Posts by: Dave Elliott

Renewables in Russia – not much interest

By Dave Elliott

Russia’s renewable energy potential is vast. A 2003 IEA report said that, overall, renewables with economic potential corresponded to about 30% of the country’s then total primary energy supply, while the technically viable potential was estimated to be more than 5 times greater than its energy needs. Only about 20% of the hydro resource has been tapped so far, and the target for new renewables is very  low. (more…)

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Renewable energy in the Middle East…and beyond

By Dave Elliott

Despite the political turmoil, renewable energy projects are proliferating in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, PV solar and Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) especially, as you would expect: this is a sun-drenched part of the world, with a lot of free desert land area. Saudi Arabia is one the leaders, with plans for installing 41 GW of solar (PV and CSP) by 2032, although that target has now been put back to 2040.

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Green power in Asia – Part 2

By Dave Elliott

In my last post I looked at developments in China and India, where renewables have been playing key and increasing roles, with China clearly in the lead. By contrast, until recently, in Japan renewables had been given a low priority, but following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, Japan is now pushing ahead with some ambitious offshore wind projects, 1.45GW in all, using floating wind turbines, and a large solar PV programme, helped by lucrative Feed In Tariff subsidies. (more…)

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Green power in Asia- Part 1

By Dave Elliott

Renewable energy is expanding even faster in the east than in the west, and in this and the next post I’ve tried to review the state of play, and the prospects for the future, in some key countries (China, India, Japan, and Korea), looking at some near 100% by 2050 scenarios. I start with China and India, both of which have large renewable energy expansion programmes, though China’s is the largest . (more…)

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Devolving power

By Dave Elliott

‘Distributing Power: A transition to a civic energy future’, a report on research by the EPSRC-funded Realising Transition Pathways Research Consortium of 9 UK universities, argues that up to 50% of electricity demand in the UK could be met by distributed and low carbon sources by 2050. The report assesses the technological feasibility of a move from the current traditional business models of the ‘Big Six’ energy providers to a model where greater ownership is met by devolved governments, municipalities, co-ops and communities. And it looks in details at what types of governance, ownership and control a distributed future would need. (more…)

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Energy storage – new views, Part 2

By Dave Elliott

In addition to its large-scale grid balancing role, which I looked at in my last post, energy storage may also play a role at the consumer level, with batteries allowing solar PV-using ‘prosumers’ to provide their own backup. Some see this as a possible new type of distributed storage capacity and also, more radically, as further challenging the market power of the big utilities (much of the 75GW of wind and PV in Germany is now owned by local consumers and energy co-ops), even to the point when grid systems are redundant. This may be overstated, but some more movement in that direction may be occurring in Germany and the US as batteries get cheaper.   (more…)

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Energy storage – new ideas Part 1

By Dave Elliott

Energy storage is usually seen as a very good idea – it would help cope with variable renewables. Indeed some enthusiasts now even say that cheap battery storage will make PV solar so viable at the domestic level we may not need grid power!  Or even grids!  That seems unlikely – they help to balance variable demand  with  supply  from a range of sources near and far. But one thing is clear – energy storage, large and small scale, is becoming a big issue, with many new ideas emerging.    (more…)

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Innovation: new energy for the UK

By Dave Elliott

Technological innovation is exciting but risky: blue skies thinking can open up possibilities, but they also have to be tested against reality. It’s easy to get deceived by early hopeful predictions of potential success and allegedly ‘game changing’ developments. We are regularly hit by blasts of enthusiastic coverage of hi tech innovations in the energy field, but not all of it will prove to be viable (more…)

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The first CfD round: wind leads

By Dave Elliott

The first full competitive auctions for renewables held under the Contracts for a Difference (CfD) regime led to £315m in contracts being awarded for over 2GW of new capacity in all, with wind projects dominating and some lower than expected strike prices emerging. (more…)

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Ditch climate arguments: they won’t help nuclear revive

By Dave Elliott

Steve Kidd, one time leading nuclear lobbyist with the World Nuclear Association, has had a rethink and left the WNA. In an article in Nuclear Engineering International he says ‘we have seen no nuclear renaissance’ and he outlines his new view- which is that the nuclear industry is in trouble and should stop using climate change arguments in its lobbying. (more…)

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