Stems of thermometers are slowly but surely rising upwards, what means there will be more reasons for activities over the upcoming weekend. However, we propose you to start a journey to the spring wonderland right now from the traditional world news review by Ukrenergo.5 stories 5 minutes of your time.
1.EUR 8 billion on energy storages. EDF, France’s largest electricity producer, stated it would create 10 GW of electricity storage facilities worldwide by 2035. For this, the company plans to invest EUR 8 billion in 2018-2035. EDF, which already operates hydro power plants industrial-sized batteries, aims to become the French and European market leader by offering batteries for customers in retail energy. In addition, the French company plans to build energy storages in Africa as well. Working with local partners, EDF intends to develop a portfolio of 1,2 million independent African clients by 2035. “With the construction of new storage facilities, we will be able to obtain additional resources for the storage of energy from renewable sources, and to guarantee the productivity and balance of the network”, – Jean-Bernard Levy, Chief Executive Officer of EDF told reporters. Head of the company also noted that EDF will double funding for its researches and development of energy storages technologies up to 70 million euros for the period 2018-2020. In addition, within the next two years EDF New Business also plans to invest about EUR 15 million (about one third of its investments) in energy storage projects and start-ups. The plan for building energy storage facilities is the second largest investment project of the French company, aimed at moving to a greater number of renewable energy sources. Let us remember, that in December 2017, EDF announced an investment of about EUR 25 billion for the construction of 30 GW of solar capacities during 2020-2035. Another sign, showing that even the big market players accept new rules of the energy game with a focus on energy efficiency and “green” trends.
2.Global demand for electricity in 2017 increased by 3,1%. Global demand for electricity has risen by 3,1% in 2017 thanks to contributions from China and India. Both countries accounted for about 70% of growth, according to the International Energy Agency. About a third of the world’s population currently living in India and China has led to an increase in demand for electricity for a total sum of 540 TWh, while the global rate has reached 780 TW/h. The Agency also reported on CO2 emissions in 2017, and noted that India has made significant progress in improving access to electricity. And this is really true, since about half a billion people have obtained access to electricity since 2000. Today, the level of electrification of India reaches 82%, that is almost twice the rate of 2000 – 43%. The growth of electricity demand in emerging economies remains closely linked to the rate of economic growth. In China the economic growth is about 7%, and warm summer has led to an increase in demand for electricity by 6%. In India the demand growth was more than 12%. Another 10 percent of the world’s electricity demand was recorded in other transition economies in Asia. In developed countries, in particular in the United States, demand for electricity decreased for almost 80 TWh compared to 2016. In the EU, the growth in electricity consumption reached 2,3% (or 75 TWh), that was equivalent to the economy growth of about 2,3%. More data from IEA for 2017 can be found here.
3.Reliable network infrastructure is India’s basis for energy future. India manages not only to quickly provide access to electricity for the population, but at the same time is aspiring to become the world leader on rates of the implementation of renewable energy sources. In particular, the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi has set the goal to increase the level of generation from renewable sources at 175 GW by 2022. However, for this, the country should strengthen its networks and energy systems, as well as focus on a clear political structure. This was announced by Head of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Adnan Amin on the sidelines of Singapore International Energy Week 2018. The country, which currently has renewable capacity at a level of about 60 GW, has already become one of the most important markets for alternative energy sources in the world. However, this is the problem – the reliability of the electricity transmission infrastructure. IRENA states that investors are interested in modernization of this infrastructure. However, the head of the organisation also stressed that there are a number of key risks, primarily related to the national currency and policy, as well as the cost of capital in India. If investors are provided with a clear understanding of a sound political basis and hedging mechanisms (risk insurance) that will allow them to reduce the cost of capital, this will have a positive signal and speed up the modernization of the Indian energy system. At the same time, IRENA noted that renewable energy sources have great future in India.
4.Helsinki is to become a climate-neutral city until 2035. Helsinki expert group presented a draft action plan, which describes how the city can become carbon-neutral by 2035. The document entitled “Carbon Neutral Helsinki 2035” describes how to reduce energy consumption and how to increase local renewable energy production in the capital of Finland. In September 2017, the Helsinki authorities decided to change the deadline for reaching climatic goals from 2050 to 2035. The new plan contains 143 measures that will allow the city to achieve these ambitious goals, says Esa Nikunov, Director General of the City Environmental Service. It is anticipated that by 2035, greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced by 80% compared to the level of As of today Helsinki has reduced its carbon emissions by 25% from the level of 1990 or by 1000 kilotonnes per year. To achieve the goal, the city has to “get off” another 2000 kilotonnes of emissions. Heating (heat supply) is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Helsinki. According to the action plan, the city can economically reduce heat energy consumption by buildings through modernization of an old housing stock and introducing more stringent standards for new construction. In addition, by 2035 solar power plants integrated into buildings will produce 1/6 of the electricity consumed by the capital of Finland. According to the plan, Helsinki could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 69% in the transport sector through wider use and extensive use of electric vehicles, a share of which should reach 30% of the park by 2035. A final decision on this plan will be taken by the city council of Helsinki. A wonderful example for the rest of the European capitals.
5.Electricity not only from the sun, but also from the shadow. In the future, it will be possible to receive electricity even with the help of leaves wavered by the wind. Researchers from the Laboratory of Organic Electronics at the University of Linköping (Sweden) have developed a material that generates an electrical impulse through a constant transition from light to shadow and back. The results of the study were confirmed by computer simulation and experimentally and were published in the journal Advanced Optical Materials. The Project Leader is Magnus Jonsson, head of the research group on organic photonics and nano-optics at the abovementioned lab at the University of Linköping. Earlier, together with his colleagues from the University of Gothenburg, Magnus and his team developed small nanoantennae, that absorb sunshine and emit heat. And now a tiny optical generator has been created, which consists of a variety of nanoantennae included in the pyroelectric film structure. The pyroelectric film is such a material that whips out voltage when it is heated or cooled. Changing the temperature leads to the generation of electric current. And the antennae themselves are gold disks with a diameter of 160 Nm (0,16 microns). They are placed on a special substrate and covered with a polymeric film to create pyroelectric properties. «Billions of nanoantennae can be evenly located on however large areas. The distance between these disks in our case is about 0.3 micrometers. We used gold and silver for antennae manufacturing but they can also be made of aluminum or copper,”- says Magnus Jonsson. Antennae generate heat, which is then converted into electricity by means of a polymer. How will such a complex scientific mechanism work? Quite simply: the wind waves branches, and different parts of the optical generator will be one day in the sunlight, another day in the shade of the leaves. That is what will create in it a lot of small electrical impulses, which together will give a current. At present, studies are at an early stage, but in the future it will be possible to use natural variations between sunlight and shadow under trees for generating electricity.