PM TO MAKE KEY ANNOUNCEMENTS THIS MONTH REGARDING THE UK’S FUTURE ENERGY STRATEGY

Meetings are due to take place this month between the Prime Minster, Boris Johnson, the chancellor, and business secretary to discuss the future role of nuclear power in the UK. It is expected that nuclear will remain in the governments long term plans but to what extent, we will have to wait and see. Also due in November is the government’s new 10-point plan for the UK to hit net zero carbon targets by 2050 and the long-awaited Energy White Paper is expected at the end of the month.

NATIONAL GRID ESO CONFIDENT OF NO POWER SUPPLY SHORTAGES THIS WINTER

Despite issuing a supply shortfall notice at the start of November the system operator has advised within its winter outlook report that there is “no threat” to security of supply and that there is enough generation to meet demand. This is partly due to demand for electricity forecast to be around 5% lower than last winter as Covid-19 measures continue to impact on the sector.

ELECTRIC VEHICLE CAR SALES UP FROM 2019

Sales of EVs continued to rise in 2020 despite the current climate, with a jump of nearly 168% compared to the previous year. This continual growth is largely down to increasing consumer confidence in charging infrastructure across the country. Investment in infrastructure is growing and this month the charger tracker company, Zap-Map, logged the nation’s 20,000th public EV charging device.

THE CARTER JONAS ENERGY TEAM NOW HAS OVER 40 SUBSIDY FREE SOLAR SCHEMES WELL UNDERWAY ACROSS THE UK

Large-scale subsidy free solar developments continue to advance, and the first 40+ schemes negotiated by Carter Jonas have secured grid connections and are now gaining the necessary planning consents. In the last month, numerous schemes ranging from 20MW up to 65MW have advanced into pre-application consultation stage, while this month our second project in Yorkshire, a 30MW scheme near Driffield, has achieved planning permission. Amy Nolan, Partner in the Energy Team said, “we are pleased that these projects are pushing forward at a time when the country is looking to renewable energy sources to drive net zero targets.”

If you are a landowner and are interested in looking into the potential for solar on your land, please get in touch with the Energy Team.


Unique Consumer Climate Provides Opportunity to Exploit Falling ENERGY Prices 

As we move into the closing quarter of 2020, the energy sector has seen an unprecedented consumer climate this year, one befitting of such unique societal circumstance. 

Following the expected downward trend seen during the winter of 2019, the opening months of 2020 saw energy prices fall further through the opening quarter due to lower demand, as the UK experienced temperatures slightly above the seasonal norm.  

Q2 saw further downward price movements, especially in the gas market, where an average fall of 4.4% was seen in comparison to the same period in 2019. Positives were seen in the power market across this quarter also, as consumers in the higher energy-usage brackets saw their prices fall. 

This is not uncommon in spring, as temperatures begin to rise following the winter months, naturally reducing demand. For us, this signals an opportunity to renew or renegotiate energy supply contracts, as the consumer is in a stronger position given the lower energy costs that occur within these periods of lower demand.  

This fall in price across short-term and long-term contracts was indeed a positive sign for consumers this spring also, who found themselves with the opportunity to use these dips in the market to secure reductions in their rates as part of contract negotiations falling in the early summer period, as gas prices fell to a four-year low and seasonal power prices found themselves lower than at the equivalent time last year.  

In the second half of the year, however, both power and gas prices saw sharp increases, with a 19-month high in short-term power contract rates, as domestic industry returned to operation. Relatively low prices seen during periods of inactivity earlier in the year were inversely impacted by a surge in demand as businesses sought to mitigate the adverse effects of extended closures with the implementation of work from home schemes, alongside a reopening of industrial premises.

Moving into the final quarter of 2020, stabilising prices and demand have put the market on track to follow a similar profile to last winter, despite the detrimental effects of COVID-19 on the market. 

Consumers should follow the market closely for upcoming renewals and planned negotiations, as, although the markets have reached a level more representative of typical winter movement, factors such as volatility in the carbon market, ample liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply from continental Europe, and further lockdown measures could result in prices falling once more, providing opportunity for consumers to benefit from any drops in the markets. 
 
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 positive changes in prices and achieving the most competitive price in the market. 

For more information about the Carter Jonas energy brokerage service, contact  Jake Copsey at  jake.copsey@carterjonas.co.uk.

THE UK ENERGY MARKET

A fall in wind generation alongside a ten-and-a-half-month peak in gas prices drove costs upwards. Month-ahead power contracts fell throughout October, with a stabilising in French nuclear supply contributing to the bearish trend. Unplanned shutdowns across plants in the UK and mainland Europe affected the supply outlook across the latter half of October, and a drop in temperature saw an increase in demand which sought to dictate an upward trend across the markets. An increase in wind power generation output contributed to a drastic £10/MWh drop in prices at the end of the month, while Covid-related lockdowns across Europe drove prices downwards moving into November.
Global and European markets saw prices rise due to falling supply caused by continued striking in the Norwegian industrial sector, and Hurricane Delta causing plant closures around the Gulf of Mexico. Far curve gas contracts saw prices lowering through the first weeks of October, however a recovery alongside the power markets was seen moving into the middle of the month, aided by an ending of the strikes in Norway and rising oil prices.

As we move into the winter months, current above-average temperature forecasts will likely pull prices down further.

Any businesses interested in advice on how current markets will impact their energy contract and/or Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) should get in touch with Helen Melling, Energy Specialist at Carter Jonas on 07467 335587 or helen.melling@carterjonas.co.uk.

In other news

Together the companies will push to accelerate the growth of solar even further both across the UK and further afield. Statkraft expect solar power to account for 38% of global power generation by 2050.
The president is looking to quickly reverse the decision made by Donald Trump to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement which means the country will be committed to help work with other countries to reduce emissions. This is welcome news to climate activists as the US is the second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. Mr Biden is also proposing to make US electricity production carbon-free by 2035 and to have the country achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 as part of his ambitious plans.
Speaking on the future of Hydrogen power at the virtual All-Energy & Dcarbonisation Conference this month, as he detailed the potential for developing a grid-scale Hydrogen economy in the UK by 2050. An official Hydrogen strategy is expected to be released by the government in Spring 2021 alongside their proposed plan for decarbonisation of the industrial sector, and with the coming decade being a crucial starting block for the development of the UK Hydrogen industry, we can expect to see development begin in the next few years.
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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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