This week, Ukrenergo Review offers its readers some interesting predictions made by research companies and experts on the development of “green” energy and the prospects of electric vehicles.
You will also find out how many consumers each year change their electricity supplier, as well as how France and Germany stimulate the abandonment of coal generation.
1. Investments in clean energy in 2018 exceeded USD 325 billion – BloombergNEF.
Global net investments in clean energy reached USD 332.1 billion in 2018, down by 8% compared with 2017. This is reported by BloombergNEF (BNEF).
Investments in wind power increased by 3% and reached USD 128.6 billion. At the same time, investments in solar installations decreased by 24%, but they still retained leading positions. According to preliminary estimates, 109 GW of SPP were put into operation in 2018. Investments in offshore wind energy grew by 14%.
China remained the undisputed leader of the past year, although it has reduced its investment volume compared with 2017 by 32% to USD 100.1 billion, with the investment in the United States rising by 12% to USD 64.2 billion.
In Europe, investments in clean energy grew by 27% to USD 74.5 billion, boosted by the financing of five offshore wind energy projects in the “billion dollars plus” category. There was also a sharp rise in investments in the solar energy market in Spain due to significant cost reductions and continued construction of powerful wind power plants in Sweden and Norway.
In addition, according to BloombergNEF, despite the slowdown in global GDP growth, the low-carbon transition will progressively evolve this year.
2. The record number of UK electricity and gas consumers changed their supplier.
Every fifth British consumer of electricity and gas changed their supplier in the past 2018. This is 5.9 million people, while 5.5 million consumers changed their supplier in 2017. This is reported by the industrial group Energy UK.
Six major energy companies in the UK (British Gas Centrica, SSE, E.ON, EDF Energy, Nnower Innogy and Scottish Iberdrola) have been losing customers over the last few years under pressure from smaller competitive companies offering more advantageous terms.
This year, the decision by the British regulator Ofgem on establishing the upper threshold for energy prices, which some suppliers rated as a negative step worsening the level of competition and reducing the number of transitions to other suppliers, came into force.
However, Energy UK Executive Director Lawrence Slade expressed the hope that the introduction of price limits would not lead to a reduction in competition and would not affect the consumers’ right to choose a supplier.
3. The price of electric cars can equal that of petrol cars in five years.
In the UK, the cost of buying and servicing electric vehicles can equal that of petrol and diesel cars in five years. This trend will be facilitated by government support and subsidies, as well as by rapid technological development. As reported by Energylivenews.com, such a forecast was presented by Deloitte partner Michael Woodward. In his opinion, prices can become equal much earlier – already in 2021.
At the same time, according to Climatechangenews.com, during the Economic Forum in Davos, Head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, said that although the use of electric vehicles was increasing geometrically, it hardly affected the reduction in carbon emissions and demand for oil.
He also added that in 2019, the IEA expected an increase in the world oil demand by 1.3 million barrels per day. The main consumers of fossil resources will remain trucks, petrochemicals and aircraft.
Mr Birol also reminded that two-thirds of the world’s electricity generation, including that used to charge electric vehicles, derived from the combustion of fossil fuels.
However, there is an increased number of ships, planes and trucks using hydrogen, biofuels and electricity, indicating a slow but certain decarbonisation of the transport sector. Moreover, the IEA predicts an increase in the supply of electric vehicles, which far exceeds demand (by 14 million cars by 2030). Competition in the market will grow, which will have a positive effect on the quality of products.
4. Enel installed 260 EV charging points across Italy and Austria.
One of the world’s largest energy companies, the Italian Enel, installed 260 high-speed chargers for electric cars along the longest roads in Italy and Austria.
The chargers are located at 130 filling stations. They can be used by all electric vehicles that are currently on the European market and meet international standards in the field of low carbon mobility. The charging infrastructure system in Italy was developed by Enel, the charging devices of which can fully ensure battery charging of the average electric vehicle during 20 minutes.
Today, there are 220 charging points EV in Italy and 40 ones in Austria. Enel plans to build additional 140 points in the next three years. The charging infrastructure is mainly located at the entrance to motorways and the parking lots of shopping malls.
The programme was co-funded by the EU, while Verbund, Renault, Nissan, BMW, Volkswagen and Audi were involved in its implementation.
5. France and Germany are looking for opportunities to reduce coal and nuclear generation.
The French government together with the country’s largest producer of electricity, EDF, are studying the possibility of transforming the coal units of Cordemais power plant with a capacity of 1.2 GW into biomass combustion units. This is reported by Reuters.
Measures are being taken within the programme to reduce carbon emissions and support programmes to combat global warming. EDF argues that the Cordemais conversion project will only be considered if the facility’s production of electricity is necessary to ensure the security of energy supply in France after 2022.
In addition, the French government plans to reduce the country’s dependence on nuclear energy, which accounts for over 75% of electricity consumption in the country.
The French transmission system operator RTE warned that the closure plan for some coal-fired units and nuclear reactors could make France largely dependent on its neighbours during peak demand periods, especially in winter. At the same time, according to Reuters, Germany plans to establish compensation for the early refusal of coal generation for private companies.
The shares of RWE, the largest electricity producer in Germany, grew by almost 5% because of the prospect of an increase in compensation if its coal-fired power plants are closed before 2030.
The report of the German government commission authorised to develop a strategy for the gradual abandonment of coal offers compensation for the early closure of coal-fired power plants to their operators without detailing the amount of payments.
Unless such an agreement is reached by 30 June 2020, the Commission will recommend a “normative” solution, including compensatory payments based on legislative requirements.
According to the report, charges for the use of electricity grids should be reduced for both industry and private consumers.
The state should provide the necessary funds to finance the recommended measures. It is planned to review the transition conditions in 2023, 2026 and 2029 respectively, to ensure safe supplies, price regulation, climate protection and the implementation of appropriate structural changes.