Renewable Energy News – November 2018
With a number of different ways in which renewable energy has been making the news over recent weeks, we have compiled our pick of the most important stories making headlines during November 2018.
Battery storage set to soar in 2019
The latest data shows that planning applications in the UK for battery storage have risen from a tiny 2MW in 2012, to 6,874MW in 2018. The information comes from the Solar Trade Association and RenewableUK, with their database showing that around 92% of planning applications for storage projects are approved first time. Once the projects currently being planned come to fruition, this will take energy storage projects to a level that would provide enough capacity to charge 480,000 electric vehicles (EVs).
Does the Toshiba withdrawal from their UK nuclear energy plans leave the door open for renewables?
Early November 2018 saw the Toshiba Corporation abandon their plans for a 3.4 GW nuclear power plant in Cumbria, which was set to provide around 7% of the UK’s electricity demands when operational. Just after the go-ahead was given to a similar project at Hinkley Point C in 2016, which is still going ahead, a report showed that solar energy will be cheaper to produce than equivalent nuclear energy by the time this plant is producing electricity in 2025. Perhaps the abandoned Toshiba project will give the UK government cause to look again at renewables in order to meet the UK’s future energy demands?
More of the ‘Big Six’ energy companies throw their hat into the ring with EV tariffs for consumers
It wasn’t so long ago that consumer EV tariffs, and even green energy tariffs, were exclusively the reserve of smaller, specialist energy companies. In recent weeks, British Gas have launched an offering specifically aimed at EV drivers. The British Gas tariff, called Green Drive Nov 2020, is dual fuel and offers cheaper electricity (100% renewable) between 12.30am and 7.30am every day encouraging people to charge their cars during this period. This competes with Scottish Power’s ‘Smart Green Electric Vehicle’ tariff, which also promises 100% renewable energy, but does not currently offer a cheaper rate for overnight charging of EVs.
Second life options for EV batteries
The Telegraph reported in November 2018 on how EV batteries that have reached the end of their first life, in cars, are being repurposed to maximise their usefulness and minimise the environmental cost of producing them in the first place. Most EV batteries are expected to last around 8-10 years before their performance drops to around 70% when compared with a new one. However, even with older smaller batteries, that is still a lot of usable energy that can be stored and used in a different way, outside of a vehicle.
The Johan Cruyff ArenA, home to the Ajax football team in Amsterdam, uses a mixture of pre-used and new EV battery packs, which are charged with the 4,200 solar panels on the roof. This provides the stadium with back-up power that can run the venue during an event, or power they can use anytime to reduce the amount they need from the grid.
Second life EV batteries are also becoming more common for domestic use. With the average household using between 8.5-12kWh of electricity per day, even a 24kWh EV battery with 70% of its original capacity will store more than enough for this type of setting. Combining a second life EV battery, like those made by Nissan from old Leaf batteries, with solar panels, can be the ideal solution for those wanting to make best use of the energy generated by sunshine during the day, in the evenings and overnight.
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