The Informer

This week's headlines: a report from the system operator predicts the UK will be able to meet its energy needs this winter even in the event of a no-deal Brexit; the vital role of the energy industry supply chain in delivering net zero is highlighted; and a project is underway to test using electric vans to help provide back-up electricity in a power cut.

  • National Grid confident on winter outlook even without EU supplies

    The UK will be able to meet its energy demand this winter even if supplies of gas and electricity from the EU are disrupted in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to the National Grid ESO’s latest outlook report.

    However, regular supplies of liquified natural gas (LNG) will be needed in the unlikely event that interconnectors don’t supply electricity once the UK leaves the union.

    “We anticipate no additional adequacy or operability challenges for the coming winter as a result of the UK’s planned exit from the EU,” the report.

    The Winter Outlook document expects a surplus electricity margin of 7.8GW during the coming winter, 700MW more than last winter.

    Around 23.5% of gas demand is forecast to come from gas-fired power stations.

    LNG prices are currently low due to high production in Russia and the United States. But if Asia experiences a cold winter then high demand from big importers such as China, Japan and South Korea is expected to push up prices.

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  • Energy supply chain crucial to deliver net zero

    A trade body has called on the UK Government to work with the industry to develop the supply chain that will create the country’s smart grids for electricity and gas.

    The British Electrotechnical & Allied Manufacturers Association (BEAMA) said it was essential for politicians to work with its 200 members if the UK is to hit its net zero target.

    BEAMA wants the government and Ofgem to provide certainty for investment, industry and the supply chain.

    It suggests holding an “open call” for solutions for the highest-priority issues for network development, with a neutral body announcing the winning bids.

    Chief Executive Howard Porter said: “BEAMA is ready and able to share our solutions and expertise with Government to help deliver on UK de-carbonisation plans and to ensure the future delivery of green clean electricity.”

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  • Electric vans used to restore supplies during power cuts

    Northern Powergrid is running a trial to use electric vans that will provide temporary supplies of electricity during power cuts.

    The “Silent Power” project – which is being run in partnership with Hyperdrive Innovation and Offgrid Energy – will deploy vans fitted with energy storage batteries to sites where power has been cut unexpectedly or during planned maintenance.

    Each van can provide enough power for three homes or a small community centre for 24 hours.

    They will replace diesel generators, which can’t be used to provide temporary power to premises that feed power into the grid from solar panels or other intermittent sources.

    Northern Powergrid currently deploys 2,500 diesel generators each year to provide temporary power, with more than 20% of its customers on the “at-risk” register for extra support during power cuts.

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  • Scotland launches £3bn green investment scheme

    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has unveiled the Scottish Government’s £3 billion green investment portfolio.

    Developers, charities and local councils will be able to bid for funding over the next three years to finance projects covering renewable energy, transport, waste and the circular economy.

    Sturgeon said: “With 85% of the finance for this transition coming from the private sector, we must do everything we can to help all parts of the economy contribute to net-zero emissions by 2045.”

    The first tranche of projects is due to be announced next spring.

    Projects will also receive help with international marketing to attract overseas investment.

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  • Wind industry challenges could slow cost-cutting progress

    Europe could add anywhere between 67GW and 112GW of onshore wind power over the next five years depending on the level of ambition shown by its national energy & climate plans, according to WindEurope.

    The trade body’s new report, Wind Energy Outlook to 2023, warned that current planning permission arrangements could also hold back deployment.

    The twin issues will affect the supply chain, preventing it from bringing down costs, the report added.

    WindEurope expects the UK to account for 35% of the growth in offshore wind over the next five years, followed by the Netherlands and Germany.

    Chief Executive Giles Dickson said: “The wind industry employs more than 300,000 people in Europe but has lost 35,000 jobs in Germany alone over the past four years in large part because of public policy issues.”

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