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Current± Predicts: The energy transition in 2021, part eight

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

Kit Dixon, Good Energy’s policy manager

Policy changes will help tackle greenwashing

Greenwashing in the energy retail market has gained significant attention over the past year. The publication of the Energy White Paper confirmed that the issue is now firmly on both Ofgem and BEIS’ radar. We expect to see tangible policy changes in 2021, with suppliers forced to come clean on the real value of their green tariffs. Millions of consumers are being misled by a lack of transparency in the market. The news that BEIS will soon open a consultation on the problem is long overdue.

Green heating will turn a corner

How to tackle our high-carbon heating supply has long been an elephant in the room. But this complex problem is now receiving the attention it deserves. The government’s ambition to install 600,000 heat pumps by 2028 is the starting gun in a race to build a truly zero-carbon heating sector. There is a clear opportunity to create thousands of green jobs in this area, and with it secure a green recovery from coronavirus. 2021 could be the year we turn the corner on greener heating.

Onshore wind and solar will take centre stage

Renewable power is the cheapest game in town. That’s no longer headline news, but we will soon see further evidence of this fact. Onshore wind and solar have been eagerly waiting in the wings as recent Contracts for Difference auctions have dramatically brought down the costs of offshore wind. These technologies will finally be given a renewed chance to compete for contracts in 2021. It’s a safe bet that prices will at least equal their offshore cousins, but we won’t be surprised if they come in a lot lower.

Iain Miller, head of Innovation at Northern Powergrid

Community energy

I expect that we will see a surge of enthusiasm around community renewable energy projects in 2021 thanks to the economic, social and environmental benefits that they deliver. Also, as low carbon technologies become cheaper and more distributed, I imagine that we may also see elements of microgrids incorporated into community energy projects.

New low carbon vehicles

We will also see a raft of new low carbon vehicles as more OEMs experiment with emerging technologies like hydrogen. And while we probably won’t be driving a hydrogen / EV hybrids off the forecourt in 2021, we may start to see some exciting prototypes and concept vehicles.

Inter-seasonal storage to make renewables dispatchable

Finally, I expect we will see a push for investment in long-duration and inter-seasonal energy storage to facilitate a resilient and reliable renewables-led energy system. We are championing a flexibility-first approach to network management and long-duration energy storage will be the key that unlocks a truly flexible network as it will ensure that power is available when the sun isn’t shining, and the wind isn’t blowing.


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