The international community is extremely concerned about the prospects of clean energy. First of all, this happens due to global climate changes and deterioration of environment conditions. In the first October issue of Ukrenergo review, we offer you the main news about the results of research conducted by leading scientists in this direction and the reaction of European energy companies.
1. Wind power will become the dominant source of energy in Europe.
By 2027, wind power plants in Europe will become the largest source of electricity generation, and their share in energy consumption will amount to 23%. As stated by The Energymix, this was mentioned by Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Fatih Birol at WindEurope Global Wind Summit.
According to the IEA, as of today, a quarter of the total electricity in the European Union (EU) is generated by nuclear power plants. Coal and gas account for 20%, while the share of wind power reaches 10%.
However, according to the IEA forecasts, in 2027, electricity generation by wind power plants will reach 23% of the total volume, by solar power – about 7%. At the same time, 20% will be generated by biomass, 20% by gas, about 20% by nuclear energy, while the share of coal will decrease to 10%.
The European Union is currently the world leader in wind energy generation, especially in the field of offshore wind farms, the installed capacity of which amounted to 15,780 MW in 2017. In order to achieve the IEA projections, the capacity of wind power facilities needs to reach about 200 GW by 2040.
The IEA believes that the decrease in the cost of electricity associated with the increase in the volumes of electricity generation by wind power plants will open prospects for the production of “green” hydrogen, which will trigger a large-scale energy revolution and contribute to decarbonisation of not only the energy sector but also the transport one.
The IEA specifies that since the share of renewable energy sources is increasing, more flexible energy systems and a stable electricity grid are needed to ensure reliable and cost-effective integration, requiring significant investments in additional technologies and infrastructure such as energy storage systems (batteries), shunting power plants, demand management and Smart Grid technology improvement solutions.
2. Norwegian TSO Statnett will change the network tariff model by 2021.
The Norwegian transmission system operator Statnett noted it would increase electricity tariffs by 9% in 2019 (by 0.66 NOK/kWh or EUR 0.06/kWh) and would halve the existing discounts granted to energy-intensive enterprises to compensate for investments in the country’s distribution network. The discount will be reduced by 15% each year until 2021. This is reported by Enerdata.
These steps will increase the expenses of the largest Norwegian electricity consumers, such as fertilizer manufacturer Yara and aluminium producer Norsk Hydro.
The grid operator believes it needs to invest NOK 12.5 billion (€ 1.3 billion) to strengthen the grid in 2018 and another NOK 30-40 billion (€ 3.2-4.2 billion) over the next five years to facilitate the transition of the Nordic region from the use of fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
3. UN: to slow global warming by 2050, the economy should become carbon neutral.
According to a new UN report on measures to limit global warming, the global economy should reduce carbon emissions in the next 30 years to prevent global climate change. This is reported by EnergyWorld.
Within the framework of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which includes 195 states, the members will verify and approve the report on global warming limits by 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) during a meeting in South Korea.
The draft report, received by the French press agency L’Agence France-Presse – AFP), highlights how fast global warming is ahead of humanity’s attempts to curb it and outlines rigid options the transformation of the world economy requires to avoid the worst consequences of the climate change.
In order to have at least 50/50 odds, it is necessary to prevent an increase in the average surface temperature of the Earth at a level exceeding 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. To achieve this, the global economy should become “carbon neutral” by 2050, without additional CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. The share of primary energy generated by renewable energy sources should increase from a few percent to at least 50% by the middle of the century, while the share of coal should decrease from 28% to 1-7%.
The report contains detailed information on the “carbon budget”, that is the volume of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas that we can throw into the atmosphere.
4. Solar panels with a flow battery and an accumulation function
Scientists from the University of Wisconsin have constructed a solar generating unit that combines the functions of the photovoltaic panel and the battery. This is reported by Sciencedaily.
The solar flow battery can operate in three different modes. It can convert solar energy into electricity, as it happens with conventional photovoltaic cells, accumulate and store solar energy, as well as recharge itself using other sources of electricity, like traditional batteries.
For the first time, when a solar panel was connected to a flow battery, scientists from the University of Wisconsin reached impressive performance indicators of the system – 14.1%. They also intend to improve them and reach 20-25% in the nearest future.
In addition to increased efficiency, researchers are working on design improvements that can use cheaper materials. The invention is still in the experimental stage, but its creators are confident that it will have a great impact on the areas lacking central electricity grids and proper infrastructure.
There are also prospects for the development of solar flow batteries in the transport sector. NanoFlowcell, which is engaged in the production of Quantino and Quant FE electric vehicles, intends to implement this technology.
5. Spanish Red Eléctrica invests € 7bn in its grid due to an increase in the RES share.
The Spanish transmission system operator Red Eléctrica de España (REE) plans to invest € 7 billion in the development of its grid over the period from 2020 to 2025 to adapt it to the latest requirements. This is twice as much as it has been invested in the power grid in recent years. This is reported by Enerdata.
The main factor behind this solution is to prevent electricity outages in a situation where the share of integrated renewable energy sources (in particular wind and solar power plants that cannot operate on a stable schedule) increases, while the share of traditional power generation technologies, such as coal and nuclear energy, in the balance of power generation slowly decreases.