Already having a goal of 52% renewable electricity by 2030, the north African country of Morocco has now set a goal of becoming 100% renewable by the second half of this century. By 2030 the country expects to get 20% of its electricity from solar, 20% from wind and 12% from hydro.

The Netherlands wants to be nearly 100% emissions free by 2050. The country plans to achieve this by increasing the number of renewable energy installations (eg. offshore wind), through energy efficiency mechanisms and by eliminating the use of natural gas in all new housing developments. All buses for public transport must be using renewable energy or biofuel by 2025 and by 2035 only emission free automobiles will be sold. Residential and industrial users will be encouraged to generate and store their own energy, which they can sell or use at a later point. The cost of meeting the 2050 goals could be 10 billion euros annually, or about 1.4% of GDP as there are large areas of uncertainty.

The Netherlands announced it will gradually phase out subsidizes for renewable energy and shift its strategy to energy savings, energy storage and carbon capture. The subsidies would be phased out as renewables become more viable. For example, offshore wind turbines will no longer require subsidies by 2026.

UK Power Networks has completed a two-year trial of a battery storage facility and says the demonstration project proves the technology is viable.  The UK’s largest operational battery storage project, in the southern England town of Leighton Buzzard, showed grid-scale energy storage could be commercially viable as battery costs continue to fall and revenue streams become accessible. The UK has stated that energy storage has a key role to play in the country’s future energy supply.

The west England town of Clay Hill Pitch has approved the construction of a 20 megawatt energy storage system which will provide real-time grid stabilisation to the local distribution network. The system will be comprised of batteries housed in ten containers and will provide energy storage capacity to the National Grid. Excess electricity generated from a variety of renewable and conventional sources will be stored in the batteries during times of low electricity demand.

Aarhus, Denmark, is about to become the first city in the world to provide most of its citizens with fresh water using only the energy created from household wastewater and sewage.  The city’s wastewater treatment plant can generate more than 150% of the electricity needed to run the plant, which means the surplus can be used to pump drinking water to the 200,000 residents. Any excess electricity could be sold into the local grid. The plant generates energy from the biogas it creates out of household wastewater, including sewage. The biogas – mostly methane – is then burned to make heat and electricity.

A study by the University of Texas Energy Institute finds that wind turbines and natural gas power plants provide the least expensive options for new generation of electricity across a large majority of the US. When externalities are considered (environmental and health affects) and assuming an average delivered cost of gas of $5.07/MMBtu, wind was the cheapest option in a plurality of US counties (1,347 out of 3,110) most of which were concentrated in the central part of the country. Natural gas came in a close second as the cheapest in 1,127 counties, while nuclear was a distant third with 398 counties. When externalities are removed from the analysis,  natural gas was the least expensive option across about half of the country, while wind dominated the Midwest and Northeast, and utility-scale solar photovoltaic ranked third ahead of nuclear.

 

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