EfW great ‘guinea pig’ for electricity market reforms

Energy-from-waste firms could act as "guinea pigs" to test out electricity market reforms (EMRs) set to be introduced under the Government's forthcoming Energy Bill.

The suggestion has been put forward by the Renewable Energy Association’s (REA) chief executive Gaynor Hartnell in an open letter to association members earlier this month.

The EMR proposals were outlined in the Government’s draft bill published yesterday (May 22) – these aim to provide greater certainty to investors, encouraging them to invest in low carbon generation.

Under the plans put forward by the bill, auctions will be held from 2014 allowing generators to bid to supply required back-up electricity supplies. These auctions will also be open to schemes that reduce energy demand by paying companies to curb their energy use at peak times.

REA members have voiced strong opposition to these auctions, but Hartnell believes there is a low-risk opportunity for firms supplying the cheapest renewable technologies such as landfill gas and energy-from-waste to trial the capacity mechanism.

In her letter, she stated: “I have suggested to the membership that the cheapest technologies – the ones government thinks can work without (or virtually without) ROCs – might do well to offer themselves up as guinea pigs.

“They could be used to trial auctions, so government has time to get it right, before it foists them on offshore wind etc. These technologies have nothing to lose. And something to prove. They can prove that they are worth encouraging rather than cold shouldering.”

Hartnell added that these companies could provide a “very useful service in terms of getting auctions right” for the renewables sector.

Maxine Perella

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