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.
Webinars
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.
Opinion

Latest in Biomass

Drax has abandoned plans to build up to 3.6GW of new gas generation at its power station in North Yorkshire. The company originally intended to repurpose the steam turbines for its two remaining coal units to create two sets of combined-cycle gas turbines, each with a capacity of up to 1.8GW. Utility Week speaks to chief financial officer Andy Skelton, who also discusses the group's 2020 financial results.
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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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Drax has signed an agreement to buy the Canadian biomass pellet producer Pinnacle Renewable Energy as part of its drive to increase self-sufficiency. Pinnacle operates a total of ten biomass pellet plants – six as part of joint ventures – with seven located in British Columbia, two in Alberta and one in the US state of Alabama.
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Drax chief executive Will Gardiner shares his thoughts on the countdown to COP, calling it a unique opportunity to showcase the UK’s decarbonisation expertise. However, he warns that to present a coherent argument on how we will tackle emissions, the government needs to be clear on frameworks for supporting the rapid scale-up of a diverse range of technologies.
Interviews
The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has issued a call for evidence on greenhouse gas removal technologies, specifically direct air carbon capture and storage and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage which it considers to be the most developed options. It said natural solutions such as the use of forests as “carbon sinks” will play an important role in the UK’s climate change strategy and reducing emissions but will fall outside of the scope of the study.
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For the second consecutive day, National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has issued an urgent call for more generation, as systems margins tightened. Last night it issued an electricity margin notice for a 466MW shortfall this evening. It followed a warning of a potential 740MW shortfall yesterday, which was eventually withdrawn.
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A group of twelve companies and organisations have submitted a bid for government funding to help create a zero-carbon industrial hub in the Humber region by 2040. The Zero Carbon Humber partnership said the project could reduce the UK’s total annual carbon emissions by 15 per cent, save businesses around £27.5 billion in carbon taxes over the next two decades, safeguard 55,000 existing jobs and create thousands more.
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A ban on the sale of internal combustion engine cars and gas boilers should be brought forward to as soon as 2030, the pioneering citizens assembly set up to help chart the UK’s route to net-zero emissions has recommended. The first report from the 110-strong Climate Assembly UK also expressed strong support for on and offshore wind generation and solar but was considerably cooler on nuclear and fossil fuels with CCS
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Workers at the Drax power station in North Yorkshire have been voting this week in a ballot for strike action over 230 proposed redundancies, the Unite Union has revealed. Unite has accused Drax of backtracking on a verbal pledge made last year that there would be no compulsory redundancies among the 600-strong workforce, a claim Drax denies.
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The UK could secure two thirds of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2030 at no extra cost to meeting half of total demand. This is according to the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), which cites the plunging cost of solar and wind power in recent years as a spur to go “further, faster without hitting consumers in the pocket”.
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Renewables’ share of the electricity generation rose by 4 percentage points during 2019 to reach a new record of 37.1 per cent, according to the latest edition of the annual Digest of UK Energy Statistics. Wind alone accounted for a fifth of all generation – 10 per cent each from onshore and offshore – another new record.
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