Global Insights: 2nd October 2018

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Global Insights: 2nd October 2018


New ruling for generators to bring down costs for consumers

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) announced a new ruling for technical standards for generators this week.  The new ruling sets local technical performance standards for generators who wish to connect to the grid.  Currently there is a one size fits all approach for performance standards in voltage and frequency regulation.  The new ruling would allow the connection to be based on the system requirements for the local area, e.g. if there is already ample capability for voltage control this would not be required for the new generator.  It is expected that this tailored approach will be key to reducing costs for consumers as generators will not need to pay for unnecessary voltage or frequency capability.

Rule changes to be made faster through changes to the expedited process

The AEMC has announced a change to its expedited rule change process by increasing the timeframe from 6 weeks to 8 weeks.  The increase will allow extra time for the consultation process which means that rule changes that would normally have to be investigated under the standard timeframe can be moved to the expedited timeframe.  The expedited process has one round of consultations and a final rule has to be delivered within 8 weeks.


Germany’s Audit Office slams energy transition costs and coordination

Germany’s Federal Audit Office has accused the government of having largely failed to manage the transformation of the county’s energy systems. The report echoes previous criticisms in 2017 regarding the likelihood that 2020 targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and primary energy consumption, as well as for increasing the share of renewable energy in transport, will be missed. However this report goes further and also criticises a lack of coordination between actors and programmes, despite the large cost of climate policies.

The Energiewende cost around €34 billion in 2017 and the report suggests that the 34 departments working on the subject are not driving value for money. In addition energy policies are described as overly complex with several programmes vastly underspent. Instead the Audit Office suggests sharper carbon pricing would be more effective in delivering the energy transition. The economy ministry rejected the criticism, highlighting that the cost evaluation did not assess the cost of inaction. 

German city of Leipzig to become the energiewende’s ‘centre of digitalisation’ 

The eastern German city of Leipzig is due to become the ‘centre of the Energiewende’s digitalisation’. The city will be the location of the ‘Smart Infrastructure Hub’ which the federal government wants to be pivotal in the development of analysis and data services for a digitalised and low carbon energy system.

Net zero by 2050 can cost less, says ECF study

The European Climate Foundation has commissioned modelling to explore pathways to a net zero emissions EU by 2050. The resulting report argues that there are several potential pathways to this goal, but that action across sectors, such as transport, culture and power generation is crucial. Once co-benefits such as improved health, energy security and resource use are factored in, the study claims that some net zero scenarios are less costly than business as usual.

IEA: Wind will be largest source of European energy after 2025

In a presentation at the Wind Europe conference in Hamburg last week, International Energy Agency ED Fatah Birol forecast that wind energy would become the largest single source of electricity generation by 2027, about 3 years earlier than previous IEA forecasts have suggested. The change is partly based on the EU’s recent commitment to a 2030 renewable energy target of 32%. By 2040, the IEA predicts, coal will meet only around 4% of electricity demand, while wind, bioenergy and solar combined will provide over 60%.


Blockchain in Spanish Renewables

The Spanish energy company Acciona claims that they have become the first company to apply blockchain technology to certify the 100 per cent renewable origin of the energy fed into the grid from its two storage facilities in Navarre (Spain).  The company argue that their “STORe-CHAIN” system manages data recorded by power counters in wind and solar plants and matches the energy produced with renewable energy certificates. This data is stored in a blockchain platform that acts as a guarantor of the legitimacy of these green certificates and which can be accessed by a client at any time.

While the new head of the Energy Web Foundation, Hervé Touati in an interview in Euractiv has highlighted the need for blockchain, not only for verification of green energy production and reducing the likelihood of cyber-attacks, but as EVs become more widely deployed Mr Touati states that they will be essential for optimising battery charging and easing the pressure on grids.

Deloite – Renewable Energy Trends

The key message from a new report from the global consultancy group Deloitte is that “having only recently been recognized as a ‘mainstream’ energy source, renewable energy is now rapidly becoming a preferred one”.  The report points to three new drivers that have enabled the growth in renewables, which are: rapidly approaching grid parity, cost effective and reliable grid integration and technology innovation.   In these three areas Deloitte note:

  • Onshore wind has become the lowest cost energy source for power generation, with an unsubsidized Level Cost of Electricity (LCOE) in the range of US$30-60/MWh, while utility scale solar-pv is now in the range of US$43-53/MWh, these compare to natural gas which is in the range of US$ 42-78/MWh.
  • In the US, the States with the fewest outages are amongst those that also have the largest amounts of solar and wind and that three quarters of the top 20 US solar and wind states have electricity prices below the US national average.
  • New data and IT technologies involving automation, artificial intelligence and blockchain can accelerate the deployment of renewables, through increasing production efficiency, optimising weather forecasts and increase verification of production and payments.

The report also notes the role and opportunities for cities and communities (on and off grid) have increased through the development of renewables, by increasing their resilience and enabling consumers to support and own renewable energy resources.

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