A series of economic ‘tipping points’ could lead to a surge in renewables deployment in the UK and Germany over the next decade, paving the way for the countries to rely entirely on renewable power for lengthy periods from as early as 2030. That is the conclusion of a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance released today on the sidelines of the COP23 Climate Summit and commissioned by energy storage specialist Eaton and the Renewable Energy Association. Entitled Beyond the Tipping Point, the study explores how the power grid is likely to respond to a huge increase in the use of variable renewables technologies, such as wind and solar farms. It argues that inflexible ‘baseload’ technologies such as nuclear and coal plants will face a “very challenging environment” as renewables and energy storage costs plummet and new flexible grid management technologies are deployed. Specifically, the report predicts renewables will account for more than half of UK and German power supplies by 2026, rising to 63 per cent by 2040. It adds that this surge in renewables deployment will mean that from 2030 there could be whole weeks where wind and solar generation exceed demand at some point each day, while from 2040 wind and solar could generate enough power to meet weekly demand during some weeks, paving the way for energy storage technologies to enable a fully renewables-powered grid.
Business Green 14th Nov 2017 read more »
The cost of generating energy from wind and solar in the UK is expected to halve by 2040, but the expected future power system volatility will lead to more economic opportunities for flexible energy sources and storage capacity. That is the key finding of a new study issued by battery developers Eaton, in partnership with the Renewable Energy Association (REA) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). The study found that the intermittency of wind and solar energy will create wildly varying outputs from renewable energy generation in the UK by 2040. At certain times, the report notes, wind and solar energy could exceed total power demand across the UK. However, in 2040, entire weeks and even months will occur where wind and solar produce little to no energy, with other resources needed to plug a 72% to 80% demand gap. While the study notes that battery storage is a viable solution to help with flexible demand over short-term volatility issues stemming from renewables output, the longer periods where wind and solar outputs fall will require other solutions. According to the study, battery storage is not well suited to providing back-up across weeks and months. To meet these longer-term gaps, the report claims that hydro, interconnectors and gas generation are the only solutions that can ease flexibility economically. Other technologies such as hydrogen storage would require significant cost reductions by 2040.
Edie 14th Nov 2017 read more »
Steve Kidd: The growth of renewables over the last few years suggests the electricity market is at a moment of significant transition. What is the true cost of this shift to wind and solar, and how will it impact society? The advance of renewable energy sources and problems with nuclear programmes continue to be prominent in the energy news. The message that comes across to the average reader and listener is that we are definitely moving rapidly along with an energy transition where wind and solar power take over from coal, oil and gas, but nuclear plays only a minor role. Two recent publications highlight the shift to renewables. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has recently published in its market report series “Renewables 2017”. This provides a detailed market analysis and overview of renewable electricity capacity and generation and biofuels production as well as a forecast for the period between 2017 and 2022. Secondly, the 2017 edition of the “World Nuclear Industry Status Report” (WNISR) has just been published. As has been discussed previously in these columns, this is authored by anti-nuclear people but makes a good case, in both numbers and words, that renewable energy is taking over the world and that nuclear is on its way out.
Nuclear Engineering International 7th Nov 2017 read more »