Bornholm: A 100% Renewable Energy Island – No.4 G20 series

In our past three articles within our Blog-Series leading up to the G20 summit in Hamburg, we countered the main arguments of Mr. Trump against the energy transition. We’ve shown how renewables are getting more affordable, how businesses – based on the energy transition – create new jobs and how small-scale power plants are being smoothly integrated with the local architecture.

While chancellor Merkel once again highlighted the importance of reaching the Paris Agreement climate goal ahead of G20, there are already a lot of businesses, projects and nations who recognize the climate change and support the energy turnaround. This week, we introduce the Danish island of Bornholm as an example for a sustainable energy economy. The goal of Denmark is a 100% energy supply through renewables by 2050. The island of Bornholm is way ahead of the schedule. Bornholm has shifted already away from fossil fuels and relies solely from energy by wind, sun and bio-mass. It is predicted to be carbon neutral by 2025. To get there, the local DSO did setup 1.000 new photovoltaic systems and fuels the local plants only with locally produced bio-mass. Households’ energy sourcing was converted from oil-fired burners to district heating, heat pumps and solar heating. Bornholm also invested in charging stations for electric mobility and launched a campaign to promote car-free transportation.

One challenge of the transition towards renewables is managing the volatility of renewables’ power plants and the flexible consumption of devices such as heat pumps. To address this challenge, 2000 Bornholmers take part in in the EcoGrid EU smart grid project which was rewarded with the EU Sustainable Energy Award 2016. Within the smart grid, consumption was adjusted to the production and shifted to times where energy was more affordable and lowered when the price was high. At the beginning of the project the participants stated they were mainly motivated by lower electricity bills. However, this motivation became secondary and doing good for the environment and the local community gained importance. The project’s success is due to the technical infrastructure as well as involving the local community and creating awareness of the project.

 

source: euenergyweek (EU Sustainable Energy Week Awards 2017 Finalist – Bornholms Energi & Forsyning)

 

This story is the fourth of our series “Make our planet great again”. We intend to show Mr. Trump that the Paris agreement and the energy transition go far beyond idealism. We will publish a success story per week until the G20 in Hamburg in July.

Small scale production facilities – No.3 G20 series

In our past two articles of our Blog-Series we wrote about two of the key arguments of Mr. Trump against the energy transition. First, renewables being uneconomical and second, that the energy transition not creating new jobs. On the contrary, energy from renewable sources is getting more affordable and competitive than traditional assets and emerging business within the industry create numerous new jobs.

Another argument of Mr. Trump against the energy-transition seems to be more trivial: renewable energy plants look ugly. The new Tesla tiles are an example to prove the opposite. They are solar roof panels in the shape of traditional roof tiles. Not only, are they indistinguishable from traditional roofing products, but they are also supposed to be more affordable than a conventional rooftop.

Considering solar panels generate excess power at times, the investment will also generate money due to feed-in-compensation. Tesla estimates the energy produced by a 160-square meter roof covered in their tiles, will generate about 66.000 € over a period of 30 years.

Tesla’s technology is an example for the future energy production, which will be fragmented and decentralized – in a nutshell: shifting towards numerous small scale production facilities. This does not imply that there is no longer a need for larger wind or solar parks. However, it does suggest  that small renewable plants will blend in seamlessly into everyday life and contain the rollout of bigger power transmission lines, if the energy is also locally consumed. This leads to one of the most prominent challenges of the energy transition: Maintaining the stability and the efficiency of local grids, while dealing with the volatility of renewables. This is can be achieved by involving all stakeholders via innovative technologies.

This story is the third of our series “Make our planet great again”. We intend to show Mr. Trump that the Paris agreement and the energy transition go far beyond idealism. We will publish a success story per week until the G20 in Hamburg in July

 

 

Emerging Business – No.2 G20 series

In our past blog post we addressed one of the loudest arguments of Mr. Trump against the energy transition: the presumably high cost of energy generation from renewable sources. The market development proves Mr. Trump wrong. Energy from conventional sources may not be the cheapest solution after all. In this issue of our blog we are going to address the other well-known argument against the energy transition: the assumption that it is not adding value to our industry.In fact, there are several examples that prove this assumption wrong. First of all, the energy transition started with energy cooperatives. Ventures created by private people to take responsibility for sustainable energy supply and climate protection. By now there are over 850 energy cooperatives in Germany, this means more than 180.000 German citizens commit their selves to participate in the energy transition. These people invest private money to found and run their own wind or solar park. What they share is the mission of a decentralized, concern-independent and ecological energy generation. As already shown in the blog article 2 from our G20 series, energy cooperatives and communities are a great solution for a decentralized energy revolution – and it works! Secondly, the energy sector is one of the last industries that is going to be digitalized. This offers huge opportunities for new entrants from other industries and in particular from ICT. There are more than 40.000 unfulfilled jobs offers for software developers. Visualization and monitoring tools, IOT-devices, demand-side management solutions, blockchain concepts or energy management software come into the market to transform the old system. It is a software driven energy transition: cheap and scalable. Finally, institutions like the German energy agency (dena) realized how the impact from software in the energy transition is going to have a significant impact on our society and are getting more and more committed to support it.Dena CEO Andreas Kuhlman just said: “Energy transition in 15 years will be completely different from the energy transition of the past 15 years. We have to rethink, ask new questions, allow new things and be brave and determined to make the energy transition a progress project.” (in EW 2, 2017, page 10-13) Dena is going to present top 100 startups at G20 in Hamburg and OEEX is one of them. This story is the second of our series “Make our planet great again”. We intend to show Mr. Trump that the Paris agreement and the energy transition go far beyond idealism. We will publish a success story per week until the G20 in Hamburg in July

Price of community wind energy at its lowest ever – No.1 G20 series

Last month the German Federal Network Agency (FNA) auctioned around 800 MW of wind energy installations. It was the first tender after years of subsidies.

The outcome was positive: The Feed-in-tariff will be around 5,78 cents per kilowatt hour. For comparison, this pricing is about 20 % lower than the present subsidized Feed-In-Tariff. This shows the significant cost reduction achieved by renewable energies in the past few years.

FNA received more than 256 offers totaling 2.137 megawatt and 70 offers were accepted. It means that 807 megawatts are going to be installed and produce wind energy at a significantly lower price than today’s. For 2017 three tender rounds are planned, the next will start on first of August. Applicants which did not win the first tender, will apply in the next round with even more aggressive pricing. Experts of the think-tank “Agora Energiewende” in Berlin expect the cost of energy to go down to 4,5 or even 3 cents per kilowatt hour in optimal locations. This will bring the cost of wind energy close to “grid parity” already in 2017. It means that the unsubsidized price of wind energy would be equal or lower to conventional energy sources.

The other good news is that 93 percent of the winning projects are related to private or citizens’ initiatives. The government created the conditions to raise public acceptance for the energy transition. This is a first step to give communities the chance to invest in local energy projects and pay less for their own energy.

It is a victory for the energy transition. A variety of actors are approaching the energy industry to bring clean energy to all of us at accessible prices. Common people want to participate into affordable and sustainable energy generation.

One of Mr. Trump’s arguments against the energy transition is the supposed high cost per kWh of renewable energies. This first tender in Germany shows a trend which is opposite to Mr. Trumps argument. In fact, unsubsidized renewables are going to be competitive with traditional energy sources very soon.

This story is the first of our series “Make our planet great again”. We intend to show Mr. Trump that the Paris agreement and the energy transition go far beyond idealism. We will publish a success story per week until the G20 in Hamburg in July

Make our planet great again!

Dear Mr. Trump, you gave the brush-off to the Paris Agreement. Your perspective is to boost the “old economy” in the short term by slowing down the energy transition. Mr. president, do you seriously think the climate change will stop at the US border? Climate change is a global matter. Your decision has an impact […]