Major energy policy and regulatory changes discussed in our December Net Zero Business forum

On 10 December 2020, Cornwall Insight hosted its Net Zero Business Forum. Held four days before the release of the UK government’s Energy White Paper, the focus was on the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan, the Spending Review and the National Infrastructure Strategy.

Head of Relationship Development Robert Buckley and Head of Content and Communications Veronica Truman discussed these focus issues, concluding that we are at the beginning of a decade of major transition. The upcoming changes in the energy sector will be the biggest changes since liberalisation.

Robert, in a regulatory update, then talked about carbon pricing – something that was subsequently discussed in the Energy White Paper. The UK will be replacing the EU ETS with a standalone UK ETS from 1 January 2021. The government says the scheme is more ambitious than the EU ETS, with the cap on allowed emissions reduced by 5% It says it will consult “in due course” on how to align with net zero.

He also talked about how network usage pricing is going to change after the Targeted Charging Review and about the final RIIO-2 determinations, which were published on 8 December. Since the draft determinations in July, Ofgem has increased the level of upfront funding for the networks from around £25bn to £29.60bn.

Senior Writer Neil Mearns provided an update on heat and transport decarbonisation. He discussed how the government is seeking views on the design of the proposed Green Heat Network Fund scheme, as well as the launch of the BEIS Heat Investment Vehicle. Noting Midlothian Council’s and Vattenfall’s new Energy Services Company for low carbon energy projects, it is becoming apparent that local authorities could play a big role in major decarbonisation schemes in the future.

Neil also discussed the EV Energy Taskforce’s paper from October on urgent actions for electric vehicle (EV) electrification and the announcement of the Competition & Markets Authority’s market study on EV charging.

Senior Consultant Craig Lowrey then discussed the implications for the energy sector in the US with the introduction of a new Democratic Party government. A Biden presidency is set to focus on low carbon and renewable energy initiatives, with headline pledges being re-join the Paris Agreement as soon as possible and transition to a 100% clean energy economy and net zero emissions by 2050.

Craig then looked ahead to COP26, noting that the COP26 Energy Transition Council met for the first time on 7 December. The meeting’s summary statement noted that “a rapid and just transition to clean power is vital, to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement”.

Our next ‘Net Zero Business forum‘ will be held on 25 February 2021 from 10:00AM to 12:30PM. Please find information about the forum and the agenda here and to register for our next event please click here.

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