Bryt Insight April 2024

Bryt Energy
| 12th April 2024 | Bryt Insight
Bryt Energy Market Updates
New investments into renewable technologies announced in Spring Budget
£10 billion pledged for new battery storage projects in the UK
National Grid ESO proposes £58bn investment to improve the UK’s electricity network
New opportunities for wave and tidal power in the UK
Spotlight on Renewables
News in Brief
Spotlight on Statkraft

This month, we’ve seen more progress on the UK’s journey to net zero – including new funding for solar and offshore wind as part of the Government’s Spring Budget. From plans for a record £10 billion investment into battery storage projects to new recommendations for upgrading the electricity grid, it’s encouraging to see action being taken to support the UK’s energy transition. Here’s what you need to know this month:

Bryt Energy Market Updates

In this month’s edition of Bryt Insight, we’re taking a look back at the electricity market over the first quarter of 2024, speaking to our market experts for a roundup of the key trends and highlights that your business needs to know:

  • Wholesale prices decreased:

In December 2023, wholesale energy prices declined steadily, though there was a slight increase in day-ahead prices in January, which was influenced by lower wind generation early in the month. Despite this, overall forward-looking prices have continued to decrease this quarter. This reflects the decline in gas prices, with UK gas storage levels remaining high, and the increased supply certainty for Winter 2024, as a result of overall strong French nuclear generation (despite some uncertainty regarding facility cracks) and improved interconnector flows from Europe.

  • Increased market volatility:

March 2024 saw some increased volatility in the energy market. Despite strong gas storage levels for Winter 2024, the discovery of more cracks within French nuclear reactor facilities has led to some concerns within the market over impacts on supply availability. Additionally, the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, heightened after the recent Moscow attack, has added to price uncertainties as traders become more concerned over supply. Meanwhile, liquified natural gas (LNG) ships have also continued to avoid the Red Sea due to the conflict in the area, resulting in delays in deliveries, which has further impacted market volatility.

 

Alongside these trends, our team noted a couple of other key updates within the energy market that may impact businesses:

  • Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) certificate prices decrease:

Overall, REGO market prices for the upcoming year (April 24-March 25) have decreased. The latest monthly e-REGO auction (held in March) was its busiest yet, and REGO prices did increase throughout March slightly, however overall these prices were still lower than the February auction.

To find out more about REGOs, read out FAQs here.

  • Some energy costs become more certain, as others increase or remain volatile

The beginning of the year marked a busy period for Non-Commodity Costs (NCC) – the non-energy costs found within businesses’ energy bills. Final tariffs for many of these have now been published, providing businesses with more certainty of their cost structures. These include:

  • Distribution Use of System (DUoS) charges, effective from April 2025 onwards, announced by Distribution Network Operators (DNOs)
  • Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charges, from April 2024
  • Balancing Services Use of System (BSUoS) Winter 2024 charges, announced by National Grid ESO
  • Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme charges for April 2024 onwards, announced by Ofgem.

However, Contract for Difference (CfD) rates have continued to be volatile, influenced by ongoing movements in the wholesale market, while costs for the Capacity Market (CM) – which ensures the security of electricity supply by providing payments for reliable sources of capacity – have increased following recent auction results.

  • Important reviews of the electricity market are ongoing

In other news, the UK Government has launched a second consultation on the Review of Electricity Market Arrangements (REMA)1. REMA seeks to address long-standing inefficiencies in the design of the energy market, focusing on aspects like the Balancing Mechanism, ancillary services, Capacity Market (CM) and the CfD scheme. This newly announced consultation provides stakeholders with an opportunity to contribute their insights and feedback. If you’d like to have your say on REMA, you can do so here until May 7th, 2024.

New investments into renewable technologies announced in Spring Budget

While the UK Government’s Spring Budget includes a wide array of fiscal policies for the year ahead, in this edition we’re focusing on new announcements on renewable energy and sustainability – including new investments into renewable technologies to help the UK reach its net zero goals.

The budget includes the allocation of over £1 billion for the Government’s 2024 Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction – which supports investment for new renewable energy generation by guaranteeing a minimum price per unit of electricity generated2. In doing so, the scheme provides the financial certainty needed for developers and investors to commit to renewable projects.

£800 million of this funding has been allocated to offshore wind projects – four times the budget available in previous rounds – a decision which follows an increase in the maximum price for offshore and floating wind in November 20233. With this record-breaking allocation for the CfD Auction Round 6 (AR6), which is scheduled to open later this year, the funding will support the UK Government’s target of 50GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030. The remaining CfD funding, totalling £225 million, will be made available to other renewable technology groups, including onshore wind and solar.

The UK Government has also announced an additional £120 million of funding for its ‘Green Industries Growth Accelerator’, which aims to support the development and expansion of low carbon manufacturing supply chains. You can learn more about the ‘Green Industries Growth Accelerator’ in last December’s edition of Bryt Insight, here.

The Budget also confirmed that the UK Government would regulate ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) ratings, which act as a metric for investors to assess a company’s performance under these three areas4. The Government aims to incentivise more investment into sustainable products and services by requiring ESG rating providers to be transparent with their methodologies, and that they are clear on the implications of their rating for businesses and investors.

Beyond this, the Spring Budget confirmed the extension of the Government’s Energy Profit Levy (EPL) until 20295. Initially introduced in May 2022, the EPL imposed a 25% windfall tax on oil and gas companies – a rate later increased to 35% effective from January 2023 – with funds raised going to supporting households with their rising energy bills. The Government has not specified how new funds raised by the extended tax will be spent, but critics have been quick to point out the missed opportunity of not spending these funds to help deliver the UK’s plan for net zero6. Additionally, the Budget includes provisions to abolish the tax earlier than the 2029 date if market prices return to normal for an extended period.

However, despite the extension of the EPL, the Government continues to support new oil and gas licensing opportunities in the North Sea. This has been criticised by many as undermining investments into the net zero energy transition7.

Despite the continued focus on fossil fuels, the Spring Budget still contains some encouraging steps in the right direction. Investment into the energy transition continues with new funding for renewable technologies and supply chains, but more Government support is needed to achieve a fully decarbonised energy system, faster.

You can learn more about the Spring Budget from the UK Government’s website, here.

£10 billion pledged for new battery storage projects in the UK

New plans have been unveiled for a £10 billion investment into what could become the largest battery storage project portfolio in the UK, and play a major role in decarbonising the UK’s power grid8.

The investment from NatPower, a UK-based renewable energy developer, is anticipated to deliver 60GWh of battery storage capacity by 2040 – representing over 13 times the UK’s current battery storage capacity, which reached 4.6GWh in January this year9.

Battery storage technology is key in facilitating the net zero energy transition: by storing electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar, battery storage technologies can ensure a stable supply of electricity during periods of low wind or sunlight, providing energy security as the grid transitions to a low carbon system.

Through this substantial investment, the project hopes to address grid bottlenecks and maximise the use of renewable energy resources. The company intends to submit planning applications for three ‘gigaparks’ which will be strategically located across the UK, with an additional ten in line for development in the coming year.

This announcement comes as recent research forecasts a surge in large-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) capacity across Europe, with the UK emerging as a frontrunner in investment and development10. In fact, projections from Aurora Energy Research’s latest ‘Battery Markets Attractiveness Report,’ suggest that, by 2030, the UK will increase its energy storage capacity by up to five times.

As part of this, the UK aims to further enhance its energy storage portfolio by embracing long-duration energy storage (LDES) solutions – which are designed to store and release renewable electricity over a period of at least six hours. A recent Government consultation outlined proposals for increasing investment in LDES, including the introduction of a cap-and-floor mechanism11– which will guarantee investors a minimum level of revenue – to help address the financial challenge of deploying LDES at scale. You can read more about LDES from February’s edition of Bryt Insight, here.

To learn more about the role of battery storage in a net zero future, read Part 3 of our e-guide series ‘Navigating the Net Zero energy transition’, here.

You can read more about Natpower’s plans, here.

National Grid ESO proposes £58bn investment to improve the UK’s electricity network

National Grid Electricity Systems Operator (ESO) has released its ‘Beyond 2030’ report, which recommends a comprehensive set of network upgrades – totalling £58 billion in direct investment – to prepare the UK’s electricity grid for a net zero future12.

The plan focuses on expanding grid transmission capabilities, recommending a stronger North-to-South electricity transmission route that would facilitate efficient energy distribution from North East Scotland to North West England. With this increased connectivity, National Grid ESO is aiming to improve energy security by making renewable electricity accessible across the country, regardless of where it is generated.

As well as new onshore routes, the report also proposes the construction of over three times the amount of undersea cabling currently available in order to connect the planned 21GW of additional offshore wind capacity to the grid. If this recommended transmission and offshore wind infrastructure can be delivered under the timeframes set out in the UK Government’s Transmission Acceleration Action Plan (TAAP), National Grid ESO predicts that the UK could achieve its target of a fully decarbonised electricity system by 2035.

Having released their report, National Grid ESO’s recommendations will be reviewed by Ofgem and key industry stakeholders, before they can be developed through a Detailed Network Design Phase. If approved by Ofgem, these grid improvements will play a major role in shaping a more efficient, low carbon energy system, paving a faster route to net zero in the UK.

To read National Grid ESO’s full list of recommendations, you can find its Beyond 2030 report here.

New opportunities for wave and tidal power in the UK

A recent report has suggested that integrating 27GW of wave energy capacity into the UK’s energy system by 2050 could offer the most cost-effective path to achieving net zero13. The study, conducted by Finland’s LUT University, highlighted the potential of combining wave energy with other renewables like solar and wind to aid the net zero energy transition.

The report emphasises the need for a supportive framework to unlock the benefits of wave energy, highlighting the importance of establishing clear routes to market for wave energy projects. Alongside this, the Marine Energy Council – a trade group that represents the UK’s tidal and wave energy industries – has called for ambitious deployment targets by 203514.

Both wave and tidal power offer a predictable form of renewable electricity generation, which can be used alongside more intermittent renewable sources to support grid stability during the UK’s energy transition.

The UK is seeing promising new developments in tidal power, including the beginning of a formal planning process for The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s (LCRCA) Mersey Tidal Power project15. The project, which plans to leverage tidal flows at the mouth of the river Mersey to generate reliable renewable electricity, could, according to the LCRCA, become the world’s largest tidal scheme. The current preferred option for the project is a barrage between the Wirral and Liverpool, an approach which will also address future flooding risks exacerbated by climate change, as well as bringing Liverpool closer to its 2040 net zero target.

It’s encouraging to see such developments in tidal and wave energy, which could offer opportunities to bring more renewables onto the grid and support the UK in its net zero energy transition.

To learn more about the Mersey Tidal Power project, you can read the LCRCA’s press release here.

You can learn more about LTU University’s report on wave energy, here.

Spotlight on Renewables

UK surpasses 15GW milestone in onshore wind capacity

The UK has achieved a new milestone, surpassing 15GW of fully operational onshore wind capacity, spanning over 2,600 projects nationwide16. The accomplishment was reached as the West Benhar onshore wind farm, which has a capacity of 30.1MW spread across seven turbines, became fully operational.

With onshore wind now accounting for over 10% of the UK’s annual electricity generation, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has emphasised the need for continued expansion, recommending a target of 35GW of installed onshore wind capacity by 2035 to align with the UK’s net zero targets. Following the lifting of the effective ban on new onshore wind developments in England, we hope to see the development of more onshore wind projects in the future.

To learn more about this milestone, you can visit RenewableUK’s website here.

 

Welsh Government greenlights first floating offshore windfarm

The Welsh Government has granted planning consent for Wales’s first floating windfarm, Project Erebus, which will be situated 40km off the coast of Pembrokeshire17.

Comprising of seven turbines, each with a capacity of 14MW, Project Erebus represents the first phase of a larger renewable energy initiative in the Celtic Sea. Further phases of the development, the Welsh Government suggests, could unlock an additional 20GW of renewable energy potential – helping to support the wider UK as it transitions to a net zero electricity system.

You can learn more by visiting the Welsh Government’s website, here.

 

Scotland opens world’s first floating offshore wind innovation centre

Scotland has opened its new National Floating Wind Innovation Centre (FLOWIC), representing the world’s first facility dedicated to developing floating offshore wind technology18.

FLOWIC aims to accelerate the development of floating offshore wind technology in the UK by offering state-of-the-art facilities for research and development. By hosting a space for collaboration and innovation, the new centre will help support the UK to achieve its wider goal of 50GW of offshore wind – including 5GW of floating technology – by 2030.

To learn more about FLOWIC, visit its website here.

News in Brief

UK net zero economy continues to grow

A recent report has revealed that the UK’s ‘net zero economy’ experienced a 9% growth in 202319. This increase is encouraging considering the slower growth of the wider UK economy, which only grew by 0.1% in 2023 – suggesting growing demand among British businesses looking for renewable electricity and low carbon technology.

Alongside this, new figures show that net zero industries are creating more than enough new jobs to counteract the shrinking of the oil and gas sector. Although there were around 8,500 fewer jobs in the fossil fuel industry in 2023, over 40,000 roles were generated in low carbon and renewable energy sectors – showing that there is an opportunity for reskilling to ensure that the net zero energy transition is fair for everyone20. CBI Economics has, however, warned that sustained growth relies on continued investment into renewable energy sources, as well as policy support from the UK Government.

You can learn more about CBI Economics’ report by clicking here.

 

UK carbon intensity falls to lowest level in a year

The UK has achieved another milestone in its renewable energy journey; in February, the carbon intensity of the UK’s electricity generation fell to 133g CO2/kWh on average, marking the lowest recorded level in the past year21. This represents a significant decrease from 2010 levels, where the carbon intensity of the UK’s electricity generation averaged 457gCO2/kWh22.

Renewable sources also generated over half of the UK’s electricity mix in February, with most of its electricity generated by wind – which accounted for almost 35%. It’s encouraging to see steps in the right direction on the UK’s journey to reducing its emissions by 78% by 203523.

You can read more about this on National Grid ESO’s website, here.

Spotlight on Statkraft

Statkraft release their 2023 annual report

Our parent company, Statkraft, have released their 2023 annual report, highlighting the company’s significant achievements across the energy sector this year24. In a year marked by success, Statkraft generated almost 60TWh of renewable power worldwide, installed an estimated 556MW of new renewable capacity, and signed a record number of PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) to purchase power from independent renewable generators.

Notably in the UK, Statkraft have also successfully developed and brought online a second Greener Grid Park, which will provide stability to help maximise the amount of renewable electricity that can be distributed through the grid25. They’ve also expanded Europe’s renewable energy generating infrastructure, completing the construction of six solar farms in Spain, the Netherlands and Ireland.

With 36 projects currently under development and construction in the UK – including solar, wind and another nine Greener Grid projects – Statkraft’s progress this year takes them closer to their global goal of developing at least 4GW of new renewable energy generation and grid services annually by 2030. More information about Statkraft’s UK projects can be found here.

You read Statkraft’s full 2023 annual report by visiting their website, here.

 

Statkraft appoints new CEO 

In exciting news, Birgitte Ringstad Vartdal has recently been appointed as the new CEO of Statkraft!  With an extensive background in the company – including leading their largest business area, the Nordics, as well as overseeing the development of wind and solar power across Europe – Vartdal brings a wealth of experience in renewable energy to her new role26.

Birgitte Ringstad Vartdal will succeed Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, who decided to step down after dedicating 14 years of service in driving Statkraft’s vision of renewing the way the world is powered.

To learn more, you can read Statkraft’s press release here.

TALK TO OUR TEAM

If you have any questions on how any of the updates might affect your business, our team of experts is on hand to answer them. You can get in touch with us on 01217267575 or at heretohelp@brytenergy.co.uk.

Sources
  1. https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/review-of-electricity-market-arrangements-rema-second-consultation
  2. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/over-1-billion-budget-for-renewable-energy-auction
  3. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/boost-for-offshore-wind-as-government-raises-maximum-prices-in-renewable-energy-auction
  4. https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/future-regulatory-regime-for-environmental-social-and-governance-esg-ratings-providers
  5. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-delivers-lower-taxes-more-investment-and-better-public-services-in-budget-for-long-term-growth
  6. https://www.carbonbrief.org/uk-spring-budget-2024-key-climate-and-energy-announcements/
  7. https://www.e3g.org/news/no-credible-plan-for-growth-in-the-uk-
  8. https://eandt.theiet.org/2024/03/07/natpower-allocates-ps10bn-massively-expand-uks-grid-scale-battery-storage
  9. https://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/q4-2023-sees-largest-quarterly-increase-in-battery-energy-storage/
  10. https://auroraer.com/market-reports/european-battery-markets-attractiveness-report-3rd-edition-1/
  11. https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/long-duration-electricity-storage-proposals-to-enable-investment
  12. https://www.nationalgrideso.com/news/eso-publishes-beyond-2030-ps58bn-investment-plan-future-britains-energy-system
  13. https://corpowerocean.com/wave-energy-to-have-a-key-role-in-realising-the-uks-net-zero-ambitions/
  14. https://www.marineenergycouncil.co.uk/news/wave-energy-to-have-a-key-role-in-realising-the-uk-s-net-zero-ambitions-according-to-new-report
  15. https://www.liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/news/plans-progress-to-build-worlds-largest-tidal-scheme-on-the-banks-of-the-river-mersey
  16. https://www.renewableuk.com/news/666925/UK-reaches-major-new-clean-energy-milestone-15-gigawatts-of-onshore-wind-
  17. https://www.gov.wales/consent-granted-for-wales-first-floating-windfarm
  18. https://ore.catapult.org.uk/press-releases/scotlands-first-minister-opens-worlds-first-floating-wind-innovation-centre-in-aberdeen/
  19. https://eciu.net/media/press-releases/2024/cbi-economics-uk-net-zero-economy-grows-9-hotspots-in-electoral-battlegrounds
  20. https://www.edie.net/uk-adding-more-than-enough-green-jobs-to-counteract-shrinking-of-oil-and-gas-sector/19
  21. https://www.nationalgrideso.com/electricity-explained/electricity-and-me/great-britains-monthly-electricity-stats
  22. https://interactive.carbonbrief.org/how-uk-transformed-electricity-supply-decade/
  23. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-enshrines-new-target-in-law-to-slash-emissions-by-78-by-2035
  24. https://www.statkraft.com/IR/results-reports-and-presentations/
  25. https://www.nationalgrid.com/electricity-transmission/national-grid-connects-trail-blazing-new-green-tech-liverpool-boost-system-stability
  26. https://www.statkraft.com/newsroom/news-and-stories/2024/birgitte-ringstad-vartdal-appointed-president-and-ceo-of-statkraft/

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