The Informer

This week's headlines: strike-prices for offshore wind projects fell by 30% in the latest Contracts for Difference auction round; global CO2 emissions rise at their fastest rate for seven years; and Government look to push back the smart meter rollout deadline to 2024.

  • Latest CfD auction ‘biggest step yet’ towards net zero

    Six offshore wind farms, four wind farms on remote islands and two energy-from-waste projects have been awarded Contracts for Difference (CfDs) in the latest allocation round.

    The strike prices awarded to offshore wind projects this time are around 30% lower than those awarded in the previous auction, with the new projects being delivered for as little as £39.65/MWh in 2012 prices.

    Together, the 12 projects will provide 6GW of power, enough for more than seven million homes, with electricity due to come on stream by 2025.

    Hugh McNeal, RenewableUK’s Chief Executive said, “Securing this record amount of new renewable energy capacity in this auction is the biggest single step that the UK has taken towards meeting our net zero emissions target. As these results show, offshore wind is the key technology for this country in tackling the climate emergency. Offshore wind will be the backbone of the UK’s clean, modern energy system and will supply at least a third of our power by 2030.”

    Meanwhile, the Crown Estate has launched its fourth round of leases, the first for a decade, with at least 7GW of capacity up for grabs. The auction covers England, Northern Ireland and Wales, with bidding due to open in October and end in Autumn 2020.

    Read more

  • Fastest rise in emissions for seven years

    Global carbon dioxide emissions rose by 2% last year, driven by fossil fuels being used to meet growing demand for energy, according to accountancy firm PwC’s 2019 Low-Carbon Economy Index.

    The rise in emissions was the fastest since 2011 and came respite renewable energy generation rising by 7.2%, its quickest pace since 2010.

    Yet the Exponential Roadmap report (complied by a newly assembled group of international experts) suggested emissions could be cut if the uptake of electric vehicles can be maintained, land management is improved and deforestation avoided.

    Jonathan Grant, Director at PwC, warned: “It’s worrying that progress on climate seems to have stalled.”

    However, Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and one of the authors of the Exponential Roadmap report, added: “This is now a race against time, but businesses and even entire industries have made many significant transitions in less than 10 years.”

    Read more

  • Government looks to extend smart meter rollout deadline

    Energy suppliers will have until 2024 to finish installing smart meters, after the UK government proposed a four-year extension to the current deadline.

    Suppliers have been putting pressure on officials to extend the 2020 target, with the projected cost of the rollout climbing to at least £13 billion.

    Richard Neudegg, Head of Regulation at price comparison website uSwitch, said: “The new 2024 plan – which places more onus on energy companies to meet interim installation milestones along the way – suggests ministers are confident that suppliers are close to cracking the technical problems which have plagued the roll out so far.”

    Read more

  • EVs on track to beat National Grid forecasts

    Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) have revealed a five-fold rise in zero emission vehicle purchases, capturing a record 3.4% market share.

    Jacob Briggs, Senior Consulting Analyst at Cornwall Insight, said: “Over the year-to-date, we have seen battery electric vehicles (BEVs) registrations rise 93%, poised to overtake total plug-in-hybrids (PHEVs). At this pace BEVs are set to surpass National Grid’s Consumer Evolution projections.”

    The SMMT’s figures showed that hybrid sales also continued to rise, but plug-in hybrid registrations fell again during August.

    Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, warned: “To support a smooth transition and deliver environmental gains now, we need a long-term government commitment to measures that give consumers confidence to invest in the latest technologies that best suit their needs.”

    Read more

  • More than 230 companies now committed to science-based targets

    A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has said that 237 businesses are on course to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions in line with a “well-below 2C scenario” using science-based targets.

    The paper, “Science-Based Targets: 2-Degree Carbon Goals for Companies”, found that 11 utility companies – including Enel and NRG Energy – have “more achievable” targets thanks to their purchasing of renewable energy.

    But it warned other companies – including those in the consumer staples, materials and industrials categories would find it harder because reducing their emissions “will require fundamental shifts in the way they conduct business”.

    BNEF added: “Science-based targets remain one of the most effective ways that companies can lead the transition to a low carbon economy, but as currently constructed they still exclude certain heavy emitting industries."

    “Creating emissions reduction frameworks for the oil and gas, agriculture, banking and chemical industry will be essential for science-based targets to truly make an impact.”

    Read more