Introducing the Solar & Storage Live Awards 2019

 

 

With a slight rebrand for 2019, Terrapinn is proud to announce this year’s Solar & Storage Live Awards categories and open nominations.

Co-located with the Solar & Storage Live exhibition taking place from 17 – 19 September, the gala dinner will once again be hosted at the Hilton Metropole NEC, Birmingham on 18 September 2019.

The 2018 ceremony was a fantastic evening, bringing players from across the renewable industry together to celebrate their achievements over the previous 12 months.

The Categories

There have been a few amendments to this year’s awards programme, and there are three new categories this year:

  • Contractor of the year
  • Residential solar and/or storage project of the year
  • Commercial solar and/or storage project of the year
  • Utility scale solar and/or storage project of the year
  • International solar and/or storage project of the year
  • The Alan Clark Award for Local/Community Energy
  • Best in show solar design award
  • Solar and/or storage product innovation
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • O&M provider of the year
  • Woman of the Year (NEW)
  • Best Industry Innovator (NEW)
  • Smart Energy Award (NEW)

The judges have been confirmed and will be announced in the coming weeks.

Nominations this year are plain and simple and can be achieved by completing an entry on the awards page of www.solarandstoragelive.com.

Here you can see all the available categories and download the Awards Criteria pack, which details each category and what is required to complete a nomination entry. The Lifetime Achievement Award will not accept nominations and will be disclosed with the judging panel exclusively.

Nominations will close at midnight on 6 May 2019, followed by the judging process which will take part through May and early June. Shortlisted entries will be notified in June, with the winners unveiled on the evening of the awards ceremony.

For more information or enquiries to sponsor an award category, please contact the Solar & Storage Live team here.

Local smart energy systems key to net zero, says ADE

Image: Nottingham City Council

Image: Nottingham City Council

Local onsite generation is key to a net zero future, the ADE says, advocating for smarter, more flexible energy systems supported by government and Ofgem. The association predicts that the traditional centralised approach will be replaced by a smart, user-led system, with local energy and consumers at the heart.

It argues that the way to achieve this future energy system is through on-site flexibility and energy storage, energy efficiency, implementation of heat networks and on-site combined heat and power systems.

The ADE points to estimates made by the National Infrastructure Commission that reducing peak demand through energy management by 5% would reduce power system costs by £200 million each year and give consumers £790 million a year in added benefits.

And that peak power demand could be reduced by up to 15% if the UK achieves comparable levels of flexibility to other markets such as Australia and the US.

It is now calling on the government and Ofgem to support this through opening up access to markets to ensure payment for local generation and flexibility, for example through changing the timings of energy use, storage or demand flexibility.

Lord Deben, chair of the Committee on Climate Change, said local onsite generation and energy management will play “a central role” in achieving net zero.

“Giving customers the power to help drive the UK’s low carbon transition is vital and we need credible UK policies, across government, that inspire a strong response from business, industry and society as a whole.”

Tim Rotheray, director of the ADE, said now is the time to focus on the role of local energy.

“If government puts customer-led energy at the heart of its policy making and works alongside business, we can put power back into the hands of customers and meet our net zero in a fair way.”

Broadband-like charging structures could deliver fairer energy transition, SSEN says

Image: Getty.
Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has published a new report aiming to investigate the potential for broadband subscription-esque pricing models for the power sector.

The network operator’s Core Capacity report, published alongside CAG Consultants, has sought to investigate fairer ways to charge energy customers as the way consumers interact with electricity changes, looking particularly at how smart meters, electric vehicles and electric heating could change the way customers interact with electricity.

SSEN said it was driven to commission the study to ensure all customers are treated and billed fairly as low carbon technologies come on stream, with the DNO having pointed towards its commitment to ensuring any energy transition is equitable for all households.

It added that this could be achieved through the implementation of new charging structures that “look more like the way you pay for your broadband connection” than traditional, pay-per-consumption billing methods.

Working with CAG, SSEN used learnings from its five-year, Solent Achieving Value from Efficiency (SAVE) project, funded by the Low Carbon Networks Fund, which pulled together 4,000 homes to trial energy efficiency technologies and determine how they could be used to manage peak and overall demand.

That trial generated data which, combined with 15-minute settlement data, household-matched surveys and time-use diaries, CAG said was “extremely powerful” in creating insights into peak requirements.

One of the principal findings from CAG’s research was that new and emerging business models for supply charging stood to “break the link” between consumption volume and cost, indicating that subscription-based or ‘energy as a service’ models could be more equitable ways of charging consumers in the future.

It also found that electric vehicle charging was having no impact on household peak demand, and that evening peaks remain a feature of households despite changes in working patterns, driven predominantly by consumption from cooking and evening entertainment.

These findings could contribute towards greater understanding of which activities customers could put off to save on bills, and which are insensitive to pricing signals.

Nigel Bessant, head of network trading at SSEN, said that there was a need to understand how to support customers moving more of their energy away from peak times to help keep costs down.

“Our research published today examines which activities are time sensitive, such as cooking the evening meal, compared to doing the hoovering, which customers may be happy to defer. Our goal is to ensure that people’s need for core capacity in their energy services are met equitably,” he said.

Subscription-based billing methods have emerged as being of significant interest to energy suppliers as they look to decouple themselves from ever-decreasing margins, perhaps best evidenced by the number of UK based energy retailers who’ve bemoaned competitive pressures of late.

When its merger with npower was still on the cards, SSE’s supply division said it was looking at bringing out a “completely new model”of supply business, while the likes of Orsted and Good Energy have either launched or intend to launch energy as a service models.

IONITY targets UK motorways with latest ultra-rapid EV charging deal

Image: IONITY.

Ultra-fast EV charging provider IONITY has continued its UK expansion by penning a deal with Extra MSA Group, which owns and operates parts of the UK’s motorway network.

Under the deal IONITY, which is a joint venture between automotive giants Daimler, Ford, BMW and Volkswagen, will install its HPC technology at eight MSA-owned service stations on UK motorways.

The service stations will be those under MSA’s ‘Extra’ brand, and each site will initially comprise six 350kW chargers supplied by IONITY.

The first HPC station is to be installed at Extra’s new location on junction 45 of the M1 at Leeds Skelton Lake later this year, with other installs already earmarked for locations in Cobham, Cambridge, Beaconsfield, Cullompton, Blackburn, Baldock and Peterborough.

Combined with other partnerships IONITY has already sealed, most notably with Shell and Motor Fuels Group, the charging firm said it was now closing in on its target of developing 40 HPC stations at strategic locations in the UK

IONITY said that its charging network stood to play a critical role in making e-mobility a “convenient, reliable and everyday experience” as next-generation electric vehicles came onto the market.

“We are making e-mobility a practical alternative to motorists in the UK, greatly enhancing the ownership experience. It is fantastic to have Extra on board, helping us position charging stations at critical locations across the UK Motorway Network,” Marcus Groll, COO at IONITY, said.

The partnership marks the latest step in IONITY’s move to capture the UK fast EV charging market, having last month unveiled a new arrangement with energy provider Octopus Energy to bring its technology to the UK C&I market.

UK electricity system price spikes as outages, low renewables combine to trigger volatility

Image: Getty.

On Monday 24 June, the electricity system price in the UK spiked to £375/MWh for three consecutive settlement periods between 11am and 12:30pm, prompted by a run on coal generation units at both Ratcliffe and Burton.

Drax Electric Insights, which monitors UK power generation and the system price, shows the spike occurring, before dropping back down to below £30/MWh.

That 90-minute period sent the average system price for the day up to £75.52/MWh, more than double the average system price for the prior Monday (£33.12/MWh).

Image: Drax.

Image: Drax.

The need for coal power to return to help balance the grid was attributable to a range of factors, most notably lower than average renewable generation with cloudy skies and low wind speeds.

Contribution from the UK’s nuclear fleet is currently stymied by planned outages, and it’s a similar story for the country’s interconnector with France, which has seen its capacity limited to 1GW.

System price volatility has been rife in the UK market this summer, with significant renewable output prompting periods of negative pricing and increased calls for more flexibility in the system, particularly as battery storage assets have been able to adjust their charge and discharge patterns to benefit the system and their revenue base.

Speaking to Current±, a spokesman for energy aggregator Limejump said that it used its assets under management to take control of the opportunities on the intraday exchange market, which saw prices rise above those on the Balancing Mechanism during the same period.

“These trading decisions provide customers with more opportunities to access revenue both inside the Balancing Mechanism, and outside in other markets like the intraday market,” the spokesperson said.

Local solar given boost as government pledges £10 million clean energy fund

 

A £10 million fund has been launched to support community renewable projects, including solar.

It comes as part of the government’s established Rural Community Energy Fund and will support new community solar projects, as well as other technologies such as wind, hydro and battery storage.

Applications for feasibility grants of up to £40,000 are open, with viable proposals to also be considered for additional grants of up to £100,000 for business development and planning application.

The funding comes in an effort to increase energy self-sufficiency in rural communities and is designed to help sports clubs, churches and schools to save money and reduce emissions, as well as to make money through selling back excess generation to the grid.

There has been 152 community energy projects to previously receive funding, including solar installed on Salisbury cathedral and Frome Town FC. Collectively, all projects to receive funding have generated around 105,00kW.

Chris Skidmore, stand-in energy minister, said: “It will take all corners of the country and sections of society to help us to tackle climate change on our path to becoming a net zero emissions economy and communities are at the heart of our mission for a greener planet.”

The funding, and any applications, are to be managed by five local energy hubs and hosted by a local authority in each area. The five hubs are the North East Yorkshire and Humber, North West, Midlands, South East and South West.

Tesco pens PPA deal for 5MW of rooftop solar

Tesco is to install around 5MW of rooftop solar PV across its UK site portfolio after penning a PPA agreement.

The supermarket giant has signed an agreement with SDCL Energy Efficiency Income Trust (SEEIT), which will provide financing for the sites.

It’s the second major solar announcement from Tesco this year. In January Solar Power Portal revealed that Tesco had turned to PV developer Push Energy and financier Macquarie to plot a major solar rollout programmethat took in at least five sites across the UK.

Under the SEEIT deal, an initial tranche of 1MW is intended to be the first phase of around 5MW of rooftop solar, all of which fall under the framework agreement.

The deal will see Tesco enter into power purchase agreements with SEEIT for each individual site, and SEEIT will be responsible for the installation, operation and maintenance of each project.

Kingspan Energy is to provide a complete design, build, finance, operation and maintenance solution for the supermarket as both the EPC and O&M contractor for the installations.

SEEIT said the deal complied with its investment thesis by bringing competitively priced clean energy to the point of use.

Jonathan Maxwell, chief executive at SDCL, said that the deal was evidence of the firm continuing to deliver on the pipeline it identified at the time of its initial public offering.

“With all the revenues being generated from the PPAs and costs being largely fixed, this is a positive, stable investment for SEEIT and one we are delighted to add to our growing portfolio,” he said.

Engie powers up EV offering with ChargePoint Services acquisition

Image: ChargePoint Services/GeniePoint

Image: ChargePoint Services/GeniePoint

Engie has acquired UK electric vehicle (EV) public charging provider ChargePoint Services (CPS) as it strives to expand its EV portfolio.

The acquisition of CPS, which owns and operates charging network GeniePoint, is aimed to enhance Engie’s end-to-end EV charging solution and help the company tackle air quality.

It feeds into Engie’s EV focus, with the French energy major having provided over 75,000 charging stations worldwide as well as owning EV manufacturer EVBox. This new acquisition will create a combined UK public rapid charging network of over 400 stations and a fast network of over 500 by the end of 2019.

The deal will provide Engie with the EV charging capabilities required for local authorities, business and home-owners, with CPS bringing GeniePoint’s 20,000 network customers and its cloud-based data and control platform.

This is not the only company Engie has set its sights on recently, having acquired a majority stake in energy and flexibility aggregator KiWi Power last year.

With CPS being the latest addition to its portfolio, Engie seems to be following in the footsteps of other energy majors such as Shell, which recently invested in domestic battery storage firm sonnen and bought out aggregator Limejump.

Nicola Lovett, CEO of Engie UK & Ireland, said the ChargePoint Services deal is an important step towards scaling up Engie’s EV ambitions.

“It also enables us to work closely with our many business customers to support their ambitions to decarbonise their own fleets and support their employee’s adoption of low and zero carbon vehicles,” Lovett continued.

Alex Bamberg, Managing Director of ChargePoint Services, said: “With the demand for EV charging across the UK increasing rapidly as vehicles with longer range and reduced charging times are launched by the motor industry, we will together be well placed to support the transition to EV in the UK and the drive for cleaner air quality.”

CATL’s massive pivot to e-bike batteries could lower prices

CATL is the world’s largest battery manufacturer for electric vehicles. While they’ve traditionally focused on battery packs for full-size electric cars and large EVs, the company is now adding electric bicycle packs to its list of products.

CATL to build e-bike batteries

CATL has declared that it is beginning to diversify its sales model in the face of increasing competition.

The company announced that it is partnering with the fintech firm Ant Financial Services and the Alibaba-backed electric bike sharing company Hellobike. CATL plans to invest around USD $140 million in a joint venture to produce electric bicycle battery packs.

In the immediate future, CATL’s plans include building battery storage and swapping units for Hellobike riders to swap depleted battery packs. Ultimately though, the increased supply of electric bicycle batteries in the market could lead to a drop in prices for e-bike OEMs. Those savings would then likely be passed along to consumers.

A common electric bicycle battery pack

As it stands now, the electric bicycle market is highly competitive. With a number of sub $500 e-bikes, companies will do anything they can to compete on price. And with lithium-ion batteries often comprising the single most expensive component of an e-bike, lowering prices on batteries can have a big impact on consumer e-bike prices.

While inexpensive electric batteries often (and legitimately) raise fears over quality, CATL has been around the block a few times. They manufacture batteries for large automakers including Nissan and Renault. Honda is also sourcing batteries from CATL. And it isn’t just legacy automakers either. Tesla is reportedly in talks to partner with CATL in China as well.

Electrek’s Take

Bring it on! The world needs more affordable e-bikes, and batteries are a great place to start.

To be honest, I’m already impressed with the prices of many good quality, affordable e-bikes as it is. For under $1,000 you can get some great e-bikes. But wouldn’t it be great if those same e-bikes were $800 instead?

And for DIY e-bike builders, purchasing batteries has always been a bit painful on the wallet. CATL’s massive production capacity could help populate Amazon with even more e-bike battery options.And that’d be great for everyone!

I’ve written a few articles already on how to build your own electric bicycle, including one on making a 40 mph (64 km/h) e-bike. Heck, I technically wrote the book on DIY e-bikes. And I’m counting the days until a large electric car battery manufacturer gets into the e-bike battery game, because this will be huge for our niche industry.


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‘Standing by is not an option’: Landmark moment as UK confirms intent to legislate for net zero

Image: 10 Downing Street.

The UK government will legislate for a net zero economy by 2050 Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed, in one of her last acts in office.

Yesterday evening the PM revealed that a statutory instrument will be laid in parliament today (12 June 2019), amending Climate Change Act of 2008 to establish the new target.

The SI will require parliamentary approval but, if it succeeds, the UK would essentially become among the first global major economies to legislate for net zero emissions with other economies set to follow suit in the coming months.

However the government has moved to confirm that a review will be conducted within five years of the target being set to confirm that other nations are taking similarly ambitious actions in a bid to ensure UK industries do not face “unfair competition”.

“As the first country to legislate for long-term climate targets, we can be truly proud of our record in tackling climate change. We have made huge progress in growing our economy and the jobs market while slashing emissions.

“Now is the time to go further and faster to safeguard the environment for our children. This country led the world in innovation during the Industrial Revolution, and now we must lead the world to a cleaner, greener form of growth.

“Standing by is not an option. Reaching net zero by 2050 is an ambitious target, but it is crucial that we achieve it to ensure we protect our planet for future generations,” the Prime Minister said.

Having recommended the government to legislate for such a target – with the crucial requirement that the target is taken seriously and met with sufficient policy action – Lord Deben, chairman at the Committee on Climate Change, said the committee was delighted the government had agreed to put the target to a parliamentary vote.

“Our report concluded that Net Zero is necessary, feasible and cost effective. This is a major commitment for the coming decades, but we have highlighted the significant benefits of action. This step will send a strong signal to other countries to follow suit – and will help to drive the global effort to tackle climate change required by the Paris Agreement.”

However Lord Deben was again quick to stress the CCC’s view that legislating for a net zero target was “just a first step”.

“The target must now be reinforced by credible UK policies, across government, inspiring a strong response from business, industry and society as a whole. The government has not yet moved formally to include international aviation and shipping within the target, but they have acknowledged that these sectors must be part of the whole economy strategy for net zero. We will assist by providing further analysis of how emissions reductions can be delivered in these sectors through domestic and international frameworks,” he said.

The CCC’s next step is to now build its statutory advice to government for the sixth carbon budget, legislating for the period 2032 – 2037, due to be published next year.

The energy sector meanwhile welcomed the news, with Energy UK chief executive Lawrence Slade lauding the “exciting development”.

“The power sector has led the way in helping reduce the UK’s carbon emissions. Half of our electricity generation now comes from low carbon sources and the recent coal-free fortnight is testimony to a rate of progress, at a lower cost, than anyone could have foreseen a few years ago.

“Net-zero can be achieved but only if the ambition is supported by the right policies. As our recent Future of Energy report highlighted, we need to go further and faster in areas like decarbonising transport and heating and improving the energy efficiency of our homes and businesses. This can only happen with consistent and bold policy-making from across all government departments to support the target and we look forward to working with the Government to achieve our shared ambition.”

The news was always cautiously welcomed by environmental groups who, much like the CCC, stressed the need for government to now put its money – and legislative efforts – where its mouth is, making references to recent news that the government is to examine the use of flexibilities to meet future emissions reduction targets.

“This is a big moment for everyone in the climate movement and particularly to the youth climate strikers, who rightly should advise on future climate and environmental policy.

“Judging by the headline, this is a legacy Theresa May can be proud of. Judging by the small print, this is a net zero target with a backstop. As the birthplace of the industrial revolution, it is right that the UK is the world’s first major economy to commit to completely end its contribution to climate change, but trying to shift the burden to developing nations through International Carbon Credits undermines that commitment. This type of offsetting has a history of failure and is not, according the government’s climate advisors, cost efficient.

“While the loopholes being woven into the legislation by the Treasury will need to be unpicked, and the date moved forward, this decision fires the starting gun for a fundamental transformation of our economy. The government must immediately upgrade our electricity, construction, heating, agriculture and transport systems,” Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK, said.

His sentiments were echoed by Friends of the Earth chief executive Craig Bennett, who said: “In the dying days of a premiership characterised by chronic inaction on climate breakdown, this sends a powerful message to industry and investors that the age of fossil fuels is over.

“But it is disappointing that the government has ignored its climate advisors recommendation to exclude carbon offsets – as well as caving into Treasury pressure to review the target in five years’ time.

“Fiddling the figures would put a huge dent in our ability to avoid catastrophic climate change – and the government’s credibility for taking this issue seriously. Having declared a climate emergency, parliament must act to close these loopholes.”