Renewables could meet half of UK’s electricity demands by 2030, at price parity with fossil fuels
22nd November 2018 | Commercial Energy
Wind and solar power – if distributed using smart, flexible power grids – could meet around 50% of the UK’s electricity demands by 2030, at a price parity with coal, oil or gas generation. That is a key finding of a new report commissioned by the Energy and Climate Energy Intelligence Unit (ECIU) and published by consultancy New Resource Partners, which reveals that a smart grid based around wind and solar generation could meet half of Britain’s energy demands even during “wind and solar lulls” in the middle of winter.
Published on Wednesday (21 November) and entitled “GB’s power transition: Get smart”, the report uses real-world data on renewable generation to lay out several scenarios covering possible future outlooks for the UK’s energy mix. In the scenario where renewable sources were producing the least power during a period of peak demand – namely during a 12-day period in January with little to no generation – Britain’s energy supply would remain sufficient to meet demand and “robust” energy security would be guaranteed, according to the report.
For the UK’s energy system to cope during such a lull, the report concludes that energy storage systems, demand response technologies, and flexible gas-fired power plants would need to be installed, while trade with Europe via interconnectors would need to be maintained. “We believe that this report explodes the myth that you’ve got to have some sort of megawatt-for-megawatt backup,” New Resource Partners’ director Hugo Chandler said.
“It’s much more a question of needing a portfolio of flexible resource that is sufficient to manage the maximum variability you may see.”
Chandler noted that a three-week lull during winter would be classed as “extreme” – similarly to those experienced during the so-called “Beast from the East” earlier this year – and added that the assumptions the report makes about the costs and capability of future battery technologies are “extremely conservative”.
More information available on the website below