National Grid to recover most but not all black start costs

Back in June I described the increasing costs National Grid is incurring to protect the UK’s black start capabilities. Over the summer, Ofgem issued its decision on cost recovery, and ruled that while National Grid could recover the costs of the Fiddler’s Ferry contract, only part of the Drax costs would be recoverable. National Grid…

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Intriguing ideas and energy innovations of the future

  The energy sector is undergoing a period of significant change with the rapid emergence and adoption of renewable technologies, notably solar PV and wind. Developments in storage promise significant disruptions in the medium term, alongside smart grids, and by the mid 2020s we could see new generation nuclear technologies and tidal power adding to…

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Making waves with tidal power

  The idea of tidal power has fascinated me since I was told (by a tour guide) that the tidal range of the Thames at Tower Bridge was 10 metres. In fact it’s “only” 6.6 metres, but watching the daily rise and fall of the river from the window of my Docklands flat, the sheer,…

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Through the looking glass: transparent solar PV

The speed with which solar PV has taken off has surprised most analysts, with the cost curve coming down far faster than expected as materials technology develops. When people think of solar PV, they tend to think about roof-top panels or large installations in fields or deserts, but imagine if you could integrate photovoltaic cells…

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Breaking the ice with thermal energy storage

In the second article in my series on energy storage, I explore the area of thermal energy storage (TES), which involves the collection of excess thermal energy for later use. This and can be achieved through a range of technologies, at an individual building, district or even regional scale. The technologies fall into three broad…

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CCS: is it all just hot air?

  Last week I attended an Energy Institute debate on the subject “Meeting the Carbon Budgets – how “disruptive” technologies could be game changers towards a low carbon future.” The eminent speakers gave an overview of the challenges arising from the Paris agreement in 2015 and focused specifically on large-scale nuclear versus small modular reactors…

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Brexit: an opportunity for energy policy

    It’s now been a week since the momentous decision by the British electorate to turn its back on EU membership, and the markets have responded with predictable volatility. The questions we are all asking, alongside the obvious ones about what form our exit will take, is how long will market volatility last, what…

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CAES…an alternative to pumped hydro?

Energy storage is seen by some as the Holy Grail of the energy markets, providing a low-carbon alternative to conventional generation for balancing systems with increasing levels of intermittent renewable generation. Over a series of posts, I will explore some of the technologies under development and assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various…

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New dash for gas….or not?

Over the past few years there have been frequent predictions of a new “dash for gas” in Europe, with many in the industry believing that gas is the natural solution to the challenges posed by the desire to decarbonise the electricity sector while maintaining security of supply. Gas demand however continues to fall and far…

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