Countdown to COP

Our new campaign plots the course to the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow this November and looks at the key topics for utilities.

Editor's picks

An Octopus Energy director has called for COP26 to pave the way for global energy markets to open up to investment as she revealed the company has ambitions to enter the Indian market. Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference earlier this week Clementine Cowton, the company’s director of external affairs, was among panellists who were asked what they thought success would look like at next month’s global climate summit.
News
The government has been urged to double the capacity of onshore renewables in the next Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction. The call by not-for-profit organisation Regen was issued ahead of Boris Johnson keynote address at the Conservative Party Conference at which he was expected – but failed to - pledge all UK electricity generation would come from clean energy sources by 2035. The prime minister was accused of peddling "popular platitudes opposed to concrete policy on renewable energy" in his speech which made only passing reference to net zero and COP26.
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An energy minister has described himself as a “hydrogen sceptic” and said the costs of producing the gas mean it is “pretty much impossible” to see it being used in mass home heating. Lord Callanan was outlining his thinking on the main heat decarbonisation options at a fringe meeting at the Conservative party conference on Sunday.
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Featured

When last year's ambitious Routemap to net zero was published by Water UK in collaboration with Mott MacDonald and Ricardo, the sector was frank that it did not have the answers to all the challenges to be faced by 2030. As part of our Countdown to COP coverage, Maria Manidaki, net zero technical lead at Mott MacDonald, talks to Utility Week about the technical hurdles that remain on the water sector’s journey to net zero.
Interviews
Many energy producers operate under lease arrangements, but it could be said that modern leases create unnecessary barriers to clean energy production. If this is the case, what can be done to address the issue? Peter Dilks, of Shakespeare Martineau, gives his view.
Opinion
How can we restart the network after a major outage using wind and solar? Utility Week and National Grid ESO brought together experts to discuss a pioneering project attempting to do just that.
Analysis

Latest in Countdown to COP

Former energy and climate change secretary Amber Rudd has said her former role should be brought to the forefront of the Cabinet to ensure net zero is delivered effectively. Rudd also reflected on the impact of the UK hosting COP26, although stressed that it was likely to be “a reduced conference”.
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As part of our Countdown to COP campaign, Utility Week speaks to Suleman Alli, director of strategy & customer service at UK Power Networks. He discusses the need to present decarbonisation as an economic opportunity rather than a cost burden, why the sector should be promoting “open energy” and three principles to boost consumer participation in the net-zero agenda.
Interviews
The EA and Defra have launched a fund to attract green finance by kickstarting schemes that improve the natural environment and have the potential to attract private sector investment.
News
Key to the UK's success in reaching its decarbonisation targets will be fostering innovation, developing the skills needed to deliver on these ambitions, and collaboration across the energy sector, writes Emma Ford, head of gas construction at National Grid.
Opinion
The co-founder and chief executive of energy retailer Bulb talks about the need for utilities to show the kind of co-operation seen in other industries in order to accelerate progress on decarbonisation. As part of our Countdown to COP campaign, he also addresses the challenge of ensuring a just transition.
Interviews
Energy retailers will be the lead players in bringing customers along on the net zero journey, so it is vital that they are freed up to find innovative ways to enable that transition. Energy UK’s chief executive shares her views as part of Utility Week’s Countdown to COP.
Interviews
Our new campaign – to run over the next nine months – will seek to present a pan-utilities road map to net zero. We will explore the sector’s achievements to date and ask what needs to be done to unleash its full potential to drive forward the decarbonisation agenda. James Wallin sets out what the series will cover and how Utility Week members can get involved.
News
Drax chief executive Will Gardiner shares his thoughts on the countdown to COP, calling it a unique opportunity to showcase the UK’s decarbonisation expertise. However, he warns that to present a coherent argument on how we will tackle emissions, the government needs to be clear on frameworks for supporting the rapid scale-up of a diverse range of technologies.
Interviews
As part of our Countdown to COP campaign, we speak to Anglian Water chief executive Peter Simpson. He discusses the need to capitalise on government's green ambitions, particularly through price controls; the value of co-operation in regional net-zero infrastructure projects and how to convince customers to think twice before they put the kettle on.
Interviews
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