Posts by: Dave Elliott

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 in 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 USA 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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PV solar in Germany

By Dave Elliott

PV solar continues its spectacular price reduction and that’s led to large-scale deployment, as in Germany, which now has around 36GW in place, and globally, with around 180 GW. PV was initially expensive, but prices are now much lower, thanks in part to Feed In Tariff systems around the EU, as under the EEG law in Germany, which has helped create a large market. With FiT levels now cut, will it continue to expand?

(more…)

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Wind power around the world

By Dave Elliott

Wind power is booming globally, with over 370GW of electricity generation capacity installed so far. It could jump to 2,000 GW, more than five times its current level by 2030, supplying up to 19 % of global electricity, the Global Wind Energy Council says, although that would require ‘unambiguous commitment to renewable energy in line with industry recommendations … [and] the political will to commit to appropriate policies’. (more…)

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Wind power in the UK- still on the up

By Dave Elliott

Wind energy is doing well in the UK. There were periods last year when the UK’s 11GW of wind plant met up to 15% of power demand, over-taking nuclear, and even briefly achieved 24%: www.carboncommentary.com/2014/10/06/wind-power-exceeds-nuclear-output-for-a-few-minutes/

While there have been no shortage of complaints about the alleged high cost, Cambridge Econometrics has calculated that wind plants saved the UK £579m in fossil fuel imports in 2013: www.camecon.com/Libraries/Downloadable_Files/The_impact_of_wind_energy_on_UK_energy_dependence_and_resilience.sflb.ashx (more…)

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Down on wave and tidal farms

By Dave Elliott

In my last post I looked at how solar farms were being constrained in the UK. But they are not alone. Marine renewables are also facing problems. Tragically, pioneering wave energy company Pelamis has gone into administration, after failing to secure development funding. And Siemens is to sell off Marine Current Turbines (MCT), the pioneering UK tidal company it look over in 2012, due to the slow pace of orders. Aquamarine Power, who have developed the Oyster inshore wave device, is also to “significantly downsize” its business. (more…)

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Down on solar farms

By Dave Elliott

Solar, wave and tidal farms represent new ventures, adding to the renewable energy repertoire. But they are facing problems, in terms of finance and government support priorities, as I report in this two-part review of the UK situation, looking first at solar PV.

The good news is that PV solar overall is doing well in the UK, with more than 5GW in place, including roof-mounted arrays on private houses and the first wave of solar farms in fields. DECC says 10GW may be possible by 2020, perhaps even 20GW: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-solar-pv-strategy-part-1-roadmap-to-a-brighter-future  But DECC- and DEFRA -are  less keen on solar farms. (more…)

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