Energy networks

Editor's picks

Concerns have been raised over the deliberate wasting of energy to provide flexibility after load banks – devices for creating dummy loads to test power supplies such as backup generators – were accepted into an ad hoc service to increase demand on the power grid. The load banks were entered into the Optional Downward Flexibility Management service introduced by National Grid Electricity System Operator as an emergency measure to deal with low demand on the power grid over the summer of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
News
Ofgem has paused its plans to expose smaller distributed generators to forward-looking transmission network charges after receiving opposition from a “large majority” of the respondents to its consultation on the proposals. However, the regulator said it continues to hold the view that “smaller generators should pay charges equivalent to larger generators where they have an equivalent impact on the network.”
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One of the backers of a controversial plan for a new interconnector between France and the UK has threatened legal action within weeks against Kwasi Kwarteng’s decision to block the project. Alexander Temerko, an ex-head of Russian oil company Yukos and director of Aquind since 2016, also threatened legal action against trade minister Penny Mordaunt, who has been one of the leaders of the campaign against the cable that would come ashore in Portsmouth in her capacity as a local MP.
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Featured

To achieve their ambitious decarbonisation targets, local authorities must get to grips with a complex and evolving energy system. But, as UK100 chief executive Polly Billington argues, the energy sector must also do its part in seeking to understand the needs and the capabilities of local government. She talks to Lucinda Dann about how the sector is doing so far and why local area energy planning must happen with councils, rather than to them.
Interviews
Business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has said networks’ response to storm must improve, describing power cuts of longer than three days as “unacceptable.” Appearing before the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee to answer questions about November’s Storm Arwen, which left some households without power for more than a week, the minister also rejected a suggestion that networks’ resilience to such events should have been stress tested by Ofgem.
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The Energy Networks Associations has set out its plans for its Open Networks project in 2022, which will continue to focus on heavily standardising and coordinating flexibility services. The ENA said the industry initiative, which was launched in 2017 to accelerate the transition to a smart, flexible energy system, has enabled the UK to establish “world leading” local flexibility markets, with contracts for more than 3GW of flexibility being made available for tender in Great Britain last year.
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Latest in Energy networks

Assured UK revenues and an aggressive dividend policy have made National Grid a darling of the FTSE-100 this year, says Nigel Hawkins
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The Scottish Government has awarded planning consent to a combined heat and power biomass plant at the Port of Grangemouth. It will be the largest of its kind in Scotland.
News
Local authorities are slowly warming to the idea of investing in heat networks, though it's still not easy, says Richard Rugg
Opinion
Both Ofwat and Ofgem are determined that monopoly utility companies should provide private levels of service
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Laura Holt warns energy firms developing smart grids to get on top of relevant intellectual property rights - or risk swingeing licensing costs
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If EDF quits Hinkley, the government will have to choose between ditching new nuclear or building a plant itself. Nigel Hawkins reports
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The energy sector needs to use common premises identifiers if the smart meter rollout is to go smoothly, says Marc Hobell
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