Number of people in UK switching energy provider highest in five years
More people in the United Kingdom are switching their energy provider than any time in the last five years, a report by the Financial Times has found. Rather than remaining with the ‘Big Six’ providers, customers are reportedly seeking out competitive rates at smaller companies.
Figures released by industry body Energy UK this week revealed that over 630,000 customers changed their energy provider in 2018, the largest number since 2013.
The Financial Times reports that “efforts in recent years by the government and Ofgem, the energy regulator, to increase competition in the market and tackle the dominance of the incumbents — Centrica-owned British Gas, SSE, Npower, EDF Energy, EON UK and ScottishPower”.
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Energy giant Npower revealed it had lost more than 500,000 customers in 2018, “about 10% of its total” customer base.
According to the Financial Times, “SSE dropped 7 per cent of its energy customers in the 12 months to September, bringing it to 6.48m, while ScottishPower saw its customer numbers shrink by 8 per cent to 4.8m in the same period”.
Ofgem and government bodies have been working since 2010 to lower barriers to entry and stimulate growth in the energy sector. “Since 2011, suppliers with fewer than 250,000 customers have been exempt from paying certain supplier obligations, saving them about £36 per dual fuel customer”. As a result, the number of energy providers in the UK has risen from 14 in 2011 to 66 in June 2018.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.