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Before We Talk About Green Energy, Let’s Talk About Batteries

A new report from the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Energy seeks to assess the signs of whether there will be a gradual or a rapid “energy transition.”  In other words, will global economies switch from fossil fuels to renewable energies slowly or all at once?

The report takes for granted that the world will transition to using renewable energies—mainly solar and wind—by the middle of this century. However, the report omits a crucial piece of technological development from its forecast: batteries.

The few times batteries are mentioned, they are generally referred to as “storage,” because batteries are essentially just storage containers for electricity or power. The report draws conclusion like, “Even as penetration [of renewable power] rises, technologies such as storage and demand response are likely to make higher levels of penetration cheaper.”

This is serious flaw with the conclusions and forecasts because we do not yet have that technology to make better and cheaper batteries, and we don’t know when or if we will.

Solar and wind offer the promise of a plentiful, clean power. Yet, we still need to improve the efficiency of their power production, and we need to find a way to effectively store the power they produce. The wind does not always blow, and the sun does not always shine.

If and when we find the ability to store the excess power created by wind and solar (and hydro and nuclear and anything else), we will be well on our way to much cleaner energy production. Right now our batteries cannot store that kind of power over the long term, regularly recharge, and last for years.

Someday, someone will invent the new generation of batteries that will revolutionize energy use. When they do, the transition to renewable energy will surely be rapid. This breakthrough could be as close as a few years away. Or perhaps it won’t come for decades.

However, making assumptions about the speed at which global economies can transition away from fossil fuels without a revolution in battery technology is just wishful thinking. Investment and innovation in battery and energy storage technology is still needed before we can transition away from fossil fuels.

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I’m an energy historian writing about how governments and energy businesses interact globally. My work looks at how policy, wars, diplomacy, the stock market, oil pricing, and innovation impact the future of energy. I am the president of Transversal Consulting, a firm that provides consulting on energy and geopolitics to a range of industries. I am also a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. My book, Saudi, Inc., (Pegasus Books, 2018) covers the history and policy of Aramco and Saudi Arabia.

Source: Before We Talk About Green Energy, Let’s Talk About Batteries

How will green energy change our future? What will our future look like with green energy? The growth of green energy goes together with change. Our future will not only include green energy, but our future will also be shaped by it. What will the future sustainable world look like? That is the big question, now that the global transition towards sustainable energy is gaining momentum. For the growth of sustainable energy involves a lot more changes than just the color of the power supplied to our homes. How will we build, how will our mobility be impacted, and will energy, one day, be free? Just like the Internet turned out to have an unforeseen influence on all kinds of industries, from music to taxi businesses, the transition towards sustainable energy will also rise beyond the energy sector. And with a much wider impact than is now assumed. But we know surprisingly little about what that world will look like, and how the people in it will live, work and move around. Expectations are that, by the 2050s, two-thirds of the electricity generated globally will be sustainable. The Netherlands is ambitious too. But what kind of world are we heading for, really, with all these sustainable measures? In partial areas, the future is clear: a massive stop to the use of gas, lots of windmills and solar panels, and perhaps a self-driving car outside. But, for now, there is no wider vision of what the sustainable new world will look like. What will the world be like once energy has become practically free? What will the impact of the transition towards sustainable energy be on the balance of power in the world? A journey along places where the sustainable future is already (nearly) visible. In China, for example, old collapsed coal mines are given a new destination as solar parks. In Denmark, the power plants of the future also serve as skiing slopes. And in Malmö, Sweden, new leases are signed with green fingers. Original title: Voorbij de groene horizon With: Bjarke Ingels (architect, BIG Copenhagen), Peggy Liu (green pioneer JUCCCE Shanghai) and Varun Sivaram (author ‘Taming the Sun’ and expert clean energy technology Council on Foreign Relations in Washington DC). Originally broadcasted by VPRO in 2018. © VPRO Backlight October 2018 On VPRO broadcast you will find nonfiction videos with English subtitles, French subtitles and Spanish subtitles, such as documentaries, short interviews and documentary series. VPRO Documentary publishes one new subtitled documentary about current affairs, finance, sustainability, climate change or politics every week. We research subjects like politics, world economy, society and science with experts and try to grasp the essence of prominent trends and developments. Subscribe to our channel for great, subtitled, recent documentaries. Visit additional youtube channels bij VPRO broadcast: VPRO Broadcast, all international VPRO programs: https://www.youtube.com/VPRObroadcast VPRO DOK, German only documentaries: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBi0… VPRO Metropolis, remarkable stories from all over the world: https://www.youtube.com/user/VPROmetr… VPRO World Stories, the travel series of VPRO: https://www.youtube.com/VPROworldstories VPRO Extra, additional footage and one off’s: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTLr… www.VPRObroadcast.com Credits: Director: Martijn Kieft Research:William de Bruijn Camera: Jacko van´t Hof, Hans Bouma, Remco Bikkers Sound: Cloud Wang, Mark Witte, Dennis Kersten Fixer China: Liyan Ma Edit: Michiel Hazebroek, Jeroen van den Berk Online Editor: Sanne Stevens Production: Jeroen Beumer Commissioning Editors: Marije Meerman, Doke Romeijn English, French and Spanish subtitles: Ericsson. French and Spanish subtitles are co-funded by European Union.

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Renewable Energy In Spain: From The ‘Sun Tax’ To The Promotion Of Collective Self-Consumption

Solar Panel

A few weeks before the general elections, the Spanish Government approved on Friday 5 a Royal Decree that regulates the new conditions for self-consumption of electricity, which encourage collective self-consumption and establishes a simplified mechanism for compensation of self-produced and unconsumed energy. The new energy regulation has put an end to the so-called ‘sun tax’ introduced by the conservative Popular Party in 2015 to tax the development of photovoltaic solar energy and self-consumption in Spain. From now on, Spain will be in line with its European neighbors and closer to achieving the EU’s energy targets for 2030.

Lower prices and new actors into the electrical system

Among the measures introduced by the Royal Decree, it stands out the authorization of the collective self-consumption which aims to benefit both households and small businesses. From now on, several consumers can be associated to the same installation of solar panels and it will be allowed to install photovoltaic panels in adjacent buildings that have better orientation, as long as there is an agreement between the members of both buildings. Also, the new regulation simplifies administrative procedures, and, in addition, it establishes a simplified mechanism for compensation of self-produced and unconsumed energy.

The Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, foresees that the boost of self-consumption will have a “positive effect on the economic activity, on the electrical and energy system, and on consumers”, such as the reduction of the price of the electricity bill. According to the Government, the measures adopted will permit society to take advantage of the potential that solar energy can offer as it will provide an alternative to citizens and it will allow the entrance of new actors into the electrical system.

The EU put an end of the ‘sun tax’

With the new regulation, Spain leaves behind the era of punishment for energetic self-consumption. In November 2018 the Government of Pedro Sánchez took the first step repealing the so-called ‘sun tax’, approved by the previous Government of Mariano Rajoy in 2015. The controversial law that taxed self-consumption was not very well welcomed by the EU, where the fight against climate change has been at the center of the political agenda for years.

One of the declared priorities of the Commission of Energy and Climate Change, led by the Spanish commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, was to promote the use of renewable energies and energy saving. However, for years the Government of the Popular Party (to which Cañete belongs) blocked the attempts to advance in the matter of renewable energy.

The turning point came with the motion of censure that removed Rajoy from power last summer. A few weeks later, the European Parliament and national governments agreed to increase from 27% to 32% the mandatory quota of energy from renewable sources by 2030 and prohibit Member States from imposing taxes on the self-consumed energy, as the Spanish ‘sun tax’, in order to comply with its obligations in the fight against climate change.

Climate change, a matter of political will

“Ambition in the fight against climate change is a political decision and the last-minute turn in the position of the Governments of Spain and Italy has shown it by making possible something that seemed impossible”, stated Greenpeace in a press release after the EU agreement in June 2018. Although Greenpeace considered that the renewable targets set for 2030 are still insufficient, the organization celebrated that for the first time the right of citizens to actively participate in the energy sector was recognized and, therefore, Spain was forced to derogate the ‘sun tax’.

For Green Peace, the agreement marks a before and after regarding the right of citizens, local authorities, small and medium enterprises and cooperatives to produce, consume, store and sell their own renewable energy, without being subject to punitive rates or excessive limitations. No matter the result of the general elections next April 28, Spain must now join the EU efforts to achieve a sustainable consume energy and from now on, Spaniards may have an important role to play not only as consumers but as responsible producers as well.

I’m a Spanish journalist graduated in law and politics, specialized in international journalism. Currently living in Brussels!

Source: Renewable Energy In Spain: From The ‘Sun Tax’ To The Promotion Of Collective Self-Consumption

Africa Renewables Fund awards $1.6m for solar home lighting to 7,000 homes in Zambia —

Kazang Solar, Azuri Technologies’ official distribution partner in Zambia, has been awarded $1.6 million from the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) under its Renewable Energy and Climate Adaptation Technologies (REACT) window. Azuri is a leading commercial provider of pay-as-you-go solar home systems to off-grid homes in Africa and has been working with Kazang in Zambia…

via Africa Renewables Fund awards $1.6m for solar home lighting to 7,000 homes in Zambia —

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