smart grids

What is holding renewable energy back?

solar power needs grid modernization (photo Amy Alethela Cahill)

For all the enthusiasm about renewables, there are glaring weaknesses being overlooked, writes Todd Royal, an independent strategic consultant, researcher and author based in southern California. According to Royal, for renewable energy to truly break through numerous obstacles such as costs, back-up generation power, storage, and – above all – grid modernization will need to be solved. Article courtesy of OilPrice.com. … [Read more...]

Despite the hype, batteries aren’t the cheapest way to store energy on the grid

Tesla Powerwall installed in garage

There are many different kinds of energy storage technologies, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. Lithium ion batteries are the most popular form of storage at the moment, but according to Roger Dargaville, Deputy Director of the Melbourne Energy Institute, they are not always the cheapest option. Nevertheless, lithium ion will probably be the dominant option, not because of economics, but because of human behavior. Courtesy of The … [Read more...]

Energy efficiency rate has to double to meet climate targets

photo Portland General Electric

The annual improvement in energy efficiency has slowed down from 1.6% in the period 2000-2008 to 1.3% in 2009-2015, according to a comprehensive new report published by the World Energy Council and the French public agency ADEME. To meet the Paris climate targets, the rate should double to 2.5% per year to 2030, says  François Moisan, Scientific Director of ADEME. According to Moisan, price signals are key to achieving this goal, although … [Read more...]

A rush to subsidies as power plants in Europe face existential threat

Abengoa solar power plant in Spain (photo Wim Hertog)

So-called capacity markets are driving what appears to be a major new trend in energy policy across Europe: more public subsidies for electric utilities, writes independent consultant Gerard Wynn. In a new report for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), Wynn takes a critical look at capacity payments in Spain, which cost taxpayers €1 billion annually. Meanwhile, the UK just forked out £1.2 billion in a capacity … [Read more...]

How Europe can deliver on energy efficiency

EU energy labels for home appliances (photo Europe by Satellite)

The European Commission’s recently released Clean Energy Package, has a 2030 target of 30% energy savings. An important policy instrument to deliver these are Energy Efficiency Obligation (EEO) schemes. According to new research from the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), not only are EEOs a highly cost-effective way to deliver energy efficiency, over the long term they can deliver consumer savings worth more than 4 times the costs of meeting … [Read more...]

Open letter to policymakers: make Europe Renewable Energy World Leader by 2020

photo HCC RE-slider

Europe should embark on a collective project to become the world leader in renewable energy by 2020, write Enrico Letta, President of the Jacques Delors Institute, Herman Van Rompuy, President Emeritus of the European Council and President of the European Policy Center and Bertrand Piccard, pilot of the Solar Impulse, in an open letter to policymakers. Such a leadership effort would go a long way to addressing a multitude of challenges facing … [Read more...]

How utilities can deal with the threat of community energy

Solar settlement in Freiburg, Germany

Community energy is the next big threat to utility companies – unless they manage to become part of this emerging energy economy. They still have a window of opportunity, says Craig Cavanaugh of software services company Omnetric Group, who spent six months researching the energy community market in Europe and the US. He sees three main opportunities for utilities: they can become “collaborative partner”, “community energy service provider” or … [Read more...]