Conventional generation

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The government has committed £100 million towards the development of the Sizewell C nuclear power plant project in Suffolk. The funding, separate to the £1.7 billion announced for new nuclear in last year’s Spending Review, is described as aiming to help EDF bring the project to maturity, attract investors and advance to the next phase in negotiations.
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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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National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has issued a consultation on a new methodology for determining the de-rating factors for embedded generators in the Capacity Market, in particular gas and diesel reciprocating engines and energy-from-waste plants. Due to a lack of specific data, conventional generators embedded in distribution networks have previously been grouped together with their closest transmission-connected equivalents – for example, gas engines with open-cycle gas turbines.
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Utility Week speaks to Mark Futyan, chief executive at solar and storage developer Anesco, about the current state of the market for grid-scale batteries, which has quickly grown from nothing to a pipeline of many gigawatts over the last decade. He says a recent rise in battery prices due to supply constraints and surging demand from electric vehicles has done little to stop the boom as they become increasingly valuable to the energy system.  
Analysis
Crown Estate Scotland has announced the results of its ScotWind offshore wind leasing round, awarding options agreements to 17 projects with a combined capacity of 24.8GW - around two-and-a-half times the UK's existing offshore wind fleet. They include ten floating offshore wind projects with a total capacity of 14.6GW.   
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The Low Carbon Contracts Company (LCCC) has said it expects to return more than £39 million of Contracts for Difference payments to suppliers as result of exceptionally high power prices over the last three months of 2021. The body said the final quarter of the year was the first in the scheme’s history in which generators returned more money than they received.
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Latest in Conventional generation

Locational electricity pricing could save £30 billion – or £1,000 per household – by 2035, according to a new study from Energy Systems Catapult and Octopus Energy. The report said the current market arrangements were designed for an energy system dominated by large, centralised generators and “no longer makes sense”, resulting in a “growing tension between the wholesale market and physical reality”.
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Ofgem is proceeding will plans to establish a new advisory group as part of reforms to the rule change process for the Capacity Market. The regulator said new arrangements will enable the process to become “more dynamic and adaptive to changing market conditions, whilst also increasing transparency and promoting collaboration”.
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The government has confirmed that the retail price cap will be extended beyond 2023 in the first energy bill for nearly a decade, which also contains emergency powers to ensure resilience and continuity of fuel supplies. The Energy Security Bill, which was announced in the Queen’s Speech in Tuesday (10 May), will contain powers to enable the extension of the price cap , which the government described as the "best safety net for millions".
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More than 50GW of demand-side flexibility from energy storage, electrolysers and interconnectors will needed by 2030 to soak up surplus renewable and nuclear power, LCP has forecast. The figure was derived from modelling of the government’s energy security strategy, which contained new targets for 24GW of new nuclear and 50GW of offshore wind generation by the end of the current decade.
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Ofgem has opted to reduce connection charges for distribution network customers as part of its significant code review of network access arrangements. Network operators will also be required to offer larger users standardised flexible connection options with clear curtailment limits and end dates.
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The chair of Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee has expressed a lack of confidence that the government will meet its target for the roll out greenhouse gas removal technologies. Based on the current rate of progress, Philip Dunne MP said it requires a “leap of faith” to see how the government will achieve its goal to suck five megatonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere per year by 2030.
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The government’s energy security strategy contained bold new targets on nuclear and offshore wind but critics argue it does little to address immediate concerns. Experts tell David Blackman there are question marks about how the headline targets will be achieved and dismay at opportunities wasted in areas such as onshore wind and energy efficiency.
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Electricity networks have issued a last call for distributed generators to apply for funding to update or upgrade their loss of mains protections to comply with new regulatory requirements coming into effect on 1 September. The funding is part of the Accelerated Loss of Mains Change Programme being run by National Grid Electricity System Operator and distribution network operators.
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Ian Dobson, associate director at engineering consultancy ByrneLooby, explains how the application of new technologies to offshore energy construction can help the sector to meet the latest target from the government’s energy security strategy to deploy 50GW of offshore wind by 2030.  
Opinion
Centrica Business Solutions has signed a framework agreement with renewable developer Push Energy to build a series of solar farms over the coming years. The deal forms part of its plans to create a 900MW portfolio of grid-scale solar and battery storage assets in the UK by 2026, for which it established a dedicated team called Centrica Energy Assets in October last year.
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A new tool allowing companies to measure how much flexibility they have delivered to distribution network operators (DNOs) has been launched by the Energy Networks Association. The flexibility baseline verification tool was developed over two years through the Transition project led by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks Distribution, which said it will create a standard and consistent decision-making process across all DNOs.
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In the latest round-up of the weekend news, money saving guru Martin Lewis claims rising energy bills mean “civil unrest isn’t far way”, a lithium producer warns supply constraints will make electric vehicle targets “impossible” and a three-quarters of Brits back onshore wind in a new poll following the release of the government energy security strategy.
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