4 ways the UK can get almost all its power from renewables, without Hinkley

4 ways the UK can get almost all its power from renewables, without Hinkley

The UK could generate more than 80% of its electricity from wind, solar and tidal power within 15 years and keep the lights on – thanks to advances in storage and smart technology and falls in the costs of renewables – according to a new detailed study of Demand Energy Equality.

The analysis comes as experts and politicians remain divided over how and whether the UK can cut its emissions, following the example of countries like Sweden and Denmark.

The UK government is keen to put its efforts into large-scale projects such as the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant.

In the opposite corner, the chief executive of the UK’s National Grid recently said in an interview that “the idea of large power stations is outdated” with advances in decentralized energy such as roof-top solar.

The study went into amazing detail.

It’s authors used hourly weather data for 11 years and modeled how national demand could be met, down to the household level, if the UK were relying on renewables – chiefly wind, solar, and tidal power – for more than 80% of its electricity.

Power supplied by gas and electricity grid ove one week in January.

Power supplied by gas and electricity

Source: Department of Energy and Climate Change (2012).

 

To make things even more complex the study also assumes we use electricity not just for traditional purposes, but also for transport and heat – as more people begin to drive electric cars and use electricity instead of gas to heat their homes.

It meets a target for carbon emissions of 50g for every Kwh of energy produced – which matters because it is in line with the advice of the government’s independent climate committee

The Dee study did not include a full technical cost modelling exercise – partly because the cost of renewable energy keeps changing.

A comparison of the scenario in the study with a “high renewables scenario” done by energy analysts Poyry for the government’s independent climate advisors, the Climate Change Committee, indicates that the costs would be comparable.

The rapidly falling cost of onshore wind, solar and offshore wind – along with the high cost of alternatives such as nuclear and clean coal – mean that the costs of different energy mixes are likely to be similar.

Four ways to deliver renewables

1. Use less energy (especially for heat)

2. Build lots of wind turbines and solar panels

3. Combine power generation with heating

4. Smart tech

 

Source: Energydesk Greenpeace

Date: November 2015

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Tags assigned to this article:
renewablessolar powerUnited Kingdomwind

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