Electricity Deregulation Gives Customers Control
Choose your Electricity: How Energy Deregulation Gives Customers Control
The 20th century saw the expansion of electrical grids throughout the world, and for the most part, this expansion was spearheaded by government regulated utilities companies with domination over the price-point of electricity supplies. We, as consumers, receive our monthly bill and assume that the utilities provider is charging us a fair price for our gas and electricity needs. The system was traditionally not open to competition.
However, roughly one-third of U.S. states have opened their utilities sectors to competition through deregulation, and other countries, like the United Kingdom, are doing the same. What this effectively does is allow for companies to enter the market and provide customers with alternative choices both in price and the type of energy generation their monthly bills are supporting. This was not an option prior.
Imagine… an environmentally conscious individual can decide to buy grid energy generated from a renewable source like wind or solar, or a penny-pinching family can choose cheap natural gas or even coal as their energy generation of choice.
Taff Tschamler, Vice President of Business Development and Regulatory Affairs for North American Power—a utilities provider that operates in deregulated markets in the northeastern United States—says, “It gives customers choices. It’s up to us and our competitors to make the customers feel like they’re getting a deal and are pleased with their provider. From a customer’s perspective, if they’re not pleased with us they can fire us and go with another provider. That’s not the case if you’re in a regulated market.”
However, with utilities tied to the free market through deregulation, cost is also intrinsically linked to the market. Whereas in a traditional regulated utilities system, prices are government controlled and tend to remain somewhat the same month-to-month, in a free-market system, costs can fluctuate. This has both its pros and cons, as raising oil or natural gas prices can directly raise utilities costs in a deregulated system. What is beneficial, however, is the inherent choice that comes with deregulation. If the price of one electricity-generation mode skyrockets, the customer can choose to switch to a different generation source to save money.
HyNet North West and InterGen to build Zero Carbon plant
Expected to begin in the mid-2020s, the partnership could reduce the CO2 emissions from the Runcorn power station by over 150,000 tonnes each year, the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road every year.
Situated across one of the UK’s largest industrial areas which supports the highest number of manufacturing jobs of any UK region, HyNet North West will bring clean growth to safeguard jobs, and create thousands of new employment opportunities.
Following a commitment of £72 million in funding, HyNet North West will transform the North West into the world’s first low carbon industrial cluster, playing a critical role in the UK’s transition to ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and the global fight against climate change.
HyNet North West will begin decarbonising the North West and North Wales region from 2025, replacing fossil fuels currently used for electricity generation, industry, heating homes and transportation with clean hydrogen. The project will also capture and lock up carbon which is currently emitted into the atmosphere.
It anticipates that by 2028, Rocksavage will have enough hydrogen produced by HyNet to move towards a 100% net zero power generation power station as the Gas Turbine technology becomes available.
InterGen’s Rocksavage Plant Manager Dan Fosberg said Rocksavage has been safely generating energy to power the north west for nearly 25 years, but in order to meet the UK’s net zero targets, traditional generation needs to adapt.
"HyNet North West will allow us to pivot our operations as we transition to a low-carbon world. The proximity of the Rocksavage Power Plant to the HyNet North West hydrogen network provides us with an exciting and unique opportunity," he said.
As soon as the first stage of the hydrogen network is available at Runcorn, InterGen intends to modify the existing generating plant to consume a blend of hydrogen with natural gas and start to reduce our emissions.
The HyNet North West project milestones mean that Rocksavage could be the first plant in the UK to blend Hydrogen with natural gas, a step forward for the industry in the target for net-zero. Once the gas turbine technology becomes available, it will explore options with HyNet North West to create a zero emissions power station using 100% hydrogen.
The project will play a big part in supporting Liverpool City Region in its commitment to reach zero carbon by 2040 and accelerate the UK’s transition to net zero by 2050.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region, said: “Putting the Liverpool City Region at the heart of the Green Industrial Revolution is one of my top priorities. With our existing strengths in green energy, we have the potential to become the UK’s renewable energy coast.
“I am committed to doubling the number of green jobs in our region and exciting projects like HyNet will be a key part of that. We’re going to lead the way, not only in doing our bit to tackle climate change, but in pioneering new and innovative technology that in turn attracts more jobs and investment to our region.”
David Parkin, HyNet North West Project Director, said HyNet North West will play a big part in tackling climate change regionally. "It will ensure the region remains an attractive location for investment and for companies to grow through the establishment of a clean economy, protection of skilled jobs and creation of thousands of new long-term employment opportunities.
“Our partnership with InterGen at Rocksavage shows just how great an impact HyNet will have on the region – decarbonising homes, workplaces, travel and industry.”
HyNet North West is a low carbon energy project at the forefront of the UK’s journey to a Net Zero future, being developed by a consortium comprising Progressive Energy, Cadent, Essar, Inovyn, Eni, University of Chester, CF Fertilisers and Hanson.