Five things we learnt from Energy Spectrum | Issue 651

We present five key themes and findings from this week’s edition of Energy Spectrum Issue 651

The debate around new nuclear continues to shift at pace, not least as a result of growing confidence in the role that renewable sources, flexibility, demand-side response and interconnectors can play. In this week’s Energy Perspective, we explore how Hitachi’s decision to suspend its UK nuclear development programme earlier this month has brought into sharper focus suggestions that a future with less like-for-like nuclear replacement. We conclude that the debate about decarbonisation is shifting and in a direction that is away from new nuclear build.

Higher load factors for renewables in the next Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction round both reflect increasing efficiencies and a higher expectation for every pound of government subsidy. In this week’s Policy section we consider the detail of the draft framework for CfD allocation round 3. Changes include use of an intermittent and baseload reference price and the introduction of an auction cap.  

Proposed BSUoS changes at transmission level will also need to encompass a solution for embedded storage. This is the conclusion of our consideration of the open letter from Ofgem on how proposed changes to systems and network charges will impact storage. The Regulation section also considers the latest efforts to ensure the GB gas industry is in compliance with the EU Tariffs network code.

Switching hit record levels in 2018. In Industry Structure, we consider how switching levels continue to rise, despite the decrease in cheap tariffs over the year highlighted by recent Cornwall Insight analysis. Compared to the 87 available in December 2017, only 16 tariffs were priced below £1,000/ year in December 2018.

In Nutwood, regulator contributor Perry Sioshansi explores the trend of zero emissions homes. While still a niche market appealing to the environmentally minded and upper end of the new housing market, the movement is taking root as more homebuyers demand it and more architects and builders learn how to build them.

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