Millions more UK homes to be powered by renewables

Details of the next round of the Contracts for Difference scheme, which opens in 2021, have been set out today, Monday 2 March.

This latest round will be open to renewable technologies including onshore wind and solar, with proposals to include floating offshore wind. The scheme will also be changed to facilitate the deployment of energy storage.

Local communities will have a more effective voice on developments that impact them, through proposals for tough new guidance on community engagement for developers of onshore wind across Great Britain, also announced today. They will have a definitive say on whether projects are allowed to proceed. It will remain the case that no English onshore wind project can proceed without the consent of the local community.

The Committee on Climate Change have said that we need to quadruple renewable energy generation in the UK to reach net zero by 2050, and today’s announcement is a step in that direction.

Secretary of State for Business and Energy Alok Sharma said:

Ending our contribution to climate change means making the UK a world leader in renewable energy.

We are determined to do that in a way that works for everyone, listening to local communities and giving them an effective voice in decisions that affect them.

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Hugh McNeal said:

The government is pressing ahead with action to meet our net zero emissions target quickly and at lowest cost to consumers and businesses. Backing cheap renewables is a clear example of the practical action to tackle climate change that the public is demanding, and this will speed up the transition to a net zero economy.

Today’s consultation outlines proposals to ensure the Contracts for Difference scheme can support the increased ambition required, including:

  • making the UK a world-leader in new technologies such as floating offshore wind, which would allow wind farms to be built further away from the shore and increase clean energy capacity
  • supporting our renewables supply chain to enhance productivity and increase competitiveness, boosting the UK’s world-class clean energy industry
  • improving the scheme to better support energy storage, so projects can provide power when the wind stops blowing or the sun is not shining

This is part of the Year of Climate Action, a defining year for our country and our planet, in the run up to the UK hosting the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November.

Over 10% of NHS estate to switch to 100% renewable electricity in April in landmark deal

NHS Property Services (NHSPS) has announced two new energy contracts via Inspired Energy. British Gas will provide 100% renewable electricity and Corona will provide natural gas to all their properties across England by April 2020.

NHSPS is responsible for around 10 per cent of the NHS estate, totalling more than 34 million sq ft, with over 3,500 properties and 5,000 employees, and is committed to actively making its sites more environmentally friendly.

By moving to 100% renewable electricity, NHSPS will offset over 40,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, demonstrating its dedication to tackling climate change while promoting sustainable practices with all its buildings.

The use of renewable electricity won’t increase costs to either NHSPS tenants or NHSPS itself. With the implementation of a new procurement strategy, as part of the new contracts, it will be able to deliver some of the best prices in the market, while managing risk and maintaining budget certainty.

The move follows the launch of the ‘For a greener NHS’ campaign and forms part of NHSPS helping to transform the NHS estate so that it can provide sustainably run buildings that help to deliver excellent patient care.

The NHS is currently responsible for around 4-5% of the UK’s carbon footprint. In September 2019, Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said the NHS would be accelerating its efforts to tackle climate change with a series of co-ordinated measures to reduce its carbon output – saying that the health service should also embolden staff to lead discussions with the public about wider measures needed to address climate change.

As well as switching to 100% renewable electricity by April 2020, NHSPS is also committing £1.5m in 2019/20 towards an LED upgrade programme, among other measures.

As well as being responsible for over 11% of the NHS estate itself, NHSPS provides property and facilities management expertise to the NHS. At a time of major change and increasing demand for the NHS, NHS Property Services is reducing costs, creating a more fit for purpose estate and generating vital funds, all of which are reinvested back into the NHS estate to support improvements in frontline patient care.

Commenting on the deal, Martin Steele, Chief Operating Officer at NHS Property Services, said: “Switching to 100% renewable electricity for all our buildings is a landmark moment in efforts to transform our NHS portfolio into a sustainable estate. We take our responsibility towards reducing the environmental impact of our buildings very seriously. This move will also help us to improve the wellbeing of our people and patients whilst reducing NHS operating and maintenance costs.”

Code of Practice for Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Installation (3rd Edition)

This Code of Practice provides a clear overview of EV charging equipment, as well as setting out the considerations needed prior to installation and the necessary physical and electrical installation requirements. It also details what needs to be considered when installing electric vehicle charging equipment in various different locations – such as domestic dwellings, on-street locations, and commercial and industrial premises.

Key changes from the second edition include:

  • Two completely new sections
    • Vehicles as Energy Storage
    • Integration with smart metering and control, automation and monitoring systems
  • A new Annex
  • A complete update to the new requirements in BS 7671:2018
  • Bringing the Code in line with revised regulations and good practice

The risk assessments and checklists have also been reviewed and revised.

This very well established Code of Practice, supported by all the major stakeholders in the industry, is essential reading for anyone involved in the rapid expansion of EV charging points, and those involved in maintenance, extension, modification and periodic verification of electrical installations that incorporate EV charging.

New amendment to BS 7671 (IET Wiring Regulations) Amendment 1

The IET has announced a new amendment to BS 7671:2018 (IET Wiring Regulations 18th Edition). The national Wiring Regulations committee, JPEL/64, agreed the publication of Amendment 1, which will consist of a stand-alone update to Section 722: Electric Vehicle Charging Installations.

The amendment, which is due to publish in early 2020, will be free to view on the IET website, and only form part of a consolidated new Regulations following the next major amendment to BS 7671, expected in 2022.

The amendment follows advances in technology that were not available when BS 7671:2018 published, enabling a more practical solution for the installation of charging points. Functionality built directly into charging equipment uses existing technology, but employed in a new way, allowing charging points to be deployed more widely than ever before.

The updated Section 722 will make installing charging points quicker and easier, and will reduce the cost of installations for both installers and consumers.

The UK government is investing £400 million to accelerate the roll-out of charging infrastructure to help meet its target of at least 50% of new car sales to be ultra-low emission by 2030*.

Mark Coles, Head of Technical Regulations at the IET, is proud of the way that JPEL/64 has been able to respond to the changes in technology. He explains: “JPEL/64 has been able to address a new opportunity for electric vehicle charging equipment that provides a practical, cost-saving solution benefiting industry, consumers and government alike, to help the UK lead the way in the roll-out of infrastructure to support the electric vehicle revolution.

“This update to the IET Wiring Regulations puts the electrical industry at the forefront of driving technological innovation to ensure the installation of practical, safe charging points that are accessible to all.

“By producing Amendment 1 to BS 7671:2018 as a stand-alone, free-to-view document, this updated Section 722 will reach industry much quicker than a full, consolidated amendment would allow, enabling installers to take advantage of BS 7671:2018+A1:2020 as soon as possible.”

Keep an eye on theiet.org/updates to for information on the Draft for Public Comment and publication information.

Proposed timeline

  • 04 September 2019: Amendment 1 approved by JPEL/64
  • October 2019: The Draft for Public Comment for Amendment 1 will be available for 60 days to allow industry to respond to the proposed changes (see theiet.org/updates for details)
  • January 2020: Amendment 1 will publish as a free-to-view document on the IET website and come immediately into effect, eschewing the usual 6-month adjustment period to ensure industry can immediately take advantage of the changes

Wiring Matters – Issue 77 September 2019

Lets take a look at what was in Wiring Matters – Issue 77 September 2019

Brief introduction to the deployment of medical IT systems

Patients undergoing acute care in healthcare establishments (such as hospitals) require enhanced reliability and safety of the electrical installation as well as the safe and reliable operation of the medical electrical (ME) equipment used. This is to provide security of supplies and minimize the risk of electric shock.

BS 7671:2018 Frequently Asked Questions

The IET’s technical helpline receives a wide range of frequently asked questions. Here are just a few of the common questions received.

Setting the Standard

This article explores a brief history of standardization, the current process of standardization and why it is so important for our industry today.

IET announces new amendment to BS 7671 (IET Wiring Regulations)

The IET has announced a new amendment to BS 7671:2018 (IET Wiring Regulations 18th Edition). The national Wiring Regulations committee, JPEL/64, today agreed the publication of Amendment 1, which will consist of a stand-alone update to Section 722: Electric Vehicle Charging Installations.

Solar & Storage Live

The IET are pleased to announce that they are partnering with Solar & Storage Live again this year (17th – 19th September, NEC Birmingham).

Which RCD Type?

Residual Current Devices (RCDs) are safety switching devices. They are designed to provide safety for three types of protection, this section takes a look at them.

Setting the Standard continued, A-Deviations

In the previous article (Setting the Standard- Issue 77) they briefly described the process of standardisation from international to national level. One area that they did not discuss in detail relates to a situation a national committee is faced with when an EN or HD cannot be implemented at national level.