The recent publication of the Future Power System Architecture Project report by the Energy Systems Catapult and the IET,
http://www.theiet.org/sectors/energy/resources/fpsa-project.cfm?origin=reportdocs, provides some great insights to the potential future of our Electricity and related Energy Vector sectors. Given the industry engagement, and the breadth of recommendations in the document, it is clear the energy sector is preparing for a significant shake up, both technically and from a market perspective. Personally, my interpretation is that this will be an evolution rather than a revolution, however, that is simply a matter of timescale referencing.
There are some stunning shaping facts to consider in the interpretation of “Gone Green” outlined in the project report i.e. by 2030
- From 2014 to 2030 ( within the scope of the next distribution price review) intermittent sources of renewable generation will increase from 18% to 46% of capacity, and the shift will account for a movement from 11% to 39% of all electricity generated
- The significant electrification of heat and surge of electric vehicles.
- The potential for peer to peer trading models is recognised at even a micro level, with smart cities, aggregated load groups and groups of users emerging as key enabling parties for the redefined sector
To the traditionalist, who is wedded to our existing frameworks, these arrangements appear unthinkable. However, when thought about at a very basic level, the ability to generate, consume and store electricity at or around the same location is fundamentally sound. In a world where distributed generation is a credible technical solution, can the avoided cost of large thermal plant ( at least as the only available solution), whatever its prime fuel, help make the case for the Gone Green future envisaged, with smart control arrangements. Undoubtedly, this is an analysis which can’t feasibly be undertaken at a macro level; however, it looks like policy makers are paving the way for innovative incremental solutions, to achieve this vision. The UK is not alone in this drive, the International Study shared in the above report, gives samples of similar activity elsewhere in the world. My take is – the UK is determined not be left behind, but to be a leader in this energy evolution