Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

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Renewable energy in the UK - regulation, funding and innovation

Morning, Tuesday, 12th January 2021

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

This conference will focus on the priorities for further developing renewable energy capacity - including the future of policy support, domestic markets, and the forthcoming Energy White Paper expected later this year.

The agenda:

  • The long-term policy priorities for renewable energy growth, and latest thinking on supporting a green recovery
  • Establishing a market framework for renewables that unlocks greater participation, widens the technology base, and reduces costs for consumers and sector stakeholders

    • Reform to CfDs and maximising industry support for clean capacity - reinstating Pot 1 auctions, reinvigorating onshore technology and reinforcing sector growth
    • Adapting the Capacity Market for further low-carbon support - reforming thresholds and prequalification rules, and increasing engagement with smaller generation non-generation technologies
    • Supporting renewables sector growth across the whole-system - reducing framework barriers and developing net-zero pathways
    • Market design for financial sustainability and private engagement - reducing LCOE, operational risks, and increasing returns
  • Developing energy infrastructure and regional growth as part of a clean recovery plan - local energy and industry plans and preparing local networks for flexible capacity
  • Enabling the R&D base to further innovate, commercialise new clean technology, and support new business models
  • Preparing a regulatory and network framework for whole-system change and net-zero objectives

    • System operator duties and enhancing grid flexibility - clean capacity integration and scaling up smart balancing
    • Expanding offshore wind power capacity, and coordinating long-term grid connection needs
    • Reducing regulatory barriers for renewable energy grid access, and creating a charging regime fit for decentralisation

Key areas for discussion:

Designing a market framework for renewable energy which promotes capacity expansion and reduces barriers to entry

Planned sessions will assess how market frameworks for the support and incentivisation of renewable energy can best be designed, and what further steps can be taken to help unlock greater market participation.

It takes place as the Government’s key market-led tools for supporting renewables are reformed following consultations earlier this year, with sessions looking specifically at:

  • the consultation on proposed amendments to the Contracts for Difference (CfDs) scheme, in preparation for the next round of CfD auctions in 2021 - which outlined the Government’s aim to reintroduce Pot 1 auctions for onshore wind and solar power, widen participation to technologies like floating wind and energy storage, as well as how supply chains and regional economies can further benefit from auctions
  • the official response to the consultation on Capacity Market reform, following its formal reestablishment by the European Commission - committing to reduce minimum capacity thresholds from 2MW to 1MW, reduce barriers for non-generation services like demand side response, and further widen participation through an annual review on new technologies to include

In light of this, delegates will also examine how these objectives can best be translated into action, and how wider opportunities presented by reform can be achieved, considering:

  • how best to prepare market incentive frameworks for whole-system change - ensuring net-zero targets are factored into future developments, and that smart infrastructure supports cost effective integration
  • reducing barriers to a wider array of technologies, and supporting participation across services which meet capital expenditure requirements and can provide more cost effective capacity to the grid
  • scaling up the deployment of established and cost competitive technologies like large-scale solar and wind, and communicating cheaper supply costs to consumers

Enabling UK and regional sector stakeholders to develop renewables and lead a clean economic recovery

In light of the Government’s pledge to create a pathway for a clean and infrastructure-led economic recovery, further sessions will consider how the UK renewables sector can best help deliver these objectives, and support the economic recovery and expansion in regional and local areas as well as scale up innovation.

It follows the Spring Budget delivered earlier this year, which announced the doubling of the £500m Energy Innovation Programme this Parliament, as well as increasing the support of UK Export Finance for exporters in North of England and Scotland, involved in clean energy development.

With both the National Infrastructure Strategy and Energy White Paper due for publication alongside the Autumn Budget later this year, which are anticipated to outline a long-term vision for infrastructure and energy system development up to 2050, those in attendance will also consider:

  • the role of local industry and government stakeholders in local energy plan and strategy development - expanding collaboration with regional supply chains, supporting jobs and skills, and growing the production base for clean energy capacity manufacturing
  • priorities for supporting the growth of new energy technologies and driving project commercialisation - developing capacity for R&D facilities, innovating emerging forms of technology like floating wind and hydrogen, reducing costs, and supporting new businesses
  • steps for enhancing collaboration between local industry, government and distribution network operators, and whether more is needed to support the design of smart, flexible and low-carbon regions
  • this seminar will also be taking place in the context of the UK’s role as host of COP26, expected to take place in Autumn 2021 - with discussion expected around policymaker priorities for underpinning ambitious climate commitments, as well as how best to demonstrate the success of the UK renewable energy sector

Developing a regulatory and electricity network system fit for renewable energy expansion and clean flexibility services

Further sessions will consider the priorities for developing a regulatory regime fit for whole-system change, and how best to prepare electricity networks for renewable energy integration, the widespread use of smart services, and meeting net zero commitments.

It takes place as:

  • the Energy Network Codes Review continues between BEIS and Ofgem, which seeks to identify measures for reducing regulatory barriers for renewable and smart energy technologies, as well as making rules for smart and low-carbon energy integration easier
  • the recently announced Offshore Transmission Network Review, assessing the long-term needs of transmission capacity for offshore wind, and the steps that can be taken to expand grid capacity cost effectively, and at the lowest impact on coastal communities

In light of this, discussion will examine:

  • steps for designing a regulatory system which supports the expansion of low carbon energy - amending charging rates for grid connection, reducing additional costs on generators, and aiding the integration of local and community energy projects
  • priorities for ensuring power networks enable renewables and support decarbonisation - enhancing real-time grid management, integrating and balancing flexible capacity across the network, and translating cheaper operation costs onto consumers
  • designing a network fit for expanded capacity of offshore wind power - scaling up coordination between generator and community stakeholders, innovating connection design and infrastructure, and increasing cooperation with onshore network operators  

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

Overall, we expect further speakers and other delegates to be an informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government officials involved in this area of public policy, together with energy sector specialists including renewable energy developers, power generators, energy suppliers, network, energy storage and ancillary service providers, infrastructure, construction and engineering firms, investment and legal groups, and academics and commentators, as well as reporters from the national and trade media

Keynote Speaker

Declan Burke

Director Clean Power Strategy & Deployment, BEIS


Wafa Jafri

Director, Power and Utilities and Deal Advisory, KPMG

Chris Hewett

Chief Executive, Solar Trade Association

Sarah Keay-Bright

Practice Manager, Policy & Regulation, Energy Systems Catapult

Liz Dunn

Partner, Burges Salmon

Professor Nick Jenkins

Professor of Renewable Energy, Cardiff University

Tristan Zipfel

Director of Strategy and Analysis, EDF Renewables