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 (“SMR”s)…

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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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Escalating costs of black start grid support

National Grid has applied to Ofgem for the recovery of £113m it has committed under two “Black Start” contracts signed with SSE Fiddlers Ferry and Drax power stations in late March this year. Black Start provisions are incentivised under the Balancing Services Incentive Scheme, a two-year scheme (2015-17) where National Grid is measured against a…

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Winter 15/16 in 3 charts

  Last week, to little fanfare, National Grid published its review of the UK’s electricity and gas markets for the 2015/16 winter period. Despite literally dozens of reports in the press at the start of the winter warning of the very high risks of blackouts, the lights remained very firmly on. The reports were right…

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Nuclear power: is small also beautiful?

In a recent post I outlined some of the challenges facing Hinckley Point C – the flagship next generation nuclear project in the UK. Various commentators have suggested that new nuclear in the UK has missed the boat since the deployment of renewables combined with the problems with the new EPR technology means that there…

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Stalin, eco warriors, and the truth about smart meters

When I decided to write about smart meters, I thought it would be fairly straightforward…explain what they are, why they are being introduced, what are the costs and benefits etc. What I have discovered is that the world is split into three groups…people like myself who hadn’t given the subject much thought and were therefore…

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Driving storage innovation

Domestic solar + electricity storage has for some time been seen as a potentially disruptive combination for electricity systems. Add in electric cars and use of recycled EV batteries in those storage systems, and the story becomes even more interesting. Car companies expanding into energy storage have been all over the news recently. Electric vehicles…

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Igniting Change: combatting inertia in the energy sector

This week saw the launch of the Igniting Change 2 report commissioned by Powerful Women, an organisation committed to improved gender balance within the energy industry. The study, undertaken by PwC, found that of the 89 top UK-headquartered energy companies, almost two-thirds (62%) have no women on their boards and only 9% of board seats…

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