Orkney is leading the charge on electric vehicles, with one of the highest uptakes in the UK. As BBC Scotland continues its season of special news coverage on the “climate emergency”, we look at changes needed in transport and what could be learned from islanders.
The solar energy storage market will surpass an annual installation rate of 3GW by 2025.
That’s according to new research published by market research firm Global Market Insights, which notes in 2018, the combined battery and solar energy sector was worth more than $170 million (£140.6m).
It notes the growth of co-located solar and battery infrastructure will largely be driven by rising environmental concerns in conjunction with “strict regulatory mandates to curtail global emissions”.
It suggests “harnessing the synergy” among intermittent renewable power and demand side electrification is the key factor influencing future adoption rates of such technologies.
The government has doubled funding for the installation of on-street EV charging points.
This morning transport secretary Grant Shapps announced that the on-street residential chargepoint scheme will see its funding pot doubled by an additional £2.5 million, finance which will support more than 1,000 more on-street chargepoints.
The fund was established in 2017 in a bid to support EV adoption by facilitating the install of publicly accessible EV charging infrastructure for drivers without off-street parking, an issue particularly pertinent for users in metropolitan areas.
The fund initially offered £1.5 million of funding for use in 2017/18, followed by an additional £4.5 million for use in 2018/19 and 2019/20, supporting 75% of the capital costs of procuring and installing on-street charge points, with a project cap of £7,500.
The Department for Transport has now taken the decision to double the funding point, and transport secretary Grant Shapps said that it was vital that EV drivers could be confident about the availability of chargepoints near their homes.
Vattenfall is developing its first wind-solar-battery power plant that will generate and store clean energy, in the Netherlands.
The developer has made the investment decision to build a photovoltaic system and a battery at its Haringvliet onshore wind project site, in the Goeree-Overflakkee region of South Holland.
Vattenfall will bring the whole plant online in the second half of 2020.
The Haringvliet Zuid full-hybrid power plant (pictured) will consist of six Nordex wind turbines with an installed capacity of 22MW, a 30-hectare ground mounted 38MW PV system, which is Vattenfall’s largest solar project to date, and a 12MW energy storage facility.
The ability of UK researchers to see deep inside batteries while operating in real time will be greatly enhanced through a series of awards announced by the Faraday Institution today. Three UK-based consortia will receive a total of £2 million to develop battery-focused characterisation and analytical techniques to provide UK battery researchers with world-leading tools to accelerate the development of their understanding of battery materials and enable scientific breakthroughs that will ultimately improve the performance of electric vehicles (EVs).
These technical advances will help UK researchers develop next-generation batteries, as the UK works to electrify the automotive sector and decarbonise transport.
“The next generation of batteries will be achieved through a better understanding of the mechanisms and reactions occurring within them, which would allow researchers to design batteries with better materials that give improved performance, such as extending battery life and increasing storage capacity to hold more energy, extending the range of EVs,” commented the Faraday Institution’s Chief Executive Officer, Neil Morris.
Falling prices and sunk costs mean that the reigning storage technology has a lasting lead.
Clean-energy visionaries have long argued that the world needs a better battery capable of selling skeptical consumers on electric cars and running the grid on renewable power. And yet the battery of the future—at least for the coming decade—will almost certainly be the battery of the past.
The humble lithium-ion battery has built up such a commanding lead in the market that competing technologies may struggle to catch up. That lead will only widen as a wave of planned new lithium-ion factories comes online in the next five years.
The batteries pouring from new factories in China, the U.S., Thailand and elsewhere will further drive down prices, which have already plunged 85 percent since 2010. And the billions spent on factories will create a powerful incentive for the industry to keep tweaking lithium-ion technology, improving it bit by bit, rather than adopting something else.
U.S. grid-connected energy storage capacity this year is set for a twofold increase to 712 MW from 376 MW last year. What’s more, between 2019 and 2024, storage capacity will soar to almost 5 GW, of which 90 percent will be battery storage, IHS Markit said in a new report.
This will make the United States the country with the most energy storage capacity connected to the grid, ahead of the current global leader in this area, South Korea.
The cost of energy storage is plummeting as performance is improving, and Congress is moving to help storage technologies continue to advance. Spurring innovation is far from all we need to do to address the climate crisis facing us, but it’s a necessary component and a start to development of comprehensive solutions.
After years in which many in Congress have done all they can to deny the science of climate change or avoid taking steps to address it, it’s reassuring to see lawmakers of both political parties acknowledging the facts and taking the first steps to grapple with it. Deploying technologies to save the surge in solar power on a sunny afternoon or wind power from a blustery night is one part of making our electric grid cleaner and greener.
A growing number of companies believe using tethered kites and drones is a viable way to harness the stronger and more consistent high-altitude winds. Could this tech release wind power’s full potential, or will it always remain a niche solution?
Wind power generated five times more electricity in 2018 than in 2008, according to recent figures from the US Energy Information Administration.
Yet it still only accounts for about 4% of the world’s electricity.
Pumping and storing water from lower to higher elevations and then releasing it to drive turbine generators is one of the oldest, most efficient and widely used means of generating baseload electricity known. An Australian National University (ANU) research team found no less than 530,000 potential short-term, off-river pumped-hydro energy storage sites worldwide that could be used to support low-cost, renewable energy zones and power grids. “Pumped hydro accounts for 97 percent of energy storage worldwide, has a typical lifetime of 50 years and is the lowest cost large-scale energy-storage technology available,” pointed out Bin Lu, a project team member and PhD candidate at the ANU Research School of Electrical, Energy and Materials Engineering (RSEEME).
Another promising large-scale energy storage technology recently emerged in news reports, one that, akin to pumped hydro, is based on fundamental principles of Newtonian physics taught to undergraduate college students. About an hour’s drive south of Milan, Italy, Energy Vault intends to use cranes to lift 35-metric ton bricks from ground level to build a tower, then release the stored potential energy by lowering them again to drive turbine generators.
In a third instance, Highview Power is out to prove that its liquid air energy storage systems (LAES) can provide gigawatt-hours (GWh) worth of cheap, highly efficient energy storage for five-10 hours per day. “At giga-scale, energy storage resources paired with renewables are equivalent in performance to—and could replace—thermal and nuclear baseload in addition to supporting the electricity transmission and distribution systems while providing additional security of supply,” according to the company.