“I became an engineer to change the world” – Environment Agency’s Ayo Sokale joins Madano for an Earth Day Q&A

“I became an engineer to change the world” – Environment Agency’s Ayo Sokale joins Madano for an Earth Day Q&A

In conjunction with colleagues from sister consultancy AXON, employees from Madano serve on the CSR Elective, a body formed to guide and promote responsible social programmes and activity on behalf of the two organisations.

In March and April, the CSR Elective hosted a Sustainability Series from Earth Hour (26 March) to Earth Day (22 April) with the aim of learning and sharing ideas that can inspire action. The series kicked off with four weekly TedTalk sessions, one of which has inspired our Healthcare practice to investigate pro-bono ways of supporting organisations combatting the health implications of climate change.

The series culminated with a live Q&A event on Earth Day exploring the link between climate and social justice with Ayo Sokale: chartered civil engineer, project manager and BIM lead for the Environment Agency’s Collaborative Delivery Framework Eastern Hub (Thames Valley, East Anglia and Herts and North London), Labour and Cooperative Councillor and public speaker. Below are some of the highlights of the conversation we had with Ayo.

Q: Can you remember the moment when you realised how connected the issues of climate, economic and social justice are?

A: I would say the first time I could articulate how connected they were was a lot later in my journey. I think I must have been about 25. But the point where I actually noticed it, but couldn’t put into words, was when I was nine and I chose to be an engineer. I chose that to be my tool to make the world a better place.

And that’s because I was growing up in a developing country and witnessed an engineering project that brought infrastructure. But it didn’t just bring economic benefit to the town. It brought healthy changes, such as children who had suffered with bloated stomachs from disease no longer had those diseases because they had access to clean water and better infrastructure. I saw economic infrastructure bring social change and create community cohesion.

Fundamentally, on a subconscious level, I’d actually noticed it at the age of nine, but it was a lot later, when I’d done the studying and the reading on the journey to becoming a chartered engineer, that I could actually put it into words and say: “Oh, these are the three pillars. It’s a social thing. It’s an economic thing. It’s an environmental thing.” So, I knew at nine, but I knew properly at 25.

Q: Which organisations would you say are doing good work at this intersection between sustainability and social justice? For people who want to get involved, where would you recommend they start?

A: The first practical thing I would recommend is actually Surfers Against Sewage. They have this amazing toolkit for tackling single-use plastic in your community, which I think was created with the end user in mind. We follow their toolkit very closely and started off doing litter picks, bringing the community together to understand that there’s this pressing issue of environmental degradation.

We did a mass unwrap with Waitrose, and they do amazing work. They worked in partnership with us and that raised awareness in the community about this issue. And then we started encouraging people to use the free recycling programmes offered by TerraCycle, and that was led by another local community group. We started connecting the dots, working with refill organisations.

So I would start with the toolkit that’s online. You can download it and get started today! It will allow you to put in place a really well-defined infrastructure through which to take positive steps, but it will also get you connected with other social groups doing the same work in your community, which will then allow you to create social and environmental impact, and economic benefits, for your community.

Friends of the Earth are amazing too. They actually inspired me to take action to address some of these causes. A member of Friends of the Earth on Twitter introduced me to the organisation and then I started looking into them myself. That led to my writing a motion about ways of increasing wild flower numbers and bees in a certain town and working with the lead counsellor. So thank you Friends of the Earth for sparking that innovation. Everyone should check them out. They are an amazing resource and they just know so much.

Q: What steps can communications consultancies like us take to support local communities who are suffering negative environmental impacts such as air pollution?

A: As a communications company you have a complete skillset that could be useful. For example, communities in areas affected by high air pollution are often deemed hard-to-reach, but actually they just need more engagement that’s specific to them. So you could run campaigns aimed at those communities to raise awareness of the health risks they’re suffering, but also explain how they can play a role in tackling that risk.

For example, they could sign a petition to ask their local council to reconsider the local plan and see what they can do to change it. I think a lot of communities are unaware of the risks they face and just need the right communication tools. Maybe Madano, with the communication skills, knowledge and experience you have, could do some of that work, particularly through your CSR Elective.

Q: How can we talk to clients and get them to buy into this? How can we speak their language and make them understand that this is beneficial for everyone?

A: Align the conversation with the clients’ KPIs. As a consultancy, you have to understand your clients’ needs almost as well as they do, so you know the desired outcome and how they’re measuring their own performance. So align this environmental justice work with their KPIs and explain it in terms of CSR or their net-zero targets, and then you can influence them through that self-benefit. Make it matter to them.

Q: As a civil engineer, what more should your industry be doing to play its part in combatting climate change?

A: Starting with a positive example, the Thames Tideway in London has not just delivered a project, but removed plastic from the river and its banks, and transported material using barges instead of HGVs. But as an industry that has a huge potential to create assets and increase energy expenditure, the questions we need to ask ourselves are: “Do we need this infrastructure in future? Should we retrofit our infrastructure? Should we focus on asset management and get away from creating new capital assets? If we are creating capital assets, what standards should they meet? Not just BREEAM Excellent, but how can we go beyond that?”

So we’re facing the challenge of whether we should be building new assets and, when we consider that, we really have to think about the problems we’re trying to solve. Because that’s what we do as engineers: we solve the problems of the day.

Inspired by Ayo’s rallying cry, members of the CSR Elective have already joined Friends of the Earth, and stopped eating meat. If you’re interested in working with organisations who are driving positive environmental change to shape the future, then check out Madano’s latest vacancies: http://madano.com/careers/

By Jessica Garner, Senior Account Executive in Madano’s Healthcare practice

The Download- June 24, 2022

The Download- June 24, 2022

 

What’s Trending?  

 

1. Twitter’s new ‘Campaign Planner’ helps advertisers estimate results before launching  

The launch of Campaign Planner helps marketers who use Twitter Ads help gauge KPIs like reach, impressions, frequency and more within your campaign’s budget to help forecast results.  The feature is only available in the UK, US and Japan with a minimum spend of $1000 per campaign.  

2. LinkedIn rolls out new ‘Funny’ reaction  

In addition to the six other emoji responses, including ‘Insightful’ and ‘Celebrate,’ LinkedIn has added the ‘Funny’ emoji to express laughter and humour for posts. 

The reaction seems out of place for posts within a professional context, but points to current trends of LinkedIn seeing increasing levels of engagement growth and interactions. According to LinkedIn, the ‘funny’ emoji’s recommended use includes sharing inside jokes and humour that shows vulnerability.

Whether you agree with the development or not, the update is the result of popular requests from LinkedIn members to create more off-topic conversations. 

3. Instagram testing In-feed posts feature that resembles TikTok  

You may have already seen Instagram’s changes while scrolling through your feed, like the full-screen main-feed images and videos that TikTok is known for. 

Even Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, pointed out the change, as Instagram Reels’ popularity continues to rise with over 20 percent of time on Instagram spent in the Reels-designated feed.

The updates follow the ongoing influence of TikTok on other Meta-owned platforms, like Facebook.  

4. Meta continues to make big steps towards a digital world with ‘Meta Pay’ and NFT options  

It is no surprise that Meta is putting their focus on the Metaverse- and the company has now introduced new digital payment options to help create a “new wallet” for the virtual world. The idea of “Meta Pay” sets the stage for creating and buying digital items that go beyond one platform but apply to the countless Metaverses of the future.  

5. Should My Business be on TikTok? 

Discover why your business belongs on TikTok (even if you don’t think it does). Register for a 3-day event to help guide your decision-making and strategy for building your brand on the trendiest platform. Join experts and TikTok insiders for live interactive sessions from June 28-30 at 11 AM BST and presented by Hootsuite. Register here.  

 

About The Download  

Every Friday, we will be breaking down our top five picks for everything happening in the digital space, from new tools and algorithms on socials to valuable industry insights. Be sure to follow us on social media for updates!  

Contact Information   

 For more information, contact [email protected]  

Follow us on: 

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The Download- June 24, 2022

The Download- June 10, 2022

What’s Trending?  

1.Reddit: the newest marketing hub? 

Reddit has launched a series of new case studies, cheekily titled as ‘Meet Your Maker’, showcasing the creative ways brands are tapping into ad design and reaching Reddit’s fanbases. Not only does the series present examples of how brands have employed a diverse mix of media (think GIFs or Alternate Reality Games), but also how the campaigns stack up against other top-performing channels.  

Reddit’s series includes a selection of case studies spanning across digital to food industries like Adobe and noosa Yoghurt. No matter what industry your business is in, Reddit may be an unexpected solution to keep your marketing efforts fresh and exciting. 

2. Google Ads releases feature for “automatically created assets”   

Next time you set up a Google ads campaign you may come across Google’s newest beta feature that generates headlines, descriptions, and ad assets for you. The feature is made to improve relevance and performance of your ads to connect with your audience.  

How does Google do it? It grabs the content from your website landing page, domain, and other ads in tandem with the keywords you provide. If you’re not ready just yet, don’t fret- users can opt-out of using this feature.   

3. Meta in the early stages of developing new ‘Basic Ads’ product to make up for data privacy battle  

According to Business Insider, Metais developing a new range of ads that “wouldn’t rely on any anonymised personal info from users”, in efforts to sway away from data privacy concerns. While there is limited information available, the platform looks to regain the interest of advertisers once again.  

4. LinkedIn is making running ads easier for marketers with the launch of Business Manager 

If you have ever tried to run ads on LinkedIn, you may have noticed the slight discrepancies with conducting admin tasks like managing users to downloading invoices. Things are looking up for B2B marketers as the streamlined, centralised Business Manager system can be used by advertisers  to spend less time managing ad accounts and more time improving strategies. 

5. Study on LinkedIn’s top performing posts, highlights the most effective types of content 

Key findings from the study include:  

  • LinkedIn documents (or PDFs displayed as a carousel) generate 3 times more clicks than other pieces of content 
  • Frontloading videos with interesting content can result in an average video view rate of 15.61% in 2022  
  • Videos engage highest engagement per impression rate for small to medium sized accounts  

 

About The Download  

Every other Friday, we will be breaking down our top five picks for everything happening in the digital space, from new tools and algorithms on socials to valuable industry insights. Be sure to follow us on social media for updates!  

Contact Information   

 For more information, contact [email protected]  

Follow us on: 

Twitter 

Instagram 

LinkedIn 

The Download- June 24, 2022

The Download- May 27, 2022

The Download- May 27, 2022  

About The Download  

Every Friday, we will be breaking down our top five picks for everything happening in the digital space, from new tools and algorithms on socials to valuable industry insights. Be sure to follow us on social media for updates!  

What’s Trending?  

1. Reddit partners with “Love Island”, allowing fans to interact with the show through their online community 

Love Island’s eight season is nearly upon us and it’s clear that the producers are changing strategy to improve its brand image and reach a wider demographic.

Besides ditching the fast fashion brands, Love Island has partnered with Reddit, providing new access, exclusive content and a virtual ‘firepit’ for users to discuss the show.  

The r/LoveIslandTV community has grown in recent years, and this will only increase this year with the new partnership. However, this is not the first time we’ve seen brands partner directly with channels. This year, TikTok partnered with the Six Nations rugby union tournament for the first time, providing a home for exclusive content. 

 

2. Say hello to the new and improved, “Twitter Create”  

 After its’ initial release four years ago, Twitter Create is back with a focus on empowering digital creators to help “shape the culture”. 

Twitter’s investments into the site focus on improving the experience of creating and distributing content on the platform for creators, and identifying best practices based on social media expert case studies and guidance. Twitter’s emphasis for increasing monetization opportunities for creators curtails the increased awareness of creator frustration with the platform.  

Amongst the changes being discussed at Twitter, one thing is for sure- there is a desire to attract creatives to publish unique content that seeks to compete with more creative social outlets. Stay tuned… 

 

3. Google announces new Ad tools at its Marketing Live event  

Google’s newest investments for online advertisers seem to be following the trends in social. In line with the short-form video trend, Google is continuing to see success with YouTube Shorts amongst changes and new layouts for Responsive Display Ads, improved analytics, new ad testing options, and more. 

 

4. Meta announces “Recurring Notifications” from businesses for Messenger platform  

In its’ first ever ‘Conversations’ conference earlier this month, Meta announced a new messaging rule which would allow businesses to send notifications (sales, too), updates, newsletters and other content to users who allow it. 

Users must opt-in for these messages, so businesses ‘can reach customers at any moment in their journey’. Businesses could really scale and look to messaging for increasing brand awareness and direct lead generation. However, businesses should be cautious in their messaging strategy, to avoid the likely potential to spam and annoy a user to the point of no return.  

 

Event Highlight 

5. Building a TikTok Strategy That’s Right for Your Brand | Thursday,  June 16 | 2 PM ET 

Whether you are new to TikTok, or in need of a revamp- identify whether your brand should be investing into the fastest-growing platform. Register here.  

 

Contact Information   

 For more information, contact [email protected]  

Follow us on: 

Twitter 

Instagram 

LinkedIn 

The Download- June 24, 2022

The Download- May 13, 2022

The Download- May 13, 2022

About The Download

Every Friday, we will be breaking down our top five picks for everything happening in the digital space, from new tools and algorithms on socials to valuable industry insights. Be sure to follow us on social media for updates!

What’s Trending?

  1. Meta is hoping to drive publishers to use short-form videos for news content

Meta has made a range of changes to where they are looking to invest and promote content to compete with other growing social platforms. Now, the  announcement of Meta discontinuing their Podcast program to “focus on the most meaningful experiences” looks to be pointing in the direction of short videos.

Meta has been extending partnerships with news organisations, by offering grants and a dedicated ‘News’ tab, in return for content to keep users engaged. We’ve seen short videos have renewed success on other platforms with ‘Reels’, and it looks like Meta will keep rewarding organisations who follow the trend.

  1. “Twitter Circle” launches to allow for more discreet tweets

Twitter Circle will allow users to create their selected audience of contacts through what is essentially, a private group chat.

As of now, users can add up to 150 people to their Circle, with any tweets visible to those who are included in the group. Members in the Circle will know that their tweets are received to only those included in the circle with a green indicator attached to each tweet.

This new feature seems to compliment the purpose behind Twitter’s ‘Communities’, which enables users to create segmented audiences for sharing specific, niche content with, instead of broadcasting to everyone on the platform. Both ‘Circle’ and ‘Communities’ aim to help users identify their specific audiences to create meaningful discussions that everyone involved would be interested in.

  1. LinkedIn to ‘crack down’ on posts and content that annoy users

LinkedIn is taking a stand against ‘engagement bait’ posts, by making it harder for these posts to move up the home feed based on changes to the algorithm.

So, what is changing? Basically, LinkedIn will demote posts that:

  • Explicitly ask users to engage with through reactions, liking and commenting. An example is asking users to use an emoji to respond to a question
  • Use polls, after users complained that there are too many on their feeds
  • Contain political content deemed by LinkedIn- although this feature is only in the US now

Also, in hopes of reducing the number of notifications users receive, LinkedIn will be limiting the updates you see from your network, like posts a connection has liked or commented on.

Insight of the Week

4. Reddit ads may be a huge opportunity for marketers looking to target specific audiences, build brand loyalty and engage with community. According to Reddit, 47% of users agree that Reddit ads are more relevant to the specific topics they were browsing on the site. Discover more of Reddit’s ad options here.

Event Highlight

5. LinkedIn’s [in]novate: How to win at content marketing. Learn more details and register here. Join this webinar hosted by Rand Fishkin, Founder and CEO of Sparktoro and Purna Virji, Senior Content Solutions Consultant at LinkedIn to gain insights on creating and positioning content your audience will understand and engage with.

Contact Information 

For more information, contact [email protected]

Follow us on:

Twitter

Instagram

LinkedIn

Madano ranked 62nd in PRWeek’s Top 150 UK PR Consultancies

Madano ranked 62nd in PRWeek’s Top 150 UK PR Consultancies

Madano has been placed at 62nd in PRWeek’s Top 150 UK PR Consultancies rankings for 2022.

“No one really knew what to expect from 2021, so like everyone else we headed into it with some trepidation, but we came through it and had some brilliant successes – not least moving into our new offices, hitting £6m for the first time, making a dozen new hires and also creating a Digital Practice,” said Michael Evans, Madano’s managing partner. “With growth of 20% over the past two years and similar growth planned for 2022, we are very much on track to hit our target of £10m by 2025.”

Madano is committed to building a better world through intelligent and creative communications. Working with organisations who are seeking to solve some of the world’s major challenges through science, technology and engineering, we help them tell their story, make the right connections, change attitudes and influence behaviours.

We are continuing to grow and looking to bring new people in to join us on our journey – check out our current vacancies here.

To find out how we can work with you to shape your organisation’s future, please get in touch for a chat.

The Download- June 24, 2022

The Download

April 22, 2022

About The Download  

Every Friday, we will be breaking down our top five picks for everything happening in the digital space, from new tools and algorithms on socials to valuable industry insights. Be sure to follow us on social media for updates!  

What’s Trending?  

1.New Kid on the Block: the newest app taking Gen-Z and Millennials by storm  

The BeReal app is the newest social media application being downloaded at record levels by Gen-Z and millennials. The app encourages users to post themselves in their ‘real’ and authentic state, shadowing away from carefully curated, aesthetic-first profiles taking over popular apps like Instagram.  

People are encouraged to share what they are doing in real-time and works by using both front and back facing smartphone cameras to share where you are and what you are doing. It also addresses increased sharing activity, as users can only see what their friends are sharing once they share their own real-time activity, although a user is encouraged to share just once a day.  

The French app is already being installed on mobiles globally and is in the top 5 app downloads in the US, UK, and France, with monthly active users climbing to 315% since the beginning of 2022. With the meteoric growth of TikTok last year, it is too early to tell whether the BeReal app is a passing fad or here to stay.  

2. TikTok announces Interactive Add-Ons to make the most out of your In-Feed Ads  

TikTok’s advertising offering has become more interesting with the introduction of various interactive elements, or “add-ons” to include in your advertisement’s video content. TikTok’s logic for employing these features is based on data of ‘brand engagers’ who interact with content on the platform and connect with businesses, leads to more online searches of brands and products to convert sales.  

TikTok makes it easy for advertisers to decipher which elements they should be using by separating add-ons into Standard or Premium categories. There is no difference between ad spends for these categories but marketing goals, whether that they concern driving clicks and conversions or building online communities.  

With TikTok monthly active users heading towards 2 billion, it is no wonder why TikTok is investing in unique features like add-ons to capitalise marketers’ interest.  

3. Mark Zuckerberg’s “holy grail” device for transforming technology into the Metaverse  

Meta has been developing Augmented Reality (AR) glasses in hopes of cementing the Metaverse and Meta hardware as the biggest ‘game-changer’ in tech. Dubbed, Project Nazare, the vision for the product includes the ability to communicate and engage with holograms of other people in the Metaverse, which Zuckerberg believes could become the better version of video calling using mobile devices.  

Plans for this device includes a first-generation model to come to market by 2024 and subsequent models to be released in 2026 and 2028. With the viability of the Metaverse and other virtual tech still in question, could these glasses really be the next iPhone of this generation?  

Insight of the Week  

4. To hashtag or not to hashtag?

A new report finds that Instagram hashtags do not increase post views on Instagram or help increase engagements. Rather, hashtags should be used to categorise content and help make content discoverable on the platform.  

Event Highlight 

5. Conversations by Meta. May 19th, 2022. 

Want to communicate better on Meta’s platforms? Learn from In-house experts through a series of sessions and demos on the messaging tools your business can utilise to connect with customers and enable growth on social platforms. Sign up for the virtual event here.  

Contact Information  

For more information, contact [email protected]  

Follow us on: Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn 

Madano Policy Brief – Hydrogen Announcements

Madano Policy Brief – Hydrogen Announcements

Madano Policy Brief – Hydrogen Announcements  

Written on April 8, 2022 by Harry Spencer, James Watson and Ben Gascoyne 

Today, the Government has published a series of documents that taken together are designed to provide the clarity, funding, and regulatory models that businesses will need to invest in order meet the new 10GW target for hydrogen production in the UK. This package of announcements follows yesterday’s formal launch of the UK’s Energy Security Strategy.  

The documents include: 

  • A response to the government’s consultation on the Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard, which will set out the UK’s greenhouse gas intensity threshold for hydrogen, alongside research and analysis on fugitive hydrogen emissions. 
  • Publication of the Heads of Terms for the Hydrogen Business Models, with £100m to enable projects to bridge the gap between the cost of offering hydrogen at a competitive price and the true cost of production, reflecting similar interventions for offshore wind in the last decade. 
  • A consultation seeking further views on market engagement for electrolytic projects combining both Hydrogen Business Models (revenue support) and the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund (capex support) to provide a comprehensive package to applicants. 
  • A £26m Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator fund, which is designed to support demonstration of hydrogen as a fuel for industries, like steel, cement, and glass. 
  • A Hydrogen Investor Roadmap, which highlights a series of UK investment opportunities across the emerging hydrogen value chain. 

While each document covers a defined brief, collectively these documents aim to create something greater than the sum of their individual parts by providing confidence to hydrogen sector businesses to invest in projects. Where previously there had been uncertainty as to how hydrogen would be funded at scale, and what the government would take into account when assessing projects, the documents published today mean that applicants can rely on a complete (if still theoretical) framework, regardless of production technology.  

However, given the timescales, the government’s expectation is that production-at-scale will be deliverable from the mid-point of this decade, rather than immediately. Additionally, and perhaps more concerning for business, there is limited new funding attached to today’s announcements. 

What is apparent in these documents is the government’s intention to diversify the supply of low-carbon hydrogen, rather than focus solely on one production method. For example, the new “Low Carbon Hydrogen Agreement” subsidy system (largely a replication of the highly successful Contracts for Difference model) will provide producers with a premium, calculated as the difference between the Strike Price and the Reference Price for each unit of hydrogen sold. This proposal has been specifically designed to support both electrolytic and CCUS-enabled hydrogen projects to be brought forward.  

Rather than sources of hydrogen per se, the documents reinforce that carbon intensity of hydrogen production will be key. The proposed limit on acceptable carbon intensity to 20gCO2e/MJLHV is designed to allow a wide variety of production technologies to contribute to scaled up hydrogen production, while excluding existing carbon intensive hydrogen from support. 

Overall, the announcements are good news for hydrogen producers, demonstrating the increased focus on this policy (and business) area but, as ever, the devil is in the detail and much will depend on how the government implements the package of announcements, and how it works with industry to do so. 

Detailed Overview of Announcements 

Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard – consultation response 

  • This standard enables projects to be defined as ‘low carbon hydrogen’, and guidance for compliance has been published alongside it. 
  • Projects funded by Government will be required to comply with the standard, and potentially prove compliance during operation, but will not be subject to later amendment – meaning projects funded at one level of carbon intensity will not need to later meet a higher standard.  
  • However, leeway will not be given to existing production facilities, so they too must meet this new standard to be eligible for funding. 
  • With the aim of striking a balance between growth of the market and emissions reductions, Government intends to set the carbon intensity threshold at 20gCO2e/MJLHV (Lower Heating Value), measured at the point of production. It will account for and report on negative emissions, where they can be proven. 
  • The Government will review ‘fugitive emissions’ with global warming potential from hydrogen production, and has provided guidance on best practice for reducing fugitive emissions and taking this into account in funded project applications. Successful projects will be expected to report on fugitive emissions. 
  • Government expects pressure and purity to be agreed between producers and off-takers, but with regard to impact on emissions, a theoretical minimum pressure of 3MPa and minimum purity of 99.9% for the purposes of comparing projects for funding. If a project will not comply, it is expected to use guidance produced by Government to account for the impact on emissions within the application. 
  • Carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) will not be given carbon reduction credits under the standard, meaning that carbon captured and utilised rather than permanently stored in geologic structures will be considered as being emitted to the atmosphere. This will be reviewed in the future. 
  • Regarding electricity inputs, the key will be for producers to demonstrate clear evidence of meeting technical requirements for achieving low carbon electricity input, so different electricity inputs can be averaged, if necessary, over a reasonable period, such as monthly. The standard allows for mixed inputs into production systems. 
  • Biomass projects are expected to comply with the requirements of the Green Gas Support Scheme and Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation. 
  • To avoid constraining uptake of electrolysis, ‘additionality’ (e.g., wider benefit around biomethane) will not be factored into the standard. 

Hydrogen Investor Roadmap 

  • The Hydrogen Investor Roadmap details nearly 60 potential hydrogen production projects located across the UK, covering electrolysis, CCUS and storage and distribution infrastructure.  
  • It also sets out a roadmap of Government’s current commitments through to 2030, and a breakdown of actions to support a hydrogen economy across demand stimulation, enabling infrastructure, funding support, supply chains and the regulatory environment. 
  • A roadmap of BEIS Hydrogen funding rounds expected in 2022 and 2023 has been published alongside this. 

Joint market engagement for electrolytic allocations within the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund and Hydrogen Business Models 

  • A joint market engagement document has been published that sets out a joint approach for electrolytic hydrogen projects seeking BEIS funded support in 2022.  
  • Hydrogen Business Models funding will provide revenue support to producers to bridge the gap between the true costs of production and the competitive pricing needed to sell hydrogen. 
  • The Net Zero Hydrogen Fund is designed to provide CAPEX support. 
  • A single application form will ask applicants to indicate whether they wish to receive CAPEX support in addition to revenue support, so BEIS can consider the optimal package of funding for projects. Government is encouraging projects to consider both to achieve the maximum value for money. 
  • For electrolytic projects seeking funding in this round of support from Hydrogen Business Models and the NZHF, funds will open for applications in early July 2022, close in September 2022, with shortlisted projects to be announced in early 2023. At this stage, BEIS will begin negotiations, and will aim to achieve signed contracts with successful projects no later than December 2023. 
  • From the award of funding, Government then expects projects to make a final go/no-go decision within three months and be in operation by the end of 2025. 
  • All projects must be UK based, and core production technology used should be at TRL Level 7 (‘Integrated Pilot System Demonstrated’). The NHZF will only fund new build projects, with the potential exemption of those within the existing Net Zero Innovation Portfolio pipeline. Projects must produce 5MW as a minimum, with at least one identified offtaker to provide assurance that there is demand, and an electrolyser supplier identified. 
  • Evaluation criteria have been published to outline how projects will be assessed. 

Hydrogen Business Models – Government response and Heads of Terms 

  • A full response to the consultation on Hydrogen Business Models has been published, alongside Heads of Terms. 
  • BEIS proposes to offer a “Low Carbon Hydrogen Agreement” to hydrogen producers which meet the requirements of the low carbon hydrogen standard. These contracts will typically last between 10 and 15 years. 
  • Projects seeking revenue support through this process will need to demonstrate significant commitment to the project by spending a minimum percentage of “Total Project Commissioning Costs”; or fulfilling a specified set of “Project Commitments” to be eligible 
  • The hydrogen counterparty (the body assigning the Contracts for Difference) will be able to terminate agreements if project milestones agreed in advance are missed, and for a range of other contract violations. 
  • BEIS is also considering allowing termination if the hydrogen produced does not meet low carbon hydrogen standards and this is not rectified within a reasonable period. 
  • BEIS is also considering replicating the practice of other CfD rounds by not allowing the prospective producer to terminate the contract. 
  • Hydrogen producers will be paid a premium, calculated as the difference between the Strike Price and the Reference Price (discussed immediately below) for each unit of hydrogen sold. Payments will be made on a £ per MWh (higher heating value (HHV) basis.  
  • In determining the Strike Price, which will be negotiated on a project-by-project basis, BEIS is considering the potential elements to include, which are likely to include: 
    •  capex and opex associated with the construction and operation of the Facility (excluding capex funded by the NZHF GFA)
    • an allowed return on investment.
    • capex, but not opex, associated with small-scale hydrogen transport infrastructure (negotiated on a project-by-project basis by taking several factors into account including      necessity, affordability, and value for money for Government).  
    • capex and/or opex associated with a small-scale hydrogen storage infrastructure (negotiated on a project-by-project basis by taking several factors into account including        necessity, affordability, and value for money for Government). 
  • The Reference Price will be whichever is higher – the Producer’s Achieved Sales Price or the Price Floor (which will be the lower of the Natural Gas Price and the Strike Price).  
  • The “Achieved Sales Price” will be equal to the volume-weighted average price for low carbon hydrogen for the relevant Billing Period to reduce the reporting burden for the Producer.  
  • The “Natural Gas Price” will be the arithmetic average of the daily value of the UK NBP Month Ahead Natural Gas Price published on every business day of the calendar month preceding the relevant Billing Period. 
  • The “Price Floor” will be the lower of the Natural Gas Price and the Strike Price. 
  • The Low Carbon Hydrogen Agreement will include a mechanism that will be designed to aid price discovery. This will operate so that the Producer receives an amount linked to the increment by which the Reference Price exceeds the Price Floor for each unit of hydrogen sold. The intention is to promote price discovery and to also incentivise the Producer to seek higher price sales. 
  • Volume support will be provided to Hydrogen producer through a sliding scale mechanism. Under this mechanism, if the Producer is producing low carbon hydrogen and its offtake/sales volumes fall, the Producer will receive an additional amount for each unit of hydrogen sold. This will be equivalent to paying the Producer a higher level of Strike Price for the low volumes of hydrogen. If the Producer’s offtake/sales volumes fall to zero, no volume support will be provided. This mechanism will enable the Producer to recover a relatively greater proportion of its cost of production if offtake/sales volumes fall, while incentivising the Producer to produce and sell higher volumes of low carbon hydrogen to increase its revenue.  
  • If production volume increases above any defined level through a new Facility or a new module, it will not be covered under the terms of the original Low Carbon Hydrogen Agreement. 
  • Strike Prices will be indexed to CPI inflation for electrolytic hydrogen production, while for CCUS-enabled hydrogen production, the natural gas cost component will be indexed to the market price of natural gas, while all other components will be indexed to CPI. 

Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator Programme 

  • As part of the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, in April 2022, Government will open a new fund designed to deliver demonstration of low carbon hydrogen as a fuel for industry. 
  • This aims to enable industries to switch to low carbon hydrogen to reduce their emissions. It is targeting 5 feasibility reports by 2023, and demonstration of end-to-end systems. 
  • It will be split into two streams – a fund going straight to demonstration of a small number of the largest projects, allocating grants of between £2m and 10m and match-funding applicant costs of between 25-60% of the project total, and then a second two part stream, with around 5 projects to be initially funded for £100k-400k 100% grant funded feasibility studies, followed by £1m-7m grant allocations matched to 25%-60% of the project total. 
  • All projects must achieve demonstration by March 2025, as Government is keen to create a pathway for consumption of low carbon hydrogen it is funding.
Energy Security Strategy

Energy Security Strategy

Madano Policy Brief – Energy Security Strategy  
Written on April 7, 2022 by Harry Spencer and James Watson
     
Energy Strategy Analysis 
The new UK Energy Security Strategy has been formally launched by the Prime Minister, after much media trailing. The strategy sets a highly ambitious mission for the UK – to produce 95% of electricity from low carbon sources by 2030.   

At its heart lies an accelerated transition to renewable power, with targets to produce 50GW of offshore wind power by 2030, including a specific target of 5GW for floating offshore wind, and a doubling of the target for low carbon hydrogen production to 10GW. Regulatory barriers to wider deployment of solar and onshore wind will also be reviewed, with the strategy noting that solar could be a greatly expanded role in the future energy system. 

A significantly expanded role for nuclear is the other key pillar of the strategy, which commits to producing 24GW of nuclear power by 2050, from a mix of both small modular reactors and large conventional nuclear projects. To deliver this vision, a new body, Great British Nuclear will be set up to help bring forward new projects, and a Future Nuclear Enabling Fund will also be launched. 

The strategy also endorses a new licensing round for North Sea oil and gas projects, and development of a new taskforce to support these developments, in the knowledge that the sector has a vital role to play while this transition is in progress.   

Fundamentally, the thrust of the new energy system envisaged are in line with previous government strategies, such as the Ten Point Plan. What is new is the proposed pace, and scale, of change. The government estimates the new strategy will generate 40,000 additional jobs in comparison to previous policy, and support 480,000 low carbon industry jobs in total by 2030. 

But major questions hang over the strategy.  

First, will the Treasury provide the financial firepower required to turn these targets into reality? From what has been seen so far, the strategy is light on specific financial commitments. This likely reflects internal departmental wrangling, and particularly Treasury scepticism. If so, this could undermine the strategy’s overall achievability. 

Second, and maybe ultimately more significant: does this government – and potentially its successors given the timeframes involved – have the political will to see the strategy through when the going gets tough? The difficult political reality is that households across Britain will see massive energy price increases in the short-term, while this strategy will take years – decades, even – to deliver. The government may find itself under further pressure, soon, to do more to alleviate those short-term cost impacts which could, in turn, sap its political willpower to see through the longer-term strategic plan.  

Delivering Britain’s new Energy Security Strategy will transform the energy landscape across the UK if its ambitious goals are made reality. Whether the government’s actions can match its rhetoric remains to be seen. 

 

 

Specific Announcements 
The Energy Strategy features several key announcements for the sector, including: 

Nuclear 

  • The Government has set a nuclear generation target of 24GW by 2050, representing up to around 25% of the UK’s projected electricity demands. It intends to take one (undisclosed) project to FID in this Parliament (2019-2025) and 2 projects in the next, including small modular reactors (SMRs) and subject to value for money and relevant approvals. 
  • This pipeline will sit alongside existing investment of over £2bn this Parliament in new nuclear, including £100m to support the development of Sizewell C, and £210m to bring through SMRs. The Government will also launch the £120m Future Nuclear Enabling Fund this month (April 2022).   
  • A new development body, ‘Great British Nuclear’ (GBN), will be created to support the development of new projects, backed by substantial but currently undisclosed funding. GBN will be responsible for identifying new sites, speeding up the planning process, and bringing together private firms to run each site. 
  • As part of this process, the Government expects to initiate selection of further UK projects in 2023, with the intention that it will enter negotiations with the most credible projects to enable a potential government award of support as soon as possible, including (but not limited to) Wylfa. As part of this, the government will consider the role that it can play in financing new projects. 
  • The Government will also work to collaborate further with other countries to accelerate work on advanced nuclear technologies, including both Small Modular Reactors and Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs). 

Hydrogen  

  • The Government has confirmed its ambition to double its 5GW low-carbon hydrogen target to 10GW by 2030, with at least 50% of this new capacity coming from electrolytic-hydrogen production and using excess offshore wind power to drive down costs.     
  • It will also aim to run annual allocations rounds for hydrogen, moving to price competitive allocation by 2025 as soon as legislation and market conditions allow, so that up to 1GW of electrolytic hydrogen is in construction or operational by 2025, with up to 2GW of production capacity overall (including CCUS-enabled hydrogen) in operation or construction by 2025. 
  • There is a commitment to design, by 2025, new business models for hydrogen transport and storage infrastructure, which will be essential to grow the hydrogen economy and provide security for producers and consumers. 
  • A hydrogen certification scheme by 2025, will support the export and import of hydrogen through set standards that will enable UK companies to compete, globally, it will also examine port infrastructure to ensure interlockers and gas terminals are “hydrogen-ready.”   
  • The Government will ensure consideration is given to the siting of electrolysers to best use the anticipated, surplus, low carbon electricity and reduce potential network contains.  
  • Finally, the BEIS Hydrogen Economy Team has confirmed, separately, that it will shortly publish its Hydrogen Investment Package, which will contain the Hydrogen Investor Roadmap and the following government responses on the: 
    • Hydrogen Business Model 
    • Net Zero Hydrogen Fund 
    • Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard  

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) 

  • The Government has reiterated its plans to delivery on its £1bn commitment to 4 CCS clusters by 2030, with the first 2 sites selected (HyNet and East Coast Cluster) and the Scottish Cluster in reserve.   
  • This month (April), it will also publish delivery roadmaps for CCS and hydrogen to provide clear signals to industry and enable further investment.  

Oil and Gas 

  • The Government intends to launch a licensing round for new North Sea oil and gas projects in the Autumn of 2022. This will consider the forthcoming climate compatibility checkpoint and the need for energy security.  
  • Alongside this intention, it will set up Gas and Oil New Project Regulatory Accelerators to provide dedicated, named project support to facilitate the rapid development of projects and, potentially, reduce timelines. 
  • Confirmed that it will proceed with its commissioning an impartial technical review on shale gas by the British Geological Society to consider any further scientific updates on seismicity that government ought to consider. The Government is keen to note that any exploration or development of shale gas would need to meet rigorous safety and environmental protection both above ground and sub-surface 

Offshore and Onshore Wind 

  • A new target of 50GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, which is a significant increase on the 11GW deployed to date. According to Government figures, this will be more than enough to power every UK home. 
  • Of this 50 GW by 2030 commitment, the Government would like to see 5GW being composed of floating offshore wind in deeper seas.   
  • To radically accelerate the speed of deployment, the Government will also reduce consent time from up to four years to one year, strengthen the Renewable National Policy Statements to reflect the importance of energy security and net zero, and will work with the Offshore Wind Acceleration Task Force to cut deployment timelines. 
  • The Government will also implement a new Offshore Wind Environmental Improvement Package including an industry-funded Marine Recovery Fund and nature-based design standards to accelerate deployment and will introduce strategic compensation environmental measures including for projects already in the system to offset environmental effects and reduce delays to projects. 
  • Offshore wind will also be supported by establishing a fast track consenting route for priority cases where quality standards are met, by amending Planning Act 2008, and by guaranteeing continued participation in CfD auctions for the sector.  
  • On onshore wind, the Government will consult this year on developing local partnerships for a limited number of supportive communities who wish to host new onshore wind infrastructure in return for benefits, including lower energy bills. The consultation will consider how clear support can be demonstrated by local communities, local authorities and MPs. 
  • Onshore wind will also remain eligible for CfD auctions, and the Government will look at options to support the upgrade of existing sites. 

Solar 

  • The Government’s strategy ‘anticipates’ a five-fold increase in deployment by 2035, to 70GW, but does not set a formal target. 
  • To enable growth of solar, the Government will “consult on amending planning rules to strengthen policy in favour of development on non-protected land, while ensuring communities continue to have a say and environmental protections remain in place.” The strategy notes that large scale projects will continue to be encouraged to locate on previously developed, or lower value land, and co-location with other energy technologies will be encouraged. 
  • For rooftop solar, the strategy commits to radically simplifying planning processes with a consultation on relevant permitted development rights and to consider the best way to make use of public sector rooftops. 

Networks 

  • The Government will establish a Future System Operator as soon as practicable to drive the transition and oversee the UK energy system. 
  • A strategic framework will be published this year with Ofgem for how networks will deliver net zero. 
  • An Electricity Networks Commissioner will be appointed to advise government on policies and regulatory changes to accelerate progress on network infrastructure. 
  • A blueprint for the whole system will be published by the end of 2022 in the Holistic Network Design (HND) and Centralised Strategic Network Plan (CSNP). The HND will identify strategic infrastructure needed to deliver offshore wind by 2030. The National Policy Statements will also be updated to recognise these blueprints in the planning system, increasing certainty for the planning inspectorate, developers and other stakeholders. 
  • Government will set out the importance of strategic network investment in its forthcoming Strategy and Policy Statement for Ofgem. 
  • The Government will work with stakeholders to increase pipeline visibility and accelerate procurement timelines, and with Ofgem to speed up connections to local distribution networks. The Government and Ofgem will also collaborate to reduce timelines for delivering strategic onshore transmission network infrastructure by around three years and to identify further opportunities to accelerate development. 
  • The Government will consult on community benefit options to ensure local residents benefit from energy projects.  

Heat Pump Manufacturing  

  • The Government will run a Heat Pump Investment Accelerator Competition in 2022 (no exact times provided) that will be worth up to £30m to build heat pumps in the UK and reduce demand for natural gas for home heating.  

Industry  

  • To support industry struggling with high energy costs, the Government will also extend the Energy Intensive Industries Compensation Scheme for a further three years.  

 

For more information please contact one of our expert consultants at [email protected]

 

Interview with Tara

Interview with Tara

1. Please could you introduce yourself and talk about your journey so far at Madano? 

Hi! I’m Tara, I’ve been at Madano now for four years. I started straight after university as a Research Executive and now I’m a Senior Research Manager. I started this role not really knowing what to expect and so tried to experience all the different areas of research, for example, from more traditional qualitative interviews to data science.  

Over the years, I’ve developed the skills that glue together both the data science side and the more traditional research we do in the Insights team.  

2. Congratulations on the AMEC Award recognition for Young Professional of the Year. How did you feel when it was announced that you were Highly Commended by the organisation for this prestigious category?

At Madano, we’re often recognised and celebrated for the good work that we do, but to see the recognition from an external organisation – that was really special. It definitely made the hard work and dedication worth it. I really felt honoured to receive this award.  

3. You were also involved in the project that won Bronze for the Innovation Award by the AMEC. What are your top tips for managing and seeing through award-winning projects? 

The most important thing is identifying opportunities to grow and innovate, rather than sticking with what’s been done before. Also, working closely with the client and having them not only on board but excited about the journey is important. You want them to feel like you’re going on a journey with them, and they’re involved in the entire process. 

Getting the right team together definitely helps, as we can motivate each other to think outside the box. Seeing it as a team effort rather than the person managing the project steering the direction and outcome is important. 

This is a great aspect of Madano’s culture. We encourage everyone to contribute, regardless of your seniority, because there’s really no hierarchy when working on a project. Being bold enough to take risks, ask questions, and share your ideas is part of the reason I was able to move into a managerial role so quickly. 

4. Speaking of which, you’ve recently been promoted to Senior Research Manager – your third promotion in the last four years you’ve been with us. What project, moment or activity has really stood out to you so far? 

Our work with the ECF was really interesting and enjoyable. It gave us the opportunity to take a creative approach to analysing large amounts of publicly available data. Ultimately, this helped inform ECF’s overall communications strategy, helping it effectively target different audiences. It was an extremely interesting topic area, and this project was where I also fell in love with segmentation, which is something I do a lot of now in my work. 

5. Finally, what advice would you give to those who want to pursue a career in insights? 

Always say what you think and speak up about your ideas. Don’t be shy when you’re in a meeting. Get involved in everything so you can figure out what you’re passionate about. Once you know what you like to do, you can then specialise. I like to think of it as two possible paths: specialising your expertise in a methodology or leading/managing a team. Both are great and really interesting roles.   

Enjoying your job is so important as it gets you to where you want to go. Remember, though, that you don’t have to do it all by yourself. I encourage you to rely on the people around you for support because they will help you get to where you want to be. 

 

Mother’s Day 2022

Mother’s Day 2022

Dear darling commute, 

A week ago, a female friend of mine said she dropped her child off at nursery at the same time as another parent and ended up doing her whole commute to work with this dad whose office is near hers. The utter horror. I can think of no greater (legal) infringement of my boundaries than this. 

No one gets between me and my commute. Call it new love (thank you covid) but my commute on the sweaty, crowded, aggressive Northern line, is the highlight of my day. The last thing before I think about at night is my commute. I wake up and spring out of bed for my commute! 

“Why?!?” I hear you yell at this blog post! Well, it is the only time in my day when I don’t have a small child demanding my time and love. Where I don’t look at a pile of laundry to be done or even have the internet connection to order children’s clothes. And I’m not at work. So, there’s no fretting over a client’s email, or drafting a document for a briefing.  

It’s MY time. It’s time to listen to a funny podcast, to do my codeword puzzles, to read my trashy yet fascinating book. I could even sit/stand there and stare into the middle-distance dreaming of the glass of wine that awaits at the end of a long day. I can do WHATEVER I want. 

That is why, commute, I love you. I just thought you should know. 

Love, 

Chloe  

AKA the exhausted mother of two you’ve been seeing for a few months now 

 

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