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News from the UK Power Industry 7th May 2019

Posted by: James Turner
Industry News

Energy storage vital for climate change emergency

This month, the House of Commons declared a climate emergency, encouraging the UK to set a world-leading standard on climate action. Experts say that now more than ever, battery storage is vital for renewable energy to reach its full potential.

Intelligent Land Investments Group (ILI) CEO, Mark Wilson, said: “Declaring a climate emergency is great start to focus minds on the massive issue of climate change. However without a coherent energy policy the true potential of renewable energy will be squandered.”

Wilson said that for renewable energy to be deployed at the scale required to reach the National Grid zero-carbon network target by 2025, it had been estimated we would need at least 13GW of storage.

“We are pushing the UK Government and policy makers to help create the necessary market and commercial environment to support major infrastructure investments such as pumped storage hydro schemes (PSH). The current pipeline of UK PSH will offset approximately four million tonnes of CO2 every year, the equivalent of taking 879,000 cars off the road. The UK started the industrial revolution – it’s our responsibility to be at the forefront helping to solve the climate crisis we are now in.”

Pumped storage hydro allows the National Grid to store energy that cannot be absorbed naturally by consumers during times of peak wind or solar generation. It does this by using this energy to pump water from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir. Here the water can be held until times of higher demand where it is released to the lower reservoir through turbines generating electricity like a conventional hydro plant.

Brian Wilson, a former UK energy minister, said: “One way or another, there has to be backup to the intermittency of renewable generation and this creates a huge opportunity for UK industry. This is an opportunity to give an established technology a new lease of life with huge potential benefits for the economy while at the same time helping to solve the inescapable challenges posed by reliance on renewable generation.” Full story.

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2050 zero carbon target is a growth opportunity for UK

Britain’s climate change advisors have urged the government to set an ambitious new target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. If policymakers do legislate for a net zero target, it will be the toughest binding target of any country in the G7, which also comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the US.

Nick Molho, Executive Director at sustainable economy giant Aldersgate Group, has said that a low-carbon economy is an opportunity for huge growth in the UK.

“If backed by the credible policy package called for by the Committee on Climate Change, it could also provide a significant growth opportunity for British industry in developing and exporting some of the key low-carbon goods and services that the world economy is increasingly demanding,” he said.

It is estimated that the UK’s current 80% emission reduction target could see the share of the low-carbon economy grow from 2 per cent of the UK’s total output today to 13% by 2050.

“Gains could be significantly greater if the target was increased to net zero,” Molho explained. “Seizing this economic opportunity requires the government’s innovation policy to be far more ambitious than it has been to date, with a focus on trialling key technologies such as hydrogen and carbon capture and storage urgently and on a large scale.

“A bold innovation agenda will need to be coupled with policies such as market standards that can rapidly increase the demand for low-carbon goods, while also protecting British businesses from imports with a high carbon content. The time has come for the government to put climate change at the heart of its economic and industrial strategy policy.” Full story.

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