A report by Npower finds that 75% of businesses back 2050 net zero

A new report launched by npower shows that the majority of businesses back net zero, with a significant number praising the perceived benefits.

The report, which saw npower Business Solutions consult with nearly 100 businesses across sectors such as manufacturing, the public sector and professional services, is to be submitted to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

It found that 75% of businesses believe net zero by 2050 is achievable and 83% believe their organisation would benefit for the changes required to meet this goal. Reasons for this include greater operational long-term resiliency through saving money and reducing carbon emissions, the positive impact on reputation and the opportunity to diversify their offering into new areas.

Read the full article here.

Impact of COVID-19 on EDI, and research across the EPSRC Supergen programme

The Supergen Bioenergy Hub, Energy Networks Hub, Offshore Renewable Energy Hub, Energy Storage Network+ and SuperSolar Network are working collaboratively in our Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives.

In collaboration with the EPSRC Supergen project portfolio, we have developed a survey looking at issues of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and the impact of COVID-19 on our network and stakeholders. Some of the questions are focused on issues for our research community but we welcome responses from all of our members.

Anonymised responses from this questionnaire will be shared between all of the EPSRC Supergen teams to enable joint analysis, and a joint report from the Supergen programmes containing key anonymised information will be published and be made available in the public domain.

Please take the survey here.

The engineer making energy storage more efficient

In a recent interview with nature, our Supergen Energy Storage Network+ Director Professor Yulong Ding speaks about how his work with international partners in China is improving the performance of energy technologies.

“In 2016, our centre established a joint energy-storage research laboratory with the Beijing-based State Grid Corporation of China, which operates the country’s electricity network. We now have six completed research projects related to energy conversion and storage. A seventh, secured during lockdown, is in progress. For example, we are developing materials for use in energy storage that change from solid to liquid, and back again, to release power”.

You can read the full article here.

Hydrogen production costs to 2040 – A report by WoodMac

New research from Wood Mackenzie shows that falling costs and growing project pipelines will ensure the 2020s are the “decade of hydrogen”. The executive summary of the report can be downloaded here.

Hydrogen production costs: is a tipping point on the horizon examines the production costs of green, blue, grey and brown hydrogen from 2020 to 2040. Dynamic pricing was utilised to assess the competitiveness of green with fossil generation. The analysis was also expanded to include both PEM and Alkaline electrolyzers, different deployment sizes, different capex assumptions, plus added Saudi Arabia given the activity in solar and grey hydrogen markets there.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Green hydrogen costs will fall by up to 64% by 2040.
  • Over the past decade, global demand for hydrogen has only grown by 28%, peaking in 2020 at 111.7 million metric tons or 320Mtoe.
  • The top 10 countries account for 70% of global hydrogen demand. China and the United States each account for 21% and 19% of demand, respectively. Refining and ammonia dominate two-thirds of all demand uses. Despite the continued discussion on mobility, it is a miniscule share of the market.
  • While a few countries and sectors constitute the majority of 2020 global demand, 85 countries require hydrogen. However, individually, 61 countries make up less than 1% of global demand. This shows the potential to make in-roads in many markets at low stage usage.
  • Global production of hydrogen is almost exclusively produced by hydrocarbons. Grey, brown and black hydrogen make up a combined 99.6% of global production. So, although there is a tremendous amount of hype regarding green hydrogen, it barely registers across the full value chain for hydrogen’s uses.

More details can be found here.

UKPN has launched a new project to advance localised decarbonisation

UK Power Networks (UKPN) has launched a new project to examine how local authorities can advance low carbon heating.

Heat Street will take a data-driven look into future energy systems for local authorities in London, the South and East of England. This will allow them to plan for the significant rise in low carbon heating and energy efficiency measures needed for the UK to hit its net zero target.

The network operator will engage with property owners, local councils, property developers, businesses, academics and consumer groups to focus on the best steps in specific local areas to tackle heating. The sector is currently one of the UK’s largest emitters, accounting for about a third of the country’s carbon emissions or almost 120 million tonnes of CO2 according to official estimates.

Find the full article here.

UK firm’s solar power breakthrough could make world’s most efficient panels by 2021

British rooftops could be hosting a breakthrough in new solar power technology by next summer, using a crystal first discovered more than 200 years ago to help harness more of the sun’s power.

An Oxford-based solar technology firm hopes by the end of the year to begin manufacturing the world’s most efficient solar panels, and become the first to sell them to the public within the next year.

Oxford PV claims that the next-generation solar panels will be able to generate almost a third more electricity than traditional silicon-based solar panels by coating the panels with a thin layer of a crystal material called perovskite.

The breakthrough would offer the first major step-change in solar power generation since the technology emerged in the 1950s, and could play a major role in helping to tackle the climate crisis by increasing clean energy.

Read the full article here.

The first episode of the SGN’s new podcast series, Heat Without Carbon, is now available to download.

Hosted by experienced podcast producer and journalist Colin Kelly, the podcast is a 30-minute deep dive into the issues facing the UK as it moves toward a net zero energy system, including hydrogen heating, its impact on consumers, and the cutting-edge research needed to decarbonise the sector.

Produced remotely due to the ongoing restrictions imposed by the coronavirus crisis, in each episode Colin takes a closer look at the issues facing the energy sector and our research projects, drawing on the expertise of the SGN’s Energy Futures team and colleagues from their partner organisations on the front line of the fight against climate change. Heat Without Carbon will take listeners behind the scenes, giving a deeper understanding of the green energy transition.

In the first episode, Colin is joined by Gus McIntosh, SGN’s Director of Energy Futures, as the drivers for phasing out natural gas and introducing clean gases are explosed, such as hydrogen and biogas, into the network.

More details can be found here.

Listeners can hear new episodes regularly on the SGN’s website and on podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and TuneIn.

Listen to episode 1 here.

Honeywell to supply Ukraine’s first grid-scale battery storage system

US equipment manufacturer and engineering solutions company Honeywell has signed a contract to supply what is thought to be the Ukraine’s first large-scale battery energy storage system.

Ukrainian energy sector investment company DTEK announced yesterday that it is executing a pilot project which will see a 1MW / 1.5MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS) installed at Zaporizhzhya Power Plant, a thermal power plant site owned by DTEK. The system will provide frequency containment reserves to the grid, as well as doing energy arbitrage- charging at off-peak times and discharging when demand is higher.

The full article can be found here.

National Grid ESO – 2020 Future Energy Scenarios

National Grid ESO has published its 2020 Future Energy Scenarios (FES), marking a significant shift as it replaces three of these scenarios with net zero compliant ones. The report can be downloaded here.

Of these three new scenarios, two – Consumer Transformation and System Transformation – hit net zero by 2050 and the other – Leading the Way – achieves it in 2048. The only remaining scenario from 2019 – Steady Progression – still emits 258 MtCO2e in 2050, equivalent to a 68% reduction compared to 1990 levels.

Electricity output by technology type out to 2050. Image: National Grid ESO.

The full article can be found here.

Drax Group’s power plant in Scotland aims to make British grid greener

Drax Group’s power plant in Scotland will help to keep the electricity system running at the needed frequency while reducing the risk of power cuts.

A hollow mountain pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant in Scotland has started making the British grid greener by providing support services.

That is the outcome of a new partnership, which has been established between Drax Group and the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) and is expected to save consumers up to £128 million over six years.

As part of the agreement, Cruachan Power Station on the slopes of Ben Cruachan in Argyll will provide the grid with support services including inertia, which helps to keep the electricity system running at the needed frequency while reducing the risk of power cuts.

Read the full article here.