Ofgem publishes domestic market Retail Market Review consultation

Ofgem has published two consultations on its Retail Market Review (RMR) programme for each of the domestic and non-domestic markets. These consultations set out Ofgem’s updated RMR proposals which aim to improve the market in relation to serving the interests of consumers and enable individuals to obtain the best energy deal.  In relation to the domestic market, Ofgem’s proposals are intended to provide consumers with simpler choices, clearer information about tariffs and available savings, and fairer treatment.

The consultation is likely to be of interest to those involved in the smart grid industry. In the consultation, Ofgem states that it “is committed to playing a leading role in helping to deliver the changes to existing market arrangements that will be necessary to support market development from the platform of smart metering”.

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UKTI event highlights opportunities to export UK smart grid technology to Asia

On 19 October 2012, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), supported by Cambridge Wireless and Intellect, held an event for UK businesses interested in selling smart technologies to Asian markets. With sluggish economic growth prospects in the West, UKTI and its partners are keen to highlight the business opportunities offered by rapidly growing markets in parts of Asia, as well as some of the business challenges that potential exporters may face.

Building on UKTI’s extensive report “Smart Cities Of The Future In Asia: The Opportunities For UK Business” (February 2012), the event focused specifically on the market opportunities offered by smart cities and smart living initiatives in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, India and China.

Smart grids form a key plank of energy policies in many Asian countries and were a major focus of the event.

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Energy and Climate Change Secretary updates industry on Growth and Infrastructure and Energy Bills

Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, has made a significant speech to industry leaders at the CBI on the Growth and Infrastructure Bill and forthcoming Energy Bill.  The speech reflects the Government’s focus on encouraging energy market competition and liquidity and providing further certainty to investors.   Read more of this post

Further publication on Ofgem website regarding IPR clauses for NIC and NIA governance documents

Further to the informal consultation on NIC and NIA governance launched on 10 October by Ofgem, Ofgem has now published the slides used at the Innovation Working Group discussions on 12 October 2012 on its website.  Amongst other things, the slides focus on Ofgem’s continued consideration of proposed IPR clauses for the Network Innovation Allowance and Network Innovation Competition governance documents.

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Smart grids to form a key pillar in EU Commission’s plans for reindustrialising Europe

On 10 October 2012, the European Commission outlined its plans to reshape Europe’s industrial base by focusing on smart grids and five other priority areas that the Commission believes offer enormous potential for growth and jobs in Europe.

European industry has lost 10% of its production and over three million jobs since the global financial crisis began. The Commission’s ambitious aim as set out in a Communication is to reverse that decline and increase the industrial sector’s share of EU GDP from around 16% today to 20% by 2020.  Mainstays of that reinforced industrial policy will include:

  • investments in innovation;
  • encouraging better market conditions (including further regulatory harmonisation across the EU);
  • increasing access to finance and capital (including that of the European Investment Bank); and
  • improving human capital and skills.

The Communication predicts that by 2020 the EU will need to invest in the region of €60 billion in smart grids, rising to €480 billion by 2035.  

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Ofgem launches informal consultation on NIC and NIA governance

Innovation forms a key part of Ofgem’s new RIIO approach to price controls.  Ofgem has consulted and published its decisions on policy regarding stimulus packages for the transmission (RIIO-T1) and gas distribution (RIIO-GD1) price controls and is presently consulting on the innovation stimulus for electricity distribution price control (RIIO-ED1).   As part of the RIIO approach, Ofgem envisages a stimulus to innovation that would consist of three key elements:

  • a Network Innovation Competition (NIC) – an annual competition to fund large scale “flagship” projects with low carbon and/or environmental benefits;
  • a Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) – a set allowance to provide funding for smaller innovation projects; and
  • an Innovation Roll-out Mechanism (IRM) – to fund the roll-out of proven innovations that contribute to developing a low carbon energy sector in Great Britain or have wider environmental benefits.

Innovation funding is potentially available to both RIIO and non-RIIO network licensees.

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SMETS 2 consultation closed

The consultation published by DECC on the second version of the Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications (SMETS 2) closed on 8 October 2012

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Low Carbon Networks Fund: Ofgem propose new criterion for Initial Screening Process

Ofgem has announced its intention to introduce a new collaboration criterion to the Initial Screening Process (ISP) in the next version of the Governance Document of the Low Carbon Networks Fund (version 6).  Interested parties will wish to take this proposed criterion into account when developing submissions for next year’s second tier funding competition.

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