Utility Week

UTILITY Week 24 10 2014

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UTILITY WEEK | 24Th - 30Th OcTObEr 2014 | 17 Policy & Regulation This week Decc admits need for smart 'policy view' Decc to look at how new technologies will affect the future resilience of the entire network The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has admit- ted to peers that it "should have more of a policy view" on the impact that renewable and smart technologies could have on elec- tricity infrastructure resilience. The House of Lords Science and Technology select commit- tee heard that Decc is setting up an "internal policy team" to look at how new technolo- gies will affect the future resilience of the entire network. Decc's director of science and innovation, Craig Lucas, said: "Decc, at a top level, recognises that the smart tech- nologies question is something we should have more of a policy view on and we're setting up an internal policy team to look at that." He added the department is working with the Energy Systems Catapult, on compiling evidence on how these technologies will affect the electricity system. This admission came as Decc's new chief scientific adviser, John Loughhead – representing the Royal Acad- emy of Engineering – told peers it has been "obvious for some years" that an overarching system view of how new and smart technologies will impact the electricity system, and potentially a system architect, was needed. He added: "What we've been doing is exploiting the system we've got. We can see the looming need to start to design it differently, but at present it's not clear who is going to take up that responsibility." This was echoed by Simon Harrison, chair of the Energy Policy Panel at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, who said "resilience could be quite severely compromised if things are not engineered properly". MB ELEcTrIcITY Five interconnection projects shortlisted Ofgem has shortlisted electricity interconnector projects totalling 7.5GW for its investment support regime, it said last week. The green light from the regu- lator boosts the chances of all five applications moving forward, which would increase the UK's interconnection by 7.5GW through a total investment of £6 billion. The interconnector projects deemed eligible for the scheme include two projects linking the UK to France, which has an abun- dance of renewable and nuclear power; a link to Ireland, which is expected to export wind power; and links to renewable energy from Denmark and Norway. National Grid has part- nered with Norway's Statnett, Denmark's Energinet.dk and France's RTE in developing plans for three of the five pro- jects, totalling 3.4GW in capacity. The second Anglo-French project, known as FAB, will be developed by FAB Link and RTE; while the Irish interconnector will be developed by renewable generator Element Power. WaTEr Charges for empty Scottish properties Empty non-domestic properties in Scotland face charges for water and sewerage connections under plans to be put forward by the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government wants the owners of empty com- mercial properties to pay for the provision of water and waste- water services, rather than being exempt, as they currently are. This is set to be introduced for the 2015-2021 period and could come into force as soon as April next year, following a consulta- tion, which is expected to be launched before the end of 2014. It follows last year's rise in business rates for empty business properties, from 50 per cent to 90 per cent of the full occupied rate. EnvIrOnmEnT Hydro businesses urge EU to set target Representatives from the hydropower sector have urged the European Council to set an ambitious 2030 climate target. In an open letter addressed to the heads of states and govern- ments, the organisations, which include Alstom, Eurelectric, and the European Small Hydropower Association, said "strong, reli- able and effective policies and a climate and energy policy framework for 2030" are needed to allow hydropower to develop across Europe. The group also called on the European Council to increase the awareness of the "positive role" of hydropower for the European energy system. Loughhead: "looming need for different design" Political Agenda Mathew Beech "Paterson has made some serious points on energy" Aer a party conference with a deafening silence on energy policy, finally a senior Tory has come out and put forward some plans for the UK's energy future. However, probably to the dis- may of the husky-hugging prime minister, that Conservative was Owen Paterson – the dethroned environment secretary. He came out and said the Climate Change Act – something he voted in favour of – should be suspended or even repealed. This will not happen: no particular those in fuel poverty to heat their homes. Small nuclear reactors – still some years away – could allow for a quicker rollout of new nuclear and open up new potential sites. And shale gas, the fabled "bridge" fuel, could help displace coal generation and increase the security of the UK's gas supplies. In his own unique style, Paterson has made some serious points on the energy debate. Not that anyone will listen to him. government could take the stance of turning its back on the legally binding commitment. However, Paterson did push the case for small modular nuclear reactors, combined heat and power (CHP) plants and demand management, as well as indigenous shale gas. These points have been lost in the outrage, but away from the vitriol directed at Paterson, there is a semblance of sense. Demand management is starting to be introduced and there are calls for DSR to be able to bid into the demand-side response market. CHP would also help to reduce energy bills, helping in

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