The Informer

This week’s headlines: major companies are increasingly looking to use their influence with suppliers and policymakers to encourage wider take-up of renewable energy; the number of battery storage projects in the pipeline in the UK has risen dramatically; and renewable energy projects are set to make their debut in the Capacity Market.

  • Businesses step up renewables push

    Businesses are increasingly leading the way in accelerating the clean energy transition according to a new report.

    The latest update from the RE100 campaign show its membership has grown by a third in the past year to top 200 businesses, with the businesses pledging to switch to 100% renewable energy including JD Sports, Intu, The City of London Corporation, Virgin Media, and Barclays.

    It also found that 44% of members are already influencing their suppliers on renewable electricity, up from 36% during the previous year.

    But the report from The Climate Group and CDP found that unfavourable government policies and market structures are inflating prices and making it harder to switch in places such as China and Russia.

    Half of RE100’s members are planning to partner with and influence stakeholders – such as governments and energy companies – by the end of next year to help create markets for renewables.

    Helen Clarkson, Chief Executive at The Climate Group, said: “At a time when United Nations’ research has said countries are underdelivering on climate action, leading businesses are stepping into the void left by national governments and accelerating the clean energy transition.”

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  • Huge growth in battery storage projects

    The number of applications to build battery storage projects in the UK is continuing to increase rapidly, according to new figures.

    RenewableUK’s latest Project Intelligence report shows that the total cumulative capacity of battery storage planning applications has soared from nearly 6,900 megawatts (MW) a year ago to over 10,500MW today – enough to fully charge over a million electric vehicles.

    The number of UK companies involved in the sector has grown over the past 12 months from 300 to more than 450 and the average battery project size has increased slightly from 27MW to 28MW.

    The pipeline of storage projects is expected to continue growing and an increasing number of grid-scale battery projects of over 50MWs are expected, after BEIS agreed earlier this year to change planning rules which have, up to now, deterred development at this scale.

    RenewableUK’s Director of Future Electricity Systems, Barnaby Wharton, said: “Energy storage has reached a tipping point with major companies entering this new market, providing new services to guarantee the security our energy supplies and maximising the amount of power available, providing massive benefits to consumers.”

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  • Renewables set to make debut in Capacity Market

    Wind farms and solar parks will make their debuts in the forthcoming Capacity Market auctions after completing the prequalification process.

    Eleven onshore wind farms have prequalified to bid for contract covering 2022-23, with another 11 competing to supply during 2023-24.

    Yet their capacity has been de-rated from 496MW to 41MW for 2022-23 and from 654MW to 49MW for 2023-24, reflecting the intermittency of wind power.

    A 50MW solar farm project on Anglesey has also prequalified for both 2022-23 and 2023-24, but has had its capacity de-rated to 1.6MW.

    A total of 2GW of demand-side response has also prequalified, alongside 400MW of battery storage capacity.

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  • Net zero by 2025 ‘practically impossible’

    The centre-right Onwards think tank has claimed that the Extinction Rebellion group’s demand to hit net-zero by 2025 would be “practically impossible”.

    A report by the organisation estimated the cost of a 2025 target to be £200 billion a year, compared with the National Health Service’s annual budget of £134bn.

    The Green Party’s 2030 target would cost £100bn a year, the report added.

    Richard Howard, co-author of the report, said: “The Government’s net-zero pledge is a huge and necessary step forward, but it is not sufficient – they now need a plan to deliver it.

    “This is not only the best electoral strategy, but also the right thing to do – and essential to avoid the climate debate being used as a trojan horse to overthrow the market economy and impose state control.”

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  • Construction set to start on £2bn Scottish wind project

    EDF Renewables has given the green light for the construction of its 450MW Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) wind farm off the coast of Fife after selling a 50% stake in the project to ESB, Ireland’s state-owned power company.

    Twenty-five banks and other financial institutions are lending the developers cash for the £2 billion project, which is due to be commissioned in 2023.

    The wind farm’s 54 turbines will be assembled in the port of Dundee, with servicing and maintenance expected to be fulfilled from Eyemouth harbour in Berwickshire.

    Companies awarded contracts as part of the deal include Siemens Gamesa, Saipem, BiFab, General Electric, HSM, Prysmian, DEME Offshore and Fred Olsen.

    EDF will also increase its head count in Edinburgh from 44 to more than 100.

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