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Saturday 16 December 2017
16 December 2017 - NEWS UPDATE
Renewable Energy

Government says EMR plan should ease investor fears

The Government has published details of the draft Electricity Market Reform (EMR) Delivery Plan which it says will increase investor certainty and deliver £110bn of investment into energy infrastructure. The plan, published today for consultation, provides detail on the support mechanism (long-term Contracts for Difference) and draft strike prices for renewables investors, which Ministers believe will keep the lights on and bills and emissions down.

Biomass

No strike price for new-build biomass

The draft sets out the mechanism for calculating the strike price of onshore and offshore wind, tidal, wave, biomass conversion and large solar projects from 2014-19.

But it omits a strike price for new-build biomass, thus ending government support, which the Exeter-based renewables agency Regen SW says is a good thing.

Regen chief executive Merlin Hyman said: “Essentially we support this. Smaller biomass installations in which the south west has a leading position in deployment produce heat and are effectively supported by Renewable Heat Incentive.

“Larger biomass installations should, in our view, be combined heat and power, these do get a strike price. Using biomass to generate electricity alone is not an efficient use of this resource.”

Up to April last year there was a total of 685 biomass projects in the South West creating a capacity of 74.191 MW, the second-largest renewable energy source in the region.

Regen SW has been key in initiating projects such as the South West Woodshed, the recently completed FOREST programme and the south west bioenergy capital grant scheme as well as developing a thriving supply chain.

But REA Chief Executive Gaynor Hartnell criticised the policy saying: "The lack of a strike price for new build biomass means support for this important technology has effectively come to an end, and we urge the Government to reconsider.  The UK desperately needs new power generation capacity and has a legally-binding renewables target to meet.

"Whilst it was wrong to cap the amount of new build biomass under the existing policy, until today project developers had the alternative option of a contract under the new policy. Today that option has been closed off. This is a U-turn. It is misguided and it will halt the kind of bioenergy industry that environmental NGOs had previously wanted to see.

Today’s document provides further detail on:

* The Contracts for Difference support mechanism – this will support investors in low carbon energy, by removing commercial risks, such as wholesale price risk. CfDs will make it cheaper to deliver low-carbon generation by around £5 billion up to 2030 because they will deliver cost of capital reductions that cannot be achieved through existing schemes.   

* The methodology behind the level of draft strike prices for renewable electricity including onshore and offshore wind, tidal, wave, biomass conversion and large solar projects from 2014-19 – these will kick-start investment in renewables, leading to renewable energy contributing 30% to the UK’s power mix in 2020. This support comes from within the £7.6 billion Levy Control Framework to 2020/21, as previously announced.

* The methodology Government will use in running a Capacity Market - Government is proposing the use of a ‘reliability standard’ to guide how much capacity is auctioned in the Capacity Market in 2014, for delivery in 2018-19.

* The latest assessment of the price and bill impacts of Electricity Market Reform – EMR is expected to reduce annual household electricity bills by an average of £63 or 9% over the period 2016 to 2030 (in real 2020 prices), compared to meeting the same policy goals using existing policy instruments

Scenarios for technology deployment and decarbonisation from now to 2030 – this sets out three scenarios for decarbonisation of the power sector out to 2030, showing the level of deployment of different technologies required to decarbonise the power sector to 50g/kWh, 100g/kWh and 200g/kWh. DECC has also modelled scenarios showing higher deployment rates for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), nuclear generation and offshore wind out to 2030, these assume that the power sector is decarbonised to 100g/kWh by 2030.

Secretary of State, Edward Davey, said of the draft Delivery Plan: “No other sector is equal in scale to the British power market, in terms of the opportunity that it offers to investors, and the scale of the infrastructure challenge.

“The Delivery Plan will provide investors with further certainty of Government’s intent, so that they can get on and make crucial investment decisions that are supporting green jobs and growth.

“The strike prices we have set will make the UK market one of the most attractive for developers and investors in renewable energy.

“It is necessary to support technologies in the early stages of their development, but we are looking all the time at how we reduce the costs for consumers.

“The new support mechanism we are introducing for renewables will make it cheaper to deliver low-carbon generation by around £5 billion up to 2030.

“This will put the UK one step ahead in the global race to develop clean technologies, and will support up to 250,000 jobs across the energy sector.”

“As well as being good for green jobs and growth, what we are doing will protect our environment. The new strike prices will mean that renewables can contribute more than 30% of our power mix by 2020, putting us on track to seeing significant decarbonisation of the power sector by 2030 and meeting our wider climate targets.”

The Government says the scenarios outlined in the Delivery Plan are not targets. The exact generation mix will be influenced by how individual technologies develop in the coming decade. The Government is committed to decarbonising the power sector but doing so in a way that maximises value-for-money for consumers by moving to a competitive price discovery process for all low-carbon technologies as soon as is practicable.

The Government claims it is committed to decarbonising the power sector but doing so in a way that maximises value-for-money for consumers by moving to a competitive price discovery process for all low-carbon technologies as soon as is practicable.

The Government says it is committed to meeting the UK's legally binding Carbon Budgets and to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% on 1990 levels by 2050. A power to set a decarbonisation target range for 2030 has been added to the Energy Bill.

The target will be set 2016 once the government has received advice from the Committee on Climate Change on the level of the 5th Carbon Budget.

Consultation: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-the-draft-electricity-market-reform-delivery#sthash.Vk85We1p.dpuf

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