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Ofgem approves UKPN to access smart meter data

UK Power Networks has become the second Distribution Network Operator to secure Ofgem approval to access smart meter data for households and small businesses in its patch, after the regulator approved its data security plan.

The DNO will now be able to access the devices’ aggregated half-hourly data via Smart DCC, the Capita-owned business that has the licence to operate the smart meter system, giving it a clearer view of loads on the low voltage networks.

Western Power Distribution was also approved by Ofgem to access smart meter data, in July 2018.  

The DNO submitted its data privacy plan to Ofgem in December 2019, which included “assurances that Consumption Data will not be used for marketing purposes or sold to third parties for commercial or marketing purposes”.

Ofgem granted its approval on 11 February.

Having this understanding will help the company effectively adapt to new demands on the network and subsequently support Great Britain’s transition to a low carbon society

Spokeperson, UK Power Networks

Insight into this data is becoming more important as for DNOs as networks adapt to household solar generation, electric vehicle charging, and battery storage.

In an email to Network, the DNO said that the consumption data would offer better visibility of usage patterns on its low voltage network, helping it to plan reinforcement and to understand how load patterns would be affected by electric vehicles and other low carbon technologies.

A spokesperson said: “Having this understanding will help the company effectively adapt to new demands on the network and subsequently support Great Britain’s transition to a low carbon society.”

The data can improve visibility of the demands on substations, feeders and sections of feeders, according to the data security plan submitted to Ofgem.

Each household smart meter transmits consumption data to servers controlled and operated by Smart DCC. UK Power Networks will be able to access the data via the latter’s infrastructure, which interfaces with the DNO’s own secure IT systems.

Smart DCC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Capita, operates under a licence granted by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which is also regulated by Ofgem.

According to the data privacy plan submitted to Ofgem, UK Power Networks will develop a process through Smart DCC to collect the information on a monthly basis.

Collecting at monthly intervals will means that IT systems at the DNO and at Smart DCC are not overloaded, as the data requests can be data intensive.

The decision was made to collect data monthly as a longer or shorter period would provide no additional benefits to UK Power Network’s team, for instance system design and planning engineers using the data for network reinforcement analysis or new connections.

UK Power Networks will be able to access aggregated monthly half-hourly consumption load profiles for each substation, feeder and section of feeder.

Under the requirements of its licence, UK Power Networks will need to ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, the data ceases to be “capable of being associated with a domestic customer at relevant premises”.

As well as using the data for its own analysis, UK Power Networks has said that it might make aggregated and anonymised consumption data available to independent connection providers and independent DNOs (IDNO)s where there is a framework agreement.

It might also share aggregated and anonymised data with consultants and universities working on its behalf, for example to support a research project.

BP boss plans to ‘reinvent’ oil giant for green era

New BP boss Bernard Looney has said he wants the company to sharply cut net carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner.

Mr Looney said the 111-year-old company needed to “reinvent” itself, a strategy that will eventually include more investment in alternative energy.

BP will have to fundamentally reorganise itself to help make those changes, said Mr Looney, who took over as chief executive last week.

It follows similar moves by rivals, including Royal Dutch Shell and Total.

Mr Looney said: “The world’s carbon budget is finite and running out fast; we need a rapid transition to net zero.

“Trillions of dollars will need to be invested in re-plumbing and rewiring the world’s energy system.”

“This will certainly be a challenge, but also a tremendous opportunity. It is clear to me, and to our stakeholders, that for BP to play our part and serve our purpose, we have to change. And we want to change – this is the right thing for the world and for BP.”

He outlined his plans in a keynote speech on Wednesday.

“Providing the world with clean, reliable affordable energy will require nothing less than reimagining energy, and today that becomes BP’s new purpose,” he said. “Reimagining energy for people and our planet.”

“We’ll still be an energy company, but a very different kind of energy company: leaner, faster moving, lower carbon, and more valuable.”

BP’s announcement that it intends to become a zero carbon emissions company by 2050 was not short of fanfare. It’s new boss, 49-year-old Irishman Bernard Looney, delivered what the company described as a landmark speech in front of hundreds of journalists and investors.

But while he was clear what he wanted and why, he was less clear on how and when. There was a commitment to reduce the company’s investments in oil and gas exploration, and increase investment in zero and low-carbon energy over time.

But there were no commitments to specific targets in the intervening 30 years. Indeed he said that BP would still be in the oil and gas business three decades from now but in a sustainable way.

Ultimately, it will fall to his successors to make good on promises made today. But Mr Looney said in order to start a journey you need a destination. His critics would say you need a more detailed map on how to get there.

Presentational grey line

On Instagram, which Mr Looney recently signed up to, he said: “Rest assured – a lot of time – and listening – has gone into this.”

“All of the anxiety and frustration of the world at the pace of change is a big deal. I want you to know we are listening. Both as a company – and myself as an individual.”In the longer term, BP’s plans will involve less investment in oil and gas, and more investment in low carbon businesses.

The company said it wanted to be “net zero” by 2050 – that is, it wants the greenhouse gas emissions from its operations, and from the oil and gas it produces, to make no addition to the amount of greenhouse gases in the world’s atmosphere by that date.

It also wants to halve the amount of carbon in its products by 2050.

Mr Looney did not set out in detail how it intended to reach its “net zero” target, something that drew criticism from environmental campaign organisation Greenpeace.

Charlie Kronick, oil advisor from Greenpeace UK, said there were many unanswered questions. “How will they reach net zero? Will it be through offsetting? When will they stop wasting billions on drilling for new oil and gas we can’t burn?

“What is the scale and schedule for the renewables investment they barely mention? And what are they going to do this decade, when the battle to protect our climate will be won or lost?”

Mr Looney addressed this criticism after his speech, saying: “We want a rapid transition. A transition that is delayed, and then suddenly is a right-angle change that disrupts the world, would be destructive to our company.”

“We’re starting with a destination. The details will come,” he said.

When asked whether that meant it’s oil and gas business would cease to grow, Mr Looney said: “BP is going to be in the oil and gas business for a very long time. That’s a fact. We pay an $8bn in dividends [to shareholders] every year. Not paying that is one way to make sure that we’re not around to enable the transition that we want.”

However, he said the existing oil and gas business would shrink over time. Any remaining carbon produced by the use of BP products would have to be captured or offset, he said.

Investor pressure

Climate Action 100+, a group of large investors that is trying to put pressure on major greenhouse gas emitters to clean up their act, said the BP announcement was “welcome”.

“We need to see a wholesale shift to a net zero economy by 2050,” said Stephanie Pfeifer, a member of the action group’s steering committee.

“This must include oil and gas companies if we are to have any chance of successfully tackling the climate crisis,” said Ms Pfeifer, who is also chief executive of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change.

She said that Climate Action 100+ investors, which have already been putting pressure on BP, will continue to look for progress from the company in addressing climate change.

“This includes how it will invest more in non-oil and gas businesses, and ensuring its lobbying activity supports delivery of the Paris Agreement,” she said.

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Electric shock: Could Brexit scar Britain’s energy landscape?

Britain’s exit from the EU, which will finally happen on Friday (31 January), has sparked fears of disruption to its electricity market, from higher bills to supply issues and stalled de-carbonisation efforts.

Britain depends on the European Union for much of its electricity supply.

Its own generation fell in 2018 by 1.6%, according to the latest available statistics.

This reduction stems from the gradual shutdown of coal-fired power plants, which is yet to be fully compensated by a rise in wind power.

Imports of electricity and gas have increased in response, predominantly from France, the Netherlands and Ireland, which now account for almost 40% of Britain’s energy consumption.

Britain’s imminent departure from the 28-member EU and its single electricity market therefore represents a risk for an already fragile network, which suffered a big blackout in August.

It will continue to benefit from existing arrangements during a post-Brexit transition phase, while it seeks a new agreement on everything from energy to security cooperation with Brussels.

But it is not clear if these talks will entirely resolve the issue.

British industry regulator Ofgem has said “alternative trading arrangements will need to be developed”, without giving further details.

It insists that whatever deal is struck, it does not “expect Brexit to interrupt the flows of electricity and gas”.

But at times of peak demand, Britain may find itself at the back of the line for electricity.

“EU countries could get preference,” Weijie Mak, of research company Aurora, told AFP.

As with other areas such as finance, agreeing so-called equivalence on things like CO2 emission rules – so countries who produce cleaner and more expensive electricity are not disadvantaged – will be key.

Price rise?

Uncertainty over equivalence and the possible return of tariffs or quotas if trade negotiations falter has left some sceptical that nothing will change post-Brexit.

“The electricity trade will become more expensive,” said Joseph Dutton, policy advisor at climate change think tank E3G. “It could mean higher bills for consumers.”

Trading in electricity across the Channel is currently based on an auction system, which could be upset by Britain’s EU departure.

Eurelectric, the association representing the industry at the European level, sees it as a “lose-lose situation” because of “less efficient gas and power trading”.

The hazy picture has seen the French government put on hold several interconnector projects aimed at better linking the electric power grids of Britain and the continent.

But they are seen as crucial for energy security on the English side of the Channel.

“(They) supply less than 10% (of electricity consumed) but allow you to balance supply and demand,” said Dutton.

“Interconnectors give you flexibility to build more renewables (wind mills in particular) because you can buy electricity when the wind is not blowing and sell it when you have more than you need.”

That could lead the government to postpone the closure of gas-fired power stations and delay Britain’s transition to entirely green energy sources, which it has vowed to do by 2050.

It could also mean easing a carbon tax currently levied on electricity prices to finance the transition if bills have spiked.

“If they (interconnectors) are not working, it has real consequences for the net zero targets,” concluded Dutton.

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Who pays for the EU’s €1tn green deal?

Under its president, Ursula von der Leyen, the European commission has big plans to address climate change. With a €1tn ($1.1tn) investment package, it hopes to transform Europe into a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.

But much of that €1tn for the commission’s proposed green deal would be generated through financial-leverage effects. In 2020, the EU will formally allocate for such purposes only around €40bn, most of which is already included in the budget from previous years; arguably, only €7.5bn of additional funding under the plan would actually be new.

As with the previous commission’s 2015 Juncker plan, the trick, once again, will be to muster the lion’s share of the quoted sum through a shadow budget administered by the European Investment Bank (EIB). The commission, after all, is not allowed to incur debt; but the EU’s intergovernmental rescue and investment funds are.

Jeffrey Frankel Read more

In essence, the EU is doing what the major banks did before the 2008 financial crisis, when they circumvented regulation by shifting part of their business to off-balance-sheet conduits and special-purpose vehicles. In the case of the EU, the guarantees offered by the commission and individual EU member states are sufficient for a high credit rating, and thus for the issuance of European debenture bonds. The funds generated will be used for public and private purposes, and sometimes even for public-private partnerships. But should the guarantees be called in one day, eurozone taxpayers will be the ones to foot the bill.Advertisement

These planned shadow budgets are problematic, not only because they would allow the commission to circumvent a prohibition against borrowing, but also because they implicate the European Central Bank. To be sure, the ECB president, Christine Lagarde, has already announced that she wants the bank to play a more active role in climate-friendly activities within the eurozone. And the ECB is now considering whether to pursue targeted purchases of bonds issued by institutions that have received the commission’s climate seal of approval.

In practice, of course, this most likely means that the ECB would buy up the “green” bonds now being devised by the EIB. Those purchases will then reduce the interest rates at which the EIB can take on debt, ultimately leading to activation of the printing press to provide the money for spending on climate policy.

It is laudable to want to do something about climate change. But under the current plan, the ECB would be pushed into a legal grey area. The institution is not democratically controlled, but rather managed by technocrats on the executive board. Every member state, big or small, appoints its own representative, who then has equal voting rights, personal immunity, and the autonomy to operate free from any parliamentary accountability.

Moreover, under the Maastricht treaty, the ECB board is primarily obligated to maintain price stability, and may support separate economic-policy measures only if doing so does not endanger its ability to fulfil this mandate. In the case of the green deal, the dangers are obvious. If the additional demand created by an expansion of green projects is funded by printing money instead of collecting taxes, it will not withdraw demand from other sectors of the European economy and would therefore be potentially inflationary.

Situations like this serve as a reminder of why article 123 of the treaty on the functioning of the European Union strictly prohibits the ECB from taking part in the financing “of Union institutions, bodies, offices or agencies, central governments, regional, local, or other public authorities, other bodies governed by public law, or public undertakings of member states”. But, of course, the ECB has already circumvented this rule by purchasing around €2tn in public debt from the market, thereby stretching the limits of its mandate to a legally dubious degree.

The latest plans to circumvent the Maastricht treaty will not improve matters. Before the financial crisis, the ECB was concerned only with monetary policy. During the crisis, it turned into a public bailout authority rescuing near-bankrupt banks and governments. Now, it is becoming an economic government that can print its budget as it sees fit.

The impending violation of the spirit of the Maastricht treaty will be twofold: the EU will be assuming debt covertly, and it will be doing so through the printing press. As such, the commission’s plans will further undermine the credibility of the very institution on which Europe relies for its financial and macroeconomic stability and its long-term growth prospects – and this at a time when the world is becoming even more uncertain, competitive and aggressive.

… and never more dangerous than now, as the crisis escalates across the world. The Guardian’s accurate, authoritative journalism has never been more critical – and we will not stay quiet. This is our pledge: we will continue to give global heating, wildlife extinction and pollution the urgent attention and prominence they demand. We recognise the climate emergency as the defining issue of our lifetimes. This month we made an important decision – to renounce fossil fuel advertising, becoming the first major global news organisation to institute an outright ban on taking money from companies that extract fossil fuels.

You’ve read 30 articles in the last four months. We chose a different approach: to keep Guardian journalism open for all. We don’t have a paywall because we believe everyone deserves access to factual information, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.

Our editorial independence means we are free to investigate and challenge inaction by those in power. We will inform our readers about threats to the environment based on scientific facts, not driven by commercial or political interests. And we have made several important changes to our style guide to ensure the language we use accurately reflects the environmental emergency.

The Guardian believes that the problems we face on the climate crisis are systemic and that fundamental societal change is needed. We will keep reporting on the efforts of individuals and communities around the world who are fearlessly taking a stand for future generations and the preservation of human life on earth. We want their stories to inspire hope. We will also report back on our own progress as an organisation, as we take important steps to address our impact on the environment.

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Who pays for the EU’s €1tn green deal?

Under its president, Ursula von der Leyen, the European commission has big plans to address climate change. With a €1tn ($1.1tn) investment package, it hopes to transform Europe into a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.

But much of that €1tn for the commission’s proposed green deal would be generated through financial-leverage effects. In 2020, the EU will formally allocate for such purposes only around €40bn, most of which is already included in the budget from previous years; arguably, only €7.5bn of additional funding under the plan would actually be new.

As with the previous commission’s 2015 Juncker plan, the trick, once again, will be to muster the lion’s share of the quoted sum through a shadow budget administered by the European Investment Bank (EIB). The commission, after all, is not allowed to incur debt; but the EU’s intergovernmental rescue and investment funds are.

 The best way to help the climate is to increase the price of CO2 emissions

Jeffrey Frankel Read more

In essence, the EU is doing what the major banks did before the 2008 financial crisis, when they circumvented regulation by shifting part of their business to off-balance-sheet conduits and special-purpose vehicles. In the case of the EU, the guarantees offered by the commission and individual EU member states are sufficient for a high credit rating, and thus for the issuance of European debenture bonds. The funds generated will be used for public and private purposes, and sometimes even for public-private partnerships. But should the guarantees be called in one day, eurozone taxpayers will be the ones to foot the bill.

These planned shadow budgets are problematic, not only because they would allow the commission to circumvent a prohibition against borrowing, but also because they implicate the European Central Bank. To be sure, the ECB president, Christine Lagarde, has already announced that she wants the bank to play a more active role in climate-friendly activities within the eurozone. And the ECB is now considering whether to pursue targeted purchases of bonds issued by institutions that have received the commission’s climate seal of approval.

In practice, of course, this most likely means that the ECB would buy up the “green” bonds now being devised by the EIB. Those purchases will then reduce the interest rates at which the EIB can take on debt, ultimately leading to activation of the printing press to provide the money for spending on climate policy.

It is laudable to want to do something about climate change. But under the current plan, the ECB would be pushed into a legal grey area. The institution is not democratically controlled, but rather managed by technocrats on the executive board. Every member state, big or small, appoints its own representative, who then has equal voting rights, personal immunity, and the autonomy to operate free from any parliamentary accountability.

Moreover, under the Maastricht treaty, the ECB board is primarily obligated to maintain price stability, and may support separate economic-policy measures only if doing so does not endanger its ability to fulfil this mandate. In the case of the green deal, the dangers are obvious. If the additional demand created by an expansion of green projects is funded by printing money instead of collecting taxes, it will not withdraw demand from other sectors of the European economy and would therefore be potentially inflationary.

Situations like this serve as a reminder of why article 123 of the treaty on the functioning of the European Union strictly prohibits the ECB from taking part in the financing “of Union institutions, bodies, offices or agencies, central governments, regional, local, or other public authorities, other bodies governed by public law, or public undertakings of member states”. But, of course, the ECB has already circumvented this rule by purchasing around €2tn in public debt from the market, thereby stretching the limits of its mandate to a legally dubious degree.

The latest plans to circumvent the Maastricht treaty will not improve matters. Before the financial crisis, the ECB was concerned only with monetary policy. During the crisis, it turned into a public bailout authority rescuing near-bankrupt banks and governments. Now, it is becoming an economic government that can print its budget as it sees fit.

The impending violation of the spirit of the Maastricht treaty will be twofold: the EU will be assuming debt covertly, and it will be doing so through the printing press. As such, the commission’s plans will further undermine the credibility of the very institution on which Europe relies for its financial and macroeconomic stability and its long-term growth prospects – and this at a time when the world is becoming even more uncertain, competitive and aggressive.

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Energy users save £1 billion on bills in 2019

11 million customers have saved as much as £1 billion on their energy bills in 2019, according to new data to mark the first anniversary of the government’s energy price cap

  • government’s energy price cap safeguards 11 million people, often the most vulnerable and elderly, from overpaying on their gas and electricity
  • combined saving of as much as £1 billion on energy bills in the first year of the price cap
  • new data also shows 4.4 million electricity and 3.6 million gas customers switched supplier in first 9 months of 2019, saving even more

11 million customers have saved as much as £1 billion on their energy bills in 2019, according to new data to mark the first anniversary of the government’s energy price cap.

Research has shown that the cap has saved families on default energy tariffs around £75 to £100 on dual fuel bills this year. This comes as the government pledges to build on the success of the price cap and do more to lower energy bills including by investing £9.2 billion in the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals and giving the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) enhanced powers to tackle consumer rip-offs and bad business practices.

However, with around 60 suppliers now competing in the retail energy market, consumers who switch can still make the biggest savings. Around 4.4 million electricity customers switched supplier in the 9 months to September 2019. Around 3.6 million gas customers switched. Typical households would have saved an average of around £290 on their bills if moving to one of the cheapest deals.

In order to shield those least likely to shop around – including the elderly and most vulnerable – from being charged extra on their dual fuel bills the government introduced the energy price cap on 1 January 2019.

Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng, said:

Our bold action to ensure all consumers pay a fair price for their energy is making a real difference to the budgets of up to 11 million households and driving increased competition and innovation in the market which will help keep bills down.

Record numbers of customers have also decided to switch suppliers this year saving themselves an average of around £290 on their bills.

Chief Executive of Ofgem Dermot Nolan said:

The price caps give consumers who are on default deals peace of mind that they pay a fair price for their energy. Ofgem set the cap at a level which required suppliers to cut energy bills by around £1 billion.

Consumers can save more money this winter by shopping around for a better deal. While the cap remains in place, Ofgem will continue to work with government and industry to put in place reforms to get the energy market working for more consumers.

Notes to editors

Research by the Competition and Markets Authority has shown that consumers had been overpaying the ‘Big Six’ energy companies some £1.4 billion a year.

The price cap, continuing through 2020, is set by energy watchdog Ofgem, which review it every 6 months to reflect changes in the cost of supplying energy. This ensures those who do not shop around, often elderly and low-income households, are protected from paying over the odds.

The latest ceiling was set by Ofgem at £1,179 per year for a typical dual fuel bill paid by direct debit.

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Renewables beat fossil fuels on 137 days in greenest year for UK energy

Energy produced by the UK’s renewable sector outpaced fossil fuel plants on a record 137 days in 2019 to help the country’s energy system record its greenest year.

The report by the Carbon Brief website found that renewable energy – from wind, solar, hydro and biomass projects – grew by 9% last year and was the UK’s largest electricity source in March, August, September and December.

The rise of renewables helped drive generation from coal and gas plants down by 6% from the year before, and 50% lower from the start of the decade. Meanwhile, the number of coal-free days has accelerated from the first 24-hour period in 2017 to 21 days in 2018 and 83 days last year.

The report’s findings come after National Grid confirmed that “low-carbon” electricity – including energy from renewables and nuclear plants – made up more than half the UK’s energy mix for the first time last year.

Although the UK’s low-carbon electricity production doubled over the last 10 years and despite the 2019 record, growth slowed sharply in the last year of the decade because of a string of outages at the UK’s ageing nuclear power plants. Carbon Brief warned this could slow progress in the years ahead.

Simon Evans, the author of Carbon Brief’s report, said: “Our analysis shows that rapid gains in decarbonising the power sector can’t be taken for granted and won’t just continue to magically happen forever.

“The government’s seemingly ambitious target to roll out 40GW of offshore wind by 2030 won’t happen without policies to back it up – and it may not be enough on its own to meet UK climate goals, without contributions from onshore wind, solar or further new nuclear.”

Audrey Gallacher, Energy UK’s interim chief executive, said the report was a “stark reminder” that the energy industry must go “much further and faster” to help meet the UK’s climate target.

Britain has set a legally binding target to create a carbon-neutral economy by cutting emissions to net zero by 2050. This means the UK must only emit as much carbon as it is able to capture and store.

The target will require a huge increase in low-carbon generation to help meet the UK’s rising need for clean electricity for transport and heating. However, the government’s delayed energy white paper is yet to emerge.

“The amount of low-carbon power produced has doubled over the last decade but we need to go above and beyond that to keep pace with our climate change targets, especially with overall demand set to increase, rather than falling as it has done in recent years,” Gallacher said.

“This underlines the urgency of increasing all forms of low-carbon generation – and why we need to see [the government’s] energy white paper as soon as possible, with action and policies that can enable the required investment and innovation to make this happen.”

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Ofgem publishes 2019 Annual Iteration Process for network price controls

Publication date29th November 2019Information types

  • Press releases

Policy areas

  • Electricity – distribution
  • Electricity – transmission
  • Gas – distribution
  • Gas – transmission

Ofgem has today published the results of the 2019 Annual Iteration Process (AIP) for energy network companies under its network price controls. 

As part of the ‘Revenue = Incentives + Innovation + Outputs’ (RIIO) price controls for network companies, we make annual adjustments to the revenue that we allow the energy network companies to collect through the AIP.

The AIP updates base revenues across Ofgem’s four price controls (electricity distribution, gas distribution, electricity transmission, and gas transmission) for the next regulatory year (2020/21).

This year’s AIP has reduced the allowed revenue that network companies will collect relative to the assumptions made at the start of the price controls by around £965 million (2018/19 Prices), saving consumers money on their bills. This reduction is driven by the following factors:

  • Cost of Debt – Lower interest rates in debt markets have resulted in a lower cost of debt allowance compared to the level set at the start of the price controls.
  • Allowed Expenditure – On the whole, network companies are spending less than the amounts assumed at the start of the price controls, therefore we make a proportionate reduction to their allowed revenue.

We have published updated price control financial models (PCFMs) for the four price controls, here:

RIIO-ET1 Financial Model following the Annual Iteration Process 2019

RIIO-GT1 Financial Model following the Annual Iteration Process 2019

RIIO-GD1 Financial Model following the Annual Iteration Process 2019

RIIO-ED1 Financial Model following the Annual Iteration Process 2019

For media queries contact Ofgem media manager Ruth Somerville 0207 901 7460/ 07766 511 470 ruth.somerville@ofgem.gov.uk 

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North Sea gas pioneer makes case for UK to maintain output

NORTH Sea-focused Cluff Natural Resources has said the UK must maximise the production of gas in its waters to minimise reliance on supplies from overseas amid efforts to tackle climate change.

The company’s chairman Mark Lappin noted the Committee on Climate Change had recognised oil and gas would account for the bulk of the country’s energy needs while efforts are made to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

Mr Lapping said the Committee had produced a report that was generally thorough and thoughtful and that recognised ‘net zero’ did not mean the end of hydrocarbon production.

However, Mr Lappin observed: “ The key difference between the Climate Change Committee and our own view is that instead of becoming increasingly reliant on imports from overseas we should be focussing on national production and consumption of natural gas from the United Kingdom Continental Shelf.”

He added: “A domestic supply of natural gas is good for jobs, good for tax receipts and the balance of payments, as well as being better for the environment compared with importing gas from as far afield as the Middle East and South America.”

Mr Lappin made his comments on a day the Brent crude price surged 20 per cent in early trading after drone strikes on Saudi Arabian facilities at the weekend led to the interruption of 5.7 million barrels of crude oil production per day. That is equivalent to more than five per cent of the world’s daily supply.

Analysts said the long term impact of the events in Saudi Arabia on oil prices may be limited given the uncertain outlook for the global economy. The events could lead to renewed debate about the importance of UK production nonetheless.

An Australian firm yesterday showed belief in the potential of the United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS) by agreeing to buy in to acreage west of the gas-rich Morecambe Bay.

Great Britain power system disruption review

Details

On Friday 9 August 2019 a power disruption resulted from the operation of Low Frequency Demand Disconnection relays on the Great Britain power system at about 4.54 pm. It impacted hundreds of thousands of customers, and caused significant secondary impacts in particular to the transport network. Though demand was fully restored within 90 minutes, the secondary impacts continued to be felt for much of the day.

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has commissioned the Energy Emergencies Executive Committee (E3C) to undertake a comprehensive review of the incident. The review should identify lessons and recommendations for the prevention and management of future power disruption events. In particular E3C will:

  • assess direct and secondary impacts of the event across GB electricity networks
  • Identify areas of good practice and where improvements are required for system resilience
  • consider load shedding in regard to essential service customers and prioritisation
  • consider timeliness and content of public communications during the incident
  • make recommendations for essential service resilience to power disruptions

E3C will submit a final report to the Secretary of State within 12 weeks, with an interim report within 5 weeks. These will be published here. BEIS will provide the secretariat for the review.

E3C is a partnership between government, the regulator, and industry, which ensures a joined up approach to emergency response and recovery.

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