Build Back Better

Exploring how energy and water companies can drive the post-Covid recovery and build a greener and fairer society

Editor's picks

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?
Analysis
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
Opinion
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.
Analysis

Featured

“If you don’t want to make a decision, you can always find a reason for not making it,” says John Armitt, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, on the lack of energy policy coming out of BEIS. We’re risking missing net zero targets if it doesn’t make its mind up soon, he tells Denise Chevin.
Analysis
The reach of utilities firms into disadvantaged areas is a rare commodity, which can be harnessed to great effect when it comes to driving social mobility, say Rt Hon Justine Greening, Social Mobility Pledge founder and former Education Secretary; and Louise Beardmore, Customer Services and People Director at United Utilities
Opinion

Latest in Build Back Better

Ofgem’s proposals for the RIIO ED2 price controls set out how DNOs will be incentivised to deliver in areas such as consumer vulnerability and large connections. Sustainability First’s Judith Ward asks why the same approach has not been taken on decarbonisation. Without clear signals there is a real risk of only incremental steps towards net zero rather than the step change that is needed, she argues.
Opinion
SSE is to remove qualification entry requirements for apprentices as part of a wider push to improve social mobility. Utility Week speaks to the company’s HR director John Stewart and former minister Justine Greening, who chairs the social mobility pledge, about the sector’s role in creating new green jobs and supporting the levelling up agenda.
News
Nearly 12GW of electricity could be delivered in the next Contracts for Difference (CfD) round following an announcement that the government is doubling the size of contracts awarded through the mechanism. Utility Week examines the first steps of the government's green recovery plan and gauges reaction from across the sector.
News
Energy UK has urged chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak to make the UK the home of a new global centre for applying artificial intelligence to tackling climate change issues. In its submission to the Treasury’s spending review, seen by Utility Week, the industry body also calls on the government to hold pathfinder auctions this year for both green and blue hydrogen production and to establish a centrally funded “ambitious” domestic energy efficiency and low-carbon heat retrofit programme.
News
All spending under a Labour government would be tested against the net-zero emissions goal, the party’s shadow chancellor of the exchequer has pledged. Anneliese Dodds also said that businesses would have to meet net-zero obligations in order to secure funds from Labour’s proposed package of coronavirus crisis measures.
News
As part of our Build Back Better series, Utility Week speaks to Matt Hindle, head of gas at the Energy Networks Association. He predicts the relatively low profile of gas networks in the public debate around decarbonisation is about to change as the country begins to confront the conundrum of eradicating emissions from home heating.
Interviews
With many job functions in the utilities sector impossible to carry out remotely, is there a danger of a divide between this group and those enjoying the flexibility of remote working? Employment law specialist Alison Weatherhead discuses.
Analysis
Leaving delivery of net zero to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, will put meeting the 2050 target at risk, the director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership has claimed.
News
The energy minister has stressed that the government takes its pledge to spend £9.2 billion on energy efficiency “very seriously” and said he is lobbying the Treasury for funding to continue when the current Green Homes Grant programme ends.
News
Innovation will play a crucial role in the UK’s economic recovery after coronavirus but requires a coordinated strategy from government to allow businesses to grasp the opportunities available, according to a panel of experts. Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the CBI and Heidi Mottram, chief executive of Northumbrian Water, gave their views at the latter's Innovation Festival.
News
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