Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

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Next steps developing the renewable energy sector - regulation, funding and innovation

January 2021

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***
This conference focuses on the priorities for further developing renewable energy capacity in the UK.

The discussion is bringing stakeholders together with key policy officials who are due to attend from BEIS; Defra; DfT; DIT; the Environment Agency; the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; the HSE; HMRC; the Department for the Economy, NI; the Department for Infrastructure, NI; DAERA NI; the Isle of Man Government; The Scottish Government; the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales; and the Welsh Government.

The agenda:

  • The long-term policy priorities for renewable energy growth, and latest thinking on delivering a green recovery
  • Establishing a market framework for renewables - participation, technology, and costs for consumers and sector stakeholders
    • Adapting the Capacity Market for further low-carbon support
    • Supporting renewables sector growth across the whole system - reducing framework barriers and developing pathways to net-zero
    • Market design for financial sustainability and stakeholder engagement
  • Energy infrastructure development and regional growth as part of a clean recovery plan - local energy and industry plans, and preparing local networks for flexible capacity
  • Priorities for innovation - support for the R&D base, commercialisation of clean technology, and new business models
  • Preparing the regulatory and network framework for whole-system change and net-zero objectives
    • System operator duties and grid flexibility - clean capacity integration and scaling up smart balancing
    • Expanding offshore wind power capacity, and coordinating and meeting long-term grid connection needs
    • Delivering a smart, flexible electricity system through reforms to regulation of flexibility markets, network access and charging

Areas for discussion:

The market framework

  • capacity expansion - strategies for incentives, increasing participation in the market and reducing barriers to entry
  • government reforms - assessing what they mean for the how the CM and CfD support renewables and open up wider opportunities, and further options that might be considered
  • whole-system change - incentive frameworks, factoring net-zero targets into future developments, and ensuring that smart infrastructure supports cost effective integration
  • innovation, competition and costs:
    • reducing barriers - options for:
      • reforming prequalification metrics and enabling a wider array of technologies across services that 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
    • engaging with consumers - including on lower supply costs
    • investment and funding:
      • investor confidence - supporting the financial sustainability of participants and attracting private capital
      • options for utilising auctions - looking at project and technology commercialisation, reducing Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) for developers, and the decline in operational costs

A clean and infrastructure-led economic recovery

  • the role of the UK renewables sector - including expansion in regional and local areas and innovation to support the scale up of renewables
  • local collaboration:
    • the role of 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
    • 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 
  • innovation and commercialisation - developing capacity for R&D facilities, innovating emerging forms of technology like floating wind and hydrogen, reducing costs, and supporting new businesses
  • COP26 - the UK’s role as host and priorities for advocating the widening of ambitious UK climate commitments, as and showcasing the success of the UK renewable energy sector

The regulatory and electricity network system

  • priorities for developing a regulatory regime that can support whole-system change
  • preparing electricity networks for renewable energy integration, widespread use of smart services, and contributing to meeting net zero commitments.
  • 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 

Key developments:

  • completion of transition from the EU - with implications for energy market alignment, UK supply chains and attracting international investment in renewable deployment
  • The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution - from the PM, including plans to power every home from offshore wind energy, increasing capacity to 40 GW by 2030, and providing green jobs
  • New plans to make UK world leader in green energy - government plans that include wind energy and CfDs, with a focus providing green energy to all homes, as well as boosting green jobs and supporting the decarbonisation of industry
  • the Energy White Paper - outlining a route for developing the entire energy system up to 2050, which a reliance on renewable energy to decarbonise the UK’s energy system through:
    • supporting the growth in offshore wind as the key component of the energy production, along with 1GB floating wind
    • increased support for nuclear, with government considering investment in at least one nuclear station whilst exploring options for financing further developments
    • setting-up of a UK emissions trading scheme from January 2021, with transition from the EU
    • encouraging public behaviour change, including schemes such as spending £1.3bn to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, and a permanent shift away from fossil fuel boilers
  • Contracts for Difference: proposed amendments to the scheme 2020 - consultation in preparation for the next round of CfD auctions in 2021, looking at proposals for:
    • reintroducing Pot 1 auctions for onshore wind and solar power
    • doubling the capacity for renewable energy compared to the last CfD round
    • widening participation to technologies like floating wind and energy storage
    • how supply chains and regional economies can further benefit from auctions
  • Capacity Market: proposals for future improvements - the official response to the consultation, following its formal reestablishment by the European Commission, committing to:
    • reduce minimum capacity thresholds from 2MW to 1MW
    • lower barriers for non-generation services like demand side response
    • further widen participation through an annual review on new technologies to include. 
  • Offshore Transmission Network Review - assessing:
    • the long-term needs of transmission capacity for offshore wind
    • steps that can be taken to expand grid capacity cost effectively and at the lowest impact on coastal communities 
  • Proposals for a green gas levy - the recently launched government consultation, aiming to help scale up contributions from gas to the grid and to reduce emissions
  • The Energy Network Codes Review - continuing between BEIS and Ofgem, which seeks to:
    • identify measures for reducing regulatory barriers for renewable and smart energy technologies
    • make rules for smart and low-carbon energy integration easier
  • The net-zero policy agenda - government’s pledge to create a pathway for a clean and infrastructure-led economic recovery
  • Spending policy - the Spring Budget, which announced:
    • doubling of the £500m Energy Innovation Programme this Parliament
    • increasing the support of UK Export Finance for exporters in North of England and Scotland, involved in clean energy development
  • COP26 - the United Nations Climate Change Conference and the UK’s role as host, with the delayed conference expected to take place in Autumn 2021
  • UK government commissions space solar power stations research - newly-commissioned research for a new sustainable production of clean energy

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the House Of Lords and officials from BEIS; Defra; the Department of International Trade; the Department for Transport; the Environment Agency; the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; the Health and Safety Executive; HMRC; the Department for the Economy, NI; the Department for Infrastructure, NI; DAERA NI; the Isle of Man GovernmentThe Scottish Government; the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales; and the Welsh Government.

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

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording 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

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles