This week we look at the government's announcement of the Contracts for Difference budget, the Energy Networks Association's Gas Goes Green report, Scottish and Southern Electricity's decision to join the Flex Assure scheme, and more.

Contracts for Difference budget fixed at £265 million

The government has unveiled details of the fourth allocation round of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme, including its £265 million budget. The majority of the subsidies available - some £200 million - will support offshore wind, which will compete in its own pot with no capacity limit. Established technologies such as hydropower, solar and onshore wind, which have been unable to bid for six years, have been allocated £10 million (with a 5GW capacity limit). This pot also features capacity limits of 3.5GW on solar PV and onshore wind.

A £55 million pot of funding has been set aside for emerging technologies such as geothermal, wave, tidal stream and offshore wind. Within this pot, £24 million has been reserved for floating offshore projects.

The next CfD round in December is set to secure double the renewable electricity capacity obtained in the third round and create more capacity than the previous three rounds combined. The government has highlighted that the proposed offshore wind capacity alone will provide enough power for around eight million homes. While Energy minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan commented that “the Contracts for Difference scheme has helped the UK become a world leader in clean electricity generation and lowered prices for consumers".

Innovative hydrogen projects could create 25,000 jobs by 2032

The UK's five gas networks have claimed that their hydrogen innovation projects could create more than 13,000 direct roles, and a further 11,000 jobs within their supply chains. These figures have been taken from a new 'Gas Goes Green' report from the Energy Networks Association (ENA), which sets out details of £6.8 billion of investment in rolling out hydrogen by 2032.

According to the ENA's report, the £6.8 billion includes:

  • £4.4 billion towards decarbonising the UK's industrial clusters, which would create 17,000 jobs.
  • £2.2 billion to ensure that the current gas infrastructure is hydrogen-ready. This would create 6,700 new roles.
  • £150 million for projects aiming to guarantee that the economy and the wider energy system is ready for hydrogen, including blending pilots. This is expected to create over 700 jobs.
  • £19.5 million is proposed for transport and other projects, accounting for almost 100 roles.

Chris Manson-Whitton, Director of Progressive Energy Ltd and of HyNet North West, said that “the UK has the innovation, skill and world leading infrastructure to be a global leader in the delivery of the hydrogen economy. Our leading industrial partners, such as those in the HyNet North West cluster, are committed to decarbonising their operations and products. Hydrogen enables them to do that, safeguarding jobs and attracting inward investment. As this report shows, network innovation underpins this transformation, also decarbonising our communities and transport systems, and creating thousands of skilled green jobs".

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks joins Flex Assure Scheme

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution has announced that it has joined the Oversight Committee of the Association for Decentralised Energy's Flex Assure scheme.

Flex Assure is a not-for-profit company that was launched in 2019 which has developed a code of conduct, accreditation and audit process for flexibility service providers. It also works with business energy users to deliver demand side response services and flexibility. The aim of Flex Assure is to support the development of good practice in local flexibility markets by encouraging a consistent approach to furthering domestic participation and reducing the potential risks of flexibility for both industry and customers.

Alex Howison, flexible solutions manager for SSEN, said "Flex Assure is a great initiative to promote consistent, safe and sustainable practices in providing flexibility to ensure it is provided in a credible and transparent manner".

InstaVolt sets 10,000 electric vehicle charger target

InstaVolt, the electric vehicle (EV) charging network company, has announced its intention to install 10,000 EV chargers by 2030. This comes after news that the company is on track to deliver its pledge of 5,000 rapid chargers by 2025.

The company currently has 1,000 chargers either active or in construction, making it the UK's largest owner-operated public rapid charging network. Its network has experienced rapid growth since lockdown restrictions eased earlier in the year, with the company experiencing record month-on-month growth. This has been in part due to the significant partnerships InstaVolt has embarked on with McDonalds and Costa Coffee, which include the roll out its new 120kW charging units. Adam Keen, InstaVolt's chief executive officer, said "as cars have returned to the roads post-lockdown, our network utilisation has rocketed, exceeding our own expectations. We're delivering close to 1.5GWh per month – which is 100% from renewable sources – and we're installing new chargers weekly".