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

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

Ed Porter, business development director, Invinity Energy Systems

Prediction one

Solar has been massively under-constructed. The industry has a perception that solar benefits will be kept in check, akin to the early subsidy days, but this is no longer the case. In the short term there are huge savings possible and solar can help to kick off a fully funded green recovery. In the long-term, regulation and markets will adapt as more solar emerges so the market returns may diminish, but the worst case is that your business is running off renewables and you can always add storage to keep the returns coming. So, a first prediction, the solar bandwagon is going to really pick up pace.

Prediction two

Talking of bandwagons, this year is going to be another record breaker. We’re going to see prolonged system price highs, prolonged wholesale price highs, more days with negative price periods and longer negative price duration periods. I feel like this is cheating, as it’s not so much a prediction, more just the outcome of the system that has been put in place with renewables and subsidies. Against this background, investment in energy storage is looking very attractive right now.

Prediction three

We are going to get on with achieving net zero in 2021. The technology to achieve that target is coming to maturity; heat pumps, EVs, hydrogen, storage, the list goes on. Huge carbon-intensive businesses are increasingly coming onboard the net zero bandwagon but don’t yet have all the tools. As they continue to adapt and move along their respective learning curves, I predict we’ll see some eye-watering sums this year on acquisitions.

Simon Egan, managing director UK, Ireland and Netherlands at Landis+Gyr

Rebound in smart meter installations

Although the pandemic did temporarily stall installation rates, since the summer we have seen a gradual increase in utilities remobilising their domestic installation efforts - we expect these rates to rise exponentially into 2021. Prior to the first lockdown the industry was installing roughly 19,000 new smart meters a day in the UK and we are certain we can return to these levels and exceed them as we work towards the Government’s 2025 target.

Flexibility will reign supreme

Even as we emerge from the pandemic, there is no doubt that flexible working patterns will continue as “the new normal”. This major shift in energy consumption habits and blurring of the lines between peak and off peak, has demonstrated the need for flexible and intelligent power distribution. This is only made possible through a truly smart grid that can manage demand side fluctuations whilst accommodating increasing renewable generation.

Nick Merricks, head of UK Electricity Product Management at Landis+Gyr

EV charging ahead

Following the Government’s ban on new diesel and petrol cars by 2030, calls for more support and infrastructure to facilitate the wider adoption of Electric Vehicles will only get louder. In terms of regulatory changes and product development that needs to take place within the industry to make mass EV uptake a reality the 2030 deadline is fast approaching. With innovative trials such as the SmartSTEP project already underway, we will see further cross sector collaborations in 2021 to bring EVs to the masses through increased accessibility and affordability.


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