Regulation & Policy

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.

Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), the incumbent utility in Sri Lanka, has started preparations to add 1,275 MW of generation capacity over the next four years. The regulator is pushing for a swift execution of new-builds to avert an energy crisis which is anticipated as early as 2018.

Critics of Germany’s reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) have warned that the abolition of Feed-in Tarrifs (FITs) will “make the country’s once vaunted Energiewende policy run out of steam”. From the start of 2017, FITs will be replaced with a competitive auction system as Berlin seeks to keep costs for renewables under control. Caps on new-build wind and solar power will limit the deployment of intermittent power sources.

Yuval Steinitz, the Israeli energy minister, has mandated the closure of four old coal-fired power units and their replacement with two new combined-cycle gas power plants. Earlier this year, Steinitz ordered state-run Israel Electric Corp (IEC) to use 15% more gas, replacing an equivalent amount of coal generation.

Flexibility of power systems can be enhanced by thermostat-based demand response, aggregators and small energy storage. However, high transaction costs - relative to the size of resource - prevent these emerging small resources from participating directly in electricity markets, the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies (OIES) finds. Remunerating different kinds of flexibility – MW, MW/min and emission performance – would facilitate a more balanced competition.

In the aftermath of a month-long leak at SoCalGas’ storage, California is taking urgent measures to cap the gas use in the power sector. Looking ahead to the autumn and winter season, the State Energy Commission, CPUC and the California ISO evaluate the option of importing LNG.

Offshore wind and gas power plants are expected to fill Britain’s capacity gap amid uncertainty over the future of the contested Hinkley Point nuclear project. The UK government approved plans by Dong Energy to expand a wind farm in the North Sea to a size that would produce nearly as much electricity as the two Hinkely Point reactors.