Regulation & Policy

The impact of the promised change in direction in energy policies in the US by newly elected president Donald Trump might be smaller than expected, due to the stronger effect of wider market trends already underway, a recent report by Deutsche Bank suggested.

UK energy regulator Ofgem and the UK Government have opened a consultation aimed at finding ways to develop “a smarter, more flexible and user-friendly energy system” which includes “looking at what can be done to make it easier for businesses to provide voluntary demand side response, where they turn down electricity use at peak times in exchange for payments” they said in a statement published on Ofgem's website.

Ofgem has accepted legally binding commitments from utility SSE, following a Competition Act investigation into whether its behaviour could have impeded competition for connecting new developments to its electricity distribution network in the south of England.
“As a result of accepting the commitments, Ofgem is closing its investigation with no decision made on whether or not SSE infringed competition law” Ofgem said in a statement.

Co-operative Energy is to pay £1.8 million to energy consumers following engagement with Ofgem, as it was found to have let “customers down in its complaints resolution, call handling and billing processes” Ofgem said.

The ongoing energy reform in Mexico is set to “reverse the country’s declining oil production, increase the share of renewables in the power sector, and slow the growth in carbon emissions, providing a solid foundation for robust economic growth in the coming decades” according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The EU Commission has revised the conditions for third party access exemption to the OPAL gas pipeline, with the new rules now potentially giving incumbent Gazprom access to a higher share of the pipeline's total capacity than under previous provisions.

A ministerial meeting with representatives from over 70 countries was hosted on October 18 and 19 by Morocco, ahead of the COP22 Marrakech Climate Change Conference, which will run from November 7 to 18.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), an advisory body to the UK government, has called for concrete steps to meet Britain’s carbon emission targets. This includes a shift in the power generation mix towards low-carbon fuels as well as enhanced energy efficiency.

Advancing much-needed power projects, the Philippines’ Department of Energy (DOE) has cleared 23 plant proposals for the conduct of a grid impact study (GIS) – a precondition before developers can proceed with the actual construction. If built, these projects will have a combined capacity of just over 2,750 MW.

Policy incentives by the Basra governorate have increased the supply of electricity in the region to over 2,000 MW – the highest level achieved anywhere in conflict-ridden Iraq, according to Ali Fares, chairman of the Oil & Gas Committee of Basra Council.

Issuing a stark warning about the risk of power shortages from 2018, Sri Lanka's energy regulator has called on utilities to immediately start construction works for a first series of approved power plant projects. Pressure to add much-needed capacity has been put in particular on Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Sri Lanka’s main energy supplier.

Ten judges on the US Court of Appeals in Washington have heard supporters and opponents clash during a 7-hour hearing on the Clean Power Plan (CPP) – a controversial cornerstone of President Obama’s legacy on environmental law. Facing opposition from Republican-led states in the Senate, he was using federal administration such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to drive through his climate agenda.

Outcome of a court ruling could determine whether the Obama administration’s plan to curb power plant emissions by 32% by 2030 will become a reality. Republican-led states and the coal lobby filed various lawsuits – a key decision will be made by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Tuesday.

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has commissioned four industry experts to examine options for ‘whole system’ reform, given the mounting pressure on UK power grids. A more decentralised dimension to decisions on energy networks was agreed on by all experts – though there are differences on governance.

While power producers like EDF cashed in on record electricity prices during last week’s heat wave in the UK, capacity constraints provided an early test for National Grid which seeks to keep the lights on with ever tighter capacity margins. Winter 2016/17 might prove challenging in the face of mass retirements of coal-fired plants earlier this year.

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