billion and will link 2.3GW of...

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