There are many pathways to a zero carbon Britain, but speaking as someone who has seen first-hand how vested interests can divert or hamper progress, there are more than a few among the solutions being touted today. We wanted to see what a route to zero carbon would look like if you stripped all of that away.’ So says Juliet Davenport at the front of Good Energy’s new Zero Carbon Britain study. She says she wanted to develop ‘a pathway built on what we know works today – renewables. Leading to an energy system designed to work for the customers of the future, move away from a centralised system, installed by the historic government and big business approach. By asking questions seldom asked, we set out to challenge the energy industry.’ Quite a challenge then. Good Energy says that, in addition to ‘limits in modelling technique or computing power’ they believe that ‘current energy modelling has two main biases which we wanted to correct for in our work. These are: 1. Lack of granularity in modelling techniques falsely benefit nuclear and wind power, underestimating the difficulties caused by combining these two technologies. 2. Nuclear cost predictions are incredibly low when compared to real life projects being developed today’. The headline claim is that there is no need for new nuclear. The report says that adding both more nuclear will likely lead to higher costs for consumers and much higher levels of constraints for wind generators. ‘We have found that beyond the existing Hinkley Point C plant, new nuclear is both unnecessary to reach net zero and would be difficult to manage alongside such a large fleet of renewables’.
Renew Extra 31st July 2021 read more »
This study examines the impacts on energy costs and requirements of interconnecting versus isolating the electric grids of countries in Western Europe when each country’s all-purpose energy is provided by 100 % wind, water, and sunlight (WWS). A weather model is used to predict wind and solar fields and building heat and cold loads. A grid model is used to match electricity, heat, cold, and hydrogen demand with WWS supply; electricity, heat, cold, and hydrogen storage; and demand response. Stable solutions are found for all countries, including the smallest (Luxembourg and Gibraltar) and largest (France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom), and for all combinations of countries. Results indicate that interconnecting countries reduces aggregate annual energy costs, overbuilding of generators and storage, energy shedding, and land/water area requirements in most, but not all, situations. Interconnecting Western Europe may decrease aggregate annual energy costs ~13 % relative to isolating each country. The best reductions are found by interconnecting hydropower-rich Norway with Denmark (20.6 %) and Northwestern Europe (13.7 %). Interconnecting the smallest countries, Luxembourg and Gibraltar, with larger countries benefits all countries. Whether isolated or interconnected, all countries examined, including France and Germany, can maintain a stable grid at low cost with 100 % WWS.
Renewable Energy 27th July 2021 read more »