The Informer

This week’s headlines: re-opening the door to onshore wind in the UK has helped it move up the league table of the world’s most attractive locations for investing in renewables; a cyber-attack affects Elexon’s internal email system; and Ofgem approves changes to end double charging on storage.

  • ‘Bright’ long-term future for UK renewables

    The UK has moved up the league table of the most attractive countries for renewables investment after re-opening the door to onshore wind, according to a new report.

    EY’s 2020 Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) places the UK at sixth out of 40 global locations - up from seventh - thanks to factors including onshore wind and solar being able to compete for subsidies in the upcoming CfD auction.

    The report also highlights the growing focus across the business community on climate change with many companies now looking to renewables as a means to hedge their climate exposure and demonstrate a positive contribution to society.

    Although Covid-19 has inevitably impacted on the sector, the report said the long-term picture remained “bright”.

    Ben Warren, EY’s global power and utilities corporate finance leader, said: “There is an expectation that the industry will be more resilient than others, with some predicting a bounce back in 2021, particularly if Government starts to provide more subsidies – reversing its move to a subsidy free environment – and corporates continue to support renewables with Power Purchase Agreements that help to provide security of revenue.”

    The US replaced China at the top of the RECAI league table.

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  • Elexon email system hit by cyber-attack

    Elexon, a key player in the UK’s energy market, has said it has identified the root cause of cyber-attack last week which affected its internal email system.

    The incident was the second reported attack seen in the European energy sector in recent months following a “cyber intrusion” at ENTSO-E which oversees the operations of Europe’s high voltage power infrastructure.

    In a statement Elexon said: “Our internal emails have been affected and we have identified the root cause and are now resolving the issue. As we do not hold any customer level data, there is no risk to the public.”

    Elexon stressed that as it is not part of the real time physical flow of electricity from power stations to consumer there was no impact to power supplies.

    The organisation calculates the volumes of electricity produced by power stations and sold by electricity suppliers and also collects and distributes payments to Contract for Difference generators and Capacity Market providers.

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  • Ofgem to end double charging on battery storage

    Ofgem has approved changes to the Connection and Use of System Code (CUSC) which will end double charging on battery storage.

    Last year the regulator launched a consultation on removing Balancing Service Use of System (BSUoS) charges for energy drawn from the grid by storage assets.

    At present, storage is charged as both a demand customer and as a generator but under the changes planned to come into force next April, it will only be charged for exports.

    Ofgem said it believes the current charging arrangements are “distortive “and lead to network costs being disproportionately recovered from electricity storage facilities that are currently at “a relative disadvantage to other generation, providing the same or similar services.”

    BSUoS charges are used by the system operator to recover the costs associated with balancing the electricity transmission system.

    Charges are recovered from demand customers and generators based on the amount of energy imported or exported onto the network within each half-hour period.

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  • Extreme weather threatens future grid operations

    Almost three-quarters of global utility industry executives believe extreme weather events now represent a significant challenge to network operations and safety.

    More than 90% said they expect severe weather to increase in the next 10 years due to climate change and a similar number said maintaining network resilience to extreme weather will result in significant increases in network prices for customers.

    “Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and impacting the electricity grid,” said Stephanie Jamison of Accenture’s utilities business which carried out the survey.

    “Greater system flexibility, delivered through digital and emerging technologies, will be critical to optimizing grid resilience in a cost-effective and timely manner. For example, active management of available network redundancy, distributed generation and energy storage can help maintain power delivery during severe weather events and speed service restoration after network failures.”

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  • Switching to EVs would cut UK emissions by 12%

    The UK’s total carbon emissions would be cut by 12% by switching all cars to electric vehicles, according to new research.

    The study by Nottingham Trent University New found that electrifying the 32 million passenger vehicles would reduce emissions by more than 14%, although it would lead a 2% rise in emissions from electricity consumption.

    “These are encouraging findings and show just how much impact the switch to electric cars could have,” researcher George Milev said. “In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are regularly seeing reports on how the environment has benefitted from the decreased use of combustion engines."

    “If and when the UK moves exclusively to electric car usage, we will similarly see real benefits in the dramatic reduction in levels of CO2.”

    Meanwhile the Department for Transport said it is to part-fund grid connections for new high-powered chargers. The Rapid Charging Fund aims to have at least six high powered chargers serving each of England’s motorway service stations by 2023.

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