ENA Bulletin 12 January

Issue 285: Thursday 12 January 2012

  • Another busy year ahead

  • While we were away...

  • ENA ramp up the pressure on metal theft

  • ENA holding meeting with Welsh Energy Minister today

  • Scotland, the referendum and UK energy policy

  • ENA Safety Health & Environment Conference 2012

  • Brussels update

  • Forthcoming events organised and/or supported by ENA

______________________________________________________________

Another busy year ahead

Happy New Year!

This will be a year of energy. With the Government unveiling their flagship Energy Bill (how many of them have we seen before?), the Leader of the Opposition continuing his attacks on the large energy companies and the smart meter roll-out getting ever closer.

For the networks it will be a year of challenges; making sure that smart meter delivery stays on course, while keeping the smarter network at its heart, keeping gas at the centre of the debate and helping coordinate the exciting Low Carbon Networks Fund projects.

We will continue our focus on health and safety issues and continue to support the Powering Improvement Strategy to deliver this.

Meanwhile the devolved Governments increase their focus on energy. ENA has briefed key political figures in both Scotland and Wales.

Finally we also hope this year we will see the culmination of our metal theft campaign with legislation outlawing the illegal trade.

______________________________________________________________

While we were away...

A lot was happening.

Ofgem acknowledged the increasing costs of street works

Ofgem agreed that the gas distribution networks started to incur significant costs due to the Traffic Management Act 2004 and other street works regulatory costs.

Transmission charges under review

Ofgem has asked for industry views on proposals to change the formula to set transmission charges for power generators using the high voltage grid.
Ofgem's preferred option would retain location-based charging where generators pay more to transmit power the further they are sited from areas of high electricity demand.

Competition for onshore transmission?

As Ofgem continues the offshore transmission competition the regulator launched a consultation on implementing competition in onshore electricity transmission.

They consider that “a number of projects in the future could be potentially suitable for third party delivery”.

For more details click here. The Consultation runs until 10 February 2012.

Predicting the unpredictable

With the human factor being key to energy delivery DECC issued some interesting research on different Theories of ‘Energy Behaviour’.

They concluded that there were four key theories:

  • Economic Theories: Energy is a commodity and consumers will adapt usage in response to price signals.

  • Psychological Theories: Energy use can be affected by stimulus-response mechanisms and by engaging attention.

  • Sociological Theories: Energy use is largely invisible, energy systems are complex, and daily practices are significant.

  • Educational Theories: Energy use is a skill that is learned through experience in specific situations.

They didn’t come up with any definitive conclusions saying that predicting human behaviour is very difficult. No surprise there then!

Further details can be found here.

Ofgem set out their work priorities

Finally at the beginning of the year Ofgem set out their Draft Forward Work Programme for 2012–13.

Echoing ENA’s contention that networks will increasingly be engaging with the public as part of Ofgem’s remit to promote quality and value for all consumers they set out that the design and management of energy networks will require significant change to adapt to changing sources of gas supply, changing patterns of electricity generation, especially to achieve low carbon generation, and to changing patterns of demand.

Full details available here.
______________________________________________________________

ENA ramp up the pressure on metal theft

ENA contributed and signed a letter to The Times on Wednesday 11 January calling for a change to the scrap metal law. This is part of our continuing campaign to stop metal theft.

Just before Christmas ENA briefed the Scottish Government on metal theft and made the case for an alignment of legislative reform with England and Wales. With the UK Government making clear that changes are coming and hopefully very soon, it is vital that the Scottish Government legislation covering scrap metal dealers is the same. It is clear that the Scottish Government take the issue very seriously with a recent outage caused by metal theft on the south side of Glasgow resulting in tens of thousands losing power.

Meanwhile ENA, which administers the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Metal Theft, has secured the Crime Prevention Minister for a meeting on 8th February. Along with MPs and Peers, ENA has pulled together a coalition that includes everyone from hospital estate managers through to model engine enthusiasts. They will be calling on the Crime Prevention Minister Lord Henley to demand that he brings in a change to the law now governing the scrap metal industry.

MP for Hyndburn Graham Jones currently has a Private Members Bill before Parliament to bring about this change, a Bill that ENA helped launch. The victims of this crime are calling on the Government to support the Bill. Until this is done there will be more innocent victims and more suffering. ENA will also be speaking next month at two high profile conferences on the issue, one organised by the Local Government Association and the other by the Association of Chief Police Officers.

You can support the Bill petition by clicking here.

______________________________________________________________

ENA holding meeting with Welsh Energy Minister today

Following our dinner last November with the Welsh Opposition Leader and Energy spokesman, ENA is meeting with John Griffiths AM, the Welsh Energy Minister on Thursday 12 January. The meeting will be attended by all the network companies operating in Wales in both electricity and gas.

______________________________________________________________

Scotland, the referendum and UK energy policy

The R word is on everyone’s lips, with the PM’s intervention over the timing and nature of the Scottish Independence Referendum the debate has begun. For Alex Salmond this will be a culmination of what he believes in. However he has prepared a third option if full independence were rejected. That is the oft-quoted “Dev Plus”. This enhanced devolution approach was first considered by the Commission on extending powers under the chairmanship of Sir Kenneth Calman in 2007. But amidst all the debate this week there has been little discussion of where this leaves energy policy. The role of Scotland in the UK energy mix is beyond critical. This is something the First Minister, a former energy economist fully understands.

Back in 2007 the Calman Commission concluded that energy policy should remain a reserved matter to Westminster where it currently sits. However, as it pointed out the Scottish government does have the ability to shape the direction of energy generation in Scotland by approving or refusing new projects. In addition, the Scottish Government does have an Energy Minister in Fergus Ewing.

However, there are rumblings that this might change. With full independence energy policy would be a matter for the sovereign Scottish Government but some are saying “Dev Plus” should also include devolving energy policy. According to a Scottish think tank, Reform Scotland, the country could earn £2 billion a year exporting electricity if energy policy is fully devolved from Westminster.

Reform Scotland point out that if the 100% renewables target set by the Scottish Government if met then Scotland could become Europe's renewable leader.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said he shared Reform Scotland's view that Scotland could become the biggest exporter of low carbon electricity in Europe. "We already produce 40% of the UK's renewable electricity and with the continued investment we are witnessing, Scotland's energy will continue to be used across the UK and Europe in all future constitutional circumstances, including independence”, he concluded.

The Scottish Energy Minister will be addressing an ENA Reception in March in Edinburgh and we anticipate that this will be one of the key topics of discussion. Where this leaves the UK Government is another question. The UK Energy Minister Charles Hendry gets on very well with his Scottish counterpart after all he is that kind of chap, Mr Hendry has also recently bought a Scottish Castle. The Scottish energy conundrum could quickly become a headache for him however.

______________________________________________________________

ENA Safety Health & Environment Conference 2012

Wednesday 2nd May – Friday 4th May 2012

Over many years the Annual SHE conference has become a hugely successful and popular event drawing large numbers from across the energy industry. The 2012 conference promises to deliver thought provoking discussions around worker involvement, occupational health and how we deliver safety in a high hazard industry.

The 23rd ENA Safety, Health and Environment Management Conference (SHE2012) will be held on the 2–4 March 2012 at The Guoman Tower Hotel, London and will be hosted by UK Power Networks.

SHE2012 will bring together health and safety professionals and trade union representatives within the energy industry along with Government policy makers, regulators and experts from outside the sector to discuss and debate best practice in the management of SHE issues.

Keynote speakers confirmed for SHE2012 include Judith Hackitt (Chair, HSE), Basil Scarsella (CEO UK Power Networks), Ed Mitchell (Director of Environment and Business, Environment Agency) and Robert Davis (CE EA Technology Ltd).


SHE2012 Delegate Fees:

* Early Bird Rate (Bookings made before 1st February 2012) *

Members: £699
Non members: £799

Full Price

Members: £749
Non members: £849

To book your place at SHE2012, please click here.

Click here to view the programme.
_____________________________________________________________

Brussels update

Danish Presidency – energy priorities

Denmark took over the EU Presidency on 1 January 2012. The Danish work programme includes a number of energy priorities, with energy efficiency at the top of the list. ENA is monitoring Brussels’ negotiations on the Efficiency Directive, which have made slow progress to date. We support the Directive’s energy efficiency aims and objectives, and are working with Eurelectric and GEODE to ensure networks’ views are taken into account by the EU legislators, and that the final text is fit for purpose.

In the Energy Council there is a split between those Member States who would support a binding efficiency target (which was not part of the Commission’s original proposal), in exchange for more flexibility in how this is achieved, and those Member States that would prefer binding efficiency measures, which includes the UK.

In the European Parliament there is also a split of views on energy efficiency; with centre left and green MEPs favouring a binding target, but the centre right MEPs, who have the majority, opposing this. The volume of detailed amendments proposed by MEPs to the original text has already led to the postponement of the ITRE (Energy) Committee vote from January to late February, and no clear consensus of MEP views has emerged as yet. The Danes are keen to secure political agreement on the Directive between the Council and Parliament by June, with the aim of finalising legislation by the end of 2012, which will be a challenge.

The Danes also want Energy Council members to agree pro-active recommendations arising from the Energy Infrastructure Regulation proposals, recognising the importance of “an effective and intelligent transmission network” to successfully integrate the increasing amounts of renewable energy. ENA supports the Commission’s proposals to accelerate permitting and address the financing difficulties associated with major infrastructure projects. ENA is meeting with DG ENER officials later this week to discuss the Regulation, and to clarify what potential there is for UK distribution companies to secure EU funding for their smart grid projects.

Energy Roadmap 2050

Just before Christmas the Commission published an important energy policy document, their 2050 Energy Roadmap. This year the Danes will press Member States to agree on “the direction of travel” for the EU in terms of its longer-term energy policy vision. The Roadmap contains a range of fuel mix scenarios, all focusing on 2030, and consistent with the EU’s overall agreed objective of an 85% reduction in the 1990 level of emissions by 2050.

The Commission’s view is that decarbonisation, although costly, could be less expensive than current policies, in the long run, and they want to promote an accelerated move from energy systems with high fuel and operational costs, to systems with higher capital expenditure costs, particularly for the grids and power plants, but lower anticipated fuel costs over time.

The Roadmap scenarios include:

  • ‘Business as usual’.

  • Current policy initiatives (e.g. 3rd Energy Package). 

  • High energy efficiency.

  • High renewables.

  • Delayed CCS. 

  • Low nuclear.

The clear message coming though from all the scenarios is the need for higher levels of energy efficiency and renewables, and overall a growing reliance on electricity in every sector, including transport and heating.

The Energy Commissioner has said that serious consideration should now be given to a new, binding renewables target for the EU, post 2020. The Commission currently has an online consultation on the key elements of renewable strategy and formal policy proposals on future renewables strategy are promised for June.

ENA would expect the UK Government to be cautious about agreeing to a technology specific target e.g. for renewables, and more supportive of a post 2020 EU carbon emissions reduction target, which would fit better with UK policy objectives and allow a greater amount of flexibility in how this overarching target was met. However, it is early days and we will have to wait to see what view DECC Ministers decide to take.
______________________________________________________________

'The Bulletin' is ENA's free fortnightly round-up of key issues affecting the sector.

Visit http://www.energynetworks.org/news/bulletin/overview.html for the latest edition or sign up at http://www.sign-up.to/signup.php?fid=602&pid=4068 to become a subscriber.

For more information, contact Tony Glover on 020 7706 5122 or email [email protected].

Follow us on Twitter: @EnergyNetworks
Connect with us on LinkedIn

Copyright © Energy Networks Association 2012. Copying, duplicating or reproducing this or any other issue of 'The Bulletin' without written consent will constitute an infringement of this work under the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved.

Any opinions expressed in the Bulletin or its attachments do not necessarily reflect the opinion of any members of ENA.