Markets

Emerging markets gain from the digital evolution of energy

Technology start-ups in Africa are making use of the roll-out of mobile phone networks to bring digital innovation to remote areas through pay-as-you-go models for services that can increase prosperity. For the first time, smallholders can afford solar panels for electricity while others can sign on to thriving energy-as-a-service business models that do not require an initial capital outlay

Most read this month

The grid in search of a brain

The EU’s new Environmental Action Programme must live up to its name

Use the correct data in the right way

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Supporting the mission and journalistic principles behind FORESIGHT Climate & Energy

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

ESG investing will speed-up the energy transition

Socially responsible investing is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the wake of the pandemic, and the momentum behind using ESG criteria in investments is set to snowball, says Nigel Green from financial advisor deVere Group

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Local energy auction trials made possible by digitalisation

CASE STUDY: The Cornwall Local Energy Market in the UK trialled algorithms to optimise auctions of power increase or load reduction offers while allowing simultaneous purchases of flexibility by different levels of grid operation

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The political stars have aligned but are not shining

The world's largest economies risk missing the window of opportunity to maximise the global recovery from the pandemic and accelerate the energy transition, says Dileimy Orozco from think tank E3G

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Energy efficiency will power industry’s decarbonisation efforts

The IEA regards broader adoption of energy efficient technology as the “first fuel” in tackling climate change. High efficiency industrial motors and drives could cut global energy consumption by up to 10%, according to Morten Wierod, president at ABB Motion

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Sound business case needed for viable microgrids

CASE STUDY: Technologically, microgrids are relatively simple to establish. It is the business case that is complex and can make or break a project

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The rise of microgrids

As technology costs come down and microgrids become increasingly “smart” using more advanced digital tools, their role in integrating distributed energy resources is set to expand. By providing flexibility to the local distribution system and deferring the need for expensive transmission upgrades, microgrids are facilitating the electrification and decarbonisation of the energy networks

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The EU Climate Law changes the net-zero equation without changing the ambition

The latest EU Climate Law lays the groundwork for significant progress in the energy transition by placing carbon removal and emissions reduction on separate pedestals, say Mark Preston and Suzana Carp from Bellona Europe

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Blockchain finds a purpose in tracking energy unit origins

Case study: The breathless furore around blockchain has died down but in some ways, the technology is still supporting the energy transition. Carbon-conscious buyers and sellers can use a distributed ledger to track where the electricity they use comes from

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Business

Traditional rules do not apply in this experiment

Five years ago, technologists excitedly started suggesting how to use blockchain for energy applications and a raft of start-ups followed, sporting distributed ledgers for the power sector. Today, the word "blockchain" is seldom heard in energy circles. While the hype may have been overblown, work continues instead on a quieter revolution to the one that was promised

Green hydrogen is vital in decarbonising the hard-to-abate sectors

Turbocharge the process using digital tools

South Australian rooftop PV exports on trial

The grid in search of a brain

Use the correct data in the right way

The EU’s new Environmental Action Programme must live up to its name

The time and place for geoengineering projects

Reliability is a challenge but the opportunities are endless

Offshore wind’s success is only the beginning

Carbon offsets can send emissions reductions efforts off course

What our editors are reading

Carbon pricing will not help green hydrogen

Reports

Carbon dioxide emission prices in the 2020s will not be high enough to deliver stable demand for renewable hydrogen, concludes German think tank Agora Energiewende and Guidehouse. Even with a tripling of prices in the EU emissions trading system (ETS) to €200/tonne, additional support will be necessary for a “considerable period of time”. To ramp up the market for green hydrogen, the report recommends: carbon contracts for difference in industry; an aviation quota; auctions for combined heat and power plants; measures to encourage markets for decarbonised materials; and hydrogen supply contracts.

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Green energy investments could create 10 million jobs

Reports

The pipeline of 13,000 renewable energy projects across 50 countries could create up to 10 million direct and indirect green jobs, says EY-Parthenon. Renewables can be particularly effective in creating jobs outside of urban economic centres, especially when a deliberate effort is put into strengthening local supply chains. The pipeline represents $2 trillion in investment opportunities for one terawatt (TW) of generation capacity and could avoid 2.5 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions. Over 90% of the required investment for an accelerated renewables deployment can be provided by the private sector.

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Biden’s clean energy plan’s $1.43 trillion benefit

Reports

The Clean Energy Futures project finds that President Joe Biden’s clean energy plan would benefit the economy by $637 billion while costing $342 billion over 30 years. It would generate estimated present value health benefits of $1.13 trillion because of cleaner air, especially in minority communities, bringing the estimated present value net benefits to $1.43 trillion by 2050. The researchers were from Harvard and Syracuse Universities, the think tank Resources for the Futures and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Biden is calling for 80% clean energy by 2030 including a clean energy standard (CES) for utilities.

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