Biomass

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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 Biomass

The Health and Safety Executive has announced its intention to prosecute Drax Power for failing to properly control the exposure of its workers to wood dust from the biomass pellets used as fuel at its power station Selby. The regulator said the prosecution follows an investigation that was initiated after it was officially notified of five Drax employees being exposed to the wood dust, with the first notification being received in October 2015.
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Drax’s head of sustainability Dr Becky Heaton is stepping down from her membership of the Climate Change Committee after concerns were raised that combining the two roles represented a conflict of interest. The announcement comes ahead of Heaton’s move to become director of sustainability at Ovo later this summer.
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The government has been urged by Labour to rethink its new blanket ban on new Contracts for Difference (CfDs) for biomass by allowing projects fitted with carbon capture technology to compete in auctions. In a House of Commons debate on Tuesday night, held to approve new CfD regulations, shadow energy minister Alan Whitehead said the opposition backed the government’s overall proposal to exclude conversions of coal-fired power stations to biomass plants. 
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Future Biogas has revealed plans to build new 25 biogas plants by 2028, all equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS), whilst installing CCS at 20 or more existing sites, including a number of the 10 biogas plants it already operates. Utility Week speaks to the company's chief executive Philipp Lukas.
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Drax has signed a deal with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to use the Japanese company’s technology for its proposed bioenergy with carbon capture and storage project. The firm is planning to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions from two of the four biomass at its power station in North Yorkshire, with the aim of generating so-called “negative emissions”.
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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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Subsidies for Drax’s proposed bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) plant could cost consumers almost £32 billion - or £470 for each person in the UK - according to a new report from the environmental think tank Ember. Drax has disputed the figures, saying they are based on “a series of false assumptions” that do not reflect its current proposals.
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Greater flexibility could cut energy system costs by £16.7 billion per year by 2050, according to new research from the Carbon Trust and Imperial College London. The report said flexibility should be embedded into all sectors of the energy system – power, heat and transport – to reduce the impact and cost of their decarbonisation.
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Environmental groups have warned that bioenergy with carbon capture and storage will not deliver the “negative emissions” touted by advocates, whilst also being expensive and damaging to the environment. Organisations including Friends of the Earth, WWF and Greenpeace expressed their opposition to the technology in an open letter to government.
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Drax has announced its intention to submit a planning application later this month to equip two of the biomass units at its power station in Selby with carbon capture and storage (CCS). The company said the work could potentially begin in 2024, with the first unit becoming operational in 2027.
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