UK energy regulator outlines plan to encourage market competition
Ofgem, the government regulator for the UK’s gas and electricity markets, has announced a plan to help “disengaged” energy consumers save money on their bills.
A two year investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) confirmed that two-thirds of households are paying over the odds for their energy when compared with those who have switched tariff.
Ofgem will be adopting a number of remedies to address the CMA’s recommendations. Among them is an interim price cap designed to help “vulnerable” customers on prepayment meters save up to £75 a year.
Other measures include “more effective” prompts on customers’ bills to encourage them shop around for better tariffs and a database service allowing suppliers to offer better value deals.
Ofgem’s newly devised solutions are aimed at opening up opportunities for competition and market innovation as well as driving down bills and improving customer service.
Ofgem Chief Executive, Dermot Nolan, said: “The CMA’s final report is a watershed moment for industry and consumers and points the way to a fairer and more competitive future. I call on energy companies and consumer groups to seize this opportunity.”
Ofgem’s annual review of the retail energy market, which was also published today, found that the majority of consumers who choose not assess the retail energy market are losing out.
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.