Prime Minister Johnson in green energy pledge

Wind Turbines

As he prepares to host world leaders next month at a crucial UN climate summit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to shift all energy production in the UK to ‘clean’ sources by 2035.

By going totally green, the U.K would be at the forefront of the drive towards a decarbonised global economy as fossil-fuelled power stations would become totally redundant.

The renewables goal would also offset the U.K’s reliance on imported energy, which has left the country vulnerable to sharp spikes in energy prices.

“Looking at what we can do with other renewable sources, carbon capture and storage, with hydrogen, potentially we think we can get to complete clean energy production by 2035,” the UK leader said.

“It will mean that for the first time the UK is not dependent on hydrocarbons coming from overseas, with all the vagaries in hydrocarbon prices and the risks that poses for people’s pockets.

“The consumer will be reliant on our own, clean power generation which will help us also to keep costs down.”

With renewables, especially offshore wind, set to play a key role in the shift to clean power, Johnson’s words will have to be followed by swift action.

Recent analysis found UK renewables growth is at its slowest since 2010, inhibiting the green energy procurement options available to customers.

The U.K needs more days like Easter Bank Holiday Monday in April which was declared the greenest yet in terms of energy production. A combination of sunny and windy conditions led to 80 percent of the energy generated coming from low-carbon sources.

International Energy Agency unveils Net Zero Roadmap

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) has announced the world’s first comprehensive study on how to transition to a net-zero energy system by 2050.

And the message to governments around the world is that they need to up their game to achieve that target and slow down the rate of global warming.

With a focus on renewably sourced energy, the study – Net Zero by 2050: a Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector – sets out a cost-effective and economically productive pathway to get to a clean energy economy.

It examines the roles of bioenergy, carbon capture, and behavioural changes in reaching net zero in helping the world gets to where it needs to be.

By 2050, the aim is to have almost 90 per cent of electricity generation from renewable sources, with wind and solar PV together accounting for almost 70 per cent. Most of the remainder comes from nuclear power.

The greatest challenge

“Our Roadmap shows the priority actions that are needed today to ensure the opportunity of net-zero emissions by 2050 – narrow but still achievable – is not lost,” said IEA executive director Fatih Birol.

“The scale and speed of the efforts demanded by this critical and formidable goal – our best chance of tackling climate change and limiting global warming to 1.5 °C – make this perhaps the greatest challenge humankind has ever faced.

“The IEA’s pathway to this brighter future brings a historic surge in clean energy investment that creates millions of new jobs and lifts global economic growth. Moving the world onto that pathway requires strong and credible policy actions from governments, underpinned by much greater international cooperation”.

The roadmap includes a call for an immediate end to all investment in new fossil fuel supplies and states that further investment is needed in the research and development of new technologies.

Progress in the areas of advanced batteries, electrolysers for hydrogen, and direct air capture and storage could be particularly impactful, it outlines.

“The transition must be fair and inclusive, leaving nobody behind. We have to ensure that developing economies receive the financing and technological know-how they need to build out their energy systems to meet the needs of their expanding populations and economies sustainably”, Birol added.

Energy rollercoaster as lockdown eases

covid-19

The global coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on how much and what type of energy we use globally.

During the height of lockdown in 2020, every day was like Sunday in terms of energy use.

So dramatic was the impact of factories, shops and offices being shut down at the height of the global coronavirus pandemic, energy use fell to levels typically seen on the traditional day of rest.

An easing of restrictions brought about a rise in demand in June and July, and energy prices followed suit as a result.

By August, the sustained recovery meant that demand for power in EU countries was similar to that seen in 2019 when terms like ‘social distancing’ had yet to find their way into our everyday language.

In October, the demand curve continued in an upwardly direction but this was negatively impacted once a second wave occurred and restrictions on movement and workplace practices were tightened up again.

The end of the year, however, was marked by a recovery of electricity demand, now above 2019 levels after weather adjustment.

And now that measures have eased even further, in the UK at least, there will inevitably be extra demand for electricity as restaurant and pub kitchens start to cater for indoor dining.

With overseas travel now back on the agenda, to certain parts of the world, transport hubs like airports will also draw on the grid much more heavily than before.

In addition to price volatility, lockdown had a significant impact on the power mix. Across all major regions, this shifted towards renewables due to low operating costs and priority access to the grid through regulations.

Electricity demand and mix went back to previous trends with previous lockdown relaxation, the International Energy Agency reports, and analysts will be keeping a keen eye to see if that is mirrored in 2021.

Shining a light on green energy – what is it and why is it popular?

Green energy tariffs are becoming increasingly popular amongst net-zero conscious businesses.

On a record-breaking Easter Monday, the UK power network was its greenest yet with over 80% of the electricity produced coming from renewable energy rather than from traditional pollutant fossil fuels.

It is worth noting, however, that not all sources used by the renewable energy industry are green. Burning wood waste sourced from sustainable forests and turning organic agricultural waste into energy, for example, maybe renewable but the process is not green, due to the CO2 produced.

Green energy comes from replenishable natural sources, often without the need for mining or drilling operations that can be damaging to eco-systems.

The main sources harness the power of nature such as wind energy, solar energy, geothermal energy and hydroelectric power, including tidal energy.

Local benefits

From a business energy procurement perspective, suppliers offer a range of green energy tariffs that can be part-sourced or fully sourced from green energy.

In addition to contributing to a more sustainable future, one of the benefits of switching to a green energy tariff is greater price stability.

With these sources often being produced locally, the green energy market is not as affected by the geopolitical issues and supply chain disruptions that lead to volatility. When the Suez canal was blocked for six days due to the cargo ship Ever Given running aground, it caused chaos.

Also as knowledge of this sector becomes more advanced, it is becoming cheaper to produce green energy, making it a good low-cost solution for parts of the world where affordability has been an issue.

As the world strives to reduce carbon emissions and the cost of production continues to fall, green energy looks set to become ever more popular and this is likely to be reflected in the range of tariffs available.

Green energy would appear to be the future, fossil fuels a thing of the past.

New green energy record set as a strong wind blows

Wind accounted for 15% of all electricity generated in April and this form of renewable energy has also enjoyed a very strong start to the month of May.

Buoyed by blustery conditions, the UK’s wind farms helped the UK to establish a new clean energy record on Monday, May 3rd.

More than 17.6 gigawatts (GW) – was generated by onshore and offshore wind turbines, eclipsing the amount of electricity generated by nuclear, biomass and gas combined.

That represented nearly half (48.5%) of the electricity grid in England, Scotland and Wales, according to data from operator National Grid ESO, and beat the previous record of 17.5GW set on 13 February.

“The fact that wind is generating nearly half the country’s electricity shows how central it has become in our modern energy system,” acknowledged Industry body Renewable UK’s deputy chief executive Melanie Onn.

Landmark day

Last month, April showers may have been conspicuous by their absence but windy and sunny conditions combined to make Easter Monday a landmark day for green energy.

Over 80% of our electricity was produced by either wind, solar, nuclear or hydro, making the grid the greenest it’s ever been.

The carbon intensity – the measure of CO2 emissions per unit of electricity consumed – dropped to an all-time low of 39 gCO2/kWh.

While the rollout of green energy projects are being held back by an antiquated electricity network according to some industry experts, nature is at least playing its part in the drive towards achieving a net-zero future.

Graphic source: nationalgridESO

Thirty-Party Costs Focus: Contracts for Difference Feed-in-Tariff (CfD FiT)

The Contracts for Difference Feed-in-Tariff is a scheme to help the UK meet its net zero targets and ensure an interrupted supply of electricity feeds into the network.

It has replaced the Renewables Obligation as a reward to suppliers who generate low-carbon electricity.

Renewable generators are awarded contracts where a strike price is agreed. If the strike price is less than the wholesale price then a top-up payment is made. If the market price is higher than the “strike price”, suppliers receive a payment

CfD costs will vary annually due to wholesale price fluctuations and the amount of CfD generation produced each year. They are met by a levy applied to energy suppliers, which are then passed on to their customers, as a Third-Party Cost..