The Informer

This week’s headlines: battery storage across Britain will need to rise by at least ten-fold if net-zero is to be achieved; a new portal is launched to help match communities with sites to install renewable generation projects; and a think-tank warns that nationalisation of the energy industry may hold back decarbonisation.

  • Ten-fold increase in battery storage needed for net zero

    Britain will have to increase its energy storage capacity by at least ten-fold if the country is to hit net zero in the next 20 to 30 years, a report has warned.

    Analysis by Imperial College said that the huge growth would be needed to accommodate the rise in intermittent renewable generation required to hit the target.

    GB currently only has 3GW of storage but would need to increase it to 30GW.

    Dr Iain Staffell, lead author of the research carried out for Drax’s Energy Insights paper, said that storage can play a pivotal role in dictating the pace, scale and cost of the energy transition.

    “Along with other technologies, such as interconnection and flexible generation, energy storage helps integrate more renewables onto the system, which makes it easier to manage the grid and enables greater decarbonisation at lowest cost,” he said.

    Meanwhile, the price of batteries dropped by 87% between 2010 and 2019 thanks to larger orders, rising electric vehicle sales and technological developments, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF’s) 2019 Battery Price Survey.

    Costs have plummeted from $1,100/kWh in 2010 to $156/kWh in 2019 and are expected to hit fall below $100/kWh in 2024.

    Read more

  • Community energy matchmaking initiative launched

    Sustainability charity Forum for the Future has launched a new platform designed to help community groups find sites on which to install renewable energy devices.

    Seventy National Grid substations are among 100 assets that have been listed on the PowerPaired platform, along with schools, churches and homeless shelters.

    Suffolk County Council, Oldham Council, Aster Homes and St Mungo's Community Housing Association are among the organisations that have listed assets on the website.

    The project has been funded by the Friends Provident Foundation, the People’s Postcode Lottery and the Greater London Authority.

    Nicky Conway, Sustainability Manager at National Grid, said: “We encourage local community groups to sign up to the PowerPaired platform so we can start to explore new projects together, and asset owners to register their own sites so we can really start seeing more movement in this space.”

    Read more

  • Think-tank warns nationalisation may hinder decarbonisation

    The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) believes Labour’s plans to nationalise the power industry could delay the UK’s aim to decarbonise the economy.

    Labour wants to take electricity, water and railway companies into public ownership, along with Royal Mail and parts of BT.

    The IFS believes Labour would have to pay “many tens of billions of pounds, at the least” to buy the assets at a fair price from the private sector without leaving current owners – including many pension funds – out of pocket.

    The plan would add £200 billion of assets to the national balance sheet, along with £150bn of debt.

    Lucy Kraftman, Research Economist at IFS, said: “At least in the short run Labour’s current plan would lead to significant disruption which could easily, for example, lead to a hiatus in progress towards decarbonisation in the energy sector.”

    Read more

  • Global energy supply ‘long way’ from being decarbonised

    Worldwide consumption of electricity from non-hydro renewable energy is predicted to rise by 14% next year, with solar and wind accounting for two-thirds of new power generation capacity, according to a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

    But Peter Kiernan, Chief Energy Analyst at the EIU, warned: “Global energy supply is still a long way from being decarbonised. The world will still depend mainly on fossil fuels in 2020, with rising use of natural gas and oil more than compensating for a slight decline for coal.”

    Oil-generated power is expected to grow by 1%, while natural gas will be the largest-growing fossil fuel, up 2.6%, and coal is expected to “edge down slightly.”

    The EIU pointed out that 2020 will be used as the baseline for the 2030 Paris goals, but adds these targets are likely to be missed if Donald Trump wins the 2020 election and takes the United States out of the agreement.

    Read more

  • Science-based targets to drive renewables take-up

    A group of 285 companies using the Science-Based Targets Initiative’s (SBTi’s) guidance will spur the use of up to 90TWh of electricity a year from renewable sources, according to the organisation’s latest report.

    Together, the businesses are responsible for more than 752 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent being emitted every year – more than the combined annual emissions of France and Spain – and have set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement.

    By meeting their targets, these companies will reduce their emissions by 265 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent, approximately equivalent to shutting down 68 coal-fired power plants, which represents a 35% reduction in the firms’ emissions compared to their base year emissions.

    The report added that 76 of these companies’ goals are in line with limiting warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

    Alexander Farsan, Global Lead for Science-Based Targets at WWF, one of the SBTi partners, said: “These companies are at the vanguard in the fight against climate change – they are proof that acting on climate science goes hand-in-hand with a successful business and economy.”

    Read more