Attendees from across the I&C sector joined us for a three course dinner at the London Transport Museum last week, during which we heard talks from Steve Hargreaves, Head of Corporate Strategy, EDF Energy, Eduardo Mascarell, Head of Vehicle to Grid and Stationary Storage at Nissan Europe as well as Richard Bruce from the Department of Transport.
Here’s a quick recap of the insight and discussion from the night and the key take-aways shared to speed our journey towards a smarter, low carbon UK.
Our talks and discussion covered today’s energy landscape, which is transforming; becoming more complex than ever before. Evolving technologies, innovative business models and changing regulatory scope all offer an exciting, but challenging future for both businesses that use, and firms that supply, energy.
The key disruptors in the energy market
Guests and speakers alike agreed that Electric Vehicles (EVs), batteries and storage, combined with renewables, represent the crucial disruptive tech reshaping today's energy landscape.
If anything, the sense in the room heightened most vividly while discussing EVs. The complexity of EV data represents a challenge, as does the ongoing question of how to charge EVs in homes without garages and the capacity of local grids.
We learned how EVs can potentially offer earnings of some £1,000 per year, offering users limitless travel for low or even free monthly costs depending on how the industry evolves.
We also learned that cars are no longer simply a means of private transport. Electric vehicles offer the potential of a car as data centre, battery and generator! And they need not be privately owned- EV’s, charged on the street can be shared as part of a smarter city system.
A future UK, where such autonomous EVs offer cheap, low carbon driving for you and I, while also balancing the Grid symbolises positive change in our energy system.
Deep insights into the future of EVs, combined with real interest from the floor, shows that manufacturers, energy suppliers and the Government all feel EVs are a vital part of the UK's evolving energy picture. Put simply; there is no doubt EVs are becoming a fabric of our society, fast.
Evolving the UK's electricity system
We presented the full picture of pressing present and future challenges. Existing fossil based energy capacity is dropping off; a real opportunity lies for low carbon to take the prominent role.
With this possibility come challenges in terms of balancing. How can we (and we must) match the shape of low carbon electricity to demand and balance the Grid on a second by second basis?
The answers will come from a flexible split; something like 1/3 renewables, 1/3 nuclear and 1/3 of capacity from other sources like gas or batteries.
EVs, batteries, storage and renewables are building a new era of UK generation. Crucially, new business models are also coming.
UK decarbonisation, falling generation capacity, the need for flexibility in tomorrow's Grid.
A three way split between nuclear, renewables and flexible generation is likely to power the future UK.
Today's energy prices remain very reasonable. The UK is doing superbly well in its bid to decarbonise against overarching targets, but the hardest work lies ahead. By 2035, the UK needs major investment in new generation capacity of about 70GW. Where will the juice come from?
So flexibility will be absolutely essential; opportunities within Demand Side Response (DSR) are only going to grow; a vital message for UK businesses to take on board.
The UK's average household bill remains about £2 per day-the price of your daily cappuccino; a valuable reminder of just how affordable UK power is.
What does this mean for your business?
The key message from the event is simple; prepare today for the coming energy transition. Every element of the night points to one thing; radical change is on the way.
The volume of questions and interest from guests showed just how keenly UK business is aware of the opportunities, and indeed the innovation challenges that lie ahead.
Uncertainty is also present; that's a business risk, and therefore the sense is also that firms urgently need advice, support and dialogue.
The ongoing conversation should not only determine how they can help transition UK power, but in so doing both protect and grow their own operations.
What comes next must include more, regular, detailed dialogue between energy suppliers, UK PLC and the Government. Innovation and opportunities are to hand, across EVs, flexibility, DSR and self generation and storage.
The playing field is complex and advice and collaboration will be essential. UK power is changing forever, and getting up to speed now is critical.
Financial opportunities are there to be made, but the business risks from the UK's evolving energy agenda requires very careful management.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to us about any of the topics covered, please email LetsTalkPower@edfenergy.com
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