EU’s renewable power doubles in 15 years but must accelerate
Europe’s shift from fossil-fuel based electricity to renewable sources has reduced environmental problems while also cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, according to a report from the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Renewable power generation in the European Union has nearly doubled since 2005, producing 34 percent of the EU electricity in 2019, compared with the 38 percent produced by fossil fuels like coal and gas, the study finds.
The switch from fossil fuel-based power production to sources such as wind and solar since 2005 has significantly decreased emissions, while also yielding clear improvements in key environmental problems, the EEA explains in the study.
These include soil acidification, eutrophication – where freshwater becomes overloaded with nutrients, causing algal blooms and low oxygen levels – and the formation of particulate matter, which is a type of air pollution linked to 379,000 deaths in Europe in 2018.
“By substituting more polluting fossil fuels, expanding renewable electricity generation across the EU provides multiple opportunities to improve human health and the environment while mitigating climate change,” the EEA report says, adding that the agency had studied 16 power generation methods, of which coal, natural gas, and oil had the biggest life cycle impacts on the environment.
“Coal generation has by far the highest impact intensity overall, leading to most impacts across the categories that we looked at and across all years,” EEA energy and environment expert Mihai Tomescu highlights.
However, the report stresses renewable energy sources are not ‘zero-impact’, with the production of power by incinerating waste having an effect on freshwater toxicity, while biomass energy is associated with intensified land occupation and the formation of particulate manner, albeit a tiny amount compared with what is produced by burning coal.
Despite all the positive changes in the last 15 years, Europe cannot rest on its laurels. Meeting EU emissions-cutting goals will require an even faster expansion of renewable energy sources, requiring a power sector that is 70 percent based on renewables by 2030, the report adds. Last year wind delivered around 15 per cent of Europe's electricity and the plan is to roll out 300GW of offshore wind facilities by 2050.
Given this expected growth, the EU will need to tackle potential environmental impacts from renewables in a better manner. For example, better reuse of materials could help curb the environmental impact of mining the metals and purifying the silicon used to make solar PV panels.
The European Investment Bank recently approved new financing totalling €5.9 billion (£5.3bn) to accelerate investments in renewable energy, sustainable transport and energy efficiency across Europe and the world.
Awesense launches digital clean energy marketplace
Awesense has launched what it claims is the only energy-focused repository of solutions built to drive the industry's decarbonization agenda.
The Awesense Marketplace aims to provide a common framework for companies to collaborate towards the future of clean energy and digital transformation, uniting applications, solutions and algorithms to solve energy and grid challenges.
Solutions listed on the marketplace cover a range of cases, and launch companies include Doosan GridTech, Kitu Systems, vadiMAP, LO3 Energy, ENGIN, Utilidata, Clir Renewables, ChargeLab, SensorLink, Exeri, Easy SmartGrid, and Athena Power.
“We are welcoming a new era in the decarbonization of energy systems,” said Mischa Steiner, CEO of Awesense. “The goal of achieving a clean energy future requires collaboration amongst key industry players in the utilities and energy sectors. Sharing resources through the Marketplace means that our customers and partners have a truly seamless approach as we work towards our common goal - ultimately, decarbonizing the world’s energy system.”
Utilities, consulting companies, and other organizations struggle to develop solutions that can be scaled across many jurisdictions due to complex data integration and the lack of a standard, open data model. Using the solutions offered throughout the Marketplace, organizations can rapidly accelerate their transition to a decentralized, decarbonized future and develop solutions that are scalable across industry. The platform will open up new revenue streams in areas such as:
Distributed energy resource integration and control
Electric vehicle charging
Demand response and smart-home management
Intelligent asset management
Advanced distribution system management
The new marketplace builds on Awesense's Digital Energy Platform, a digital twin based energy analytics platform that allows utilities to scale at the same pace as the rapidly changing technology landscape of the energy grid.
Together, the Open Energy Data Model and the Awesense Marketplace removes hurdles around data mapping and transformation, expedites data preparation and refining, and provides a common framework for companies to collaborate.
“The energy-specific data model allows utilities, technology companies, consulting firms, and other vendors to build solutions that can be easily integrated by other energy companies, to make a real impact on the industry as a whole, and develop new revenue streams for their organizations” said Steiner. “We’re looking forward to seeing the Awesense Marketplace grow as more partners committed to energy decarbonization join us.”
There are no simple solutions to putting the world on a sustainable path to net-zero emissions, according to the IEA. Reducing global CO2 emissions will require "a broad range of different technologies working across all sectors of the economy in various combinations and applications." it notes.
Renewable Energy Hub of South Australia formed
Amp Power Australia has established the Renewable Energy Hub of South Australia, a strategic portfolio of large scale integrated Solar PV, Wind and Battery Energy Storage assets located in South Australia. The hub also includes the siting of the Spencer Gulf Hydrogen Energy Ecoplex, forming part of the South Australian Government's Hydrogen Action Plan.
The portfolio, acquired from EPS, includes three large Solar PV projects totalling over 1.3 GW of generation, located at Robertstown (636 MW), Bungama (336MW) and Yoorndoo Ilga (388MW) with a total BESS capacity of up to 540MW across the portfolio.
Amp's expansion in Australia will include the implementation of Amp X, a proprietary digital energy platform 100% owned by Amp, which provides a diverse portfolio of disruptive and interoperable grid edge solutions, and includes a smart transformer, which enables real-time autonomous management and optimised dispatch of all forms of distributed generation and loads across the grid.
Palmetto recently opened its marketplace in Arizona, and is now serving 20 states across the country, claiming its proprietary technology, marketplace business model, and consumer mobile application "are all designed to democratize access to clean energy".