As we head into 2017 it is time for the renewables industry to look forward and say good-bye to 2016. Despite a few scares along the way, the world did not stop turning in 2016, but it did keep getting warmer. The imperatives for decarbonisation remain as strong as ever and the sector is never short of things happening – here are 12 things to look out for.
1. The UK’s second CfD auction will take place (nearly three years after the first…) – remember discussions about whether auctions would be annual or six monthly?
2. Brexit cannot be escaped – will the UK seek to remain a member of the internal energy market? Perhaps, the UK has an established strategy to interconnect to EU energy grids. We can expect a statement of the UK’s view in its Article 50 notice.
3. This may be affected by the UK’s much anticipated industrial strategy, promised this year. It is said to include energy at its heart – will the UK continue the interconnector strategy?
4. Will the US withdraw from the Paris Agreement? No tweets recently, so maybe not. But who knows?
5. Heat projects could be the order of the day – the UK RHI policy document proposes a tariff guarantee and tariff resets. Look out for our note on tariff guarantees coming shortly.
6. The Scottish Government’s energy strategy is due early this year – will we see an energy efficiency programme, district heating support, or green bonds?
7. Is this the year the district heating market finally reaches escape velocity?
8. Tweaking or overhaul of the capacity market auction rules? The 2016 tweaks did not produce the desired level of new build gas fired power plants winning contracts in the December auction (just one).
9. Clarity on the regulatory framework for storage projects, following on from Ofgem’s (long awaited) call for evidence on energy system flexibility? Will this be enough to unlock investment in longer term storage?
10. Is the retrofitting of storage capacity to existing wind and solar stations an idea whose time has come? Look out for our note on how to navigate the contractual and regulatory hurdles.
11. Will embedded benefits survive the year? Triads may not…and embedded generators may have to wait until the conclusion of a two year network charging review before distributed connections see counter-balancing measures.
12. The emergence of a new route to market for onshore wind and solar…it will happen, but this year?