New analysis by Aurora Energy Research suggests that delivering a ‘net-zero’ power system will require 100GW+ new wind and solar capacity by 2050 with up to 30GW of short-duration storage required to help balance renewables output.
A solution will be needed to manage a “Kalte Dunkelflaute” – or cold windless spell – where wind output can drop significantly for a period of a week or more. Aurora estimates that 20GW+ of firm backup capacity will be required in 2050 to solve this system challenge. Excess renewables generation could reach 185TWhs in 2050 – this could be used to produce hydrogen to decarbonise heating, transport or industry.
Government intervention is needed to encourage low carbon forms of flexibility, which are not viable at the scale required under current market conditions. Delivering a net-zero power system will therefore require policy and market interventions – which could take a number of forms. In order to do this in the most cost-effective way, Aurora has called on Government, Ofgem, and the System Operator to follow the following three principles:
PRICE THE EXTERNALITIES
A carbon tax or trading system is an efficient method to reduce carbon emissions.
DEFINE THE SYSTEM NEEDS
Increasing renewables and removing thermal generation will create system operability challenges. These need to be clearly defined and tackled through transparent markets. Decentralisation of the power system means that some of these needs are location-specific and can best be solved with local flexibility markets.
LET THE MARKET DECIDE
Define the system needs and let the market provide the cheapest solutions. Pursue technology-agnostic policies and regulations based on system requirements, to drive competition and innovation.
The full report can be found here: Aurora Energy Research
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