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Tag Archives: 100% renewables

Jacobson’s new 100% renewables model aims to rebut critics

By Dave Elliott

Prof. Mark Jacobson and his team at Stanford University got some flack for their 100% global renewable energy study last year. It said 139 countries around the world could obtain 100% of their energy from wind, water and solar (WWS) sources by 2050. It had been based on their 2015 study that examined the ability of 48 US states to meet all their energy needs stably from these renewables. Some said their approach was flawed, and, for example, relied too heavily on energy storage solutions and on adding turbines to existing hydroelectric dams to get extra power: see www.pnas.org/content/114/26/6722

In response, Jacobson and colleagues at Stanford, the University of California at Berkeley and Aalborg University in Denmark have now produced a new study, focusing on 20 global regions encompassing the 139 countries, with supply and demand matching modelled for a range of storage/backup options over the period 2050-54. www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960148118301526

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Supporting Renewables: FiTs not tenders?

By Dave Elliott

More and more national governments are transitioning from guaranteed price feed-in tariff models for supporting renewables to competitive tendering/contract auction schemes, justified in the belief that this will reduce costs. That’s the EU view, and tenders have also been backed by the International Renewable Energy Agency.  However, the German Energy Watch Group say this is a mistake: FiTs have been very successful and widely adopted, whereas there are big disadvantages with tenders, their main effect being that less capacity is installed, with smaller projects being excluded and competition actually being reduced. (more…)

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100% of all energy from renewables?

By Dave Elliott

The energy scenario now offered by BEIS implies that renewables might be supplying around 50% of UK electricity by 2035, with 45GW expected to be in place by then, mostly wind and solar PV. There are more ambitious scenarios, like the one produced for the UK/Ireland by Finland’s LUT and the German Energy Watch Group as a subset of their global 100% renewables scenario. That has renewables supplying all the electricity used in the UK/Ireland by around 2040:  That may be ambitious, but near 100% by 2050 certainly now seem credible for electricity, given the political will. Scotland is already at over 60%. But what about heat and transport? (more…)

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100% renewables – a fantasy?

By Dave Elliott

‘Electricity comprises just one fifth of annual energy demand in the UK, so creating a 100% renewable energy economy would be an order of magnitude more difficult than the already challenging task of powering our existing electricity grid with 100% renewable sources’. So says a report from the Policy Exchange, putting the case for Small Modular Reactors. It’s a familiar line – 100% for power will be very tough, 100% for all energy impossible.

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In praise of (total) demand response

By Dave Elliott

‘If we could manage to adjust all energy demand to variable solar and wind resources, there would be no need for grid extensions, balancing capacity or overbuilding renewable power plants. Likewise, all the energy produced by solar panels and wind turbines would be utilised, with no transmission losses and no need for curtailment or energy storage’.

So says an interesting, wide ranging but wellreferenced article in Low Tech Magazine. It goes on ‘of course, adjusting energy demand to energy supply at all times is impossible, because not all energy using activities can be postponed. However, the adjustment of energy demand to supply should take priority, while the other strategies should play a supportive role’. (more…)

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Green energy levy freeze

By Dave Elliott

The UK’s Autumn Budget may have backed Electric Vehicles, but it wasn’t too helpful in terms of providing extra support for the green electricity they ought to use, if we want carbon emissions to be reduced. Tucked away in the Budget details was a plan for replacing the Levy Control Framework, which caps spending on green energy projects, with a new ‘Control of Carbon Levies’ system.  It will cover the Renewables Obligation (RO), Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs) and the Contracts for Difference (CfD) systems as before, but the bad news is that, to keep future costs down, on the basis of current forecasts, there will be no new low carbon electricity levies until 2025’.

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Renewable innovation – and jobs

By Dave Elliott

IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency, has looked at innovation options and potentials in the sustainable energy sector, in terms of what needs to be done to reduce global carbon emissions. It says that ‘energy efficiency and renewable energy have the potential to achieve 90% of the emissions reductions needed by 2050, with renewables accounting for two-thirds of primary energy supply in 2050’. At that point, wind and solar heat will lead at 15% each. However, in most cases, while some technical R&D may still be needed, innovations in business models, market designs, enabling infrastructure and systems operation, are equally crucial to achieve the energy transformation’. (more…)

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India and Japan press ahead – South Korea too

By Dave Elliott

Although renewables are still nowhere near as advanced in India as in China (see my last post), where they are now at over 550 GW including hydro, India had got to 91 GW by the end of 2016, and is expanding fast, with 29 GW of wind capacity in place. It’s the same in Japan, although, with the post-Fukushima nuclear mess still often dominating the news, less is heard about that. But by the end of 2016 it had 72 GW of renewables, including 45 GW of PV solar. And the prospects for growth of renewable capacity are good in both countries. (more…)

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Scotland shows the way forward

By Dave Elliott

Scotland is now generating the equivalent of around 60% of its annual electricity needs from renewables, mostly wind, and is aiming for 100%, with new nuclear blocked unilaterally. So it is a little surprising that there have not been more studies of this unique initiative. That’s soon to change with a new book, ‘A critical review of Scottish Energy Policy’ by a group of Scottish academics edited by Geoff Wood and Keith Baker, to be published by Palgrave next month. It focuses on renewables and low carbon options and related policy, planning, legislation and regulation issues.

It is a very timely publication, given that, after Brexit, Scotland may vote to go fully independent. It is already quite independent, with its own devolved government and a clearly different and very progressive energy policy. What’s not to like? Well not everything is ideal, as this new book explains. But the overwhelming message is that, despite the endless debate about whether renewables can work large-scale, here’s a country actually doing it.

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Germany’s Energiewende keeps going

By Dave Elliott

Germany is still powering ahead, with renewables supplying over 32% of annual electricity needs and hoping to get to 80% by 2050, with the last nuclear plant phased out by 2022. The nation’s 106GW of renewables briefly supplied 87% of its electricity at one point recently. However, it’s not all plain sailing. Certainly there have been plenty of critical views on its ambitious Energiewende transition programme, some predicting its demise. And, worried about the cost, with an election looming, the government has been slowing it all down. So what lies ahead?

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