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Why we need a whole-system strategy for green electricity

15/6/2022

6 min read

Picture of lightbulb with green leaf inside Photo: Pixabay
Clean green renewable energy generation requires new ways to store and distribute electricity

Photo: Pixabay

More low carbon generation will fail to deliver sustainability, security and affordability without radical changes in the way in which energy is stored and distributed in the UK, writes Dr Vincent Thornley of grid technology specialist Fundamentals.

Smarter grid technologies and energy storage are essential for net zero carbon. The government’s British energy security strategy of spring 2022 rightly focuses on more renewable and nuclear generation of electricity. But it falls a long way short of a whole-system approach which would enable the electricity industry to deliver security of supply in a sustainable way and at an affordable cost.

 

The gaping hole in the strategy is how our transmission and distribution (T&D) sector can be re-engineered to cope with unprecedented changes in the ways in which electricity is generated and consumed, without the unacceptable cost of wholesale grid reinforcement.

 

The good news is that our existing T&D infrastructure has the potential to handle a dramatically changing generation mix without the need for wholesale rebuilding. But only if a wide range of initiatives are fast-tracked, to balance loads with more intermittent power sources (wind, solar etc) and more peaks and troughs on the demand side (electric vehicles (EVs), heat pumps, industry etc).

 

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