Demand-side management

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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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Featured

Net zero is a once in a generation opportunity to transform the energy system. This high-level report, in association with Microsoft and Accenture, explores how digital technology and partnership working can help the sector accelerate and scale up to deliver the transition affordably.
Downloads
As part of our Countdown to COP campaign, Utility Week speaks to Suleman Alli, director of strategy & customer service at UK Power Networks. He discusses the need to present decarbonisation as an economic opportunity rather than a cost burden, why the sector should be promoting “open energy” and three principles to boost consumer participation in the net-zero agenda.
Interviews

Latest in Demand-side management

Distribution network operators have adopted a common approach to evaluating flexibility as an alternative to reinforcement when dealing with network constraints. The Energy Networks Association said the new methodology will give flexibility providers greater confidence in decisions by ensuring they are made transparently and consistently.
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The government has been urged to “stop the drift to central planning” by phasing out the Contracts for Difference and Capacity Market schemes by the mid-2020s and replacing them with a mandate on market participants to bring about decarbonisation. The Energy Systems Catapult said they have been effective in increasing renewables' share of the electricity mix but are now “progressively undermining wholesale markets” and creating a situation whereby “policymakers effectively choose which technologies to support”.
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Three of EDF’s nuclear units – one each at the Dungeness B, Heysham 2 and Torness power stations – have dropped out of the latest four-year-ahead (T-4) Capacity Market auction before it cleared at an annual price £18/kW. Meanwhile, agreements have been secured by three new open-cycle gas turbines being developed by Drax.
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All units in the Capacity Market may also be required to register in the Balancing Mechanism under new rules being considered by BEIS. The department is consulting on a number of proposed improvements to the scheme, which also include changes to the way emissions are calculated and the removal of certain restrictions on secondary trading.
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The latest year-ahead Capacity Market auction has cleared at £45/kW – the highest price seen so far in one of the regular auctions. The T-1 auction for delivery over the 2020/21 winter season procured 2,252MW of de-rated capacity across 156 units.
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The standard flexibility contract agreed upon by distribution network operators and the Electricity System Operator at National Grid has received an update based on feedback from industry stakeholders, including Ofgem and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The contract was developed as part of the Energy Network Association’s Open Networks project to provide a consistent core agreement for those wishing to provide flexibility services.
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Building out the current pipeline of 14GW of new combined-cycle gas turbines risks stranding £9 billion of assets, Carbon Tracker has claimed in a new report. The climate change think tank said the 15GW of coal and nuclear plants that are due to close by 2025 could already be replaced more cheaply with a portfolio of clean energy technologies and the savings are set to grow substantially over the coming years as costs continue to fall.
News
Can the massive network infrastructure investment needed for net zero be delivered without creating adverse impacts on public engagement or the environment? In a new report, Utility Week and Hitachi ABB Powergrids, explore the challenge.
Analysis
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.
News
Net zero is a once in a generation opportunity to transform the energy system. This high-level report, in association with Microsoft and Accenture, explores how digital technology and partnership working can help the sector accelerate and scale up to deliver the transition affordably.
Downloads
Key to the UK's success in reaching its decarbonisation targets will be fostering innovation, developing the skills needed to deliver on these ambitions, and collaboration across the energy sector, writes Emma Ford, head of gas construction at National Grid.
Opinion
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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