Conventional generation

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A government-commissioned study has settled on two options as the best support mechanisms for of a first-of-a-kind bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) plant. The report prepared by Element Energy and Vivid Economics for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy recommended either a standalone Contracts for Difference mechanism for carbon prices or negative emissions payments combined with the existing CfDs for low-carbon electricity generation.
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The government has provisionally chosen the first net-zero industrial clusters to receive funding for the construction of carbon capture and storage infrastructure. In a statement to parliament, energy and climate change minister Greg Hands revealed that the East Coast and HyNet North West clusters have been selected as the two “track 1” clusters it is aiming to get up and running by the mid-2020s.
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Renewable UK has petitioned the government to double the capacity of onshore wind generation in the country to 30GW by 2030. As one of the cheapest forms of generation available in the UK, the association said this would reduce energy bills by £16.3 billion over the course of the decade – an annual saving of £25 per household – and ensure net zero emissions are achieved at the lowest cost.
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As water companies publish their strategies to meet net zero carbon emissions by 2030, this Utility Week Insight Report in association with Mott MacDonald delves into the challenges they face in cutting emissions from energy whilst reducing bills and boosting resilience. We examine their different approaches to renewable generation, the difficulties of striking Power Purchase Agreements to deliver cheaper green power, and their concerns that new rules from Ofgem could scupper their decarbonisation plans.
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Changes to energy consumption patterns and the increasing prevalence of renewables will require more agile transmission and distribution infrastructure. Matt Brough of Burns & McDonnell looks at the role modular substations can play in this mix.
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Latest in Conventional generation

Energy UK has called for the introduction of a new Energy Bill as part of a commitment by the sector to deliver a net-zero power system in the 2030s. The pledge, outlined in a new report out today (27 October), follows on from the government’s commitment to a decarbonised system by 2035 which was confirmed in its Net Zero Strategy.
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The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has praised the government’s Net Zero Strategy as “ambitious and comprehensive,” marking a “significant step forward for UK climate policy”. However, the climate watchdog said “further steps will need to follow quickly” to implement the policies and proposals mapped out in the strategy.
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Centrica Business Solutions has established a dedicated team to develop, build, manage and optimise a portfolio of solar farms and battery storage systems that will be used to supply its customers with clean energy. The company said Centrica Energy Assets will aim to build 650MW of solar farms and 250MW of batter storage by 2026.
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Three possible pathways towards the decarbonisation of the economy have been set out in the Net Zero Strategy. The strategy noted that the three scenarios – high electrification, high resource and high innovation – are only intended to be illustrative, representing a range of practical ways in which net zero could be delivered rather than the mostly likely or preferred solutions.
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The power price spikes in September brought massive windfalls for gas and coal generators, with a number of power stations each raking in tens of millions of pounds in profit during the month, according to analysis by LCP. Rajiv Gogna, a partner at the consultancy, said its monthly ranking of estimated profits by generators was “completely dominated” by combined-cycle gas turbines (CCGTs) and coal plants.
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Jonathan Brearley has warned that Ofgem is on the lookout for “sharp and unethical practices” by suppliers under strain from rising wholesale gas prices. In a keynote speech at Energy UK’s annual conference on Thursday morning (7 October), the regulator’s chief executive said Ofgem will be “examining the behaviour of companies impacted by the gas price change”.
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National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has lowered its forecast for the supply margin over the coming winter to 3.9GW - or 6.6% – following a fire at the UK substation for the IFA interconnector with France last month.  The de-rated margin is down from the ESO’s preliminary forecast of 4.3GW – or 7.3% – in its early view in July and from 4.8GW – or 8.3% - in last year’s winter outlook.
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GE Renewable Energy has announced it is now generating up to 14MW of power from the prototype of its Haliade-X wind turbine at Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The company first unveiled the design in March 2019, stating it would have a generation capacity of 12MW, and began testing the prototype the following November.
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New nuclear power is currently “uninvestable” for private companies due to the risks involved in undertaking such projects, a leading industry equity analyst has said. Deepa Venkateswaran, head of utilities equity research at asset manager Bernstein, said investors are put off by the time scales and capital requirements that nuclear projects involve.
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A consortium comprising Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, French oil giant TotalEnergies and Scottish wind developer Renewable Infrastructure Development Group have unveiled plans to build a 2GW offshore windfarm near the Orkney Islands. The proposals are currently undergoing assessment by Crown Estate Scotland after the consortium entered a bid for seabed rights for the project as part of the ScotWind leasing round.
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