Global Insight 7: 06-06-2017
Our weekly round up of stories that caught our eye from around the world on energy system change.
CSIRO releases a Low Emissions Technology Roadmap
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have released their roadmap this week to identify and value low emission technologies that can help Australia achieve their Paris Agreement targets whilst addressing the energy trilemma. The report recognises that improvements in energy productivity – the ratio of output divided by energy consumption – will lead to abatement no matter which course of action is taken. It also recommends that a combination of its pathways would lead to less risk for investors. Its main comment is in order to achieve its Paris commitments Australia will need stable energy policy along with enhanced customer engagement, new business models and targeted research, development, demonstration and deployment.
ARENA funds new pilot in blockchain technology
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced a pilot scheme to enable homes in Melbourne to trade or share power with each other. The scheme, due to be completed in July this year, will include a mix of solar PV, batteries and ‘smart’ air conditioning and will use the technology behind bitcoin – blockchain, to enable this trading. The project is to be led by AGL Energy Limited, one of the leading energy generators and retailers in Australia. AGL will be partnered by IBM Australia and Marchant Hill, distributed energy market advisors. The trial will understand the possible value of blockchain technology in peer-to-peer trading and how the market could be expanded.
Increase in renewable energy largest contributor to falling C02 emissions in European Power Sector
In their annual report on Greenhouse Gases the European Environmental Agency detail the changes in emissions between 2014-15 as well as those from 1990. The energy sector is by far the most significant accounting for 78% of total EU emissions. Overall the EU’s emissions in 2015 were 23.6% below 1990 levels, but there was a 0.5% increase between 2014 and 2015, due to a significant rise in GDP and slightly higher heat demand in households, due to a colder winter. Since 1990 power sector emissions have fallen by 26%, this is because of increased energy efficiency, fuel switching (from coal to gas) and the largest emissions cuts coming from the increased use of renewable energy. Emissions from the transport sector continue to rise.
Wind and battery storage in Spain
Spanish utility ACCIONA has built what is the country’s first hybrid wind-battery storage plant, in Navarra in Northern Spain. The installation has a combined battery storage capacity of 1.7 MW connected to a 3MW turbine, and power can be stored and released at different speeds. The idea is to see if such an arrangement can be used to shift energy from wind production output to periods of high demand to improve revenue, as well as to provide ancillary services.
Subsidy-free solar in Italy
Five solar PV plants in Italy, totalling 63 MW in capacity, have just started operating without subsidy. The plants, built by Octopus Investments Ltd, have a 2 year power purchased agreement with an Italian power trader. They join a handful of other subsidy-free solar plants in Spain and Italy. Bloomberg say that they expect solar PV to be cheaper than coal on average everywhere by 2025.
Denmark expects to refresh its energy policy in early 2020s
Just out in English is the Danish Energy Agency’s 2017 Energy and Climate Outlook. The report shows projections that without new policies the share of renewables are likely to plateau at around 40% from next year, falling short of the government’s target of 50% by 2030. Likewise, coal use and emissions may start rising again. The last energy policy agreement, produced in 2012, was signed on to by almost every political party in Denmark. A new draft agreement is expected towards the end of this year.
India Power Sector Transformation: Falling Solar PV prices in India lead to Coal Cancellations
In May 2017, it is estimated that 14.5 GW of planned coal fired power stations was cancelled in India, in part as a result of falling solar prices, but also the greater use of energy efficiency. This is leading to an increased optimism on the Government’s December 2016 Draft Electricity Plan, which called for a decrease in the role of fossil fuel in the power sector from 69% in 2016 to 43% in 2027, which is now seen as ambitious but achievable, when at the time of its launch many considered it impossible.