Some key announcements concerning international energy policy were announced last week. One of the most significant publications was Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s New Energy Finance report on 3 July. A significant finding was that solar power with battery storage would be more cost effective than coal in China by 2028. Other projections from the report included projections that 71% of electricity will be generated from low-carbon sources globally by 2050, with 50% of this coming from renewables. Europe will lead this transition, with 87% of electricity coming from wind and solar in the continent by 2050.
A nearer term ambition from Europe is the continent’s strategy to separate the continent’s grid connections from Russia by 2025. The European Commission is overseeing improving grid connections in the Baltic states and across Eastern Europe. Helping this undertaking will be the continued growth of Europe’s battery storage market, which grew 49% in 2017 to a power output of 589MWh. The UK and Germany remain the most important markets for grid-scale storage, whereas Italy is becoming a leader in domestic storage.
In Western Europe, French energy giant EDF sold a minority stake in its existing UK renewable projects to pursue further renewable energy investment in the country on 2 July. £701mn of value across 24 of EDF’s wind farms has been sold, and EDF Energy Chief Simone Rissoi echoed EDF’s commitment to onshore and offshore wind, as well as future battery storage projects.
Further boosts for UK renewables could come from Ofgem’s new Capacity Market requirements. The new requirements propose to ‘seek to enable onshore wind and other renewables to participate in the Capacity Market’, potentially allowing the way for established renewables to compete directly with fossil fuel generation without subsidies. This comes on the back of renewables reaching record highs of 30.1% of UK power generation in Q1 2018. Wind accounted for the largest portion of this, at 19.1%, outstripping nuclear power (17.9%) and coal power (9.4%).
New renewables could be cheaper than existing gas plants by 2030, according to new analysis by Carbon Brief on the Committee on Climate Change’s power sector pathways. This will not only incentivise further renewables developments throughout the 2020s, but also highlights how solar and wind roll-out estimates have increased significantly from previous Committee scenarios.
The UK government also announced new policy for the public sector, announcing a target of a 43% reduction by 2020 on emissions compared to a 2010 baseline. This is expected to save the sector £340mn across public finances. More specific guidance on the target is expected for wider public and education sectors.
Finally, a decision on the UK adopting a net zero emission target has been postponed by a judge from the High Court. Campaigners suing the government for not increasing the emissions target from the Climate Change Act 2008 said that they would wait and hear a decision within two weeks. The campaigners want the Act to be in line with the Paris Agreement target of 1.5°C of global mean temperature rise, which would likely require the UK to commit to a net zero emissions target around 2050.
Climate Home, Energy Live News, BEIS, Association for Decentralised Energy, EurActiv, Edie, Current+ News, Carbon Brief, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, European Energy Storage Association, Delta-ee, EDF