Electricity generation

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Octopus Energy Group has added £3.4 billion worth of renewable energy projects to its portfolio with the acquisition of sister company Octopus Renewables. From June the large retailer will manage Octopus Renewables’ European portfolio of more than 300 green assets under new business arm Octopus Energy Generation. Chris Hulatt, co-founder of Octopus Group, the parent company of both businesses, said he hoped the move would unlock a “multitude of new investment opportunities”.
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Crown Estate Scotland has raised the maximum option fees for its ScotWind offshore wind leasing round by ten-fold to £100,000/km². The decision follows a review of the arrangements that was launched after the winners in the Crown Estate’s fourth offshore wind leasing round for England and Wales agreed to pay option fees initially worth £879 million per year for almost 8GW of capacity its first competitive bidding process.
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Latest in Electricity generation

The Balancing Mechanism – the flexibility market used by National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) to correct imbalances between supply and demand - saw a large influx of smaller participants over 2020, both in terms of the number and capacity of active units, analysis from Cornwall Insight has revealed. The greatest growth came from aggregated units, which more than doubled in number from 20 to 45 as their combined active capacity rose by more than 87 per cent to around 1.7GW.
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Vattenfall has urged the government to make a “speedy” decision in redetermining planning permission for its Norfolk Vanguard offshore wind project after a High Court quashed the development consent order granted for the 1.8GW windfarm in July last year. Justice Holgate said the business and energy secretary at the time, Alok Sharma, had failed to adequately justify his decision not to consider the cumulative impacts of the onshore infrastructure for Norfolk Vanguard and its equally sized sister project Norfolk Boreas, and had thereby acted unlawfully.
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Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks' latest tender brings the total amount of flexibility services procured to date for the distribution network operator (DNO) to almost 447MW.
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A High Court judge has overturned the decision last year by then business and energy secretary, Alok Sharma, to award a development consent order for the 1.8GW Norfolk Vanguard offshore windfarm being developed by Vattenfall. The judge said the secretary of state had acted unlawfully by failing to provide adequate justification for declining to consider the cumulative impacts of the onshore infrastructure for Norfolk Vanguard and its 1.8GW sister project, Norfolk Boreas, when granting planning permission for the former.
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Andrew Urquhart, head of whole system at SSEN Transmission, argues that regional disparities and the volatility and unpredictability of transmission charges are deterring investment in renewables and calls for wider debate over their future.
Opinion
The decision to raise the target for the upcoming year-ahead (T-1) Capacity Market auction "could be good news for coal", in particular, EDF’s West Burton A power station, which has no contracts for subsequent winters, according to an analyst.
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Energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan has written to National Grid Electricity System Operator to accept its recommendation to raise the target volume for the upcoming year-ahead (T-1) Capacity Market auction to 2.4GW. The new figure represents a more than six-fold increase on the previous target of 400MW and primarily reflects a significant reduction in the amount of the generation that is expected to be available due to outages, delays or cancellations to new plants and the decommissioning of existing capacity.
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The Crown Estate has awarded seabed leasing rights to 8GW of new offshore wind generation as part of its fourth leasing round. The six projects around England and Wales were selected through a competitive tender process and will now need to pass an environmental assessment before they are granted lease agreements.  
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EDF has postponed the expected start date for electricity generation at Hinkley Point C to June 2026 and revealed that construction of the new nuclear plant in Somerset may cost up to £23.7 billion, depending on whether further delays materialise. When the government gave the final go-ahead in September 2016, the power station was expected to cost £18.1 billion to build and start generating electricity at the end of 2025.
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The engineering standards for the electricity system should “start off with customers” rather than being “written by industry people for industry use”, the chair of a review panel has argued. Simon Harrison is the group strategic development director for Mott Macdonald and recently chaired an independent panel convened by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategic (BEIS) and Ofgem to review engineering standards for electricity, which published its findings in December.
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Renewable developer Anesco has agreed to build a 200MW subsidy-free solar portfolio for investment firm Gresham House, with the “shovel-ready” sites ranging in size from 20MW to 50MW. Engineering, procurement and construction will all be handled by Anesco, which will also provide long-term operations and maintenance for the solar farms once they are powered up. Utility Week speaks to Anesco chief executive Mark Futyan.
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The Court of Appeal has upheld the government’s decision to grant planning permission to Drax to convert two of the coal units at its power station in North Yorkshire into combined-cycle gas turbines. The judgement is the outcome of an appeal by the environmental law firm Client Earth, which had already lost one legal challenge in the High Court against the decision by the secretary of state for energy to grant a development consent order in 2019.
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