The Informer

This week's headlines: the next Contracts for Difference (CfD) bidding window has been extended following a legal challenge; Government define the scope of the inquiry into the power cut which occurred earlier this month; and The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) outline how gas can help the UK transition to Net Zero.

  • CfD bidding window extended after legal move

    Independent developer Banks Renewables has launched a legal challenge against onshore wind farms being excluded from the CfD auctions, leading to an extension to the current bidding window.

    National Grid has extended the deadline for bids to 29 August, with the current round covering offshore wind farms and biomass with combined heat and power for delivery in 2023-24 and 2024-25.

    Richard Dunkley, Managing Director at Banks Renewables, argued: “At a time when the UK Government has said it wants to accelerate its decarbonisation objectives, it would seem illogical to most people that, for the past four years, it has itself significantly undermined the deployment of the lowest cost low carbon technology available – onshore wind.”

    A spokesman for BEIS said: “We run the scheme lawfully and will be contesting this claim.”

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  • Government sets out scope of power cut inquiry

    The committee set up to investigate the major power cut earlier this month will deliver its initial report within five weeks and a full report within 12 weeks, Business and Energy Secretary, Andrea Leadsom has promised.

    The Energy Emergencies Executive Committee – which brings together government, industry and the regulator – will examine the causes of the blackout, whether the correct procedures were followed and if improvements are needed to avoid further power cuts.

    The committee will probe the actions of National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) during the power cut.

    Meanwhile, Ofgem has launched its own investigation to establish what lessons can be drawn from the power cut to improve the resilience of Britain's energy network.

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  • Shale gas can support shift to net zero says Government

    Shale gas explorer Cuadrilla has resumed drilling for shale gas at its test well in Lancashire, as the UK Government outlined how it believes fracking could support the transition to a net zero economy.

    A spokesman for BEIS highlighted the role shale gas could play in reducing the UK’s reliance on foreign gas and could create “well-paid, quality jobs”.

    BEIS added: “The Oil & Gas Authority is currently undertaking a scientific assessment of recent industry data which we will consider once completed.”

    Cuadrilla said it will frack for shale gas at Preston New Road until the end of November, with its test results expected early next year.

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  • Failed supplier criticises Ofgem over interventions

    The Chief Executive of a collapsed energy supplier has criticised the energy regulator over actions he said worsened its difficulties.

    David Elbourne said that Ofgem’s provisional order against Solarplicity on 22 February ended a refinancing plan, while subsequent public statements by the watchdog caused a deal to sell its supply arm to collapse. Ofgem appointed EDF to take on Solarplicity’s 7,500 domestic and 500 business customers, with Toto Energy having acquired customers from Solarplicity Supply in July.

    Solarplicity is the 12th independent supplier to collapse in the past two years.

    Meanwhile, Ofgem has said it will revoke URE Energy’s licence to supply electricity after the company failed to meets its Renewables Obligation for 2017-18 by not paying into the buyout fund by 31 August 2018, or presenting Renewables Obligation Certificates by 1 September 2018, or by making a late payment by 31 October 2018.

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  • Corporate PPA market still slow to take off

    Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has described the take-up of corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) in Europe as “underwhelming as a whole.”

    Contracts covering just 950MW of capacity were signed during the first half of the year in the EMEA region, according to the analysis firm’s latest Corporate Energy Outlook report, with 300MW of that coming from the Nordic markets.

    The global total during the opening six months of the year rose to 8.6GW, up from 7.2GW in the first half of 2017, with the United States accounting for 6GW of 2019’s first-half total, compared with 6.2GW for the whole of 2018. Texas was highlighted as a hot spot, surging ahead with 40% of 2019’s activity so far.

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