Low-carbon generation

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Emissions reductions targets for both Scotland and the UK will not be met unless the government intervenes to reform Ofgem’s network charging regime, a renewable energy developer has warned. RES said Ofgem’s transmission network charging methodology was one of the “defining reasons” for not proceeding with two recent projects in Scotland.
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Payments made to generators to manage constraints on the transmission network are forecast to rise to between £1 billion and £2.5 billion per year by the mid-2020s, according to National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO). The ESO said the costs, which currently amount to around £0.5 billion per year, are then expected fall back down to similar levels by the end of the decade as major new transmission projects come online.
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Two Tory former energy secretaries have backed calls for offshore windfarm operators to pay compensation to communities scarred by the new transmission infrastructure required to deliver their projects.
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A webinar to explore priorities for digital innovation in the utilities sector as the race for net zero picks up pace. Join for research insights and expert industry views.
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As the UK ramps up its efforts to achieve its decarbonisation aims, the energy and utilities sector is at the forefront of the fight against climate change. Carl Haigney, global vice president and head of retail utilities subsector at Capgemini, outlines several challenges both the sector and the government must overcome in order to set the nation on the right track towards decarbonisation. For Haigney, cutting red tape and providing the right incentives will be key.
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Latest in Low-carbon generation

Plant and machinery used to generate and store renewable energy onsite will be exempt from business rates, the government announced in the Budget on Wednesday (27 October). As part of a wider review of business rates, the Budget also contained a move to offer 100% relief for heat networks.
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Chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak has earmarked £1.7 billion of new funding to help get one major new nuclear power plant off the ground before the next election. The Treasury’s spending review, published on Wednesday (27 October) alongside the Budget, contained few new energy investment commitments beyond confirming those announced last week in the government’s Net Zero Strategy.
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The government has introduced a new bill to parliament to implement the regulated asset base (RAB) funding model for new nuclear power stations. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the “tried and tested” model has already been successfully used to finance major infrastructure projects such as the Thames Tideway Tunnel and will save consumers more than £30 billion on each new large-scale nuclear plant.
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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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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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In our latest review of sector coverage in the national media, a Welsh company will lead on plans to build a £1.7 billion renewable energy project on Swansea’s water front. Elsewhere, there are reports of a clash between two multi-billion-pound net zero schemes in the North Sea.
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SGN’s chief executive talks to Utility Week as part of our Countdown to COP campaign about the challenge of engaging customers in decarbonisation of heat. He also questions whether the UK is being ambition enough on hydrogen and why our net-zero goals must be aligned globally.
Interviews
Good Energy, Green Energy UK and Ecotricity have been accredited by Which? as its first ‘Eco Providers’ for energy. The consumer group assessed the green energy credentials of more than 40 energy suppliers, giving each of them a score of out 20.
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Utilities should work with mortgage and insurance providers to pinpoint moments when householders and drivers are most likely to respond to incentives to switch to low-carbon options. This was the view of senior industry figures speaking to Utility Week in the wake of the publication of the Heat and Buildings Strategy.
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As part of our Countdown to COP series, Utility Week speaks to Suleman Alli, director of customer service, strategy, regulation and information services at UK Power Networks. He discusses the legacy of COP26 but also delves into action his company is taking to facilitate on-street electric vehicle charging and how it aims to “write the book on green home heating”.
Interviews
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