Independent panel to assess network company plans

Roger Witcomb, who led the Competition & Markets Authority’s investigation into the Great British energy market, is to lead a new independent panel to assess network operators’ investment plans.

The panel will examine the business plans put forward by network companies under the next price control mechanism, which will start from 2021.

Ofgem said the independent group would challenge companies over how consumers’ needs are being taken into account.

The regulator will also hold public...

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UK’s first carbon capture plant could be operational by mid-2020s

Energy Minister Claire Perry has claimed that the UK’s first carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) project could be up and running by the mid-2020s.

Speaking at a gathering of 50 international leaders, Perry said the technology could then be rolled-out at scale during the 2030s.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will lay out detailed plans next year.

An initial £20 million will be invested in supporting the construction of CCUS infrastructure at...

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Network innovation winners named

Four projects are to share £46.8 million of funding to test technology to create smarter energy grids.

Cadent will receive cash for further tests on the blending of hydrogen with the natural gas supplied to homes and businesses.

UK Power Networks and SP Energy Networks will each be given funding to investigate charging patterns and locations for electric vehicles.

National Grid, in its role as the electricity system operator, will look at ways to enhance security of supply.

Cash from price...

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Sector Round Up - 04/12/2018

Orsted completes sale of Hornsea stake

Global Infrastructure Partners has completed its purchase of 50% of the Hornsea 1 wind farm project from Orsted.

When it’s completed in 2020, Hornsea 1 will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm. The development will have a 1.2GW capacity supplied by 174 turbines.

As part of the deal Ørsted will construct the wind farm under a full-scope EPC contract will also provide long-term operations and maintenance services to the project from its O&M base in ...

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Budget set for next CfD round

Concerns have been voiced over the £60 million budget announced by the UK Government for the upcoming third Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction being staged next Spring.

The funding will support “less-established” technologies for the delivery years 2023-24 and 2024-25.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) plans to impose a capacity cap of 6GW. An offshore wind administrative strike price has been set at £53-56/MWh, while the new remote island onshore wind...

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Ofgem takes action over RO payments shortfall

Companies that haven’t made payments under the Renewables Obligation are facing action from the energy regulator.

Ofgem has launched an investigation into Economy Energy over non-payment and is seeking to recover the money it is owed.

The watchdog has closed a similar probe into Spark Energy after the supplier ceased trading, just days after the inquiry commenced.

Eversmart and URE Energy have also been ordered to pay the money they owe before 31 March 2019 or face further action.

Buy-out fund...

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Industry welcomes minister’s comments on small-scale renewables

Industry leaders have welcomed comments by Energy Minister Claire Perry which they believe may signal a possible U-turn over support for small-scale renewables.

Perry told Parliament in a statement that she will “shortly” be announcing the “next steps” for the sector and in response to questions said she “completely agreed” that solar power should not be provided to the grid for free.

Her comments came amid lobbying by industry over plans to end both the export and generation tariff as part of...

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Energy revolution ‘creating two-tier economy’

Businesses and families in London and Scotland are best-placed to benefit from the UK’s “energy revolution”, but those in the North of England and the East Midlands are lagging furthest behind, according to a new report.

Imperial College London and consultancy firm E4tech examined 20 metrics covering the power, transport and buildings sectors.

Iain Staffell, Lecturer in Sustainable Energy Systems at Imperial College, said: “Our research reveals that Britain is at risk creating a two-tier...

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Tougher tests proposed for new suppliers

Ofgem has unveiled plans to impose more stringent tests on companies that want to supply gas and electricity.

Under the proposals, entrants would have to demonstrate they have enough cash to survive for 12 months before being granted a licence.

They would also have to demonstrate how they will fulfil their customer service duties, especially to vulnerable users.

News of the proposals came days before the collapse of Extra Energy and Spark Energy. Extra Energy has around 108,000 domestic...

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Key role for hydrogen in UK decarbonisation says CCC

Government must make a clear commitment if hydrogen is to be a “credible option” for decarbonising the UK’s energy system, a new report has said.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the government’s independent advisor, said hydrogen can make an “important contribution” to long-term decarbonisation.

Hydrogen will need to be combined with greater energy efficiency, cheap low-carbon power generation, electrified transport and new “hybrid” heat pumps in order to reach its potential.

The report...

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