A look back at 2020

As we take our first steps into 2021, we look back at the biggest developments in the UK energy markets in 2020, setting us up for the significant year ahead.

As 2019 turned into 2020, we were still waiting for the Energy White Paper (EWP), a document which had been delayed from the previous summer. However, other policy announcements got the ball rolling, starting in March with BEIS consulting on allowing onshore wind and solar in the next Contracts for Difference round, as well as setting out measures to protect customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. In October, at the Conservative Party conference, the Prime Minister set out plans to ‘Build Back Greener’ from the COVID-19 pandemic, confirming the 2019 Conservative manifesto commitment to increase the offshore wind capacity target to 40GW by 2030. Additionally, he announced a new target of 1GW of floating offshore wind by 2030.

The next major announcement was the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, released on 18 November. In it, the PM announced targets to remove 10Mt of carbon dioxide a year by 2030 through carbon capture, to aim to generate 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, as well as 600,000 heat pump installations every year by 2028.


The policy releases did not stop after that. The week after, the government published the National Infrastructure Strategy, setting out its plans for infrastructure investment, covering issues such as energy market reform, funding models and regulatory frameworks. Soon after that, the government announced a new interim greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 68% for 2030, on 1990 levels. The Climate Change Committee then published its advice for the sixth carbon budget (2033-37), including that emissions must fall 78% by 2035, compared to 1990 levels.

All the while, rumours around the release date of the EWP swirled, with some commentary suggesting it was waiting on the Brexit agreement. On 14 December, the EWP arrived, promising a very active 2021 for the sector, with consultations covering areas such as autoswitching, third party regulation, affordability and fairness, and transparency. In the same week, the Treasury published its Initial Analysis of Green Transition Review. This was all capped off by the post-Brexit trade agreement, published on 24 December, and setting out arrangements for interconnectors, trading and the UK Emissions Trading Scheme.

With another national lockdown announced this week, the pandemic is certain to remain top of the policy agenda in 2021. This year would have been busy for BEIS even without the pandemic – the government has put an awful lot on its plate for this year, with a raft of consultations and calls for evidence to take place soon, all of which we will cover in the Daily Bulletin and Energy Spectrum.

You may also be interested in…

Related thinking

Home supply and services

Introducing the Green Gas Levy

In Autumn 2021 the Green Gas Support Scheme (GGSS) will be launched, supporting decarbonisation of the gas grid as the UK aims to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The GGSS will predominately focus on providing financial incentives for biomethane (green gas) injection in the grid and, in order to...

Home supply and services

Rocketing energy prices and failing suppliers—what is happening?

Sky high gas prices and energy suppliers going out of business have been key headlines in the news over recent weeks, but what is actually happening?  Through the COVID-19 pandemic we saw much lower gas prices, which have been surging upwards since the spring and risen rapidly through the summer, a time...

Business supply and services

Have we given up on competition in the retail market?

“Q: How does 2pm on Wednesday sound? A: Assuming we still have a functioning energy market that'd be great”.  It’s not really what you expect to see in an email at 5pm on a Friday when trying to arrange a call. But then these are certainly not normal times. In this Energy Perspective, we will...

Home supply and services

“Green” tariffs in the spotlight as BEIS commences review

With the announcement on 16 August of a call for evidence on Designing a Framework for Transparency of Carbon Content in Energy Products, consultant Josephine Lord looks at the issues being considered and what the future may hold for so-called “green” tariffs. The call for evidence is the first step...

Announcement

Daily Bulletin, I love you 4,000

We have just passed a notable landmark with our 4,000th issue of the Daily Bulletin being published today. Things started with the first Daily Bulletin on 13 September 2005 – the main news on that day was E.ON UK applying for planning to build a CCGT at Drakelow. It never progressed beyond planning, but the second story, negative reaction to tariff...

Net zero corporates and ESG

More details required for large-scale solar rollout in EU

Last week, our 'Financing net zero forum' gathered to discuss the role of private capital for the next wave of solar across Europe. Joining the meeting chair, Cornwall Insight's Daniel Atzori, were our guest panellists from a leading developer and the Global Infrastructure Investor Association (GIIA). With the European Commission...

Announcement

Energy market and net zero transition learning and development: Role-relevant career development training

We’re well over halfway through the calendar year and are now beginning to see more of the government’s thinking and policy-shaping around what needs to change to meet the 2050 net zero target. For example, the flurry of documents issued towards the end of 2020, including the Energy White Paper...

Net zero corporates and ESG

Data critical for sustainable investments

On 24 June, attendees to our 'Financing net zero forum' tuned in to hear the expert panel discussions on the role of data in sustainable investment. Joining the meeting chairs, Cornwall Insight's Daniel Atzori and Emma Bill were our guest panellists from Mercatus and Victory Hill Capital Group LLP. For investors to make...