Wind

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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”.
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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.
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Latest in Wind

Vattenfall has urged the government to make a “speedy” decision in redetermining planning permission for its Norfolk Vanguard offshore wind project after a High Court quashed the development consent order granted for the 1.8GW windfarm in July last year. Justice Holgate said the business and energy secretary at the time, Alok Sharma, had failed to adequately justify his decision not to consider the cumulative impacts of the onshore infrastructure for Norfolk Vanguard and its equally sized sister project Norfolk Boreas, and had thereby acted unlawfully.
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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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Andrew Urquhart, head of whole system at SSEN Transmission, argues that regional disparities and the volatility and unpredictability of transmission charges are deterring investment in renewables and calls for wider debate over their future.
Opinion
Crown Estate Scotland has extended the application window for its ScotWind offshore wind leasing round to give itself time to conduct a review of the option fee arrangements. An industry source told Utility Week that the publicly-owned corporation made the decision under pressure from Scottish ministers who feared the rights would be sold for too little following the high prices seen in the recent tender for The Crown Estate's fourth offshore wind leasing round.
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Danish manufacturer Vestas has revealed plans for a record-breaking 15MW wind turbine, which will snatch the title of the world’s most powerful from the 14MW model unveiled by Siemens Gamesa in 2020. As indicated by the name, the V236 15.0MW turbine will have a rotor diameter of 236 metres – also the world’s largest – with blades more than 115 metres long.
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The Crown Estate has awarded seabed leasing rights to 8GW of new offshore wind generation as part of its fourth leasing round. The six projects around England and Wales were selected through a competitive tender process and will now need to pass an environmental assessment before they are granted lease agreements.  
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SSE has confirmed it expects to see its earnings reduced by roughly £200 million over its current financial year due to the effects of the coronavirus. In a third quarter trading update, the company said the impact of the pandemic on its operating profit is anticipated to fall towards the middle of the £150 million to £250 million range originally estimated in its last full-year results in June 2020.
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EDF Renewables has revealed plans to install up to five floating turbines for phase two of its Blyth Offshore Demonstrator windfarm off the coast of Northumberland. The turbines will be situated 14 kilometres from the shore in water depths of around 55 metres.
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Octopus Energy has launched a new time-of-use tariff that is only available to people living nearby to two wind turbines bought by the company and enables them to receive cheaper electricity when it is windy. The 500kW turbines, located at Caerphilly in South Wales and Market Weighton in Yorkshire, are the first to be acquired by the supplier and each produce enough power annually to meet the needs of around 400 homes.
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Octopus Renewables has raised concerns over Ofgem’s ongoing review of forward-looking network charges and the regulator’s apparent desire to expose more distributed generators to transmission fees. Investment director David Bird said ending the exemption for embedded generators would undermine the viability of onshore wind projects in Scotland and the north of England and slow progress towards reaching net zero emissions.
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The trade deal agreed between the UK and the European Union set out plans for a new forum to co-ordinate offshore renewable energy development in the North Sea and the temporary continuation of existing interconnector energy trading arrangements. Utility Week explores these and other key points for the utilities sector.
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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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