Friday, 29 September 2017

Share of Renewables in Total Generation Looking Good - How can it be Increased Further?

We reached 30% of electricity from renewables in quarter 2 of 2017 - thank you Regen SW for your Graphic of the Month. But this is only for one quarter - the average for 2016 was 24%.

Will we get to 30% for a whole year by 2020, which is the national target?

The seasonal variations in wind and solar PV suggest that what is most needed is more wind power to boost Q4 and Q1 generation, when solar is at its lowest, and wind is statistically higher.Reading from the graph, this would require wind going from around 12% to 18% of generation in those quarters, a 50% increase in wind generation.

You can forget storage as a means of ironing out seasonal variation - a battery large enough to store electricity in sufficient quantity to shift supply for several months would be very big, even more expensive than more nuclear power.

Any ideas on how to shift consumption from winter to summer? More energy efficient homes would help!

Monday, 4 September 2017

Falling Carbon Intensity - Can we Keep it Falling?

As this excellent graphic from Regen SW shows, we have successfully halved the carbon intensity of our electricity supply over the last 25 years.
Much of this was due to the substitution of gas for coal in the 1990's. A further, but lesser drop is due to the more recent substitution of renewables for coal, over the last five years.
But how do we keep this  rate of progress up?
It's not good enough just to say with more renewables - they are intermittent and do not occur in reliable quantity when we most need them, on cold dark winter evenings.
The answer is to shift when we use electricity, away from peak times and into times of low demand and when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing.
As a first step, you innovators and early adopters already know what to do... and to tell your friends!