From nuclear solutions to utility energy regulation, here’s our round-up of the latest news in the UK Energy industry.
Oil and Gas Industry News
UK Ban Of Petrol And Diesel Cars
Air pollution is thought to many, to be the biggest environmental risk to public health within the UK. Due to the public health concern of rising levels of nitrogen oxide, the British government announced plans to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040.
Telsa is responding to the announcement by rolling out its cheapest model into the market next year, with other brands such as Volvo investing in electrical and hybrid technology. Alan Gelder, Wood Mackenzie’s senior vice president of refining and chemicals research has commented, “The sustainability of the UK refining industry is threatened, as gasoline typically represents one-third of the refined products supplied from UK refineries.”
He has also spoken openly about the concern of further impact on other UK sectors such as refining and electricity, which may well be extending beyond the UK and other parts of the world start to implement similar environmental targets.
In Response to Brexit
Report: Brexit, trade and the economic impacts on UK Cities report from the Centre for Economic Performance and Centre for Cities at the London School of Economics.
Deirdre Michie, Chief Executive of Oil & Gas UK, said: “We have yet to see details of this report but would welcome discussion with the authors.” With mention of continual work with the government to fully understand the impact of Brexit on the UK’s Oil and Gas industry, noting “we are sensitive to extra burdens. Government should be aware of the tariff and non-tariff barriers which may be presented.”
Government ‘Mismanagement’ Jab In Energy Report
A new report by independent body Business for Scotland has argued that there would have been a balanced budget outcome if it had not been for Westminster’s lead of the industry. The report showed that the UK’s fossil fuel industry had lost £22.8 million, in comparison to Norway’s gaining £29.33 billion in revenue.
Though some MPs have branded the report “nonsense”, tens of thousands have jobs have been lost in North Sea operations since the start of the crisis. Conservative Aberdeen South MP Ross Thomson responded, “What the report doesn’t mention is the 60,000 people who have been made redundant from the Norwegian industry that they talk about so much.”
Has this report raised an important issue for the UK’s Oil and Gas industry or is it simply political point-scoring?
Nuclear Energy Solutions
Will Snowdonia Be The UK’s First SMR Site?
Trawsfynydd, the total parish area of 12,830 hectares, was identified as a possible small modular reactor site by Parliament’s Welsh Affairs Committee last year.
Currently, there is no site in the UK that has been approved for building an SMR technology power station, making this the first-ever in the UK, if plans are continued and approved. The area of Trawsfynydd is located in the Snowdonia National Park, where a lake capable of cooling 700MW of reactor capacity sits.
The Chairman of Snowdonia Enterprise Zone, John Idris Jones, has noted during the discussion that there are other advantages to the area such as ports and space for transporting large infrastructure into the intended area.
Ofgem Raises Customer Service Concern
The UK energy regulator Ofgem has said it is considering to cut the revenue of six major energy distribution companies. Sparked by feedback regarding customer satisfaction in July, this cut would be a repercussion of poor customer services, in which firms may have “fallen short of expectations” when it comes to connecting new homes and businesses.
The regulator has openly stated that clear information on expectations of service was given within price control documents several years ago. Ofgem is allowing the companies to provide further evidence before a final decision will be made in November.
Ofgem is also working on tougher price controls, greater separation of National Grid’s electricity system operator role and continued payment of compensation to British Gas customers.
Independent Energy Review To Ensure Cost-effective Supply
Professor Dieter Helm of Oxford University will be producing an independent report on the UK’s energy supply chain. This report will cover as much as possible, from energy generation to supply to consumers. It will come as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper from January, in order to review of how to deliver affordable energy to ensure growth.
Prof Helm is said to be “delighted” to take on the review, stating, “However, the decision to mount a review is likely to provoke accusations that the government is postponing difficult decisions in the area.”