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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 government is planning to raise the threshold for mutualisation under the renewables obligation (RO) after a review deemed the current arrangements not fit for purpose, Utility Week can reveal. In addition the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) says it is considering changes to the way the mutualisation amount is determined in England and Wales in order to lessen its impact on suppliers.
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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
In the final part of the series, Adam John speaks to the winners of the Young Energy Professionals awards about how their generation considers the net-zero challenge.
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Claire O’Neill will break her silence next week on the government’s handling of COP26, ten months after she was sacked from the presidency of the UN climate summit. The BEIS select committee will also hear from the EU’s ex-lead negotiator on climate issues. The committee’s chair, Darren Jones, has written to BEIS secretary Alok Sharma expressing concern that the government is not “sufficiently clear” about what it is seeking to achieve at COP26.
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The offshore wind sector is providing millions of pounds of funding to the Ministry of Defence to identify ways of allowing wind turbines to be deployed in areas where they have previously been blocked due their impact on air defence radar. The money will be used by the ministry to test a range of technologies and solutions, including more sophisticated radar systems that are better able to distinguish between aircraft and turbines.
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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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Smart meter installations recovered in the third quarter of 2020 after a sluggish start to the year due to the pandemic, the latest government figures show. The release from BEIS shows that while performance has improved, installations in Q3 were still lower than the same period last year - especially in the domestic market.
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The proposed ban on fossil fuel heating in new homes is desperately needed to “kick start” the market for heat pumps and achieve the government’s new target of raising annual installations to 600,000 by 2028, the Environmental Audit Committee has been told. Jan Rosenow, director of European programmes at the Regulatory Assistance Project, said continuing to rely on subsidies “is not going to solve this problem quickly enough.”
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The government has backed handing utility regulators a new net-zero duty and signalled moves to split off the Electricity System Operator from National Grid. Utility Week’s policy correspondent David Blackman delves into the government’s newly published National Infrastructure Strategy and assesses what it means for utilities.
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More than 6 million SMETS2 smart meters have been installed onto the network, the Data Communications Company (DCC) has revealed. The company says October was the busiest month for SMETS2 installations ever, even before the Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to all but emergency installations.
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The government has revealed plans to open up fresh swathes of the UK’s offshore waters to floating wind by allowing turbines deployed in shallower depths to bid for Contracts for Difference (CfD). The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy made the announcement as part its response to a consultation on rule changes for future auctions.
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In our latest industry appointment round-up Bulb poaches another EasyJet executive to bolster its senior team, while Octopus Energy has appointed a chief executive to launch its German division. Meanwhile, the Offshore Wind Industry Council has announced the appointment of a new co-chair.
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The government’s new targets around the decarbonisation of heat have been welcomed by industry figures, who said ministers should avoid taking a strategy of “wait and see”. Speaking to Utility Week, they said the broad ambitions listed in its 10-point plan for a "green industrial revolution" must now be backed up with the right policies, regulations and funding.
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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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In our latest review of sector coverage across the national newspapers, concern is expressed about whether homegrown supply chains will lose out in the UK’s spending boom in offshore wind. Details of Boris Johnson’s 10-point green plan are also explored, including regional disparities in the installation of electric car chargepoints. Meanwhile, a plan to export Scottish water to England to deal with shortages has been blocked by ministers north of the border.
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