REA: Policy gaps mean Britain is failing to finance 'crucial' shift to flexible power system

13 November 2019, source edie newsroom by Sarah George 

Britain is failing to attract and facilitate investment in the transition to a flexible electricity system - a transition described as "crucial" to the delivery of the UK's 2050 net-zero target.

Despite Britain's poor ranking at present, the REA believes the correct policy support could help the nation "bounce back". 

Despite Britain's poor ranking at present, the REA believes the correct policy support could help the nation "bounce back".

That is according to a report published by the Renewable Energy Association (REA) today (13 November), which tracks investment in flexibility services since 2017 across nine European nations: Britain, France, Germany, Norway, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands.

The report ranks Britain eighth of the nine countries, stating that the deployment of renewable generation, and technologies to balance the variable output of generation methods such as wind and solar, are likely to be “hampered” in the late 2020s.

Factors contributing to this impending slump include technical challenges with connecting to the network and a lack of visibility on returns – both of which, the REA claims, are underpinned by regulatory uncertainty. Particular policy concerns outlined in the report include a lack of short-term and medium-term frameworks around energy storageelectric vehicle (EV) infrastructure and compensation structures to support the shift from a “consumer” model to a “prosumer” model.

The only nation to have fared worse than Britain in the ranking, commissioned by Drax and Eaton, was France. In contrast, the Netherlands came top of the table, with the REA highlighting the fact that national policies already lay out a “clear and transparent” roadmap to a flexible energy system in which the transition impacts on all stakeholders are considered.

“Decarbonising power means delivering flexibility; in a world of very low-cost variable renewable electricity, grids need to be organised differently and some services which were once taken for granted need to be actively procured,” the REA’s chief executive Nina Skorupska said.

“Crucially, as renewable power prices fall around the world every country will be experiencing the same shift. If Britain becomes a flexibility pioneer, then a whole world of markets for exporting our products and services opens up. Whilst this index shows we’re lagging behind, there’s still time to bounce back.”

In related news, a separate report this week found that just one in ten of the world's largest 132 coal, electricity and oil and gas companies have set time-bound net-zero targets.

Net-zero manifesto

The REA last week published a five-point manifesto detailing how the UK’s next Government could deliver this so-called “bounce back”.

The manifesto urges political parties to ensure that funding and planning need to decarbonise is a central consideration of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Office through an independent body with the ability to enforce Government to act on decarbonisation.

It additionally calls for renewable energy and clean technology to be central to a Net Zero Treasury; the reformation of Ofgem to ensure energy network operators modernise energy systems; support for local authorities to reach net-zero through ring-fenced funding, and delivering a just transition to developing a workforce that takes high-quality skilled workers from the fossil fuel sector into new green jobs across the UK.

The manifesto builds on the REA’s work with ElectraLink on its ‘Flexible Futures’ report, which was published last month and revealed that the amount of energy generated and ‘exported’ back to the British grid doubled between 2012 and 2018, largely led by renewable generation.

The REA's Skorupska recently delivered a rousing keynote speech at edie's SPARK! event for energy leaders, outlining the ways in which UK businesses can harness the 'untapped' potential of net-zero. Listen to that speech in full here.

Spoiler alert: Circular Economy still needs residual waste treatment in 2035

Spoiler alert: Circular Economy still needs residual waste treatment in 2035

June, 2019

New peer reviewed CEWEP calculations show that 142 million tonnes of residual waste treatment capacity will be needed by 2035 in order to fulfil the currently set EU targets on municipal waste and assuming that ambitious recycling targets will be achieved for commercial and industrial waste. Current Waste-to-Energy capacity is 90 million tonnes and the capacity for co-incineration is around 11 million tonnes. This leaves a gap of around 40 million tonnes.


Centrica LEM achieves ‘breakthrough’ as flexibility trading platform goes live

The LEM operates in Cornwall, one of the most constrained areas of the UK. Image: Centrica.

The LEM operates in Cornwall, one of the most constrained areas of the UK. Image: Centrica.

The final piece of Centrica's Cornwall LEM has now gone live, allowing both WPD and National Grid ESO to place bids for flexibility, enabling them to indicate when they will need an increase or decrease in generation or consumption to balance the grid or manage a local network constraint.

These bids are then matched with offers from sellers through auctions that can run from months in advance to intraday. Sellers then receive a financial reward for their services.

The platform manages the process for both sides, including contract creation and baselining and settlement.

A clearing engine has been built for the platform by Belgian advanced analytics company N-SIDE, which takes the bids and offers and finds the optimal clearing solution, taking into account grid and asset constraints.

The transmission and distribution networks are able to co-ordinate their procurement to avoid conflicting signals, making it the first time in the world both have simultaneously procured flexibility on the same third-party platform, Centrica said.

Colm Murphy, electricity market change development manager at National Grid ESO, said the potential is “really exciting” as the system operator looks to unlock more flexibility and greater cost benefits for consumers.

“Exploring the provision of flexibility through a local energy market is a first for us and even though we’re in the early stages of the trial, we’re looking forward to evaluating the results.

“In particular we’re keen to understand how flexibility can be procured efficiently and cost effectively between different markets,” he added.

The Cornwall LEM has been operational since 2017, when the first piece of technology – a 1MWh redT redox flow machine – was installed at working farm and holiday retreat The Olde House.

Over the past two years, solar PV and sonnen batteries were installed at 100 homes in the region. Three sizes of batteries were installed: 5kW, 7.5kW and 10kW, and this phase of the project completed in May.

Over 125 businesses were also kitted out with a variety of flexible low carbon energy technologies and monitoring technology.

Current± took an in depth look at the LEM as the installs were finished, detailing all the components of the trial.

The LEM is being part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is one of several projects taking part in Ofgem’s regulatory sandbox.

Partners in the project are National Grid ESO, WPD, N-SIDE, Exeter University and Imperial College London.

Pieter-Jan Mermans, director of optimisation at Centrica Business Solutions, said: “Improving grid flexibility benefits everyone from generators to consumers, and these trials represent a major step forward. We are hugely grateful to the householders and businesses across Cornwall who have embraced this trial with open arms, and we look forward to providing a full update after the trials conclude in spring 2020."

ESWET Vision for Waste-to-Energy in 2050

ESWET, the European Suppliers of Waste-to-Energy Technology, has launched its Vision titled “Waste-to-Energy 2050: clean technologies for sustainable waste management”, to present the Waste-to-Energy plant of the future and to explore the role of Waste-to-Energy in future waste management systems in Europe and beyond.

Following the World Bank’s predictions that waste generation will increase by 60 % worldwide by 2050 and Eurostat’s figures which show that 24% of municipal waste is still landfilled today in Europe, there is a need to roll out globally sound waste management technologies including Waste-to-Energy to improve recycling and recovery and reduce dumpsites.

ESWET’s Vision demonstrates how Waste-to-Energy technologies from European suppliers are ready to contribute to low-carbon energy systems and circular societies in the EU and on a global scale. In fact, Waste-to-Energy plants will take care of the fraction of waste that cannot be directly recycled, preventing it from being landfilled and thus saving huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, the delivery of alternative fuels, such as hydrogen, from Waste-to-Energy plants will enable industry and transport sectors to further decarbonise.

From households to industries, shopping centers and greenhouses, the amount of facilities heated and cooled by the energy recovered from waste will constantly grow. Similarly, the roads we walk along and the buildings we live in will be more and more made of secondary raw materials from the plants’ ashes.

Waste-to-Energy plants will be increasingly integrated into the urban fabric and will generate multiple opportunities for citizens, while safeguarding the environment. Their large scale will allow integrating sport centers (such as ski slopes, rock climbing gyms, skate parks, tennis courts, outdoor swimming pools, etc.) and edutainment activities to raise citizens’ awareness of waste management.

The ESWET Vision 2050 has been officially launched on Tuesday 24 September in Brussels in front of almost 150 people from the waste management and energy sector as well as the European Parliament, European Commission and Member States permanent representations. The event has been hosted jointly with ESWET’s sister association CEWEP, the Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy plants, which launched its sustainability roadmap towards a circular economy in 2035.

Our industry has made giant leaps towards sustainability in the past decades”, ESWET President Edmund Fleck said. “We see a bright future for Waste-to-Energy, where all by-products of our industry will be sent back to the economy, in a low-carbon, circular way”, he added.

We need policy support for that future to become reality and such policies must ensure that basic waste management principles such as the waste hierarchy are safeguarded and a low carbon and clean circular economy emerges.” Mr Fleck continued. “Sound planning of waste treatment capacity is key to establish Waste-to-Energy as a sustainable waste management option anywhere”, he concluded.

Climate Change - What can we do?

The government has promised Britain will radically reduce carbon emissions to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. To get there, we'll need to make big changes to the way we live - to our homes, how we travel, and what we eat - but how much difference will these changes really make? With the help of a family in Nottingham, Justin Rowlatt finds out what are the most important things we can do and asks what the government is doing to encourage us to change the way we live.

Capgemini: Meeting global climate goals 'looks unrealistic' as energy consumption grows

4 November 2019, source edie newsroom

Global energy demand rose by 2.3% year-on-year in 2018 - a trajectory which, if sustained, will leave the world unable to meet international and national climate goals including the Paris Agreement.

Growing energy demands were largely met using fossil fuels, the report states. Pictured: The WilPhoenix offshore oil rig in Scotland. Image: Joe deSousa

Growing energy demands were largely met using fossil fuels, the report states. Pictured: The WilPhoenix offshore oil rig in Scotland. Image: Joe deSousa

That is the key finding of Capgemini’s new World Energy Markets Observatory report (WEMO), published today (4 November).

Developed in partnership with research and advisory firm VaasaETT and French law firm De Pardieu Brocas Maffei, the report tracks key climate and energy-related trends on an annual basis, taking into account national and international data surrounding policy frameworks, emissions and energy investment.

The report states that globally, progress towards key climate goals is “under threat” due to growing energy consumption – partly due to population growth and industry expansion, particularly in nations such as China and India.

It confirms that global energy demands grew by 2.3% during the 2017-18 financial year, with the only developed nation to have reduced its demand significantly being Germany, which recorded a 2.2% reduction. In context, global energy demands have typically grown around 1.2% annually since 2010.

While clean energy advocates have pushed time and again for this growing consumption need to be met with renewables – particularly due to falling energy costs - the WEMO report states that the “soft cost” of renewables, partly down to how accepted they are by policymakers and citizens, remain high.

Further key barriers to renewables uptake noted in the report are the intermittency of generation and issues integrating new arrays with existing distribution infrastructure.

These factors, combined with poor policies and continued lobbying from the oil and gas sector, are likely to mean that no new technical breakthroughs will be industrialized in the energy space by 2040, the WEMO report states. However, it does note that emerging technologies, such as hydrogen, small modular nuclear reactors and battery energy storage are likely to improve and expand rapidly in this timeframe.

Writing in this proportion of the report, Capgemini’s global head of the energy and utilities sector Phillippe Vie said: ”With the combination of digital and sector technologies, borders between players are blurring and new actors penetrate the industry every month, which is leading incumbents to reinvent themselves and propose new business models through eco-systems.”

“Variable renewables generation share should increase as a result of digital levers such as sensors, connected objects, data collection, Artificial Intelligence (AI)smart grids deployed at scale and demand response, improving forecasting and operations efficiency,” Capgemini’s energy and utilities advisor Colette Lewiner added.

Greenhouse gas growth

On a global scale, the WEMO report paints a bleak picture for climate progress.

It states that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions created worldwide during 2018 were up 2% compared to 2017, which, in itself, saw a 1.6% increase on 2016 levels.

Capgemini believes that around three-quarters of this increase can be accounted for by oil, gas and coal consumption, with these three energy sources making up the highest proportion of the global energy mix since 2013. Worldwide, a 4% year-on-year increase in coal consumption was recorded.

Countries leading the increase include India, where national energy demand boomed by 6.4% year-on-year, the US and China.

The findings come just days after Carbon Tracker’s latest report found that the world's largest oil and gas companies must cut combined production by 35% by 2040 if the global temperature increase is to be capped at 2C, as per the less ambitious of the Paris Agreement’s two trajectories.

Veolia warns of emerging energy crisis

Veolia warns of emerging energy crisis

Written by: Jo Gallacher | Published: 29 October 2019

By 2050, the UK’s electricity supply is set to increase by 50%

More than half of senior decision makers in the energy market believe we are heading towards an energy crisis, according to a new Veolia report.

The Keeping the lights on report found that two thirds (68%) of energy managers are concerned about energy security and reliability.

By 2050, the UK’s electricity supply is set to increase by 50%.

Veolia has therefore urged organisations to rethink their energy policies to meet carbon neutral targets and create a balanced grid that can cope with demand and rapidly changing situations.

This will come from de-centralised power with smaller low carbon and green energy supplies, plus energy storage controlled by predictive control systems.

The report predicted that electric and district heating will replace all traditional domestic gas boilers in new homes.

It also found that our increasing reliance on the cloud for internet access, data storage and security and power, meant more data centres will be needed.

These typically use lots of energy, with the report predicting that if the UK mirrors this trend, data centres will use the equivalent power of more than 16 million homes.

Richard Kirkman, chief technology and innovation officer at Veolia UK and Ireland, said: “We are now deep into a recognised climate crisis inextricably linked to a looming energy crisis.

“The Climate Emergency is happening in front of our eyes and Generation Zero, the people growing up and future citizens and customers, are expecting action.

“Recent events highlighted in this new report indicate there is every reason to be concerned about business continuity and ensuring uninterrupted energy supply comes with a net zero carbon footprint.”

Veolia has called for government to remove uncertainty for businesses with a clear road map providing confidence that renewables are worthwhile investments.

This is following the scrapping of support schemes such as Feed-In-Tariffs, LECs and Triads.

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Incinerator would be built at East Tullos, even if council pulled out, committee hears

A new design in council documents .

More than 1m tonnes of EfW capacity moves forward

Plans for two separate Energy from Waste (EfW) facilities with a combined tonnage of more than a million tonnes have taken a step forward.

Wheelabrator Technologies today (1 November) launched a public consultation on a proposed 500,000 tonne facility at the A303 Enviropark, six miles east of Andover. The application, claimed the company, is to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate during Q1 2020. It is proposed for land owned by Raymond Brown Waste Solutions.

Separately, MVV Environment has today announced plans for an EfW plant which could process more than 500,000 tonnes of waste at Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. The company said it will launch consultations ahead of submitting proposals to the Inspectorate in Q4 2020.

The development have prompted industry suggestions that the two plants are a reflection of the waste treatment industry putting forward projects in the face of a ‘capacity gap’ for residual treatment seen as existing in England, particularly in its southern half.

Harewood, Andover

US-owned company Wheelabrator explained that the ‘Wheelabrator Harewood’ plant would “divert up to 500,000 tonnes of residual household and business waste from landfill or export” and instead use it to generate energy equivalent to the needs of over 110,000 homes.

EfW capacity

An artist’s impression of Wheelabrator’s proposed energy from waste plant near Andover

A statement from Wheelabrator said: “This second stage consultation follows an initial consultation, which was held in February and March of this year. Since then, Wheelabrator has reviewed the public’s comments, and undertaken a significant number of technical assessments to develop more detail on what the facility could look like”.

Key changes include a reduction in the overall height of both the building itself and the stacks. Wheelabrator has also “reacted to feedback” on how the facility could look and is now presenting enhanced architectural designs.

Commenting on the plant, Wheelabrator Technologies vice president for business development, Paul Green, said: “Our research shows that, even after all the Government’s recycling targets have been met, there will be around 900,000 tonnes of waste that’s being generated every year by Hampshire and the counties that are its immediate neighbours. Our proposals represent an environmentally responsible opportunity to divert a large proportion of this waste from being sent to landfill or exported overseas.”

MVV, Wisbech

Elsewhere, MVV’s plans are for a combined heat and power facility in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, which will process more than 500,000 tonnes if it goes ahead.

EfW capacity

An artist’s impression of MVV’s proposed combined heat and power facility in Wisbech

German-owned MVV will now liaise with local residents and other stakeholders before submitting an application to the planning inspectorate. It is anticipated that construction will take around three years, during this time employing up to 700 people.

If it goes ahead, the plant will generate more than 50 megawatts of electricity and offer the opportunity to supply steam to local factories.

Commenting on the plans, MVV’s managing director Paul Carey said: “This is an exciting time for MVV in the UK.  We have demonstrated our ability to deliver such projects in Plymouth, Sittingbourne and Dundee, and look forward to engaging with the local community to explain our proposals and seek their views.”

Around £300 million of funding has already been secured for the facility, which will have a 40-year life span.


Today’s steps forward for the two plants come amid what is seen as a ‘capacity gap’ in the market, with various estimates in place showing that more EfW facilities are needed to deal with residual waste.

Commenting, Adrian Judge, director at Tolvik Consulting, said: “Following a number of EfW projects being announced in the last two years or so in the north of England, recent developments suggest that the market has now acknowledged that the capacity gap there is likely to be filled and so has switched its attention to central and southern England – where earlier this year Tolvik projected earlier the capacity gap was greatest.”

“Following a number of EfW projects being announced in the north of England, recent developments suggest that the market has switched its attention to central and southern England”

Adrian Judge, Tolvik

Mr Judge added: “Of course there remains a great deal for a developer to do to take a planning application through to actually starting construction – and the key remains sourcing sufficient waste to make a project attractive to investors. Here we are seeing the market looking at transporting waste over longer distances in increasingly innovative ways to achieve this.”




• Proposals submitted for world leading low carbon energy park near Inverurie
• Catalyst for project includes state-of-the-art Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) capable of producing and utilising both electricity and heat
• Public Exhibitions for £200m ERF proposals due to begin December 2019


Exciting proposals for a state-of-the-art Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) within the Kirkwood Commercial Park, Port Elphinstone, Inverurie, have taken a major step, with the submission of a Proposal of Application Notice (PoAN) by Agile Energy Recovery (Inverurie) Ltd for the Inverurie Energy Park. Similar proposals were consulted on in 2012 as part of the wider regeneration proposals for the Inverurie Paper Mill site.

The applicant, Aberdeen based Agile Energy, propose to develop a low carbon energy park on the site, with the development of the ERF the main catalyst for this ambitious project.

The development of the ERF is in direct response to the Scottish Government’s ‘Scottish Energy Strategy’ and will contribute significantly to the national “zero waste” strategy by recovering energy from discarded materials that cannot be recycled. The forthcoming ban on the landfilling of food, paper, garden and any other biodegradable waste was recently extended by the Scottish Government from the initial 2021 deadline until 2025 due to a shortfall in available recovery facilities to replace landfill capacity.

A shortfall in the development of facilities capable of dealing with this waste has been identified right across Scotland, and Agile’s proposed multi-million-pound, state-of-the-art facility is designed to assist in dealing with the current shortfall. Indeed, the plant will solve the problem that exists in NE Scotland by removing the continuing need for landfilling of the regions waste. The facility will also provide low carbon heat and electricity, allowing local businesses the opportunity to showcase the very best use of these sustainable resources right here in the North East.

The ERF will receive around 200,000 tonnes of pre-treated residual, non-hazardous waste, otherwise destined for landfill. Agile Energy will use proven energy-from-waste technology, which will thermally treat the waste to generate electricity and heat. The ERF will accept predominantly business and commercial waste and will export circa 20MW of electricity (enough to power approximately 62,000 homes) and has the potential to supply circa 80MW of heat (enough to heat at least 32,000 local homes and businesses) through a district heat network and distribution of heat batteries. Crucially, Agile Energy plan to deliver the heat to a community owned energy company which will in turn be empowered to deliver the heat to consumers at a price which will be competitive with natural gas.

With the Proposal of Application Notice (PoAN) now submitted to Aberdeenshire Council this has kick-started a comprehensive public consultation programme. Public exhibitions are due to be held in December, allowing interested parties the opportunity to find out more about what is proposed and importantly provide feedback and comment. Taking place over three days in Kintore, Inverurie and Port Elphinstone, members of the development team and representatives from Agile Energy will be on hand to provide further details and answer questions, with those interested, encouraged to come along and play a part in this major proposed investment into Aberdeenshire.

Speaking following the submission of the PoAN, Alf Robertson, Managing Director of Agile Energy said:

“As the first phase of our vision to develop a world-leading, low carbon energy park, the Energy Recovery Facility is a vital component and the main catalyst for achieving this. By utilising proven, energy from waste technology, we can create new business and employment opportunities in the North East, whilst playing an important and strategic role in helping to address the Scottish Government’s forthcoming ban on the landfilling of biodegradable waste.”

Agile Energy has a committed ambition to turn the Inverurie Energy Park into a world-leading hub for low-carbon energy generation and business operations showcasing the very best use of sustainable technologies and environmentally friendly business operations. The project has an ambition that includes leveraging the power plant to create new business opportunities and employment including district heating, hydrogen production and distribution, advanced horticulture and aquaculture, and carbon capture and utilisation.

Robertson continues:

“As a combined heat and power plant, this facility will be able to provide local businesses with electricity cheaper than they would otherwise get from the National Grid. When combined with advantageous heat pricing, this ensures that Inverurie and the North East of Scotland remain competitive against other locations for further investment and job creation.

“Over the coming months, the development team and I look forward to presenting our proposals to the local community, answering questions and importantly gaining local feedback.”

With the first round of public consultation events due to take place in December, the second round will take place in early 2020, with Agile Energy proposing to submit a planning application to Aberdeenshire Council in the first quarter of 2020.


Notes to editors:

• The Public Exhibitions will take place at:

Kintore Primary School Hall – Tuesday, 3 December (6:30pm-9pm)
Port Elphinstone Community House – Wednesday, 4 December (4:30pm – 8:30pm)
Acorn Centre – Thursday, 5 December (4:30pm – 8:30pm)

• During construction, the ERF itself will create around 300 jobs at its peak, with a further 40 permanent, operational jobs once in full operation.

About Agile Energy:

Agile Energy is an Aberdeenshire based developer of sustainable eco-friendly energy projects and is developing a low carbon energy park near Inverurie in North East Scotland. The catalyst is an Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) power plant that, subject to planning, is due to come online in 2022. Our directors are from Aberdeenshire and the North East of Scotland and come from a varied background in engineering, project development and management, waste management and information technology.

More information can be found at