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”.
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.
Utility Week’s policy correspondent David Blackman discusses the implications on the utilities sector of Boris Johnson’s plan for a “green industrial revolution”. He assesses the winners and losers from the speech, as well as the areas where question marks remain.
EDF has announced it will stop generating power at its Hinkley Point B nuclear plant in Somerset and begin decommissioning the facility by 15 July 2022 – eight months earlier than was previously expected. The company attributed the advanced closure to deterioration in the graphite blocks that make up the cores of its two advanced gas-cooled reactors.
Utility Week’s Tom Grimwood runs through the events of last week which saw National Grid issue two separate warnings over expected shortfalls in electricity supply and asks whether they are merely the odd blip or the sign of a deeper problem.
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 It followed a warning of a potential 740MW shortfall yesterday, which was eventually withdrawn.
The CBI has urged Rishi Sunak to create new market subsidy regimes to spur the UK’s fledgling CCUS and hydrogen industries. In its submission to the Treasury’s spending review, the employers’ body has included a raft of measures to spur economic growth that also delivers the UK’s net-zero goals
The government has thrown a fresh lifeline to the troubled scheme to build a nuclear power station in north Wales by extending the deadline for the business and energy secretary to make a decision on planning permission for Wylfa Newydd until December.
EDF’s UK nuclear development head has welcomed Treasury moves to introduce a carbon tax. Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, managing director of nuclear development, said there is an increasing “convergence” between technologies like hydrogen and nuclear and predicted the deployment of these technologies could be facilitated by the rollout of a carbon tax.
The triumph of offshore wind has shown how long-term policy and price signals can rapidly drive technology forward – and even Boris Johnson is full on behind its expansion. But can the same model work for other renewables, or is it time for a new set of energy market reforms?
Government could be set to invest more in small modular reactors as part of the green recovery plan. They could provide the natural successors to large nuclear reactors, supplying baseload in a future where intermittent energy will play an increasing part. But only if there is commitment to the necessary volume to deliver progressive cost reduction, say Julianne Antrobus and Robbie Lyons
The Climate Assembly’s recent report surprised many by showing that the public back even tougher climate change action than many politicians had assumed. The question now is how seriously their opinions will be taken in driving policy forward – especially the lack of appetite for nuclear and CCS to be part of the net-zero generation mix.
It would be “odd” for the UK to dismiss new nuclear power, the energy minister has admitted, amid mounting speculation that small modular reactors (SMRs) will be one of the technologies receiving support when the long-delayed energy white paper is published.
EDF has resumed full generation at the 1.2GW Sizewell B nuclear plant in Suffolk after switching off one its two reactors over the summer under an agreement with National Grid Electricity System Operator