In this issue of Ukrenergo Review, you can learn about the challenges power networks are facing because of the global growth of the share of “green” generation, about trends in electricity consumption in China, and about which countries in Europe became leaders in the installation of digital electricity meters.
1.Installed capacity of the world solar power reached 500 GW
In 2018, at least 98 GW of photovoltaic (PV) solar power plants were commissioned, and the total global capacity of PV reached about 500 GW. For comparison, at present, the installed capacity of nuclear power plants worldwide is 392 GW. This is reported by Solarserver.de with reference to the BSW-German Solar Association. According to BSW, at the end of 2018, China became an absolute leader with the largest installed capacity of PV (174 GW), followed by the United States (63 GW) and Japan (60 GW). Germany, which was ranked the first for a long time, today operates about 46 GW of solar power plants and holds only the fourth position in the world.
According to expert estimates, in the coming years, solar generation will increase by more than 100 GW annually, and starting from 2022 – by 180-200 GW, which significantly outstrips the growth of any other generation technology.
At the same time, as reported by EnergyLiveNews, international corporations often serve as the driving forces of the global trend of investing in the development and introduction of renewable energy sources (RES).
In 2018, the world witnessed a high demand for RES through the conclusion of Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) on part of the companies from various industries. BloombergNEF estimated that in 2018, 121 corporations signed long-term contracts for the purchase of 13.4 GW of “clean” energy, that is more than twice the amount of 2017. More than 60% of the world’s activity on signing PPA is concentrated in the United States.
In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, corporations also gained record levels of “clean” energy by concluding contracts for a total capacity of about 2.3 GW.
ExxonMobil is the first oil company to sign PPA for its own needs for 575 MW of solar and wind power in Texas. Facebook became the largest buyer under PPA – 2.6 GW.
2.RES transition success depends on the distribution networks infrastructure development
Significant growth in the volumes of RES generating capacities requires the transition to a de-centralised power system based on distributed generation. This will require that European electricity supply and distribution companies review the traditional roles and network infrastructure development programmes to improve the reliability and security of power supply. As reported by Eurelectric, this is the conclusion of the Ernst & Young Global Limited report, prepared with the participation of members of the trade and industry association Eurelectric and electricity distribution system operators (DSO).
The EY report also states that by 2045, the capacity of onshore wind power plants (WPP) will increase to 640 GW, while the capacity of offshore wind farms will reach about 470 GW. The capacity of solar photovoltaic systems will increase to 950 GW. Renewable generation will meet more than 80% of Europe’s power needs.
Kristian Ruby, Secretary General of Eurelectric, said that in the new environment, distribution companies would constitute a basis for the future de-centralised and interactive power system. This is why they urgently need support on the part of regulators and member states to develop and build a new grid.
The Clean Energy Package sets out a number of provisions for DSOs. With the introduction of new tools and business models for electricity distribution system operators, they are becoming crucial for the success of energy restructuring. With increased attention to demand management, consumers (household, commercial and industrial) will increasingly react to market signals in the dynamics of price changes for electricity. By 2045, thanks to flexible demand, consumers will be able to ensure the possibility to regulate the load of electricity grids in the range of 120-150 GW.
At the same time, the operation of the power system should become more dynamic and flexible. It will require intelligent metering tools to control and manage multi-directional power flows and increase the volume of client and generating connections.
Within such a dynamic environment, DSOs will identify the needs for increasing the capacity of the distribution networks and coordinate investments and operational decisions with TSOs on interregional and interstate flows, as well as implement digital power infrastructure management technologies.
3.10-year energy programme for France up to 2028
The Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition of France suggests that the new energy strategy of France should specify the growth of the share of “green” energy in the country’s final consumption up to 34-38% in 2028. At the same time, the share of nuclear power plants in the national energy balance is recommended to be reduced to 50% in 2035. For comparison, the share of RES in the final consumption in France in 2017 was 16%. This is reported by PV-magazine.com.
The purpose of France’s new energy strategy is to achieve the carbon neutrality of the country’s economy by 2050, including a significant reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels compared to 2012 (-20% in primary fuel consumption by 2023 and -35% in 2028), as well as the volumes of final energy consumption (-7% to 2023 and -14% to 2028).
In addition, the PPE programme specifies that the French RES capacities will exceed 74 GW in 2023 and accordingly reach 102-113 GW by 2028.
To achieve a reduction of the NPP share in the national energy balance by 50% in 2035, it will be necessary to shut down from four to six nuclear reactors by 2028. However, nuclear power will still account for the largest share of electricity production by 2028.
In addition to the above, the PPE programme provides for an almost triple increase in the production and consumption of biogas in the period from 2016 (5.4 TWh) to 2023 (14 TWh), with its subsequent increase to 24-32 TWh in 2028.
4.Smart meter woes restrain digitalisation of the EU power sector
Sweden is the leader in installing smart meters (100%) in Europe. It is followed by Finland (99%), Estonia (98.2%), Spain (91.27%) and Denmark (80%). It is reported by Euractiv.
In Portugal, only 2 out of 6 million households are equipped with smart meters. Other EU countries do not have an approved national plan for the deployment of smart meters, including Germany, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece and Ireland.
On average, only 37% of EU consumers are equipped with smart electricity meters. This is not in line with the strategic goal of 80% by 2020 agreed by all EU countries.
Smart meters and dynamic price contracts are considered key for households to actively monitor electricity consumption. The European Commission believes that they can reduce annual energy consumption by up to 9%.
According to the recommendations of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER), consumers must receive monthly bills. However, today, in eight EU countries, consumers, according to ACER, receive their electricity bills once a year, and in a number of other countries – on a quarterly basis.
Eurelectric notes that the enhancement of digital devices connected to the power grid will also require the harmonisation of energy policies, thus calling for calling for “a uniform implementation” of EU energy laws across member states in order to minimise regulatory barriers to innovation.
5.Electricity consumption in China increased by 8.5% in 2018
Electricity consumption in China in 2018 amounted to 6840 TWh, having increased by 8.5%, with an annual GDP growth of 6.6%. At the same time, its total volumes exceeded the figures of the previous six years. This is reported by the Caixin Global media group (Caixinglobal.com) with reference to a report by the China Electricity Council (CEC).
The lion’s share of consumption is accounted for by the secondary industry, which included the processing of raw materials and reached 40.7% of China’s total GDP in 2017. In 2018, electricity consumption by the secondary industry increased by 7.2% and amounted to 4720 TWh.
In 2018, China commissioned 41.19 GW of thermal power plants (TPPs), which is 7.5% less than in 2017. The share of TPPs in generation in 2018 was 70.4%.
The total capacity of wind and solar power plants, the most dynamic sector of the Chinese power industry, exceeded 350 GW. They jointly generated 543.5 TWh of electricity. During the year, the total generation of solar and wind power plants increased by 121.1 TWh. Taking into account HPPs, the share of RES in electricity generation reached 25.4% (compared with 25% in 2017).