Embracing change and capturing opportunities of the ‘new’ energy system requires a new mind set
This is the Wrap-Up to No Resource is 100% Reliable Series
Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 5th August 2015
The intention of this series is:
- to provide the building blocks of an alternative no-regrets energy policy to the recent retrograde environmental actions of GB Government
- to highlight that no resource, whether coal, gas, nuclear, interconnectors and so on, is 100% reliable and so balancing an energy system with 5%, 30% or 100% renewables is the same process as managing any other energy system.
- to highlight that the global momentum of operating and managing our energy systems has shifted to efficient integration of resources as a result of new ICT technologies and that this means that past ‘fundamentals’ of energy systems, for example baseload (here and here) characteristics, are losing relevance whilst new characteristics, such as flexibility, are becoming more important.
- to show that questions about RE’s reliability on a ‘no wind no sun day’ – a contentious concept – often reflect concerns about energy system operation when technologies which enable active management and incorporation of forecasting predictions were not available. New technologies have changed the basics of energy system operation – as evidenced in practice – so that integration of renewables, along with other resources, now poses different issues, but issues which are as reliably managed
- to explain that the fundamental building blocks of any efficient energy system are the same as the basic building blocks of a 100% RE system, and these are reducing total energy use as far as possible; by ensuring we use the energy we use as efficiently as possible; by flattening the demand curve, so we have as ‘small’ a system as possible; and by providing and valuing flexibility via a diversity of RE supply; demand side response, storage, interconnectors and (minimal) flexible fossil fuels.
- to ask for more ‘what if’ modelling capability in GB,
- to argue that energy system change is inexorable (here , here and here); and that all stakeholders in the energy system – whether we be household consumers, businesses, regulators, government (of any level), supply chains, prosumers, communities – require a new mind set. This is because we need to be open to (recognise), and support, new of ways of doing things so that we can capture the beneficial opportunities enabled by the new technologies and energy economics increasingly developed and taken up in myriad places around the world.
- to make a plea that policy makers focus on reality rather than rhetoric so that GB has a credible energy policy based on best practice rather than one largely based on ideology.
The blogs are:
- Blog 1: A No-Regret Energy Policy: Reduce, flatten and flex
- Blog 2: The Belgian nuclear winter
- Blog 3: US polar vortex and energy
- Blog 4: A 100% renewable energy system operation on no wind, no sun days
- Blog 5: A realistic ‘what if’ model