As a membership organisation, we form our policy responses from our 200 business, local authority and community energy members that support our mission to transform the energy system. We have extensive experience of guiding the sector through shifts in the energy system over the last decade and influencing change at the heart of government.  Please see a summary of our current policy activity below.

A key benefit of membership is Regen representing your voice with government and key players and responding to these consultations in the best interests of the sector.

 


Major sector and government policy reforms

Network charging and access reforms

  • Ofgem are currently undertaking major reforms to the network charging regime. These reforms are split into two reviews, the Targeted Charging Review (TCR) addressing residual network charges (decision in 2019, implementation in 2020/21) and the Forward-looking and Access Review.
  • We are closely involved with these reforms, taking part in the Charging Futures Forum and the Challenge Group for the Forward Looking and Access Review. Being involved in these groups allows us to help shape the outcome of the review so that future network charges are fairly distributed and incentivise renewable generation and flexibility and support a decarbonised energy system.
  • You can read our blogs and recent consultation responses (TCR or forward looking) or get in touch with Poppy Maltby or Madeleine Greenhalgh for more information

Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan

  • The ambition of government to increase the use of smart and flexible technologies is laid out in the Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan (updated Nov 2018). This sets out key policy and regulatory aims that will ensure smart technologies, demand-side response and storage are able to deploy and flourish.
  • We sit on the group that shapes this Plan, the Smart Systems Forum. You can see the key areas we welcome and wish to see improvement on, in this letter.

DNO > DSO transition

  • Decentralisation is being accomplished through the transition of Distribution Network Operators to Distribution System Operators. The effect this will have on the local system is significant and we want to ensure that the transition is smooth and done in a way that is clear for our members and enables decarbonisation.
  • Through our advisory work, we have built up good relationships with several DNOs and work with them to help our members understand various aspects of the transition. You can read a report of a consultation we carried out for WPD, helping communities to understand this transition. Contact Jodie or Ky for more information.

Decarbonisation targets and incentives

  • The Committee on Climate Change released a report in May 2019 setting out the potential for the UK to decarbonise fully by 2050. You can see our response and recommendations for action here.
  • The government is consulting on the UK approach to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) if the UK leaves the EU, including options for a UK ETS or a carbon price (May 2019).
  • The parliamentary committee for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (who scrutinise the department), are conducting an inquiry into how investment in energy infrastructure can be incentivised (March 2019). This is an opportunity to scrutinise the government’s approach to funding and incentivising investment in the UK’s low carbon transition. You can see our response here [currently restricted by committee – to be published once restriction lifted].

 


Markets & revenues

Flexibility

  • Flexibility is an integral part of decarbonising our energy system and we need to ensure that the structure of that system rewards and encourages flexible technologies.
  • We have ongoing projects which are looking at the practical means of improving flexibility. We also keep track and provide analysis of the emerging local flexibility markets, particularly for communities and local energy groups – you can see some of our work here.

Capacity market

  • The Capacity Market is the current method for ensuring security of supply in the UK. At present it is an important part of the revenue stack for storage and is being opened up to renewables through changes following the 5-year review – you can see our recommendations for this review here (October 2018).
  • The CM is currently suspended pending an EU level investigation into unfair distribution of state aid (Dec 2018) – we are keeping track of the progress of the investigation and work closely with BEIS to ensure that our members are fully aware of the process and that the necessary changes as part of the 5-year review still take place.
  • Contact Madeleine or Johnny for more information.

VAT increase

  • HMRC are looking to increase VAT on ‘energy saving materials’, which includes solar panels, from 5% to the full 20%. This is ostensibly to comply with an EU ruling from 2015, but, as raised by the industry at the time, this unfairly disadvantages renewable and low carbon technologies. You can read our letter to HMRC here (May 2019).

Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR)

  • Energy generation was excluded from SITR in 2016 and this is a cause for concern for many community and local energy groups. We are currently responding to a consultation from Treasury (May 2019) and we will be pushing for energy generation to be included and for SITR to be extended beyond its current end date of 2021.

Business rates

  • Business rates for solar and storage are currently very high and penalise those businesses who want to self-consume their renewable generated energy. We are working with government to change this and will publish updates here.

 


Government support

Feed-in Tariff and Smart Export Guarantee

  • The Feed-in Tariff, including the export tariff, closed to new entrants in March 2019, . You can see our responses to government here and here on this issue and our campaign to MPs.
  • The Smart Export Guarantee is the proposed replacement for the export tariff, mandating suppliers to provide an export rate to small-scale renewable generators. We welcome this proposal, but are mindful of the gap between the FIT closure and the implementation of the SEG and that there are multiple practical issues to be overcome. We are advocating for a meaningful floor price and for some element of variability to be mandated. You can read our recommendations to BEIS here (Feb 2019).

 


Storage specific issues

 


Miscellaneous

Fracking

 

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Major sector and government policy reforms

  • Network charging and access reforms
  • Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan
  • DNO>DSO transition
  • Decarbonisation targets and incentives
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Markets and revenues

  • Flexibility
  • Capacity Market
  • VAT increase
  • Social Investment Tax Relief
  • Business Rates
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Government support

  • Feed-in Tariff and Smart Export Guarantee
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Miscellaneous

  • Fracking

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