Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
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Next steps for wind energy in the UK - market frameworks and development, scaling up connectivity and capacity, and opportunities for regional economies

Morning, Thursday, 6th May 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will examine priorities for wind energy in the UK, and developing its role in the wider energy sector.

The discussion takes place in the context of a range of government initiatives around clean energy production, including the Energy White Paper, setting out the UK’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and the strategy by which that will be achieved - with wind energy intended to play a significant role.

The conference will bring out latest thinking on:

  • priorities for the UK’s long-term approach to wind sector policy and development
  • preparing the infrastructure for increased wind power capacity
  • priorities for an approach that enables regional economies to lead sector development

The agenda

  • Assessing policy priorities for UK wind sector development and practical steps for achieving goals - preparing the infrastructure, reducing integration barriers, and working towards net-zero
  • Next steps for market framework design and creating rules that support 40GW of wind capacity by 2030
    • The next round of Contracts for Difference auctions and what is needed to reduce barriers engagement and increase competitiveness
    • Scaling up wind power use across energy supply, supporting retail market decarbonisation, and widening consumer choice and new tariff models
    • Addressing challenges to expanding wind power capacity, restarting onshore projects, and enabling offshore assets to support emerging technologies such as floating wind
    • Priorities for developing the investment case for wind sector engagement - underpinning market stability, de-risking investment, and enhancing project profitability
  • Next steps for overcoming engineering challenges and reducing wind project LCOE - identifying site suitability, working within planning frameworks, and learning from best practice
  • Latest developments in wind turbine design, and enabling easier assembly and energy infrastructure integration
  • Latest thinking on reducing physical and regulatory barriers to energy system connectivity, and increasing grid flexibility and the provision of smart service
  • Opportunities for regional economies from wind sector development - growing local supply chains and employment, building up use cases for UK ports, and leading in government plans for the Green Industrial Revolution
  • The future for innovating and commercialising wind technology - reducing technology costs, growing innovation clusters, and bringing the hydrogen economy closer
  • Priorities for establishing effective policy tools, regulatory design, and a pathway to long-term energy and climate goals

A scan of recent developments:

  • the Energy White Paper: outlining the UK Government’s priorities and objectives for developing the energy system up to 2050, with a holistic approach to long-term decarbonisation, technology development, and affordability - paying specific attention paid to wind power through:
    • setting a target for 40GW of wind power capacity by 2030 - including developing the role of floating wind in the energy mix going forward
    • ensuring UK industry continues to lead in wind sector development - and boosts regional economies and their share of wind supply chains and manufacturing              
    • incentivising private developers - assessing progress on continuing efforts to:
      • develop the use of market schemes such as CfDs and to support the rollout of wind power units at a guaranteed rate of return
      • ensure that scheme design continues to move towards reducing development costs and burdens on taxpayers
  • the 10 Point Plan For A Green Industrial Revolution - with
    • an initial £12bn in investment earmarked for stimulating research and development for clean transport and energy technologies
    • with its focus on wind power looking specifically at how to increase job creation, leverage more private sector investment, and integrate more wind into the system to help reduce consumer bills
  • the National Infrastructure Strategy:
    • outlining long-term priorities for infrastructure development across the UK up to 2050
    • setting guidance and principles for unlocking nation-wide economic growth and recovery, faster project approval and completion
    • integrating net-zero commitments across the development process
    • with specific focus for wind centred around rolling out more wind power capacity, and integration with other parts of the energy system, such as energy storage, hydrogen, solar power
  • Contracts for Difference - with the next round due to take place in late 2021:
    • Aiming  to double the amount of clean energy capacity contracted as part of the auctions up to a total of 12GW
    • including onshore wind and solar power for the first time since 2015
    • emerging technologies like floating wind and wave and tidal will also be open for development bids
  • the Offshore Transmission Network Review:
    • looking at how best to ensure that network transmission infrastructure connecting offshore wind power to onshore networks can support greater wind capacity expansion, more efficient transmission, and support net-zero goals
    • with the initial response to the consultation published, and further formal responses expected later this year

Areas for discussion:

The long-term approach to wind sector policy and development - and how market frameworks can be designed in order to support sector growth and the target of 40GW by 2030:

  • setting long-term guidance for the wind sector - looking at:
    • what role policymakers will need to play to provide more guidance for industry participation
    • how best to design business plans and engage stakeholders
    • strategies for leveraging investment for sector development
  • priorities for the next round of CfDs:
    • how best to ensure that the design of such market incentive schemes supports wider market participation, reduced barriers to entry and stable timelines for cost reductions
    • implications of the doubling of the amount of capacity struck at auction, as well as of bringing onshore wind and solar back into auctions
  • wind power in retail energy markets:
    • how can wind can increase its share in wholesale markets and grow in cost effectiveness for retailer supply
    • next steps for innovative energy tariffs that offer consumers clean power and smart service choices
  • developing investment - what is needed to continue to lower risk to participation make the case for wind power:
    • developing predictability and stability in regulation and regimes for market entry
    • identifying ways to increase profitability from long-term project development and operation

Preparing the infrastructure for large-scale wind power expansion - including integration with electricity networks, smart energy services, and the wider energy system:

  • preparing electricity networks:
    • looking at how to reduce barriers to physical connections between offshore wind assets and onshore power grids
    • ensuring the transmission of wind is efficient
    • assessing how wind can function alongside other onshore energy assets to increase capacity security, such as energy storage
  • delivering wind turbines:-
    • working within planning rules and permissions
    • choosing the right sites and locations for projects
    • how best practice for delivering projects can be disseminated, especially to reduce the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE)
  • preparing the infrastructure - how best to ensure the energy infrastructure is ready for wind power and its potential benefits for a smart electricity system, looking at:
    • enabling wind to contribute more to grid balancing
    • reducing costs across network operations, and eventually consumers
    • helping address intermittency issues for wind and other renewables by integrating with and scaling up energy storage

Regional economies and wind power - boosting their role in the UK and global sector development, and in supporting technological innovation and commercialisation:

  • scaling up - strategies for wind sector growth in local and regional economies, including:
    • attracting industrial clusters across regions for wind component manufacture, assembly and offshore erection
    • how to ensure that wind sector growth and tech exports feed into regional skills, employment and supply chain development
  • technology development - including the role of regional businesses and supply chains in helping to reduce component costs, share best practice, and foster more domestic supply
  • innovation hubs - increasing UK regional involvement in:
    • accelerating development of UK wind and related energy technologies
    • supporting commercialisation of other technologies such as floating wind and offshore hydrogen production that can benefit from offshore wind maturity and strength

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government officials involved in this area of public policy, trade associations, wind energy developers, energy retailers, distribution network operators, specialists in Environmental Law, consultancies, representatives from local authorities, researchers from academia and higher education, as well as reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Graeme Cooper

Director, Offshore Wind Projects, National Grid


Nick Blair

Head of Scheme Management, Low Carbon Contracts Company

Zoisa North-Bond

Chief Executive Officer, Octopus Energy for Business, Octopus Energy

Hugh McNeal

Chief Executive, RenewableUK

Simon Harrison

Group Strategic Development Director, Mott MacDonald

Councillor Anouk Kahanov-Kloppert

Committee Member, Sustainability Committee and Councillor, Aberdeenshire Council

Dr Olivia Woolley

Co-Director, Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences, Durham University

Simon Brett

Commercial Director, Port Services, Port of Tyne