Energy suppliers, including British Gas, OVO, Bulb, E.ON, ScottishPower and SSE, will pay a combined penalty of £10.8 million for failing to meet smart meter installation targets in 2022.

Energy suppliers, including British GasOVO, Bulb, E.ON, ScottishPower and SSE, will collectively pay £10.8 million in penalties for failing to meet smart meter installation targets in 2022.

These companies missed the target of installing 1,026,628 smart meters by the required deadline.

As a result of Ofgem‘s actions, they have agreed to contribute to the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Fund, which aids vulnerable consumers at risk from cold homes and high energy bills.

Cathryn Scott, Director of Enforcement and Emerging Issues for Ofgem, said: “The installation of smart meters is a vital step in the modernisation of our energy system and the path to net zero by 2050.

“Smart meters give customers better information about their energy usage helping them budget and control their costs.”

Image: Vitalij Terescsuk / Shutterstock

Industrial emissions account for nearly a quarter of global greenhouse gases, presenting hurdles in reaching net zero targets, according to a report.

Long-duration energy storage (LDES) technologies have the potential to reduce industrial emissions by up to 65%.

That’s according to a report by the LDES Council and Roland Berger, which suggests industrial activities contribute about a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions annually, making it a crucial sector for decarbonisation efforts.

The report identifies four categories of LDES technology – electrochemical, thermal, mechanical, and chemical – as viable and cost-effective options for industrial decarbonisation when paired with renewable energy sources.

Major industrial players, such as MicrosoftTata Steel and BHP, are already investing in LDES technologies to demonstrate their ability to decarbonise operations.

LDES supports the decarbonisation of high-temperature industrial manufacturing, particularly in sectors like food processing and chemicals, which contribute over 20% of industrial emissions.

However, the report suggests that new policy mechanisms may be needed to bridge current cost gaps and accelerate industrial decarbonisation.

Julia Souder, Chief Executive Officer of the LDES Council, said: “Decarbonising industry is one of the largest challenges we face on our journey to achieve net zero.

“This report finds that there is no time to waste and no reason to delay action. LDES and renewables can be crucial in cost-effectively reducing emissions across key industrial sectors in the short, medium and long term”

Both households and businesses using fixed direct debits contribute to this sum.

Energy companies are under scrutiny as customers, holding a staggering £8.1 billion in credit, encounter obstacles to reclaiming overpaid funds.

Ofgem‘s data for the first quarter of the year reveals substantial credit balances, primarily from businesses and households using fixed direct debits to cover energy bills.

Consumers facing credit balances in the hundreds or thousands of pounds report frustration, describing the refund process as requiring them to ‘jump through hoops.’

Emily Seymour, Energy Editor at consumer group Which?, said: “Energy firms should be doing everything in their power to support their customers during the cost of living crisis – including refunding customers’ credit when they are asked.”

She added: “If you think you’ve built up too much credit, then you are within your rights to ask for some of it back.”

The Electricity System Operator will have the authority to terminate these projects if they fail to demonstrate progress against their milestones.

The electricity system operator (ESO)could soon take decisive action against 144 ‘zombie’ projects.

This follows the new rules announced yesterday by Ofgem to accelerate grid connections in the UK.

The new rules, announced by Ofgem, grant the ESO the authority to proactively manage the connections process and terminate projects that are not progressing as per their milestones.

Queue management milestones will be inserted into all transmission grid connection contracts with a connection date scheduled post-November 2025, as well as new connection applications.

Projects will now have a six-month window to apply for a more realistic connection date, or they risk being terminated by the ESO.

Taking immediate action, the ESO has commissioned DNV, an independent engineering consultancy, to inspect the 144 potentially high-risk projects accounting for approximately 29GW of capacity.

This evaluation will provide an independent assessment of their ability to meet contracted connection dates.

The move aims to address the backlog in the grid connections queue and accelerate the connections process.

By doing so, Ofgem and the ESO hope to create a more efficient pathway for viable businesses to connect to the grid.

Image: graham parton / Shutterstock

New research warns that the UK Government’s carbon capture and storage policy heavily favours ‘blue’ hydrogen projects, raising concerns about prolonged reliance on fossil gas.

The UK Government’s £20 billion carbon capture and storage (CCS) policy is facing criticism for potentially deepening the country’s dependence on fossil gas.

That’s according to new research by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), which suggests that 78% of carbon capture in 2030 is expected to come from projects linked to long term fossil fuel use.

The emphasis on ‘blue’ hydrogen projects, which utilise gas instead of renewable power, has raised concerns about the long term trajectory of the UK’s energy mix.

Earlier this year, the UK Government allocated £20 billion for carbon capture, usage, and storage (CCUS) facilities over the next two decades.

However, the research indicates that the current incentives are disproportionately favouring projects tied to fossil gas, potentially undermining efforts to meet net zero targets.

Among the selected projects, 81% of captured emissions are associated with processes requiring prolonged fossil gas use, according to the report.

This is particularly notable as fossil fuel firms, including oil and gas companies, are poised to be the main beneficiaries, capturing 78% of emissions by 2030.

The IEEFA suggests that the government should reassess its support for CCS projects.

The report emphasises the need to prioritise projects that contribute to the decarbonisation of electricity supply, aligning with the UK’s transition to lower carbon energy sources.

Andrew Reid, author of the report and a guest contributor at IEEFA Europe, said: “A disproportionate amount of support is currently targeting blue hydrogen production, which not only risks meeting the CCC targets but is questionable longer term as the UK increases renewable power generation and the potential for green hydrogen production.”

Energy Live News has approached the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero for comment.

Government data shows that UK energy consumption dropped 4.0% in June to August 2023, indigenous energy production fell 7.6% and renewables in electricity generation declined by 4%.

Primary energy consumption in the UK, when assessed on a fuel input basis, exhibited a 4% reduction during the three-month period spanning June to August 2023 in comparison to the corresponding period in the previous year.

That’s according to a new government report, which suggests this decline was notably influenced by escalating energy costs and other economic factors.

Even when the figures were adjusted to account for temperature variations, the consumption levels saw an identical 4% decrease.

During the same period, indigenous energy production in the UK experienced a 7.6% decline.

This reduction was widespread across various energy sources, except for bioenergy, waste and offshore wind.

The electricity generation activities of major power producers in the UK underwent a substantial decrease of 19%.

This decline was primarily driven by a 48% reduction in coal-based electricity generation, a 33% drop in natural gas-based generation and a 14% decrease in nuclear-based generation.

Renewable electricity generation also registered a decline, albeit a modest one at 4%.

Image: Richard Whitcombe / Shutterstock

Energy Minister Claire Coutinho states that the approval of new North Sea drilling licences will contribute to the reduction of the UK’s energy import dependence.

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has approved 27 new licences for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.

The licences, awarded from a pool of 115 applications, represent the highest number granted since the 2016/17 29th Licensing Round.

These licences have been allocated to specific areas in the Central and Northern North Sea, as well as the West of Shetland, known for their potential to expedite production compared to other regions.

In addition to the 27 primary licences, six additional blocks, ready for allocation, have been consolidated into five existing licenses, streamlining the licensing process.

Currently, the UK North Sea boasts 284 offshore fields in production and it is estimated that a total of 5.25 billion barrels of oil equivalent will be produced in the region until 2050.

Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said: “As recognised by the independent Climate Change Committee, we will continue to require oil and gas in the coming decades as we work toward achieving net zero.

“It is pragmatic to reduce our dependence on foreign imports and utilise our domestic supply, benefiting our economy, the environment and energy security.

“These new licences are a positive development for the UK industry, supporting approximately 200,000 jobs and contributing £16 billion to the economy annually while advancing our transition to low carbon technologies, on which our future prosperity depends.”

The UK’s declining and volatile carbon prices have raised concerns about their impact on clean energy investment, lost Treasury revenue and potential carbon taxes.

The UK is experiencing the consequences of its declining and unpredictable carbon prices, which have the potential to deter investments in clean energy, result in significant revenue losses for the Treasury and lead to substantial tax bills for UK companies exporting to Europe by 2026.

Energy UK has released an analysis that underscores the impact of plummeting carbon prices in the UK during 2023.

It highlights the potential repercussions if this issue remains unaddressed, particularly as the EU prepares to introduce a carbon border adjustment mechanism next year.

Over the past six months, the UK’s Emissions Trading Scheme has generated over £1 billion less in carbon prices compared to the previous year’s levels.

If low carbon prices persist, the Treasury could face a loss of £3 billion in annual revenue, Energy UK estimates.

Additionally, from 2026 onwards, UK companies exporting to the EU may be subject to approximately half a billion pounds in carbon taxes as a result of the CBAM, even for energy exported from carbon-free sources like wind, solar and nuclear.

Adam Berman, Energy UK’s Deputy Director, said: “A falling and volatile domestic carbon price threatens to deter clean investment at the very moment we need it most and could end up costing British companies billions of pounds simply for trading with their largest export market.

“Linking our carbon pricing regime with the EU’s would exempt UK companies from these costs and remove the problems caused by the disparity between the two schemes.

“It would also stabilise and strengthen our carbon price, sending a powerful signal to bring forward investments in homegrown clean energy that can cut bills, reduce emissions and bolster our energy security.”

Europe’s LNG supply faces challenges, especially due to surging Chinese demand, potentially leaving Europe vulnerable to shortages this winter and beyond, according to a new report.

Europe’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply faces challenges due to increased competition from China and rising prices in the gas market.

That’s according to a new report from Cornwall Insight, which suggests China’s growing gas demand, linked to its post-Covid-19 economic recovery, could intensify the battle for LNG resources.

The report indicates that global LNG supplies are expected to see only minimal growth until 2025.

This, combined with global events causing wholesale price spikes, raises concerns about Europe’s vulnerability to gas shortages in the coming winter and beyond.

Europe’s efforts to diversify away from Russian pipeline gas, particularly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, saw LNG imports bridging a substantial part of the gap.

Last winter‘s milder weather and high gas prices reduced demand across the continent, helping to maintain gas supply security.

However, China’s 6% growth in gas demand in 2023, though currently met by domestic production and increased pipeline imports from Russia, might lead to greater LNG imports during the winter, increasing global competition, according to the energy consultancy.

AtkinsRéalis has secured a design contract for the Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk, encompassing key elements of the project.

AtkinsRéalis has been awarded a design contract for key components of the Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk, in support of the project’s development.

The contract covers the design of critical elements of the proposed nuclear power station, including the Conventional Island, Balance of Plant, Heat Sink, and concept design for permanent roads and networks to facilitate construction and long term operation.

AtkinsRéalis has been involved in various aspects of the Sizewell C project since 2014, contributing to site establishment, enabling works, detailed earthwork design and concept designs for various aspects of the facility.

They are also responsible for the overarching design and engineering management of civil works at the proposed plant.

Upon its completion, the planned Sizewell C nuclear power station is predicted to produce sufficient electricity to meet the energy needs of six million homes for 60 years.

Image: Sizewell C