Energy Bill: a step towards a smarter grid?

The Government’s new Energy Bill is likely to have a major impact on smart grids and related industries. Generation policy looks set to focus on gas, nuclear and renewables, with a mix of generating capacity facilitating energy security. Under the Energy Bill, National Grid is to deliver the Electricity Market Reform package, including Contracts for Difference (CfDs) and administering the Capacity Market. Read more of this post

Sandy response shows the benefits of a better grid

Joshua Partridge is an associate in Bird & Bird’s Energy and Utilities Group and has worked across a broad range of projects in the energy sector.

Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, an estimated 8 million people lost power at some point, with around a million people estimated to be without power a week later. The most obvious problem as acknowledged in a recent article by the Wall Street Journal is that the vast majority of all US transmission and distribution systems are overground and therefore vulnerable to damage from the winds themselves or falling objects such as branches. The costs involved with putting cables underground means that this situation is not likely to change soon but smart grid technologies, including distribution automation and smart meters may help utilities monitor and deal with problems in real time, making grids more reactive and resilient.

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Ofgem announces 2012 Low Carbon Networks Fund winners

Today, Ofgem has awarded £45.4 million in funding for five innovation projects.  Ofgem is now in its third year of using the Low Carbon Networks (“LCN”) Fund to invest in projects that aim to deliver financial benefit and advance the transition into a low carbon economy. Read more of this post

Investment in Energy Infrastructure and the Energy Bill – Part II – 20/11/12

Following on from its meeting with investors, the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee conducted a hearing on 20 November 2012 with a panel representing the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The Panel consisted of:

  • Rt Hon Edward Davey MP, Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change.
  • Simon Virley, Director General, Energy Markets and Infrastructure, Department of Energy and Climate Change.
  • Patrick Erwin, Head, EMI Strategy and Programme Office, Department of Energy and Climate Change.

This latest session before the select committee highlighted some of the many different factors Government has to be aware of, and that there will almost certainly be developments to the legal framework further down the line. DECC was understandably reserved about giving too much away as the Bill is aimed to be published in the course of next week (w/c commencing 26 November). Below is a brief record of the major points coming out of this hearing, grouped under a number of general headings. It will be interesting to see how the draft Energy Bill picks up on these issues. Read more of this post

Commission publishes a communication and consultation on internal energy market

On 15 November 2012, the European Commission presented a Communication on the current state of the EU internal energy market. European Heads of State set 2014 as the deadline for completion of the internal energy market and the Commission accepts that “the EU is not on track to meet this deadline”.

The Communication re-emphasises the importance of flexible, integrated, competitive, efficient and fluid European energy markets and sets out ways to achieve this as soon as possible. The Commission stresses that investment in generation, transmission, distribution infrastructure and storage is urgently needed but that “modernisation” of the EU grid would cost an estimated €1 trillion. Read more of this post

EU Energy Efficiency Directive published in OJEU

The Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU) has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union after being adopted by the EU on 25 October 2012.

The EU has a target that primary energy consumption be reduced by 20% by 2020 as compared to projections. The Directive puts in place a common framework to achieve that goal and for further future energy efficiency improvements. It contains rules aimed at the removal of energy market barriers and addressing market failures hindering energy efficiency, and allows for indicative national 2020 energy efficiency targets to be established.  Measures include obligations on Member States to establish energy efficiency obligation schemes or energy saving policies, and provide for the public sector to play an exemplary role.  Also consumers have a right to know about their energy consumption.  There are requirements specifically relating to smart meters. Read more of this post

Investment in Energy Infrastructure and the Energy Bill

On 13 November 2012 the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee conducted a hearing with a panel of investor representatives and members of the investment community. The session focused on the upcoming Energy Bill, public policy, legislation, and Government initiatives in terms of their impact on private investment. Read more of this post

Event highlights Smart Grid Forum report

In early August we commented on the release of a report on behalf of the Smart Grid Forum assessing the impact of low carbon technologies on Great Britain’s power distribution networks.

Today the ENA hosted a public dissemination event for industry (including those involved in smart grids).  The aim of the event was to launch the report and highlight the potential for billions of pounds to be saved through use of ‘smart’ solutions. Read more of this post

SMART Cornwall seeking opportunities in Asia

The UK’s Cornwall Council today signed a Protocol of Co-operation with Penghu County Government of Taiwan to promote joint smart grid R&D and renewable technologies. The signing came as part of the UK Smart Grid mission that is currently visiting Taiwan with the aim of developing opportunities for UK businesses and academic institutions.  Read more of this post

DECC publishes ‘Foundation Smart Market’ Consultation

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has issued a consultation to address issues raised by the Foundation Stage of smart meter roll-out in GB.  DECC defines the Foundation Stage as having started in April 2011 and expects it to conclude with the start of a Mass Roll-out in late 2014.