Energy networks

Editor's picks

Ofgem has proposed a series of measures to speed up the delivery of large onshore electricity transmission upgrades needed to achieve the government’s target of deploying 50GW of offshore wind by 2030. The regulator said it is considering providing early certainty on funding, reducing number of regulatory approval gates and giving exemptions from the incoming introduction of competition to large onshore transmission projects.  
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The Energy Networks Association has issued its latest annual consultation on the development of flexibility markets as part of its Open Networks projects. Topics covered by the consultation include the move to closer to real-time procurement of flexibility services and the development of a common application programming interface for dispatch.
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Ofgem has awarded £8 million to 18 projects as part of the inaugural round of its £450 million Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) competition. The programme was introduced as part of the RIIO2 price controls as a replacement for the Network Innovation Competition and is currently open to projects led electricity transmission and gas networks as well as National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO).
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Featured

A swathe of major infrastructure projects across the utilities sector are driving the adoption of new ways of working, cutting-edge technology and innovative methods for reducing project timelines. This report examines the role of location data as the “glue” underpinning new approaches to large infrastructure projects and how having the right data can enable a digital-first strategy that is more efficient and cost-effective.
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The inaugural UK Utilities Risk Report, from Utility Week and Marsh, highlights the key issues keeping sector leaders awake at night. From cybersecurity to policy and regulatory blockers, extreme weather and price volatility, this report presents a snapshot of the key concerns for utilities.
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Utilities leaders have long spoken of a need to shift sector mindsets from a focus on assets to the needs of end users. But, how quickly is this transition happening in practice and is data playing the central role it needs to? This new report gauges the views of senior industry figures, from Eon, EDF, Western Power Distribution and UK Power Networks among others.
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Latest in Energy networks

The Climate Change Committee puts the cost of transitioning the UK’s 29 million homes to net zero at £250bn. This represents an unprecedented opportunity for service providers involved in the energy infrastructure and the life cycle of a home.
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A decision on hydrogen’s role in decarbonising heat is not expected for another four years but gas operator Cadent is using the time to work with local authorities to understand their need for green gas in the future and ensure no options are closed off.
Analysis
Ofgem has proposed to create a new funding mechanism to enable distribution network operators (DNOs) to act as a Provider of Last Resort for electric vehicle chargepoints. In its draft determinations for the RIIO ED2 price controls, the regulator noted that DNOs’ licence conditions already permit them to install and operate electric vehicle chargepoints in instances where it is satisfied that no one else can do so “at a reasonable cost and in a timely manner."
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In our latest review of sector coverage in the national media, nuclear regulators step up their monitoring of EDF amid concerns about cyber security; the Labour party calls for a further backdate to the windfall tax on generators and there are fears of policy paralysis on crucial environment and net zero issues amid the turmoil in government.
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Ofgem has set out a range of potential reforms to reduce Britain’s reliance on expensive imported gas and accelerate the decarbonisation of the energy system. In a new discussion paper, Ofgem said the current market, regulatory and institutional arrangements are not geared up to run a net zero energy system in the most cost-effective way and said the changes outlined in the document could save consumers up to £10 billion per year by 2050.
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Energy companies should be “leading the charge” on gaining public buy-in for community energy schemes, by developing easy-to-understand, integrated solutions that deliver clear benefits.
Opinion
Up to £54 billion worth of new grid infrastructure will be required to deliver the government’s target to increase the UK’s offshore wind generation capacity to 50GW by 2030, National Grid’s electricity system operator (ESO) has calculated as it unveiled its much-anticipated Holistic Network Design.
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Octopus Electric Vehicles has launched a product which bundles an EV, charger and electricity tariff into a single package. The company claims its “ultimate” EV package will save UK drivers up to £3,775 on fuel bills over the course of a three year contract on its Intelligent Octopus tariff.
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The competition watchdog is being equipped with new powers to review electricity and gas network company mergers in the government's new Energy Security Bill. Amidst wider turmoil within government as a succession of ministers resigned, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announced on Wednesday morning (6 June) the introduction of the legislation to Parliament.
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A former National Grid chief executive has been appointed to a new role as the government’s electricity networks commissioner. Nick Winser will be tasked with helping to ensure the right infrastructure to underpin a zero-carbon grid is installed in the right places.
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Ofgem’s draft determinations for the RIIO ED2 price controls were “slightly tougher than expected” due to higher levels of assumed productivity gains and reduced scope for operational outperformance, according to ratings agency Moody’s. In the case of the latter, Moody’s said the potential financial rewards from output delivery incentives, which would be significantly reduced when compared to the current price controls, would be harder to achieve due to tighter targets, and would also be outweighed by potential penalties by a ratio of more than 2:1.
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UK Power Networks has topped the rankings for the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index, despite the utilities sector as a whole seeing a slight slide in public perception over the past six months.
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