Is Delivery Of Decentralised Energy The Way To Improve Fuel Security?
WRITTEN BY LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS
Picture: Jane Forshaw
POSTED ON 27th October 2015
Local Partnerships is supporting the Welsh Government and the wider public sector in Wales in the delivery of the Green Growth Wales programme, which seeks to accelerate, grow and de-risk the installation of local energy projects within the public sector.
There are severe capacity constraints within parts of the national grid and this limits the space to take inputs from new local energy projects. This winter it is projected only 2% of flex in grid capacity will exist. Grid capacity issues are a real constraint on the deliverability of local energy projects.
One answer is to think of the energy system at a much more decentralised scale, like a local energy grid, with its own supply and demand. Local Partnerships is working with a range of local authorities and public sector bodies across Wales and commencing involvement with the utility companies and sector groups such as Renewables UK to properly evaluate “private wire” (where the energy project is directly wired into the building and avoids use of the national grid), and storage arrangements (for example, utilising large batteries or hydrogen storage). In this way more flexibility and resilience can be created in the energy system and the financial viability of local projects can be improved if they can avoid charges for transmitting via the national grid.
This looks increasingly like the potential way forward in the light of declining subsidies from UK Government. Jane Forshaw in the Green Growth Wales team was recently invited to chair a session at the national conference on this important and emerging topic for Renewables UK in Cardiff.
The conference was subtitled “Smart People, Smart Energy, Smart Wales”, and the purpose was to bring together energy entrepreneurs and innovators to help create the necessary smart energy revolution. Fossil fuel projects are no longer good investments and better ways must be found to capitalise on natural sources of energy which are abundant in Wales. This event showcased some of the UK’s most innovative companies at an accompanying exhibition, including specialists in hydrogen power, lithium battery storage, smart grids and future-proofing of heating solutions.
Technically, there are some interesting challenges for the future but the feeling from the conference was there is a wonderful opportunity in Wales to blend the entrepreneurship of the private sector with the long-term strategic view of different public sector partners. Together, they will benefit from the strong regulatory framework of the Welsh Government’s Future Generations Act, which puts a statutory obligation on making sustainability a fundamental driving principle.
Please contact Jane Forshaw for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org