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UTILITY Week 16th September 2016

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UTILITY WEEK | 16TH - 22ND SEPTEMBER 2016 | 17 Policy & Regulation This week ECCC: Revise RHI or miss 2020 heat targets Committee urges government to rethink proposed reforms to Renewable Heat Incentive Biomethane is "crucial" to the UK hitting its 2020 renewable heat targets and must remain a "funding priority". The Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) has warned government that its proposed reforms to the Renewable Heat Incentive, which will prioritise heat pumps over biomass, are not the "optimal pathway" to meeting the target and should be revised. In its report into the 2020 renewable heat and trans- port targets, the ECCC warned that the UK is on course to miss both subclauses of the overall renewable energy target. It is not yet halfway towards the 12 per cent heat target, and the proportion of renewable energy used in transport fell last year. The UK is, however, expected to hit the 30 per cent renewable electricity target. In the wake of the vote to leave the European Union, the UK must recommit to the targets or set replacements, or risk undermining confidence in the government's commitment to its legally binding 2050 carbon targets. ECCC chair Angus MacNeil said: "The experts we spoke to were clear: the UK will miss its 2020 renewable energy targets without major policy improvements. Fail- ing to meet these would damage the UK's reputation for climate change leadership. The government must take urgent action on heat and transport to renew its efforts on decarbonisation." The ECCC also said the creation of a single depart- ment for energy and industry could enable "more joined- up" thinking, but could also result in climate change issues being "buried by conflicting concerns". LD WATER Utility firms commit to flood defences Utility companies have made a commitment to increase flood protection of their key local infrastructure assets. Last week, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs published its National Flood Resilience Review, outlining its new approach to preparation for, and resilience to, flooding. In the report, the government said the water and telecoms sectors had plans in place for temporary improvements to resilience for the coming winter, like those already available in the electricity supply industry. However, throughout the rest of this year, all three sectors will develop and implement plans for permanently improving the resil- ience of service provision to local communities from flooding. ELECTRICITY CfD commissioning period extended The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has decided to extend the potential commissioning period for projects subsidised through contracts for difference to the end of March 2026. Under existing rules, projects can receive the subsidy only if they are commissioned in set "delivery years" for each allocation round. Currently, the delivery years can be set only in the period up to the end of March 2020. The decision follows a five-week consultation, which ended on 8 August. BEIS said all respondents were in favour of extending the potential commis- sioning period. The proposed amendment does not specify which delivery years should be set for future allocation rounds. However, the majority of respondents said they should be limited to 2021/22 and/or 2022/23. ENERGY New carbon plan may be delayed The government may delay the publication of the UK's new car- bon plan until early next year, Bloomberg has reported. Climate change minister Nick Hurd is reviewing the country's progress. "I think there's some flexibility around the publica- tion," he was quoted as saying at an event in London. "It's more important to get this right than to rush something out that doesn't hit the target." The document will outline how the government intends to meet the fih carbon budget, which commits the UK to cutting its carbon emissions by an aver- age of 57 per cent on 1990 levels during 2028-32. Reforms will prioritise heat pumps over biomass Political Agenda Mathew Beech "Cameron's legacy in renewables is more mixed" In less than three months, David Cameron has gone from prime minister to unemployed. Aer stepping down follow- ing the Brexit vote, Cameron has now decided he doesn't want to be a distraction by remaining in the Commons as a backbench MP. Rumours are swirling that the move is a reaction to his suc- cessor as PM, Theresa May, push- ing through policies that went against his own ideals – such as stalling over Hinkley Point C. Cameron came into the Con- increased ten times. However, elsewhere his renewables legacy is more mixed. The infamous "green crap" comment allegedly made in 2013 will forever hang over him, as will cuts to solar feed-in-tariffs, and leading the Conservatives to victory in 2015 with a pledge to "halt the spread of onshore wind". What is certain, the former PM kept green issues near the top of the political agenda – regardless of whether the out- come was positive for the sector. servative leadership role in 2005, promising "caring Conservatism" and a new green revolution. He led the new wave of green Tories into the Commons in 2010. Indeed, when entering Number 10 for the first time, alongside Nick Clegg six years ago, he promised to lead the greenest government ever. He even hugged a husky to build this green image in 2006. Looking at the stats, this is backed up. The amount of renewable electricity generated almost trebled to more than 80TWh, offshore wind has seen a six-fold increase, onshore wind trebled, bioenergy quadru- pled while photovoltaic capacity

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