The role of technology in enabling energy transition

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The global energy transition will involve the accelerated deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

In this webinar, you will hear ICF’s Vice President (Energy and Climate) Mark Allington talk about the work ICF is doing in the UK and European markets with government clients on enabling energy transitions through technology deployment. Mark will highlight the success of these BEIS programs particularly in the UK and how they have reduced emissions consistently over time.

In this webinar, we discuss:

  • Supply technologies.
  • Transmission, distribution, and storage technologies.
  • Demand side technologies
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Technology-based energy transitions are producing results

The global energy transition will involve the accelerated deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Governmental organizations in the U.K. and other European markets have found success with Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) programs and how they have reduced emissions consistently over time.

History

Most of the technologies that will lead to a low-carbon future already exist, as many energy technologies experienced significant advances over the last couple of decades. Going forward, the main challenge is facilitating market penetration and helping the industry move away from legacy technologies in favor of those that produce lower carbon emissions. While this effort requires some behavior change from all parts of the energy and technology supply chain, as well as consumers, the end result can truly benefit the entire planet.

Definitions

Energy transition generally refers to reducing the reliance on carbon-heavy systems in favor of carbon-saving schemes. While this transition is already happening, the main challenge is to facilitate market penetration, move away from legacy technologies, and implement energy-efficient approaches. These can include carbon capture and storage systems and industrial cluster settings. The main idea is for industry to work efficiently while lowering carbon production.

Wind and solar technologies provide a significant opportunity in energy transition. Especially in the U.K., the North Sea’s shallow waters and strong winds allow for larger turbines with bigger swept areas. The swept area is the area through which the rotor blades of a wind turbine spin, as seen when directly facing the center of the blades. The power output of a wind turbine is directly related to the swept area of its blades. These larger turbines also provide greater energy capture and much more sustainable output. Solar technologies, such as panels on people’s homes, exemplifies distributed generation. Users, or a larger scale energy generation plant within industrial premises, can provide their own power supply and add to the grid’s total supply.

Green hydrogen represents an opportunity to remove the carbon in the gas supply. However, hydrogen production is an energy-intensive process, so making that energy use zero carbon is important. One method to achieve zero-carbon hydrogen production is through electrolysis. If you can use surplus energy from another renewable source, such as wind, to power that electrolysis, it results in a carbon-free hydrogen gas production system. Safety is also an issue, so researchers should develop an acceptable blend of hydrogen and natural gas.

Distributed energy aggregation describes a resource comprised of one or more distributed energy resources. For example, the demand response potential of several industrial customers or thousands of residential air conditioners can be managed as an aggregated resource, providing significant peak demand reductions and frequency response services.

Meet the author
  1. Mark Allington, Vice President, Energy

    Mark has more than 30 years of experience working as a management consultant on UK and international projects that shape the regulatory environment for sustainable energy. View bio