Posts by: Dave Elliott

Renewable Impacts

By Dave Elliott

It has been an eventful year for renewables. While progress continues apace, with renewables now supplying around 15% of electricity in the UK and 22% of global electricity, in this pre- Xmas post, rather than spelling out all the good news, I will look at some of the less good stories from the year- concerning wind power and CSP. (more…)

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WREC in London

By Dave Elliott

Some continue to portray renewables as marginal, with for example, ExxonMobil claiming that their potential is limited by ‘scalability, geographic dispersion,intermittency (in the case of solar and wind), and cost relative to other sources’, and renewables are only likely to make up about 5% of the global energy mix by 2040: www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5a2356a4-f58e-11e3-afd3-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=uk#axzz33albsQ2B

Most however see renewables as booming, with IRENA looking to 30% or more of primary energy coming from renewables globally by 2030 (www.irena.org/remap). That is the sort of future envisaged, on the way to maybe near 100% of power by 2050, by most who attended the 13th biannual World Renewable Energy Congress, this one at Kingston University, London, in August.

(more…)

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Balancing variable renewables

By Dave Elliott

There is now a range of books looking at the technical and policy options available for managing the use of variable energy resources such as wind and solar energy. The pioneering text in this area was Earthscan’s “Renewable Electricity and the Grid” from 2007, edited by Godfrey Boyle , with contributions from many of the UK top experts. But the field has since expanded with, for example, a lot of new work being done in the US. (more…)

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Distributed energy: from supply to demand

By Dave Elliott

Energy networks and distributed energy resources in Great Britain”

The context for this IGov paper from Matthew Lockwood at Exeter University, UK, is the desirability of a fundamental shift in the underlying design of the energy system from the supply side to the demand side. It starts by quoting the words of Professor Strbac ‘The whole culture and philosophy of the system is based on a predict-and-provide mentality’. (more…)

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More green jobs – or better jobs?

By Dave Elliott

Green sector employment accounts for as many as 3.4 million jobs in the EU, or 1.7% of all paid employment, more than car manufacturing or pharmaceuticals. Will that expand?

A new UKERC report, “Low Carbon Jobs”, asks if policy-driven expansion of green energy actually creates jobs, taking account both of jobs created and jobs displaced, particularly when the policies in question require subsidies that are paid for through consumer bills or taxes. www.ukerc.ac.uk/support/Low+Carbon+Jobs

(more…)

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Power out: keeping the lights on

By Dave Elliott

There is still large reserve capacity, but with some large old power plants closing, like the Didcot ‘A’ coal plant, the UK has found it a bit more challenging to meet demand when there are unexpected plant outages and cold weather. So will we make it through this winter? (more…)

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Green jobs 2

By Dave Elliott

It is claimed that a transition to green energy would create a lot of employment. As I noted in my previous post, there are methodological difficulties facing those trying to make realistic estimates, but economists do produce estimates of employment creation for various investments and the net job impacts. (more…)

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Green Jobs 1

By Dave Elliott

It is claimed that a transition to a green energy system would create a lot of employment, and possibly better employment and job security – sustainable green jobs. If true, that claim offers a powerful political argument for the change at a time when employment is threatened by recession and by new patterns of global economic competition. But is that really what is on offer? (more…)

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Vehicle to grid balancing

By Dave Elliott

The vehicle to grid (V2G) debate continues, offering a way to balance variable renewables and also demand peaks, by using the batteries of electric vehicles, linked to the grid when parked at home, to store excess power during low demand periods, ready to export when demand is high and renewables low. It sounds a clever idea but in addition to economic issues (e.g. the extra costs of the home-based power uploading system) it opens up some interesting logistical issues. (more…)

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Water, energy and other resources

By Dave Elliott

Energy resources aren’t the only thing we are running short of. Water resources could be the next big issue. And conventional energy systems have a big impact on that and will be affected by water scarcity. All thermal/steam raising energy systems need cooling, and maintaining access to water is likely to become a major problem for fossil and nuclear plants as climate change impacts: http://www.worldenergy.org/news-and-media/news/climate-change-implications-for-the-energy-sector-key-findings-from-the-ipcc-ar5/ (more…)

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