Utility Week

UTILITY Week 10th April 2015

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UTILITY WEEK | 10Th - 16Th AprIL 2015 | 29 Markets & Trading This week UK gas market 'is the most competitive' Wholesale gas market is the only one in Europe that meets the EU's standards for trading liquidity The UK's wholesale gas market is the most competitive and transparent energy market in Europe, according to a parlia- mentary report. The report was carried out by a cross-party parliamentary group alongside the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) probe into the energy sector, aer the authority said it was not minded to investigate wholesale gas, given its high level of transparency. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Energy Costs agreed, with chair Lord Palmer saying in the report: "This is the definitive guide to the British wholesale gas market. The report shows the UK market to be the most competitive and transparent in Europe." The in-depth investigation found that the UK gas mar- ket is "highly transparent", with National Grid publish- ing high levels of data and information, some near-real- time or within day. "This information is freely and widely available to any interested party," the report said. The wholesale gas market is also the only market in Europe that meets the European Union's standards for trading liquidity, with more than 200 companies signed up. Companies involved span the European energy sector from small local co-operatives to large vertically inte- grated utilities, with low barriers to entry, the report said. The report's findings undermine calls from outgoing Energy and Climate Change Committee chair Tim Yeo for the market to be included in the CMA probe. Yeo claimed the probe would be "compromised from the outset" without the inclusion of the gas market. JA EnvIronmEnT UK emissions fall with lower coal use The UK's net carbon emissions fell almost 10 per cent below 2013 levels last year, as generators switched from coal- to gas-fired power and consumers demanded less electricity overall. Government data for 2014 shows a 9.7 per cent fall in net carbon emissions from 467.5 million tonnes in 2013 to 422 million tonnes last year as mild temperatures and better energy efficiency reduced the amount of electricity generation needed. Furthermore, the power pro- duced was cleaner due to a sharp decline in the amount of coal- fired power used in the genera- tion mix, the government said. Coal-fired power accounted for 29.1 per cent of electricity produced last year, a 7.4 percent- age point drop from 2013. This was partly due to plant closures and conversions, but was also the result of greater gas-burn as historic lows on the wholesale gas market reduced costs. Gas-fired power generation dominated the energy mix and accounted for 30.2 per cent last year, up 3.6 percentage points. ELEcTrIcITY Wind generation up by a quarter in 2014 Onshore and offshore wind generation rose by nearly a quarter (24 per cent) to produce the "lion's share" of renewable electricity in 2014, according to government data. The latest energy statistics reveal onshore wind generation rose by 7.9 per cent, and offshore wind was up 16.1 per cent, result- ing in vastly increased genera- tion output of 31.6TWh as a result of greater installed capacity. The data shows a 23 per cent increase in overall renewable electricity capacity to 24.2GW, causing low-carbon electricity's share of generation to increase to 38.8 per cent in 2014. ELEcTrIcITY EDF signs 104MW solar supply deal EDF Energy and Primrose Solar have signed a 15-year power purchase agreement for existing solar farms with a combined capacity of 104MW. The utility will pay an inflation-linked guaranteed minimum price for power, which Primrose Solar says will help its ability to raise capital and improve project returns. EDF Energy director of business services, John Cockin, said: "By guaranteeing some of Primrose Solar's income with a floor price, we're able to remove a significant portion of risk for them. It also demonstrates EDF Energy's commitment to support- ing the growth of independent renewable energy generators." Liquid trading: only wholesale gas meets EU standards Tricks of the trade Jillian Ambrose "£18.08/tonne from 1 April, the carbon tax is no joke" For many, April Fool's Day simply brought the annual opportunity for a bit of a laugh at the expense of others. But if the UK's power generators found reason to laugh it would no doubt have been a little more wry, depending on how dark you like your humour. The reason? The UK carbon tax once again ratcheted higher from the first of the month to shi market economics further against thermal generators, already struggling to adapt to a Longannet coal-fired plant, for example, have managed to shoulder its steep transmission charges if Scottish Power were only forced to pay the European Union's carbon price through the Emissions Trading System? Better, then, to be in the shoes of EDF Energy. Its 9GW nuclear fleet is squeaky clean in terms of carbon emissions and benefits from selling into a market in which prices rise every time the carbon tax does. At least someone's laughing. changing landscape. From £9.55/tonne of carbon last year to £18.08 on 1 April 2015, the carbon tax is no joke. Although the Treasury will freeze the burden at its current level until the end of the decade, the tax remains a bugbear on both sides of the decarbonisation debate. Those angling for green energy argue that forcing genera- tors to pay higher costs (which are probably just passed on to the consumer) is no replacement for a hard and fast carbon cap, while for those on the dirtier side of the spectrum the cost is just one more debilitating Westminster-led intervention. Might the much-discussed

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