Europe’s electricity markets are in flux. Renewables have upended wholesale markets, but decarbonization has been slow. Can the region meet its long-term carbon reduction goals, even as nuclear declines? “The pathways [that] energy markets across Europe take over the next few decades toward 2050 decarbonization targets are not set in stone,” said Richard Slark, director of the firm Pöyry Management Consulting. Europe still has a number of options. But the pathways are getting slimmer. Pöyry is currently working on a study of European energy market scenarios amid long-term concerns for the regional grid. The research, slated for publication next year, is being carried out on behalf of a diverse group of stakeholders ranging from energy companies to policy bodies. “We’re in a complete state of flux because we are trying as a continent to move toward this decarbonization objective and grappling with new technology that is providing a disruptive influence. That creates a challenge and new opportunities,” said Slark. “When, in Europe, you’ve got more than 250 gigawatts of wind and solar installed, it’s unfair to say renewables cannot fulfill the void,” said Aris Karcanias, co-lead of the clean energy practice at FTI Consulting. “Renewables are no longer just variable or alternative forms of energy: When you tie them in a hybrid with wind, solar andstorage you fundamentally make them a programmable, dispatchable source of energy, which is reliable,” said Karcanias. Karcanias believes nuclear doesn’t fit into this world. “One of the greatest issues with nuclear is you’re dealing with very large volumes of inflexible energy,” he said. Covering low-solar, low-wind periods might be possible through better grid integration, allowing markets to draw on wind, solar, hydro or other energy sources elsewhere, he claimed.
Greentech Media 11th Dec 2017 read more »