The Summit is an important event on the road to COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021. It brought together decisionmakers and representatives of more than 40 countries covering more than 80% of global GDP, population and emissions. Focus was on the critical need for international collaboration and policy implementation to accelerate clean energy transitions. On May 18, the IEA will publish a wide-ranging roadmap for the global energy sector to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Good to continue monitoring these important developments.
We read with interest a recent article in the Dutch newspaper FD, in which prominent figures of the political party D66 advise the next Dutch government to seriously consider a role for nuclear energy from 2030. Our advice is to do this from a European perspective.
We would therefore like to recommend the politicians and readers of this website to also read the 2010 study by the European Climate Foundation (ECF). We have written about this before in previous blogs, but we would like to make reference to the Roadmap 2050 website again; https://www.roadmap2050.eu/. The various reports (Roadmap 2050 (click here), Power Perspective 2030 (click here)) also clearly describe the role of nuclear energy. We understand the concerns and questions about how to deal with radioactive waste, but we believe that responsible solutions are (will be) available.
The Dutch House of Representatives (“Tweede Kamer”) recently declared the bill to phase out the netting scheme for solar panels definitively controversial. The law will only be discussed in the House of Representatives after the upcoming national elections on March 17, 2021.
This development creates uncertainty for individual households and companies. On the other hand, people know that solar energy must be fully used. As part of a necessary energy transition and also necessary to achieve the Dutch climate goals. We can therefore assume that it will remain interesting for households and companies to invest in solar energy systems.
Follow the developments via the good newsletters from “Solar Magazine”; Click here for more information.
Security of supply of electricity is not an issue in the short term in the Netherlands. In the context of the (hopefully) growing energy transition and the greater dependency on generated renewable energy (wind and solar), the very interesting TenneT report provides useful observations and advice.
If we reflect on the TenneT report, the study by the European Climate Foundation (ECF) from 2010, in which KEMA has been involved, comes to mind. We have already written about this in previous blogs, but we would like to make reference again to the Roadmap 2050 website; https://www.roadmap2050.eu/. It is certainly worthwhile to read and reflect on the different studies, even though we are now 11 years later.
As can be viewed from previous blogs, we keep a close eye on the Hydrogen developments worldwide.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows on their website an extremely useful overview of the possibilities and applications of Green Hydrogen. Furthermore it makes a good distinction between Fossil fuel based grey hydrogen, blue hydrogen, turquoise hydrogen and green hydrogen. Costs developments are elaborated and show the full potential in the areas of energy transition. For further detail, please click here ….
Notes: the various types of Hydrogen are nicely shown by IRENA on their website:
Fossil fuel based grey hydrogen (source = methane of coal; process = steam methane reforming (SMR) or gasification).
Blue hydrogen (source = methane or coal; process = SMR or gasification with carbon capture).
Turquoise hydrogen (source = methane; process = pyrolysis).
Green hydrogen (source = renewable electricity (e.g. offshore wind energy and solar energy); process = electrolysis).
Majority of hydrogen produced today is grey hydrogen, but the potential for green hydrogen is huge.
We also refer to previous articles on our website:
IEA has included in their Renewables 2020 report a very interesting dynamic data-dashboard, which will enable readers to examine historical data and investigate forecasts for various sectors and technologies.
We must understand developments globally to become stronger locally.
Two particular references I would like to mention in this context. The conclusions, which one can draw from these statistics and overviews, are straightforward and I leave this up to the individual reader.
IEA: Energy Technology RD&D Budgets 2020
I can really recommend the reader to look at IEA’s Energy Technology RD&D Budgets 2020.
These overviews include data on budgets in specific IEA member countries and the database shows RD&D budgets and various indicators. One ought to be cautious when interpreting the absolute figures. Nevertheless, it shows the money being spent on national level and in which areas.
With compliments to the IEA who states on their website: “The complete IEA Energy Technology RD&D Budget Database can be accessed for free through IEA Data Services by logging in as GUEST. Please see the documentation, manual, or questionnaire for additional information.”.
For more information on this wealth of information provided by IEA, please click here.
Share of renewable energy in EU member states (source: Eurostat Statistics)
The “Eurostat Statistics Explained” provide useful and clear insights.
For instance, the Renewable energy statistics give the following results:
Share of renewable energy nearly doubled between 2004 and 2018.
In 2018, renewable energy represented 18.9% of energy consumed in the EU, compared with 9.6% in 2004 – the 2020 target is 20%.
The share of energy from renewable sources used in transport activities in the EU reached 8.3% in 2018.
If one views how the Netherlands is doing in all of this, the following results:
Netherlands takes last (27th) place in the graph presented by Eurostat on “Share of energy from renewable sources in the EU Member States (2018, in % of gross final energy consumption)” – click here.
A more positive picture for the Netherlands (4th place measured from the top) is viewed when studying the graph “Share of energy from renewable sources in transport (2018, in % of gross final energy consumption)” – click here.
As a Dutchman, but very much being the European and mostly the global citizen for ecological issues, I obviously want my country to do much better in what I’ve extracted from the Eurostat data. Hence, some of the key questions should be; why are the other countries doing ‘better’, and what’s hindering us from performing as requested? What can we learn from the top performers on our national, regional and local levels? These questions stimulate the international cooperation in large implementation projects. Where organisations from many countries with good diversity are participating. And once finished, we share the lessons learnt and best practices.
For more information on the Eurostat statistics, please click here.
Although the text is written in the Dutch language, it’ll be interesting to note the following. “Energie Samen”, a Dutch interest group for energy cooperatives, writes on its website: “This fall, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate has signed the agreement to provide resources (€ 10 million) for the Development Fund for Energy Cooperatives.”. Read more (in Dutch language) by clicking here.
The importance of applying significant focus on the actual implementation of energy storage as part of smart energy transition solutions.
A relevant quote from the report produced by SolarPower Europe ‘European Market Outlook For Residential Battery Storage 2020–2024’: “Last year, 745 MWh from 96,000 systems were installed, representing a 57% annual growth rate. The foundation for the European residential BESS sector was laid by a handful of countries, where a large residential solar market already, exists – namely Germany, Italy, UK, Austria, and Switzerland. These Top 5 markets absorbed over 90% of all BESS installations in 2019 and are also responsible for a similar level of the nearly 2 GWh of operating residential storage capacity in Europe so far.”. (Note: BESS stands for Battery Energy Storage Systems).
Please refer to the information accessible via the link by clicking here. The analyses and forecasts are a ‘must read’ for all working in the energy transition field.
The abovementioned report fully supports the developments and implementation success experienced elsewhere, by for example iwell; please refer to their website.
Another good example worth exploring, is the independent Dutch solar platform Zonatlas NL, freely accessible for individual households and individual business (e.g. SME). Zonatlas has for several regions in the Netherlands an on-line battery storage option available in case an individual household wants to make a connection with the energy generated by solar panels – please refer to the following website for more information: https://www.zonatlas.nl/start/
The author of this blog as well as the Dutch companies EnShared and Zonatlas made a contribution to the Position paper ‘Virtual Energy Plants through Energy Commons’, which was recently issued by the independent foundation Future Energy Systems – please refer to: https://fes.institute/en/position-paper/. Energy storage prominently features in this Paper, as it is an essential component in creating virtual energy plants. And when, for example, sufficient storage capacity is connected to the micro-grid, self-balancing and the trading of stored electricity can also be exploited. These storage systems provide another important form of flexibility to the market and will gain greater public interest as the share of renewables increases.
IEA World Energy Outlook 2020 clearly states: “Solar becomes the new king of electricity…..”. This makes the role of storage more important for affordable and reliable energy systems in the near future.
For further information, please click here, but the following quotes from IEA’s WEO 2020 are worth mentioning here:
“Renewables grow rapidly in all our scenarios, with solar at the centre of this new constellation of electricity generation technologies. Supportive policies and maturing technologies are enabling very cheap access to capital in leading markets. With sharp cost reductions over the past decade, solar PV is consistently cheaper than new coal- or gas fired power plants in most countries, and solar projects now offer some of the lowest cost electricity ever seen.”.
“Storage plays an increasingly vital role in ensuring the flexible operation of power systems, with India becoming the largest market for utility-scale battery storage.”.
In the Netherlands many realise that the current and past tax and subsidy regime hasn’t really supported the large scale implementation of energy storage to date. Nevertheless, we observe good examples of implementation in for example apartment buildings where a smart battery system significantly lowers the peaks in the power supply resulting from the elevator usages.
It’ll be obvious that in the Netherlands we should focus more and more on the smart introduction of battery and energy storage systems.
We will continue to write about future developments.
A Virtual Energy Plant through an Energy Common is a network of local small- and medium scale power and heat generating units such as wind farms, solar parks, and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units, as well as flexible energy consumers and storage systems. The interconnected units are dispatched through an automated central ‘control room’ of the Energy Common thereby remaining independent in their operation and ownership. The objective of a community based Virtual Power Plant is twofold. First, it needs to generate enough renewable energy for the local community. Secondly it should relieve the load on the electricity grid by smartly distributing the power generated by the individual units during periods of peak load. In case of a surplus, the combined power generation and power consumption of the networked units in the Virtual Energy Plant can be traded on the energy exchange.
A disconcerting message as this could have negative consequences for the required sustainable energy growth. On the other hand, the COVID-19 crisis may help us with a more stronger focus on a sustainable world where solar and wind power are important building blocks for our future.
Yes, we realise that when the balance sheets of large energy firms are affected, this may cause an impact on sustainable energy investment. However, decentralised sustainable energy generation, by investments of individual home owners, SME’s and housing corporations can provide the positive push our society needs.