This update contains brief details of Government and EU publications, legislation, cases and other policy developments in England and Wales relevant to those interested in energy, renewables, energy efficiency and the alternative energy sector, which have been published in the past month.

Items are set out by subject, with a link to where the full document can be found on the internet. All links are correct at the date of publication.

If you have been forwarded this update by a colleague and would like to receive it direct please email Claire Booth.

The following topics are covered in this update:

   Carbon Reduction    Heat Networks
   Electricity Market Reform    Infrastructure Planning
   Emissions Trading    Procurement
   Energy Companies Obligation    Renewable Energy
   Energy Efficiency    Shale Gas
   Energy Policy    Solar Energy
   Funding    Wind Energy
   Green Deal   

Carbon Reduction

DECC: Meeting carbon budgets – 2014 progress report to Parliament: Government response to the Sixth Annual Progress Report of the Committee on Climate Change: the Climate Change Act 2008 introduced a legally binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% below the 1990 baseline by 2050. It also introduced carbon budgets, which represent legally-binding limits on the total amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted in the UK for a given five-year period. The Committee on Climate Change's sixth progress report analysed emissions over the course of 2013 and the impact of Government policies, and also provided a comprehensive assessment of how the first carbon budget was met. This report responds to each of the Committee's recommendations. (15 October 2014) 

DBIS: Leading infrastructure firms commit to carbon reduction: announces that Thames Tideway Tunnel, Lafarge Tarmac, Temple Group, Kier Infrastructure and Barhale Trant Utilities have become the latest signatories to the Infrastructure Carbon Review. This is a joint industry and government initiative targeted at leading businesses and their supply chains that aims to make carbon reduction an integral part of infrastructure construction in the UK. (27 October 2014)

DECC: EU agrees 'historic' deal to tackle climate change: announces that the EU has reached a historic deal to cut greenhouse gases by at least 40% domestically by 2030. This press release summarises key elements of the agreed 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework. (24 October 2014)

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Electricity Market Reform

DECC: Electricity Market Reform annual update 2014: this first annual update provides detail to Parliament and other stakeholders on the progress of EMR and the Government's future plans. It also fulfils the EMR reporting requirement to Parliament under the Energy Act 2013. (6 November 2014)

DECC: Capacity Market (Amendment)(No.2) Rules 2014: make various amendments to the Capacity Market Rules 2014. The Rules set out the details of the technical and administrative rules and procedures for how the Capacity Market operates. (14 October 2014)

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Emissions Trading

DECC: EU Emissions Trading System – The future of the system: this guide sets out the UK's vision for the future of the EU ETS. (22 October 2014)

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Energy Companies Obligation

Electricity and Gas (Energy Companies Obligation) (Determination of Savings) (Amendment) Order 2014 (SI 2014/2897): this Order, which comes into force on 1 Decmeber 2014, amends the ECO Order 2012 (SI 2012/3018). It enables the calculation of carbon savings and cost savings for qualifying actions installed under the ECO Order to be carried out using new versions of the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) and the Reduced Data Standard Assessment Procedure (RdSAP), as well as the 2009 versions of these methodologies which are already provided for in the ECO Order. (5 November 2014) 

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Energy Efficiency

Welsh Government: The development of an energy efficiency strategy for Wales: seeks views on how to improve energy efficiency performance in Wales, in order to inform the development of a new strategy that considers not just Welsh Government’s role in driving the energy efficiency agenda but also the role of other organisations, businesses and householders. The consultation closes on 8 January 2015. (16 October 2014)

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Energy Policy

Ernst & Young: Powering the UK: this report sets out the energy sector’s contribution to the UK economy. Unlike many other industries, energy is not concentrated in the South East but spread across all regions, supporting parts of the country hardest hit by recession. The report shows how the energy sector creates jobs, both directly and through the supply chain, how energy is engaged in huge investment and how energy takes its responsibilities to business, communities and individuals seriously. It makes it clear that energy is a large and consistent contributor to the UK. (22 October 2014)

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InnovateUK: Energy Catalyst round 2: the Energy Catalyst supports businesses and research organisations to respond to challenges across the energy sector. It will fund projects delivering innovative solutions that address all elements of the energy "trilemma" of low carbon, security of supply and affordability. The second round is now open, with £14m funding available for three stages of technology development:  Early-stage award: Technical feasibility; Mid-stage awards: Technology development; and Late-stage awards: Pre-commercial technology validation. The deadline for registration for mid-stage and late stage awards is 11 February 2015 and the deadline for expressions of interest is 18 February 2015; for early stage awards, the deadline for registration is 22 April 2015 and for applications is 29 April 2015. (5 November 2014)

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Green Deal

DECC: Research into the Green Deal and ECO Programme supply chain: this study by ICF International explored the operation of the supply side of the Green Deal and ECO programme so as to understand the views of Green Deal certified installers, assessor organisations and advisers. The survey was carried out from January to February 2014, with follow up depth interviews conducted from February to April 2014. (21 October 2014)

DECC: Green deal case studies: DECC has published two new case studies showing how the Green Deal is making a difference to homes and lives:

  • Nottingham City Council: how in 2013 Nottingham City Council used street by street approach to install solid wall insulation to over 200 properties on the Clifton Estate with over £5m funds awarded through DECC’s Green Deal Communities scheme
  • Sarah Adams: how a householder applied for a free Green Deal Assessment offered by her local council and used Green Deal finance plan, ECO and Government cash back scheme towards the cost of installating of loft insulation, a new boiler and draught proofing in her 2 bedroom flat.

(31 October 2014)

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Heat Networks

DECC: Heat Networks Delivery Unit – Funding application: announces that Round 4 of the Heat Networks Delivery Unit Funding Stream is now open. The HNDU provides grant funding and guidance to local authorities in England and Wales to explore heat network opportunities. The closing date for Round 4 applications is 27 November 2014. (16 October 2014)

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Infrastructure Planning

Natural England: Planning blueprint for major development which protects the environment: highlights how the Sizewell C evidence plan can be used by applicants of nationally significant infrastructure projects in England, to show how environmental protection is at the heart of their plans. The evidence plan sets out the information that EDF Energy will gather to inform a Habitat Regulations Assessment of its proposed new nuclear power station in Suffolk. (7 November 2014)

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Bevan Brittan byte size procurement updates: we have published two more articles in our "byte size" legal update series, in which we look at the new Public Sector Directive and deconstruct it into a topic based approach. For each topic we provide a brief explanation of the most relevant new and updated provisions in the new Directive. We also highlight some of the practical implications of those provisions.
The latest articles are:

We have also revised our Byte Size procurement updates, nos. 1 - 10, so that they now refer to the Draft Public Contracts Regulations 2015 as well as the Directive. We have also taken the opportunity to make some additional changes to Byte Size procurement update no.8 on Award criteria and lifecycle costing

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Renewable Energy

DECC: Infrastructure Bill – The Renewable Heat Incentive: sets out the policy background to a proposed change to the Infrastructure Bill 2014/15 that amends the primary legislation governing the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) schemes. The amendment will enable changes to the schemes so that participants can allocate their RHI payments to third parties. It also allows the Secretary of State to appoint an alternative delivery body to administer the RHI schemes. (30 October 2014)

DECC: Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive – Changes to eligibility: announces changes to the domestic RHI scheme from Spring 2015:

  • registered social landlords will be able to apply for the domestic RHI without a Green Deal Assessment; they will still need to have an Energy Performance Certificate that is less than two years old;
  • the list of eligible technologies will be expanded to include cooker stoves and high temperature heat pumps;
  • clarification that heating systems that provide heat to properties with more than one building can be eligible for the domestic RHI.

(10 November 2014)

DECC: Evidence gathering on potential renewable heating technologies: DECC commissioned research into the cost and performance of technologies which are not currently eligible for the RHI but could be considered for future inclusion. DECC identified five technologies that could offer the potential to increase deployment of renewable heat, but which were not underpinned by robust independent evidence to inform whether they should be included in the RHI. These research publications provide an overview of the technologies as well as additional clarification on the scheme’s evidence requirements.  (10 November 2014)

DECC: Tidal lagoons attached to land – Addendum to guidance under the Energy Act 2004: seeks views on proposals for an addendum to guidance so that the decommissioning provisions in ss.105-114 of the Energy Act 2004 also apply to nationally significant tidal lagoon structures which are attached to land. The consultation closes on 23 November 2014. (10 October 2014)

DECC: Speech to RenewableUK: the Energy Secretary Edward Davey has given a speech to the RenewableUK conference in Manchester. He discusses the Govenrment's renewables policy and highlights key economic challenges and opportunities for the UK's renewables strategy. (12 November 2014)

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Shale Gas

DCLG: Business rates retention and shale oil and gas – Technical consultation on draft regulations to allow the 100% local retention of business rates on shale gas and oil sites: in January 2014 the Prime Minister announced that local authorities will be able to keep 100% of business rates from shale gas and oil sites. This paper seeks views on draft Non-Domestic Rating (Shale Oil and Gas) and Rates Retention (Amendment) Regulations 2015 which define the sites on which 100% retention of business rates will apply. It also sets out the arrangements for sharing that revenue between the different tiers of local government. The consultation closes on 5 December 2014. (24 October 2014)

DECC: Skilling up shale – First national UK onshore oil and gas college announced: announces that the first national UK shale college will be established in Blackpool and linked to colleges in Chester, Redcar and Cleveland, Glasgow and Portsmouth. The colleges are funded by £750,000 from teh Government which will be matched by industry bodies and education providers. The new centres of excellence will train a generation of onshore oil and gas specialists, helping the UK to seize the economic opportunities offered by natural shale gas. (12 November 2014)

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Solar Energy

DEFRA: Subsidies for solar farms to be cut to help safeguard farmland: announces changes to farm subsidy payments available through the Common Agricultural Policy. These mean that from January 2015, farmers will lose their right to claim subsidies for fields filled with solar panels. The move aims to ensure that more agricultural land is dedicated to growing crops and food and to help rural communities who do not want their countryside blighted by solar farms. It follows DECC's announcement that renewable energy subsidies for new large-scale solar farms will end in April 2015. (19 October 2014)

DECC: Solar energy – Letter from Amber Rudd to local authorities: this letter from the Climate Change Minister draws local authorities' attention to the benefits of solar PV on schools, enabling them to save money on energy, generate revenue, reduce CO2 emissions, and provide educational benefits, while providing inspiration to the community. (4 November 2014)

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Wind Energy

DECC: Flagship Walney offshore wind farm one step closer to expansion: announces that the Government has consented to the Walney Extension offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea. The offshore wind farm, which is being developed by Dong Energy Walney Extension (UK) Ltd, will have a capacity of up to 750MW with up to 207 turbines. It will be located off the Cumbrian and Lancashire coast, 31km SE of the Isle of Man. (7 November 2014)

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