Is Europe doing enough to meet its long-term energy goals?
As we move to renewables, hoping to leave oil and gas in the background, will it be possible to generate enough electricity when we are already seeing failures due to low wind and weather conditions? dry this year? With governments and international organizations pushing green policy, are we really ready to leave oil and gas in the past?
Recent weather conditions in the UK have not been favorable for the production of renewable energy. British energy giant SSE has announced large renewable energy production deficits, producing 32% less electricity than expected between April and September of this year, with total production during that period equivalent to 11% of its annual target. This is largely due to the very dry weather conditions and weak wind throughout these months.
SSE announced the situation: “This deficit was caused by adverse weather conditions during the summer, which was one of the least windy in most of the UK and Ireland and one of the drier SSE watersheds over the past seventy years. “
This is not good news in a country that is already experiencing fuel shortages and soaring gasoline prices. With Boris Johnson announcing targets for all-green power generation by 2035, energy companies will need to do better to ensure bad weather doesn’t derail their entire renewable energy portfolio.
The UK is not the only European country to suffer from inclement weather conditions, with German utility company RWE reporting “much lower” wind volumes across northern and central Europe during of the first half of 2021. Experts have suggested that establishing a balanced portfolio, as a renewable energy company, is essential to ensure that energy production is not totally wasted due to bad weather conditions. , because the energy transition will lead us to rely on these developments for our daily electricity.
RWE said the company’s offshore wind profits from January to June 2021 declined to $ 538.5 million from $ 675.5 million the year before. Terrestrial solar projects also suffered losses during this period.
Orsted, in Denmark, reported similar challenges in August, with lower incomes than the same time the year before. While Orsted’s profits were positive from the new wind farms, the low wind speeds meant that its already existing farms generated significantly less energy.
The challenges facing renewable energy companies this year have led many to question our preparedness for the energy transition from fossil fuels to fully relying on renewables. Renewable energy projects, such as wind, solar and hydroelectric power, are developing at an increasing rate around the world, but we are still a long way from producing the energy needed to meet global energy needs, perhaps decades.
Several scientists and energy representatives around the world believe that a full transition over the next decade is possible if there is “sufficient political will, international coordination and concrete large-scale action to institute a” overhaul. total ‘of the global energy system. system. The research suggests that the transformation may happen faster than is currently estimated as long as global governments and energy companies can agree on the steps needed to develop the renewable energy sector and inject funds into the sector. research and development of projects.
But others are not so sure. While some think a 2035 deadline is realistic – based on consistent action, others say even 2050 is far from sustainable. Experts point to the volatility of solar and wind generation – which relies on favorable weather conditions for generation; the lack of capacity of wind and solar projects for increasing levels of global demand; the lack of energy storage technology needed to bridge this gap; and the investments necessary not only to develop renewable energy projects but also to adapt existing infrastructures to prepare them for the energy transition. This, they argue, is simply unrealistic due to the timeframe without joint action at the international level, which is highly unlikely on the scale needed.
The low energy production of SSE has led CFO, Gregor Alexander, to declare that the company will soon update the market “with an ambitious new investment plan which will optimize the options and opportunities of the SSE group …”, although no further information has been released. And so far, SSE has disregarded the company’s spin-off advice to list the renewable energy portfolio through an independent company.
The company also announced that it has signed an agreement with Japanese renewable energy company Pacifico Energy, establishing a joint-ownership company focused on offshore wind development in Japan. We are seeing more and more renewable energy companies teaming up to improve the research and development of new technologies to increase renewable energy production over the next decade.
One thing is certain, high levels of investment and a wide variety of renewable energy production methods must be available to ensure their sustainability in all weather conditions if the transition is to be successful. Essentially, the transition cannot leave oil and gas in the past until the world is fully ready to run on renewables, and storage will be essential as wind and solar power don’t work at all. time of day and night.
By Felicity Bradstock for Oil Octobers
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