Tag Archives: UK Government

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.

UK government to cut electricity bills for consumers in the north of Scotland

Households in the northern parts of Scotland could soon save money on their electricity bills thanks to UK government plans to more fairly distribute the costs for providing electricity to the Shetland Islands.

The isolated nature of Shetland’s electricity system means it costs £18 million more a year to keep its 23,000 residents’ homes and businesses powered, than it does to provide power on the mainland. The cost is currently picked up by consumers in the north of Scotland through their electricity bills.

These costs are expected to rise to £27 million from next year in order to deliver a necessary upgrade to Shetland’s power supply. The UK government is concerned about the burden this would place on consumers in the north of Scotland.

It has today (11 July 2019) published a consultation announcing plans to spread the costs of powering Shetland across Great Britain from April 2020, meaning consumers across the northern part of Scotland – from Thurso to Aberdeen – would save around £17 a year on their electricity bills.

Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, Chris Skidmore, said:

The UK government is committed to ensuring everyone across the country, including in the remotest parts of northern Scotland, has access to a reliable energy supply at a fair price. We’ve already shown this through our price cap – intervening in the market to protect loyal consumers in all parts of the union from being overcharged.

Consumers in the north of Scotland should not have to fund the costs of maintaining Shetland’s energy security alone. The ability to share costs more widely is one of the benefits of being part of the United Kingdom and these plans will mean consumers in the north of Scotland will soon receive a welcome saving on their bills.

Shetland is different to other Scottish islands as it’s the only part of Britain’s licensed distribution network that is isolated. It’s unable to benefit from the economies of scale enjoyed by other islands, which are part of the integrated network, which is why costs have always been higher.

Scotland Secretary David Mundell said:

I warmly welcome the UK government’s plan to cut the electricity costs of consumers in the north of Scotland. Spreading the costs across the whole of Great Britain reflects the unique circumstances in Shetland and northern Scotland. ‎The UK government is determined to deliver for all of Scotland’s communities.

The UK government’s Hydro Benefit Replacement Scheme already provides an annual cross-subsidy of £61 million to protect electricity consumers in the north of Scotland from the high costs of electricity distribution in the region. It is funded by charges on electricity suppliers across Great Britain.

The scheme will be used to deliver the new funding arrangement for Shetland’s electricity, meaning that the total assistance provided through to the north of Scotland consumers will be almost £90 million a year.

Energy Systems Of The Future – Local Communities To Benefit Sooner

Just under £10 million Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund investment will support even more people to get value from smart local energy systems.

A new research consortium and funding for business-led innovation projects will speed up the uptake of smart energy systems by local communities to start benefiting from cleaner, cheaper and more consumer-friendly energy.

Funding is by UK Research and Innovation through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund for clean energy – a £102.5 million investment in UK industry and research to develop systems that support the global move to renewables.

Rolled out by 2020s

Twelve projects from all across the UK will share £1.5 million to design ground-breaking, local, smart energy systems that are ready for roll out in the 2020s.

They will quickly bring forward energy systems with improved efficiency and productivity, at lower costs, in order to reduce energy bills for consumers and create better user experiences.

Ultimately this should help improve air quality in line with the government’s fifth carbon budget, at the same time as building the UK’s energy supply chain, creating high value jobs and export opportunities.

Projects include:

  • creating an energy marketplace and local trading platform between the predominantly commercial premises in London South Bank and Waterloo, using IoT sensors, predictive algorithms and storage systems
  • maximising existing and planned renewable generation assets in Bridgend, including solar farms and a nearby energy park, to develop a local electricity flexibility market, an electric vehicle charging network and improved service offerings for transport and heat
  • making use of an established energy innovation district group and new digital technologies, such as sensing and control devices, data analytics and artificial intelligence, the Cheshire Energy Hub will better manage energy use by industrial users, decarbonise and lower costs

Developing novel research concepts

To bring forward novel research in local energy systems and accelerate uptake, value and impact, £8 million will go to setting up EnergyREV, an energy revolution research consortium.

The consortium will be led by the University of Strathclyde and include 29 investigators across 22 universities, working to ensure that UK academic expertise delivers impact and a competitive advantage.

It will work closely with the Energy Systems Catapult to provide analysis, evaluation and assessment of the projects funded under the prospering from the energy revolution challenge.

Additionally, EnergyREV will deliver its own strategic research projects that address some of the industrial challenges in developing local, investable, consumer-centred energy approaches.

Improving uptake, value and impact

Professor Stephen McArthur, Deputy Associate Principal for Research, Knowledge Exchange and Innovation, at the University of Strathclyde said:

EnergyREV is excited about its role in supporting innovation in the prospering from the energy revolution programme.

The world-class knowledge, research teams and interdisciplinary expertise available through our university partnership will improve the uptake, value and impact of smart local energy systems.

We are focused on using our novel research to accelerate and help deliver the Industrial Strategy goals and enhance UK competitiveness.

Rob Saunders, Deputy Challenge Director, Prospering from the Energy Revolution, UK Research and Innovation said:

This is an exciting time for energy innovations.

We all rely on energy and we all need it to be cleaner and more cheaper, both as consumers and as a nation. New technologies point towards a new energy future, one of lower carbon and more efficient energy supply, distribution and storage, giving consumers more control.

This energy revolution – a crucial part of the Industrial Strategy – has the potential to unlock investment and create high-quality jobs and grow companies capable of exporting.