Tag Archives: UK Government

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.”

Clean energy to power over seven million homes by 2025 at record low prices

Twelve new renewable energy projects have won Contracts for Difference – enough to power over seven million homes at record low costs.

  • Around 6GW of clean energy is to be added to the grid by 2025 – an important step towards decarbonising our energy system and reaching net zero emissions by 2050
  • Results show the UK’s leadership in offshore wind, creating up to 8,000 jobs across the UK and economic opportunities as we leave the European Union

Twelve new renewable energy projects will be powering over seven million homes at record low prices thanks to the latest round of the government’s flagship Contracts for Difference scheme.

The new projects will provide around 6GW of capacity – 2.4GW more than the last round. For the first time renewables are expected to come online below market prices and without additional subsidy on bills, meaning a better deal for consumers. The costs of offshore wind are now around 30% lower than the second auction held in 2017, with projects now being delivered for as low as £39.65/MWh.

The new projects and lower prices are another step toward decarbonising our energy system as we work toward net zero emissions by 2050, creating jobs and economic opportunities across the UK. According to research by RenewableUK, the new projects could see 8,000 jobs created.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

The UK is leading the way in the fight against climate change, and it’s great news that millions more homes will be powered by clean energy at record low prices.

Seizing the opportunities of clean energy not only helps to protect our planet, but will also back businesses and boost jobs across the UK.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said:

Offshore wind is a British success story, with new projects at record low prices creating new opportunities for jobs and economic growth as we leave the EU.

The support we’re announcing today will mean that over 7 million more homes will be powered by renewable energy as we decarbonise our energy system – crucial as we continue on the road to net zero emissions by 2050.

The Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme is the government’s primary method of supporting low-carbon electricity. It encourages investment in renewables by providing projects with a stable income while protecting consumers from paying increased support costs when electricity prices are high.

Renewables projects across the UK have been awarded CfDs – from Birmingham to Orkney. Successful technology types include:

  • Offshore wind – wind projects off the UK coast delivering up to a third of our electricity coming from the technology by 2030;
  • Advanced Conversion Technologies – converting waste which would otherwise go to landfill into energy;
  • Remote Island Wind – wind projects on the remote islands of the UK which can take advantage of strong winds.

Today’s results are the latest stage of the government’s support for renewable energy. In March 2019 we signed a ground-breaking £250 million sector deal with the offshore wind industry which committed us to maximising opportunities and sourcing up to a third of electricity from offshore wind by 2030.

Read the results: Contracts for Difference (CfD) allocation round 3

The UK has the largest installed capacity of offshore wind in the world, with around 8GW installed at the end of 2018. This is expected to rise to 10GW by next year, and even further as more projects start contributing power to the grid into the 2020s.

In June the government committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and ending the UK’s contribution to global warming altogether. The UK has already made a strong start in decarbonising its energy system, with renewables generating a record 33% of the country’s electricity last year.

It has been estimated that the low carbon economy in the UK could grow four times faster than rest of the economy out to 2030 and could deliver between £60 billion and £170 billion in exports by 2030. Today’s results demonstrate the potential of renewables to create such ‘green-collar’ jobs.

UK Government doubles funding for on-street electric car charging

  • Transport Secretary announces extra £2.5 million for chargepoints on residential streets
  • extra funding means people who don’t have their own off-street parking will have better access to charging infrastructure near home
  • investment in charging infrastructure will support UK’s move towards net zero emissions by 2050 and efforts to further improve air quality

Owning and charging an electric vehicle is set to become more convenient than ever thanks to an additional £2.5 million to fund the installation of over 1,000 new chargepoints, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced today (Monday 12 August 2019).

The funding will support the on-street residential chargepoint scheme, launched in 2017, which helps people access charging infrastructure near their homes when they don’t have off-street parking. It will go towards helping local authorities to install these chargepoints, which can be built into existing structures like lamp-posts. The scheme aims to encourage even more people to choose an electric vehicle by making it easier to charge their cars near home, following a 158% increase in battery electric vehicle sales compared to July last year.

The scheme has already seen 16 local authorities prepared to install 1,200 chargepoints this year. The Transport Secretary is now doubling funding for the popular scheme to meet demand and accelerate the take-up of electric vehicles as the UK moves towards net zero emissions by 2050 and further improve air quality.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

It’s fantastic that there are now more than 20,000 publicly accessible chargepoints and double the number of electric vehicle chargepoints than petrol stations, but we want to do much more.

It’s vital that electric vehicle drivers feel confident about the availability of chargepoints near their homes, and that charging an electric car is seen as easy as plugging in a smartphone.

That’s why we are now doubling the funding available for local authorities to continue building the infrastructure we need to super-charge the zero emission revolution – right across the country.

The allocation of funding for on-street residential chargepoints is part of the £1.5 billion investment underpinned by the Road to Zero Strategy. The strategy consists of one of the most comprehensive packages of support for the transition to zero emission vehicles in the world, supporting the move towards a cleaner, greener, accessible and reliable UK transport network.

As part of this, the government is also investing £37 million into British engineering to develop electric chargepoint infrastructure that could rapidly expand the UK chargepoint network for people without off-street parking and put the UK on the map as the best place in the world to own an electric vehicle.

Innovations to receive investment include underground charging systems, solar powered charging forecourts and wireless charging projects. Much like current mobile phone technology, wireless charging could mean an end to needing to plug your electric vehicle in.

Next STEP in fusion [Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production]

The spherical tokamak is a promising type of compact fusion machine, which has been under development since the 1980s. UKAEA will start operating its new spherical tokamak called MAST-U in 2020, opening an exciting new chapter in the drive towards practical fusion energy.

The STEP programme will develop and identify solutions to the challenges of delivering fusion energy, benefiting from UKAEA’s breadth of expertise and its suite of research facilities – RACEMRF, H3AT and FTF – to deliver an integrated concept design.

The technical objectives of STEP are:

  • Deliver predictable net electricity greater than 100MW
  • Innovate to exploit fusion energy beyond electricity production
  • Ensure tritium self-sufficiency
  • Materials and components qualification under appropriate fusion conditions
  • Viable path to affordable lifecycle costs

The UK government has announced £20 million for the first year, launching STEP as a collaborative programme that combines the strengths of UKAEA with industry, universities and other organisations.

STEP offers numerous procurement opportunities, set out in the STEP Programme Procurement Plan Schedule. This is published every quarter and sets out procurement opportunities as well as details of the responsible procurement officer who can be contacted for more information. Note that tender dates are subject to change.