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Stuart O'Brien

Onshore wind ‘the key to net zero emissions’

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If new onshore wind projects were allowed to go ahead in the UK, consumers and business would save money on their electricity bills in the decades ahead, and thousands of jobs would be created. 

That’s according to research by independent analysts Vivid Economics following last month’s landmark report on reaching net zero emissions by 2050 by the Committee on Climate Change, which suggested increasing the UK’s onshore wind capacity from 13 gigawatts (GW) now to 35GW by 2035 as part of a low-cost energy strategy for the future.  

The study, “Quantifying the economic benefits of onshore wind to the UK”, commissioned by RenewableUK, shows that building this capacity of new onshore wind instead of gas plants would save an average household £50 a year in 2035, reducing the cost of electricity by 7%. 

The research also shows that the sector would nearly triple employment, supporting 31,000 jobs by 2035 with 14,000 directly employed in the industry (up from 5,300 direct jobs now), if 35GW is deployed.

These jobs would be created throughout the UK, lifting productivity in areas that need it most, particularly in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In 2017, the UK exported £52m worth of onshore wind goods and services according to Government statistics. The study shows that the UK supply chain could capture £360m of the global onshore wind market by 2035, supporting 3,700 jobs in 2035.

However, the researchers point out that onshore wind faces multiple barriers, including exclusion from Government-backed contracts to generate power, and strict rules governing the construction of onshore turbines which have led to a significant decline in planning applications since 2015. The study notes that these barriers have increased uncertainty in the project pipeline, reducing investment in the UK-based supply chain. 

RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive, Emma Pinchbeck, said: “Now that the Government has announced that it will set a legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2050,  it needs to make use of the cheapest technology to get there – and to do so swiftly, as people are demanding immediate action on climate change. They also want lower electricity bills in the decades ahead, and skilled jobs. Onshore wind is treated as the Cinderella of energy policy by Government but in reality, it should be their Fairy Godmother – one of the few technologies that can grant all of these wishes. 

“The Government’s climate advisers are also recommending more onshore wind because it’s part of the cheapest route to net zero emissions by 2050. Now is the perfect time for Ministers to take a fresh look at this key technology and dismantle the barriers which are preventing us all from benefiting from it in full”. 

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Renewable energy now employs 11m people globally

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Eleven million people were employed in renewable energy in 2018, compared with 10.3 million in 2017, according the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The organisation says that until now, renewable energy industries have remained relatively concentrated in a handful of major markets, such as China, the United States and the European Union.

However, East and Southeast Asian countries have emerged alongside China as key exporters of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. Countries including Malaysia, Thailand and Viet Nam were responsible for a greater share of growth in renewables jobs last year, which allowed Asia to maintain a 60 per cent share of renewable energy jobs worldwide.

“Beyond climate goals, governments are prioritising renewables as a driver of low-carbon economic growth in recognition of the numerous employment opportunities created by the transition to renewables,” said Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA. 

“Renewables deliver on all main pillars of sustainable development – environmental, economic and social. As the global energy transformation gains momentum, this employment dimension reinforces the social aspect of sustainable development and provides yet another reason for countries to commit to renewables.”

Solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind remain the most dynamic of all renewable energy industries. Accounting for one-third of the total renewable energy workflow, solar PV retains the top spot in 2018, ahead of liquid biofuels, hydropower, and wind power.

Geographically, Asia hosts over three million PV jobs, nearly nine-tenths of the global total.

Most of the wind industry’s activity still occurs on land and is responsible for the bulk of the sector’s 1.2 million jobs. China alone accounts for 44 per cent of global wind employment, followed by Germany and the United States. Offshore wind could be an especially attractive option for leveraging domestic capacity and exploiting synergies with the oil and gas industry.

The solar PV industry retains the top spot, with a third of the total renewable energy workforce. In 2018, PV employment expanded in India, Southeast Asia and Brazil, while China, the United States, Japan and the European Union lost jobs.

Rising output pushed biofuel jobs up 6% to 2.1 million. Brazil, Colombia, and Southeast Asia have labour-intensive supply chains where informal work is prominent, whereas operations in the United States and the European Union are far more mechanised.

Employment in wind power supports 1.2 million jobs. Onshore projects predominate, but the offshore segment is gaining traction and could build on expertise and infrastructure in the offshore oil and gas sector.

Hydropowerhas the largest installed capacity of all renewables but is now expanding slowly. The sector employs 2.1 million people directly, three quarters of whom are in operations and maintenance.

IRENA’s Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review can be downloaded here:  

https://www.irena.org/publications/2019/Jun/Renewable-Energy-and-Jobs-Annual-Review-2019

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Do you specialise in Data Collection for energy management? We want to hear from you!

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Each month on Energy Management Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the market – and in July we’ll be focussing on Data Collection solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help energy management buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Data Collection solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Lisa Rose on 01992 374077 / l.rose@forumevents.co.uk.

Here are the areas we’ll be covering in 2019, month by month:

July – Data Collection & Management
August – Water Management
September – Solar PV
October – Lighting
November – HVAC
December – Water Strategy

For more information on any of the above, contact Lisa Rose on 01992 374077 / l.rose@forumevents.co.uk.

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

60+ reasons to attend the Energy Management Summit

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We’ve got 60 good reasons why you should be attending the Energy Management Summit, which takes place on the 30th September & 1st October at the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted.

60 senior energy management professionals will be attending specifically to source new suppliers.

If that’s not enough reason for you to attend, here are 5 more…

  • Host a series of pre-arranged, face-to-face meetings with senior buyers sourcing new suppliers
  • Enjoy more informal networking with 60 delegates
  • Hassle-free – no stand build to worry about
  • Promote your products & services to potential new clients
  • Enjoy complimentary hospitality, including overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments plus an invitation to our networking dinner with entertainment.

Registered delegates include representatives from the likes of BT, Network Rail SE Route, Vodafone and more!

Find out more at www.energymanagementsummit.co.uk.

5 reasons you should attend the Building & Construction Summit

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Register today for the Building & Construction Summit – It’s FREE for you to attend and could help you reduce your expenditure by matching you with innovative suppliers.

As one of our VIP guests, you’ll be joining just 60 other senior construction, properyy development and contracts professionals who are attending the event to network, learn and forge new business relationships.

They include representatives from the likes of Gleeds Management Services, Hill Partnerships, JEHU Group, Quintain and more.

If that’s not incentive enough for you to register here are 4 more reasons…

  • As a VIP guest, you will be provided with a bespoke itinerary of face-to-face meetings with suppliers based on mutual agreement. No hard sell, and no time wasted.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to attend insightful seminars and interactive workshops.
  • Network with 60 other senior professionals who share your challenges.
  • Enjoy complimentary lunch and refreshments.

Taking place on March 16th& 17that the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted, the Building & Construction Summit provides a platform for new business connections.

The energy storage market ‘paving the way for next energy revolution’

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The energy storage market has caught the eye of a number of stakeholders involved in the power industry, leading to its considerable growth and opening the way for the next energy revolution.

So says GlobalData’s latest thematic report, Thematic Research: Energy Storage, which highlights the present scenario and emerging market trends across electrochemical, mechanical and thermal energy storage.

The report says demand for energy storage system (ESS) devices in the power sector is increasing rapidly, particularly after the increase in the renewable energy integration into the grids. Intermittent power supply led to demand for the storage of electrical energy and supply during peak load periods. ESS devices can help make renewable energy – whose power output cannot be controlled by grid operators – smooth and dispatchable.

With the global energy storage market becoming one of the rapidly growing segments within the renewable power mix, GlobalData says equipment manufacturers or technology providers of energy storage technologies are focused on innovating their energy storage solutions and offering advanced energy storage systems.

Sneha Susan Elias, Senior Analyst of Power at GlobalData, said: “Battery energy storage system (BESS) is regarded as a crucial solution for overcoming the intermittency limitations of renewable energy sources (RES). The battery energy storage market reported cumulative deployment of 4.9 GW at the end of 2018 and is expected to reach 22.2 GW in 2023, with the US accounting for 24.7% of the global capacity. The deployment is expected to grow, due to a large number of countries opting for storage utilization to support their power sector transformation.

“The expansion in battery manufacturing capacity and falling costs resulting from the electric vehicle (EV) industry are driving growth in energy storage services and new markets. This fall in battery prices has favored the battery energy storage market and has speeded the deployment of energy storage projects globally.

“Currently, lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries dominate the electrochemical energy storage market but other battery energy storage technologies such as sodium-sulfur (NaS), lead-acid and flow batteries are now getting deployed. While, thermal energy storage utilizing molten salt is among the most widely used technology in association with concentrated solar power (CSP) projects, among mechanical energy storage technologies, pumped hydroelectric storage systems is among the most mature energy storage technologies and offers a number of benefits such as energy-balancing, stability, storage capacity, along with ancillary grid services which include network frequency control and reserves.”

Image by Bert Braet from Pixabay

Falling cost of renewables ‘boosts climate ambitions’

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Renewable power is the cheapest source of electricity in many parts of the world already today.

That’s according to the latest report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The report contributes to the international discussion on raising climate action worldwide, ahead of Abu Dhabi’s global preparatory meeting for the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September.

With prices set to fall, the cost advantage of renewables will extend further, Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2018 says. This, says IRENA, will strengthen the business case and solidify the role of renewables as the engine of the global energy transformation. 

“Renewable power is the backbone of any development that aims to be sustainable”, said IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera. “We must do everything we can to accelerate renewables if we are to meet the climate objectives of the Paris Agreement. Today’s report sends a clear signal to the international community: Renewable energy provides countries with a low-cost climate solution that allows for scaling up action. To fully harness the economic opportunity of renewables, IRENA will work closely with our members and partners to facilitate on-the-ground solutions and concerted action that will result in renewable energy projects.”

The costs for renewable energy technologies decreased to a record low last year. The global weighted-average cost of electricity from concentrating solar power (CSP) declined by 26%, bioenergy by 14%, solar photovoltaics (PV) and onshore wind by 13%, hydropower by 12% and geothermal and offshore wind by 1%, respectively. 

Cost reductions, particularly for solar and wind power technologies, are set to continue into the next decade, the report finds. According to IRENA’s global database, over three-quarters of the onshore wind and four-fifths of the solar PV capacity that is due to be commissioned next year will produce power at lower prices than the cheapest new coal, oil or natural gas options. Crucially, they are set to do so without financial assistance.

IRENA says onshore wind and solar PV costs between three and four US cents per kilowatt hour are already possible in areas with good resources and enabling regulatory and institutional frameworks.

For example, record-low auction prices for solar PV in Chile, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have seen a levelised cost of electricity as low as three US cents per kilowatt hour (USD 0.03/kWh).

Read IRENA’s report “Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2018” 

Read IRENA’s report “Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050

Huge energy storage site planned in Utah

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A plan to launch an Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project in central Utah has been unveiled by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) and Magnum Development.

The ACES initiative, the largest project of its kind, will develop 1,000 megawatts of 100 percent clean energy storage, thereby deploying technologies and strategies essential to a decarbonised future for the power grid of the Western United States.

Carnegie Mellon University researchers found that carbon emissions from the U.S. power sector have dropped 30 percent since 2005 (www.emissionsindex.org), because of a combination of natural gas and renewable power replacing retiring coal-fired power plants.

MHPS claims it has been instrumental in the transition and last year became the global market share leader for heavy duty gas turbines. As a next step in decarbonisation, MHPS has developed gas turbine technology that enables a mixture of renewable hydrogen and natural gas to produce power with even lower carbon emissions. 

The MHPS technology roadmap aims to use 100 percent renewable hydrogen as a fuel source, which will allow gas turbines to produce electricity with zero carbon emissions.

Magnum Development owns and controls the only known “Gulf Coast” style domal-quality salt formation in the western United States. With five salt caverns already in operation for liquid fuels storage, Magnum is continuing to develop Compressed Air Energy Storage and renewable hydrogen storage options. Strategically located adjacent to the Intermountain Power Project, the Magnum site is positioned to integrate with the western U.S. power grid utilising existing infrastructure.

In many parts of the western United States, there are times of day when demand for electricity is lower than the production of renewable power. This leads to curtailment of renewable generation and negative electricity pricing. As such, continued deployment of renewables will require that excess power be stored for later use. To serve the needs of the entire western United States, many gigawatt-hours of storage capacity are required.

Initially developing enough energy storage to completely serve the needs of 150,000 households for an entire year, the ACES initiative will deploy four types of clean energy storage at utility scale. These energy storage technologies include:

  • Renewable hydrogen
  • Compressed Air Energy Storage
  • Large scale flow batteries
  • Solid oxide fuel cells

“For 20 years, we’ve been reducing carbon emissions of the U.S. power grid using natural gas in combination with renewable power to replace retiring coal-fired power generation. In California and other states in the western United States, which will soon have retired all of their coal-fired power generation, we need the next step in decarbonisation. Mixing natural gas and storage, and eventually using 100 percent renewable storage, is that next step. The technologies we are deploying will store electricity on time scales from seconds to seasons of the year,” said Paul Browning, President and CEO of MHPS Americas. 

“For example, when we add gas turbines powered with renewable hydrogen to a hydrogen storage salt-dome, we have a solution that stores and generates electricity with zero carbon emissions.”

“Central Utah is the ideal location for this project, and Utah is a business friendly state for projects like this. Magnum’s site adjacent to the Intermountain Power Project is positioned to take full advantage of existing regional electricity grid connections, fully developed transportation infrastructure, ample solar and wind development capacity, a skilled workforce currently transitioning away from coal, and, of course, the unique salt dome opportunity,” said Craig Broussard, CEO of Magnum. 

“Magnum and MHPS are great partners. Magnum has the below-ground technologies necessary to store energy at utility scale, while MHPS has the above-ground technologies such as hydrogen-fired gas turbines, compressed air storage, solid oxide fuel cells and battery storage technology, to supply electricity at grid scale. With the ACES initiative, we will dramatically accelerate the vision of a western renewable energy hub that we launched over a decade ago.”

“The unmatched investment and innovation brought forward by MHPS and Magnum Development to rural Utah again demonstrates the power of the forward-looking energy policy I have advanced throughout my administration. Utah continues to set the standard among states for driving next generation solutions to market,” said Gov. Herbert. “I’m proud that Millard County’s skilled workforce, strategic energy infrastructure and unique geological salt domes have put Utah on the map as the epicenter of utility-scale storage for the Western United States.”

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Energy Management Summit: Everything you need, in one place

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Everything you need to realise your organisation’s energy management goals can be found at the Energy Management Summit this autumn.

30 September & 1 October 2019 – Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted

This unique event is entirely FREE for you to attend – simply reserve your place here. Your ticket will enable you to:-

  • Source new innovative and budget-saving suppliers
  • Attend inspirational seminar sessions from industry thought-leaders
  • Network with like-minded peers

Overnight accommodation is included with your free VIP place, along witb complimentary meals and refreshments, plus a networking dinner with entertainment.

We have a limited number of free VIP places so RSVP now to avoid disappointment!

Secure your place at the Building & Construction Summit

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Registration is now open for VIP delegate spaces and supplier stands at the new Building & Construction Summit, which takes place on March 16th & 17th 2020 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted.

The Summit is a unique and highly focused event that brings building and construction professionals together for one-to-one business meetings, interactive seminars and valuable networking opportunities.

Throughout this two-day event delegates will meet with credible suppliers who will be able to talk through projects, concerns and obstacles, offering the best advice as well cost saving solutions.

What makes the Building & Construction Summit unique is in the match-making process. Ahead of the event, delegates reveal which products and services they are looking for, and are then presented with a bespoke itinerary of pre-arranged meetings with the suppliers who can help.

Attendees will also learn about the latest building and construction trends in educational seminar sessions led by some of the industry’s leading lights.

Sarah Hendy, Managing Director at Forum Events – the company behind the Building & Construction Summit – said: “We’re delighted to bring the ‘Forum Experience’ to the construction sector. 

“We know time is precious for senior construction professionals, so that’s why we put everything under one roof – delegates and suppliers tell us who they want to meet with and we handle all the details.

“The Summit is also a tremendous opportunity to learn new skills and network with peers – we look forward to welcoming everyone on the day.”

For more information, visit www.bandcsummit.co.uk.