A radical idea to get a high-renewable electric grid: Build way more solar and wind than needed. One entrenched, and very prevalent, idea – likely a result of historically high renewable energy prices – is that all the power generated by renewable resources must be sold as it is generated. The idea of discarding available wind or solar output is anathema, imposed on power producers when production from these sources exceeds what the grid can accept. This old idea ignores a fundamental proposition: oversizing and proactively curtailing wind and solar. However counterintuitive, a study our colleagues and we conducted shows that these steps are the key to the least expensive path to an electric grid powered largely by solar and wind.
The Conversation 29th May 2019 read more »
Clean Tech 1st June 2019 read more »
Deep in the forests north of Stockholm, almost 70 wind turbines are producing enough electricity to power up to 114,000 households. The Jadraas wind farm is one of the many assets The Renewables Infrastructure Group (Trig) has snapped up – for about £250m in March. The FTSE 250 business, launched and run by Infra Capital Partners, invests in wind, solar and battery farms. Trig is unshowy but has a good track record: it has posted an 8.3% annualised total return since listing in 2013, and made a profit of £123.2m last year. It has grown steadily and holds 64 assets across the UK, Ireland, Sweden and France. Last year, it generated more than 2,000 gigawatt hours – enough to power more than 500,000 homes. That is almost one-fifth of the amount of renewable power generated by SSE, the struggling FTSE 100 giant. That wide base should help Trig chart a course through the inevitable seesawing in power prices and regulation – not to mention the weather – as it tries to ride the renewable energy boom. Diversification is set to continue. Shareholders recently approved plans to allow the company to invest more in offshore wind. The sector attracted about €65bn (£57bn) of investment in Europe last year. Trig’s bosses hope to add more battery storage plants to the one it owns in Broxburn, west of Edinburgh. Onshore wind accounts for about 80% of its portfolio by value – against about 14% for solar, 5% for offshore wind, and 1% for battery technologies.
Times 2nd June 2019 read more »
In a week that American oil and gas giant Chevron sold the bulk of its North Sea portfolio for £1.6bn to spend on US shale, two events in Aberdeen showcased very different visions of the energy sector’s future. One was Decom Offshore, an event focused on how to tackle the estimated £59bn costs of taking out – or not, as the case may be – the oil rigs, pipelines and other infrastructure involved with removing about 44bn barrels of oil and gas from the North Sea. The other was a meeting of Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG), a membership body led by Aberdeen city council and made up of companies focused on developing renewable energy in the region. The breakfast event highlighted an initiative aiming to ensure the north of Scotland will reap the benefits of £7bn of offshore wind projects to be installed off Moray and Aberdeenshire. The recently formed DeepWind is one of eight regional “cluster” groups that have been launched across the UK since energy minister Claire Perry unveiled a £250m funding pot for the offshore wind sector. Another such group, Forth & Tay Offshore, has been established for Dundee and Fife. Decommissioning and offshore wind offer the sort of projects that should be galvanising industry to meet the challenges of the energy transition, as well as create jobs. However, both events showed the path to industrial promised lands rarely runs smoothly.
Times 2nd June 2019 read more »