Utility Week

Utility Week 24th June 2016

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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UTILITY WEEK | 24Th - 30Th JUnE 2016 | 3 Leader Jane Gray This week 4 | Seven days 6 | People & Opinion 9 Policy & Regulation 9 | News Pennon gears up for market opening 10 | Analysis Cutting public support for anaerobic digestion 'could kill off the sector' 11 | Analysis There is no simple way to decarbonise heat cheaply 12 | Analysis Making the business case for electricity storage 14 | Market view Engineers can take the lead on sustainability 15 Finance & Investment 15 | News Spark buyout 'heralds major growth plans' 18 Operations & Assets 18 | Analysis Go-ahead for shale gas test well is just the first step for the industry 21 | Analysis how utilities serve island communities 23 | Market view Getting more out of data stored in multiple silos 29 Customers 29 | News Clear Business targets small companies 30 Community 31 | Disconnector National Grid: if it ain't broke, why try to fix it? The revolution has started! Out with the old, in with the new and down with the establishment! This was pretty much the tone of the Environment and Climate Change Committee's recommendation that an independent system operator be appointed "as soon as possible" and in spite of considerable cautionary advice to the contrary from industry experts (p4). The scope for conflicts of interest between National Grid's wide-ranging roles in the energy system – from system operator to interconnection owner and capacity market administrator – is "intractable and growing" says the ECCC. This is a worry because it could dilute progress on low-carbon networks by letting Grid engage in "asset padding" and the promotion of capital-heavy capacity pro- viders like interconnectors over and above novel sources like DSR. Experienced representatives at National Grid seem somewhat baffled by the ECCC's convictions in this arena and question the evi- dence on which they are based. Although they admit the theoretical scope for such conflicts, they point to a variety of internal meas- ures designed to prevent them from becoming manifest, as well as external factors that discourage them. For instance, totex accounting discourages asset padding, they say. Furthermore, Grid has pointed to the conclusions of an independ- ent review of its SO role carried out by the National Infrastructure Commission earlier this year. There is "no evidence that the system operator has acted in a way which has negatively affected consum- ers", said the resulting report. There's no doubt that there's significant change afoot in the UK's energy system and, over time, this will necessarily change the shape of the system operator – something that Grid is actively exploring with Ofgem today. However, pushing for a radical change to this fundamental system function too soon would likely create far more problems than those the ECCC sees in the status quo. It would be extremely costly, could lead to the loss of invaluable expertise and would cast a dark cloud of uncertainty over the stability of system operation, just at a time when new technologies and market participants must be sure of the framework within which they are innovating. Cynics have speculated that the ECCC's recommendation amounts to rabble rousing. It's unhelpful when the system is already in metamorphosis, they say. Jane Gray, Acting Editor janegray@fav-house.com GAS 9 | News Challenge to fracking ruling has 'no merit' 18 | Analysis Shale gas – the bigger picture WATER 9 | News Ofwat sets out plans for sludge market 29 | News Clear Business targets small companies ELECTRICITY 12 | Market view The business case for energy storage 15 | News Plant to use British steel for turbine towers 21 | Analysis Getting power to island communities EnERGY 9 | Political agenda Time to hit the energy reset button? 9 | News Suppliers should face 'stress test' 10 | Analysis Cuts in the feed-in tariff could decimate AD 11 | Analysis Planning is the key to decarbonising heat 15 | News Renewable costs to 'fall at pace' 29 | News new suppliers must work on branding 29 | News Reading wants to be local energy supplier Visit the Downloads section of the website Citrix: how utilities can improve both customer service and operational efficiency http://bit.ly/1s4EAnI Kirona: Seven Deadly Sins Managing Field Based Workers 2016 http://bit.ly/1U737yM Aeris: Utilities and entrepreneurialism next. http://bit.ly/1TQ1YSf

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