Gas transmission/distribution

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A £150 million gas pipeline located 30 metres underneath the River Humber has become operational, National Grid has announced. The Feeder 9 project was begun in 2016 with joint venture project partners Skanska, A.Hak and Porr. It replaces a trench-laid gas pipe which had become exposed.
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Ofgem has issued its final determinations for the RIIO2 price controls beginning in April next year, raising the baseline profit margin for investors in the transmission and gas distribution sectors by more than a third of a percentage point when compared to its draft determinations in July. Utility Week looks at where Ofgem has changed tack and gauges reaction.
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A former partner at Ofgem has said she is still mystified as to why the regulator handed some companies penalties and others rewards under the new business plan incentive mechanism for the RIIO2 price controls. Maxine Frerk said Ofgem needs to provide more clarity on exactly how networks’ business plans are judged. Its chief executive, Jonathan Brearley, told Utility Week some companies had initially failed to show their plans were in the interest of consumers.
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Politicians and business leaders want the country to deliver a green revolution, create jobs and boost the economy. As part of our Build Back Better campaign, Utility Week in association with Addleshaw Goddard has published a major new report exploring the significant role utilities can play in fulfilling these ambitions.
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If hydrogen is to fulfil its potential as a driver of decarbonisation then large-scale production projects need to kick off in the next few years. According to Gas Goes Green Champion, and former Cadent chief executive, Chris Train, the first step should be to start the process of allowing gas networks to blend hydrogen into the grid.
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Gas distribution networks look set to be equipped with new legal powers to ensure trial conversions of the grid to hydrogen for home heating can be carried out safely. The proposals were outlined by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in a consultation on facilitating hydrogen heating trials released on Tuesday (17 August) as part of a suite of documents accompanying its hydrogen strategy.
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All new gas boilers in homes may have to be convertible to hydrogen by 2026, the government has revealed. In its hydrogen strategy, the full details of which were released on Tuesday (17 August), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said it is aiming to consult later this year on steps to help commercialisation of the fuel for home heating. 
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The government has revealed plans for a Contracts for Difference-style mechanism to help spur the development of a hydrogen economy. The proposals have been unveiled as part of its first hydrogen strategy, which outlines a “twin track” approach to production covering both green and blue hydrogen.
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Gas distribution network Cadent has revealed a pioneering customer safeguarding scheme which it launched with National Energy Action (NEA) has successfully referred 1,000 households. The Reactive Response initiative was launched in 2020 to provide repairs or replacements to vulnerable customers whose household or appliances have been disconnected due to an emergency.
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The provisional decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) earlier this week to uphold the cost of equity set by Ofgem for the RIIO2 price controls represents a “victory” for the regulator, one of its former partners has stated.  However, the transmission and gas distribution have also landed some "punches" with their appeal against Ofgem’s final determinations after the CMA concluded the regulator should not have applied a downward adjustment the baseline rate of returns to account for expected outperformance.
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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued its provisional decision on the appeals brought by all of the transmission and gas distribution networks against their final determinations for the RIIO2 price controls, largely upholding Ofgem’s decision to drastically reduce returns to investors. However, the CMA has ruled against Ofgem’s decision to set allowed equity returns 25 basis points below its actual estimate of the cost of equity.
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There are rising tensions between the prime minister and the chancellor over the costs of reaching net zero emissions, the Telegraph has reported. Meanwhile, the UN’s climate change panel will warn the planet is on course to hit 1.5C of global warming ten years earlier than previously thought and EDF delays its final decision on whether to proceed with its Sizewell C nuclear plant. This and more in Utility Week’s round-up of the weekend papers.
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The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) will publish a summary of its responses to the eight appeals against the RIIO2 price controls for gas and transmission networks next week. The appeals centre around the cost of capital and the outperformance wedge.
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City analysts have admitted that the premium SSE achieved in selling its stake in SGN exceeded their expectations. Utility Week speaks to experts from Barclays and Investec.
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SSE has sold its remaining 33 per cent stake in gas network operator SGN to a consortium of Canadian investment funds for £1.2 billion. The deal sees Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan increase its investment in SGN, with Brookfield Super-Core Infrastructure Partners also taking a stake. Between them they will own 75 per cent of the company.
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Gas imports reached a record quarterly high in the first three months of 2021 following a fall in gross production, the latest government figures have revealed. The figures have been published in the latest BEIS energy trends report.
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A ban on gas boilers is neither a “necessary or even desirable” policy and government should instead introduce a subsidy for heat pumps, an energy retailer has suggested. Clementine Cowton, Octopus Energy’s director of external affairs, was speaking following national media reports that the government was considering pushing back the ban on new gas boilers.
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