Policy

Better grid policy for full scale electrification

Without a European grid up to the task of not only meeting more demand for electricity, but also assimilating it from distributed renewables, green electrification of heating and transport is stymied from the start. Decarbonisation requires new infrastructure, yet the public is having none of it.

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Fixing renewables certificates could boost corporate uptake demand

Charging ahead with electric vehicle infrastructure

Biden’s opportunity for reinventing climate innovation

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We face a fundamental change of the cost structure on the supply side and a need for a fundamental change.

Jochen Kreusel

- Market innovation manager in the power grids division at ABB Power

They [the European Commission] are looking at this stuff backwards. I still think they are convinced the short-term market model could work even though they are also starting to realise that you need something parallel, with long term price signals that give investors confidence to invest in infrastructure and allow them to see a decent market return.

Francesco Venturini

- Global head of renewables for Italian utility Enel

Despite tremendous cost decline of wind and solar technologies, electricity prices will probably remain too low to attract the level of investment needed.

Fatih Birol

- Executive director of the International Energy Agency

The greatest barrier to overcome is the integration of variable renewables into electricity systems. This will require developing power system flexibility and also a friendly deployment of variable renewables.

Fatih Birol

- Executive director of the International Energy Agency

If we are to take the energy transition seriously, we need to start doing the same with ultracapacitors

Compared with batteries, ultracapacitors have a power output nearly ten times greater, are environmentally superior and come without safety issues. Johan Söderbom from EIT InnoEnergy explains how a long-familiar piece of power system technology is unlocking new opportunities for sustainable and efficient energy storage and usage

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Why hydrogen trains are tracking hot

Hydrogen suffers from an abundance of hype, particularly about what it can be used for in the energy transition. Wild claims for the application of hydrogen, with little basis in current science and commercial reality, have worked to obscure the realistic opportunities for putting truly clean hydrogen to work here and now.

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The questions climate neutral cities must answer

There is no clear definition of climate neutrality despite 117 cities worldwide setting it as a target in the coming decades. Where Paris will include all emissions it produces, regardless of the sector or source, Copenhagen only calculates CO2 emissions related to heating and electricity. But both will claim to be neutral. This results in different levels of ambition, says Raphael Hasenknopf from Energy Cities

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Charging ahead with electric vehicle infrastructure

Three concerns are said to be hindering the uptake of electric passenger cars—high purchase cost, fear of a flat battery, and lack of charging infrastructure. But cost has fallen, the range of car batteries now rivals that of a full tank of fuel and recharging a depleted battery when the need arises is proving to be easier than expected

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Low-carbon hydrogen is a key ally to electrification

The European Union is faced with making a number of key decisions imposed by the climate emergency and the need for drastic CO2 reduction. More than ever, the fight against climate change also needs to contribute to the economic recovery by developing the EU industry and technologies of the future. Low-carbon hydrogen meets both ambitions, says Christelle Rouillé, from EDF subsidiary Hynamics

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Decarbonised heat within a decade in Denmark

Denmark has led the way on decarbonisation of heating, with a rapid transition away from fossil fuels aided by its large scale adoption of heating networks over the past 40 years. Instead of exchanging individual heating appliances in every home and commercial building, the Danes are centrally converting their heat networks to renewable energy, saving citizens a pile of money in the process

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How to decarbonise the building stock in Britain

Decarbonisation of heating requires switching from systems and appliances that combust fossil fuels to those that rely on renewable energy. Nowhere is the switch more challenging to achieve for existing building stock than in the UK. If it can be done there, it can be done anywhere

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It is time to bring consumers on board the energy transition

Consumers can play a significant role in the energy transition as distributed energy resources and the electrification of heating and transport increase on the system, says Zsuzsanna Pató from the Regulatory Assistance Project

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Opinion

Fixing renewables certificates could boost corporate uptake demand

The guarantees of origin (GO) framework for renewable energy certificate trading is unable to function efficiently and is distorting the market, says Rasmus Lildholdt Kjær, CEO at solar PV project developer Better Energy. But a change in the rules could spark a wave of new investments

Revision of TEN-E policy will prove how serious EU is on tackling climate change


The vital missing links of the energy transition in Europe

A blueprint for transmission design

Electrification is driving sustainability in cement and mining

Collective action can put an end to coal generation

Autumn/Winter 2020

Biden’s opportunity for reinventing climate innovation

Federal green grid vision gone missing in America

Electrification for decarbonisation

Heavy industry to carbon light

Singapore energy transition plans consider floating solar and cable to Australia

What our editors are reading

Renewable energy is growing despite covid-19

Reports

Renewables markets have shown resilience during the covid-19 crisis, says the IEA. In sharp contrast to all other fuels, renewables used for generating electricity will grow by almost 7% across 2020. Global energy demand is set to decline 5% but long-term contracts, priority grid access and installation of new plants have underpinned strong growth in renewables. From January to October 2020, auctioned renewable capacity was 15% higher than a year earlier, a new record. Additionally, shares of publicly listed renewable equipment manufacturers and project developers outperformed most major stock market indices and the overall energy sector. 

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Green banks invest $24 billion in low-carbon technologies

Reports

The number of ‘Green’ banks is multiplying and they have invested over $24 billion in low-carbon technologies ranging from rooftop solar to vehicle electrification and energy efficiency, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute, the Green Finance Institute, and the Natural Resources Defence Council. They are often the first to invest in new technologies and geographies and have thus attracted more than $2 of private investment, on average, for every $1 of their capital invested in a project. The report analysed green banks in 36 countries. An additional 25 countries are exploring setting up a green bank.

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Green New Deal driving South Korea ahead of neighbours

Reports

Korea’s Green New Deal and net-zero by 2050 goal can accelerate the energy transition and position the East Asian nation at the forefront of digitalisation, artificial intelligence, and low-carbon industry complexes. However, efforts on renewable energy need to be stepped up if the country is to meet its 2030 and 2040 targets (of a 20% share and 30-35%), warns the IEA in a new policy review. The electricity market needs to be opened for competition and be independently regulated, while efforts to address transport emissions—via fuel economy standards—push the country to the lead globally.

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