Technology key to driving renewables growth

Advances in technology will do more in the next five years to improve the economic case for renewable energy than policy or regulatory changes, according to a new report.

Lloyds Register surveyed 800 experts from around the world, with 71% identifying advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), demand response management (DRM) systems, networked sensors and accuracy of asset monitoring data as key developments.

Respondents expect grid parity for solar to be achieved first in China in 2022, followed by Spain and the United Arab Emirates in 2024, and then by Australia and the United States in 2025.

Grid parity for offshore wind is predicted to occur in Germany and the UK by 2024, the US and Denmark in 2025, and in Sweden by 2033.

Still a need for subsidies

Yet 42% of respondents warned that reaching grid parity will not be enough to lead to a sustained increase in investment in renewables.

Instead, they expect subsidies will still be critical to support developments in most markets.

Karl Ove Ingebrigtsen, Director of Lloyd’s Register’s low-carbon power generation business, said: “I am heartened by the optimistic outlook and by the measured and realistic approach that is displayed throughout the results and insights in this year’s research.

“It illuminates the outlook for renewable energy – and highlights the technologies that are expected to deliver the greatest impact, especially in grid transformation, which must be based on a sound understanding of each country’s individual ecosystem; it is clear that this is advancing alongside technology, policy and investment.”

Need for storage

The “slow development” of storage technologies was blamed by 37% of those questioned for holding back the expansion of renewables.

Storage is needed for load balancing and meeting surges, the report explained.

“Green hydrogen” was highlighted as an alternative to chemical batteries because it can storage energy for longer.

> Download the report