Tidal

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The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) has unveiled a “green recovery pathway” for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, whilst creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Meanwhile, politicians and business leaders from the North West, along with SPEN, Cadent and Electricity North West, have launched an “energy masterplan”.
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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.
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A High Court judge has overturned the decision last year by then business and energy secretary, Alok Sharma, to award a development consent order for the 1.8GW Norfolk Vanguard offshore windfarm being developed by Vattenfall. The judge said the secretary of state had acted unlawfully by failing to provide adequate justification for declining to consider the cumulative impacts of the onshore infrastructure for Norfolk Vanguard and its 1.8GW sister project, Norfolk Boreas, when granting planning permission for the former.
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Latest in Tidal

Interconnector capacity between England and Scotland must be quadrupled over the next decade to match up growing supply north of the border to where demand is greatest, a former energy minister has warned. Charles Hendry, who was minister of state for energy from 2010 to 2012, warned the UK and Scottish governments they must develop a much more “common” approach to energy.
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Low-carbon generation fell year on year in the last quarter, on the back of widespread nuclear outages and a “relatively small” increase in renewable output, according to new government statistics.
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Kwasi Kwarteng has revealed that he is “very sympathetic” to giving wave and tidal energy its own “baby pot” within the Contracts for Difference auction process. However, the energy minister acknowledged that there is an issue, particularly within the Treasury, about the higher upfront costs of supporting marine technology.
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The government has announced it is working with National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) to explore how best to enable electric vehicles to take part in the Capacity Market. In an open letter to stakeholders, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said it has also asked the ESO to look into the development of de-rating factors for geothermal and tidal generation.
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The introduction of a three-pot structure for future Contracts for Difference auctions means they are effectively “no longer technologically neutral”, an analyst has told Utility Week. James Brabben, wholesale manager for Cornwall Insight, said the decision is nevertheless the right one given the government’s commitment to build 40GW of offshore wind by 2030.
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The government has confirmed key details of the fourth Contracts for Difference auction, to open in late 2021. The auction’s capacity will increase from 5.8GW in 2019 to 12GW, with offshore wind moved to its own pot. Floating offshore wind projects will be able to bid for contracts for the first time, while onshore wind and solar will be allowed to compete once again. The government has also launched a consultation on a Supply Chain Plan, aimed at “increasing the competitiveness of UK manufacturers”.
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The Welsh Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry into how the UK Government can best support the development of the principality’s renewable energy resources.
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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.
Analysis
Regina Finn, Ofwat’s first chief executive and now chair of the Low Carbon Contracts Company, talks to Utility Week about her career and the future of Contracts for Difference. She discusses the role of auctions for emerging technologies, starting with next year’s bumper round and whether they could extend beyond the power sector. She also gives her view on how regulation should reflect the net-zero journey.
Interviews
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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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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