Energy and Utilities

The Energy Transition | ScottishPower's new green hydrogen project, UKPN commences tech rollout to boost grid capacity, BlackRock raises billions as climate infra fund reaches final close

Published on 16th Apr 2021

This week we look at ScottishPower's green hydrogen project, UKPN's rollout of tech to enable more renewables to connect to the grid, BlackRock's close on its third renewable energy infrastructure fund, and more


ScottishPower's green hydrogen project to include the UK's largest electrolyser

ScottishPower has submitted a planning application for a new hydrogen facility, which includes plans to build the largest electrolyser in the UK. According to the proposals, the 20MW electrolyser will be capable of generating eight tonnes of green hydrogen per day and will be built near to Scotland's largest windfarm, Whitelee.

The planning application includes a proposal to build a dual battery and solar energy storage system to work alongside the wind farm in order to power the electrolyser. The site will house up to a maximum of 50MW of battery storage and up to 40MW of solar generation, comprising 62,000 individual solar cells.

Barry Carruthers, ScottishPower’s hydrogen director, commented as follows: "Whitelee keeps breaking barriers; first the UK’s largest onshore windfarm, and soon to be home to the UK’s largest electrolyser. The site has played a vital role in helping the UK to decarbonise and we look forward to delivering another vital form of zero carbon energy generation at the site to help Glasgow and Scotland achieve their net zero goals".

UKPN commences "strategic, smart, specific" tech rollout to boost grid capacity

As part of a £1 million project, UK Power Networks (UKPN) has begun rolling out new load blinding relays to free up capacity for new renewable connections. The devices will allow more renewable capacity to be connected to the grid, whilst avoiding costly upgrades. The relays will be installed on 80 transformers over 35 sites in Sussex, Surrey and Kent and will release 469 Mega Volt Amperes, which is sufficient capacity to allow for the installation of a rooftop solar panel on 127,445 houses.

Protection devices are typically used to turn off parts of an electricity network in the event of a fault. By contrast, UKPN's smart protection devices can monitor the network, and identity whether or not power flows are attributed to a problem on the network. As a result, UKPN is able to release more capacity by allowing more power through without jeopardising grid security.

Barry Hatton, Director of Asset Management at UKPN, explained that, “strategic, smart, specific investment like this, is exactly how we plan to help enable net zero by 2050”.

 BlackRock exceeds target to raise billions as climate infra fund closes

After raising £3.5 billion ($4.8 billion), BlackRock has reached a final close on its third renewable energy infrastructure fund, the Global Renewable Power Fund III (GRP III). Approximately 100 institutional investors based in 18 countries supported the vehicle, including foundations, endowments, insurance companies, public and private pension funds, and public and private companies.

The final figure generated for the GRP III was almost double what BlackRock had aimed to raise upon the fund's launch in 2019. The money raised will be channelled into global renewables schemes in Asia, Europe and the Americas.

GRP III is backing electric transport projects and energy storage schemes alongside more traditional low carbon renewables initiatives. The fund has already completed three green infra investments, including: a residential solar project in the US; a European onshore wind project in Europe owned by Windvision; and New Green Power's solar scheme in Taiwan.

Electricity North West reveals £2bn business plan for RIIO ED2

Electricity North West has revealed plans to spend almost £2bn over the next five years as part of its business plan for the RIIO ED2 price controls, which begin in April 2023.

The business plan proposes spending a total of £1,972 million under the price controls. This will include:

  • investing £325 million to repair and maintain its assets;
  • £451 million to replace and refurbish existing infrastructure; and
  • £232 million in reinforcing the network to add extra capacity.

Overall, this will take Electricity North West's average yearly spend to almost £395 million per year, which is a 49% increase when compared to the current regulatory period.

The plan comes after a two-year consultation with more than 18,000 Electricity North West customers and stakeholders. Peter Emery, Electricity North West's chief executive, said that "the result of that work would be to facilitate a greener, fairer, more prosperous and more connected future for our region".

Electric Vehicles – round up of latest announcements

  • Shell has set out plans to develop an electric vehicle (EV) charging network in the UK following its acquisition of Ubitricity earlier in 2021. The chargers will be placed at Shell petrol stations, with plans install 5,000 charging stations across the UK and 500,000 worldwide by 2025.
  • Tesco has revealed that the rollout of free retail EV charges at UK supermarkets, in partnership with Pod Point and Volkswagen, has reached a total of 500,000 chargers. Erik Fairbairn, CEO of Pod Point, said the milestone is a "testament to the growing appetite for EVs as well as the ease and convenience of the charging experience".
  • Liberty Charge, a joint venture between Liberty Global and Zouk Capital, has completed the first stage of its EV charger rollout. The 20 charger network is spread across 10 separate sites located in the London borough of Waltham Forest.


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* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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