A new study has warned of focusing on “politically seductive” large-scale solutions such as nuclear and carbon capture and storage (CCS), noting that more granular solutions like energy storage, solar and heat pumps can be mass deployed at an affordable cost to enable a quicker net-zero transition. Researchers from IIASA, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia (UEA), and the University Institute of Lisbon have found that smaller-scale technologies such as solar panels, electric vehicles, storage batteries, heat pumps, smart thermostats, electric bikes, and shared taxis can speed up the transition to net-zero emissions required to mitigate severe climate impacts. The findings, which were published in the journal Science, found that smaller technologies are quicker to deploy at mass scale, have less investment risk and are more flexible due to shorter lifespans so improvements can be introduced. These types of technologies are also more widely accessible and can create more jobs, the researchers note. In contrast, the research found that “politically seductive” and “lumpy” technologies like nuclear and CCS would take up far more public resources and restrict rapid decarbonisation to net-zero. Lead researcher Charlie Wilson, who is jointly associated with the IIASA Transitions to New Technologies Program and UEA, said: “A rapid proliferation of low-carbon innovations distributed throughout our energy system, cities, and homes can help drive faster and fairer progress towards climate targets.
Edie 2nd April 2020 read more »
Mass adoption of electric bicycles and smart thermostats will get the UK to net zero emissions more quickly than large scale, expensive options like nuclear power plants and carbon capture and storage technologies. That is according to a team of climate researchers led by the University of East Anglia, which tested how effective a range of low carbon technologies would be at speeding carbon cuts. The researchers considered how the technologies stacked up against a variety of metrics, including cost, accessibility, and carbon-cutting potential.
iNews 2nd April 2020 read more »
The body representing the UK’s electricity and gas transmission and distribution sector has set out its plans for reaching net-zero by 2050, concluding that this ambition will only be achieved if a “whole-systems” approach to transformation is adopted. In its Energy Networks Innovation Strategy, the Energy Networks Association (ENA) lists the net-zero transition as a key theme around which current and future innovations must be centred. The ENA praises policymakers and businesses across the utilities sector for investing in green innovation, noting that 1,100 grid innovation projects were underway as of the end of March. Among these projects are the UK’s first grid-injected hydrogen trials, currently underway at Keele University, virtual power plants in Yorkshire and West Sussex and the Social Constraint Managed Zone, whereby businesses have partnered with fuel poverty charity National Energy Action to provide low-income homes with the ability to sell flexibility services to the grid. But the ENA ultimately concludes that broader, more rapid and more joined-up action is needed if Great Britain’s energy and gas networks are to align with the UK’s long-term climate targets while addressing consumer vulnerability and preserving energy security.
Edie 2nd April 2020 read more »