Come visit the Carter Jonas stand at Energy Now 2020! 

Energy Now

Carter Jonas will, once again, be exhibiting at this year’s Energy Now Expo which is taking place on the 3rd - 4th March at the East of England Arena in Peterborough. We are at stand 87, just next to the networking and catering hub where you can drop by at any time to speak to one of our energy experts. Our team will also be presenting on the Valuation & Trading of Energy Assets and the Viability of Subsidy Free Solar. 

Find out more >

Government could bring the phase out of petrol and diesel cars forward from 2040 to 2032 

The change comes after experts said 2040 would be too late if the UK wants to achieve its target of emitting virtually zero carbon by 2050. Hybrid vehicles are also now being included in the proposals, which were originally announced in July 2017. Hybrid and EV car sales continue to smash records, as charge point roll-out accelerates. Cornwall Insight research shows a 52% increase in the number of charging points in 2019 compared to 2018.

Storm Ciara leads to record-breaking weekend for wind generation

The storm, which hit the UK on the 8th February, caused wind power to surge. While gusts of up to 97mph caused disruption across the country, wind generation hit new records, including the most power produced in a day. At just before 2am, wind turbines generated 56% of the country’s electricity, close to 15GW of power. 

WEAKENING UK ENERGY PRICES PUTS CONSUMERS BACK IN THE DRIVING SEAT

Like many other markets, energy prices in the UK tend to follow seasonal trends of increases and decreases. Historically, in winter, colder weather increases energy demand, which tends to lead to high prices. This seasonality is reflected with lower prices in the summer when demand for gas and electricity is usually at its lowest and the UK system can be oversupplied.

Traditionally, consumers would use the dip in prices during spring and summer as a catalyst to look at renewing and renegotiating contracts for the coming year/s, benefitting from the lower prices at the time. However, we’re seeing a different story entirely this winter, as energy prices are on a downward trend. This is in stark contrast to the volatility that we’ve seen over the last few winters created by very high demand during extended cold snaps and low storage levels.

Gas prices are falling, thanks in part to a positive outlook for future supply – both in the UK and around the world. This is compounded by the relatively mild winter that we’ve experienced so far, and further by record highs in the import of LNG (liquified natural gas). 

As the US, Russia and other countries ramp up their export of LNG, competing for dominance in the market, it is anticipated that this bearish trend could continue, potentially leading to a further 30% drop in the price of gas. Gas and electricity markets in the UK are closely linked, so the fall in the price of gas has, in turn, filtered through to the electricity market and helped to pressure prices down. This is positive news for consumers, particularly high energy users, who could be looking at reductions in their rates as part of their next contract negotiation. 

We are currently working with a wide range of high energy user clients, advising them on how to reduce their energy bills and negotiating energy contracts on their behalf to ensure they’re benefitting from this change in prices and are, in turn, achieving the most competitive price in the market.

In response to the recent drop in markets, we are negotiating contract renewals now for gas and electricity contracts coming to an end throughout 2020 as opposed to waiting until spring/summer. We have also been securing longer-term contracts in order to help clients capitalise on current low prices throughout 2021 and, in some cases, as far out as 2022.

Carter Jonas would advise any consumer with a gas or electricity contract up for renewal in 2020 to start looking at prices in the market now in order to take advantage of current lows.

For more information, please contact Helen Melling, Energy Specialist at Carter Jonas.

THE UK ENERGY MARKET

Short term prices continued to trend downwards in 2020 despite forecasted cold snaps. A well supplied UK gas market was the main driver behind the fall, with colder weather forecasts causing only a short-term tightening of prices. Milder weather and very high wind generation towards the end of January resulted in a fall in UK day-ahead power prices of £10/MWh, to below £31.5/MWh.
Forward electricity prices turned bearish as oil fears eased and gas markets weakened. Price volatility witnessed at the start of January subsided which weakened prices on the back of tumbling oil markets. Brent crude prices fell by around $15/barrel, or 21.5% since their peak earlier in the month, ending January at around $55/barrel. April 2020 Annual fell beneath £38/MWh, becoming the cheapest front annual since May 2016, while October 2020 Annual also dropped below £40/MWh. 

Outlook remains bearish for the remainder of February as wind levels are forecast to remain high and temperatures are forecast to remain above seasonal norms. 

UK annual power prices (six month view)

 

In other news

Over £1billion of deferred payments have been made to capacity providers following the Capacity Market (CM) reinstatement. Meanwhile the T-3 auction for delivery over winter 2022/23 cleared at a record low price of £6.44/kW/yr. Most of the successful capacity came from existing generation and interconnectors but, for the first time, renewable generation could participate, and five of the seven new-build renewables taking part were awarded agreements. Additionally, over 100MW worth of battery storage capacity landed one-year DSR contracts. However, questions remain over whether the Capacity Market is achieving what is was initially designed to do - current arrangements mean there is little room for existing assets, given the dominance of interconnector agreements, meaning the UK’s security of supply continues to rely on European generation.
UK emissions flatlined in 2019, thanks to advances in clean energy. New research by the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows that emissions were at 33 gigatons for a second year running, despite a growth in the works economy of 2.9%. Global emissions in the power sector declined by 1.2%, bringing many countries’ emissions down to levels not seen since the 1980s.
There was encouraging news regarding the future of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) in January, as Boris Johnson confirmed that they are looking at successor arrangements to the scheme. This seems positive, but there remains little clarity around what form its successor will take.

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Helen Melling
Senior Energy Specialist
0113 426 9868 email me about Helen
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Helen is a Senior Energy Specialist based in our Leeds office.

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