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Fresh call for twice-yearly renewables auctions in the UK

A report published today states the British grid needs to become more flexible at a faster pace to stay on track for a net-zero 2050 and called for time-of-use electricity tariffs and for the government to stop dragging its heels on issues such as EV charging.

U.K. trade body the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology has renewed its call for clean energy auctions to be held every six months.

The recommendation is one of six key demands made in a report published today which says the U.K. electricity grid is taking too long to become flexible enough to accommodate the volume of renewables needed to reach its target of having a net-zero-carbon economy by mid century.

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Pick up your copy of the September edition of pv magazine today for a detailed update on solar and battery storage in the United States, which faces a tough decision between taking advantage of Asian imports, or developing domestic manufacturing at the risk of slowing progress towards decarbonization.

The Energy Transition Readiness Index 2021 report also calls on the government to spend the £950 million (€1.11 billion) it announced a year ago to finance rapid charging of electric vehicles (EVs), and to get a move on with smart charging regulations after it consulted on that subject two years ago.

The study, sponsored by Dublin-headquartered power management company Eaton, compared the U.K. grid to 11 other European national systems and said the British network lags those in Finland, Norway and Sweden because “decisions are regularly delayed or changed and there is weak alignment across government, which means that policy goals are uncertain.”

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With the renewables industry body having previously called for more regular clean energy generation auctions, under the government’s contracts-for-difference (CfD) regime, today’s study also urges policymakers to push for much wider deployment of time-of-use electricity tariffs, which set prices at 30-minute intervals, to help even out demand. Uneven regulation of energy storage, which can still see some systems double charged – both for the energy consumed and dispatched to the grid – should be ironed out, states the report, and the country should see a market for grid flexibility services introduced, with CfD-type auctions included, to drive energy storage capacity.

“Unless the grid keeps pace and is re-framed to become more responsive, it could cost the U.K. hundreds of millions of pounds a year more to transition to renewables, with the burden likely to fall on households and businesses,” said Nina Skorupska, CEO of the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology, in a press release issued by the organization this morning. “It will almost certainly mean that the U.K. will miss its net zero targets too.”

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Source: pv magazine