December 8, 2021

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More renewable, not less - E24

More renewable, not less – E24

The picture shows Reinforsdamen

It has only been weeks since thousands of world leaders and negotiators gathered in Glasgow for the UN Climate Conference COP26. Then it will be clear whether the hope of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees can be sustained.

  • Julie Wedge and Hans Magne Adland

    Director of Policy and Property respectively, as well as Head of Property at Statkraft

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Requires, according to the International Energy Agency New Energy Report that COP26 leads to agreement on rapid and significant emissions reductions.

If we want to achieve climate goals, Most of all, a strong will is required to change the world’s energy systems. Emissions from fossil energy account for about three-quarters of all global emissions, and should effectively disappear within three decades.

He claimed The current tense energy situation and high prices show that the transition from fossil energy to renewable energy will be difficult. But is it true that the higher prices are due to the switch to renewable energy, and will the change provide expensive and unreliable power supplies?

It is fossil, not renewable Leading to higher prices

Rising prices We now see the energy market, for many reasons. The main reason is the high prices of gas and coal. In recent decades, a lot has been invested in solar and wind energy in many European countries. This has resulted in a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. But Europe is still dependent on fossil energy, and for most hours coal and gas energy still sets prices in the energy market. Higher gas prices are due, among other things, to lower European gas stocks and strong demand for LNG in Asia. Coal prices are at a record high, and carbon dioxide emissions quotas are also up.

So it is not renewable energy Which raises prices. However, low wind energy production has been cited as a reason for the price hike.

Admittedly, the production was German wind turbines are about 10-15 percent lower this summer than the previous year. But this is also within a normal and small discrepancy compared to the imbalance in global gas markets. The International Energy Agency stresses in its report that the transition to renewable energy is not the reason for the high prices.

This is also not the case Renewable energy production is more costly to society than fossil fuels. The cost of renewable energy has fallen dramatically in the past decade. For solar, costs have fallen 80-90 percent in ten years. Producing new renewable energy is now cheaper than producing new fossil energy, and in several places the total costs of producing renewable energy are less than just the operating costs of existing fossil power plants.

So the production of fossil energy is not the case Cheaper for society than renewable energy. More renewable energy can result in lower per capita energy costs. If you also include the costs of climate change and more extreme weather, the picture becomes clearer.

This is correct That renewable energy systems can lead to price changes because solar and wind energy production, unlike hydro and gas power plants, cannot be controlled. A renewable energy system can provide greater variations in the short term and between seasons.

When renewable production is highPrices can be very low. When there is low renewable production, prices are set by coal, gas and carbon dioxide prices. Gas-fired power plants in countries where hydroelectric power is not available will play an important role for many years to cover the need when renewable production is low, although the use of power plants will be reduced in conjunction with the further development of renewable energy.

But more renewable energy It will make us less exposed to the volatility of the global gas and coal markets. The close integration of energy markets means that renewable energy in different markets can balance each other out.

Integration between countries It ensures that you can import energy from other countries when you need it, while at the same time providing the opportunity to export profits in hours of high production. In addition, consumer flexibility and storage technology based on batteries and hydrogen will be able to curb the differences.

It is important to restrain Consequences of market turmoil on consumers. If the major changes needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement are to be implemented, it is critical that people do not incur needlessly high and unpredictable energy costs.

The best way to do itClose cross-border cooperation is coupled with clear actions to reduce fossil energy use. Here, too, the IEA report is clear: the current level of investment in renewable energy is not enough, neither to meet the world’s short-term needs nor what is needed for a major restructuring. So the solution is more renewable energy, not less.

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