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IRENA Series: Smart Electrification

The IRENA Innovation Week 2020 started this Monday and has been very enlightening.

First, it feels great to know that there is massive global support for carbon neutrality. I was pretty impressed, when the UAE minister of Climate and Environment mentioned that the country is currently developing the largest solar park in the world, with a plan to reach 2863 MW installed capacity at completion.

Before going into the highlights of the program, a brief description of what electrification is...

Electrification is the conversion of a machine or system to the use of electrical power.

Here are the highlights of the event for me:

  • Electrification in the Transport Industry: Ambitious targets are already being set for electrification in the transport industry, and policies like these are crucial in driving electrification. For example, Belgium aims for all-electric company cars by 2026. Europe is planning to get about 20 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road. In Norway, sales of passenger cars and light vans from 2025 onward will be zero-emissions. However, to support the expanding EV use and massive electrification, the existing infrastructure must improve and consumer participation must be encouraged.

  • Vehicle-to-grid as a Storage Solution: When an EV is not in use, the battery can be used as an energy storage device for the grid. The solution will reduce the cost of EV ownership as revenue can be generated from grid services. Nuvve is a leader in this technology.

  • Virtual Power Plant and Energy Management Systems: tiko is at the forefront of using digitization to solve electricity grid capacity problems at the distribution (DSO) level. How mindblowing is that! This means that the challenge of electrification at DSO level is not necessarily technical because there is a digital revolution. A more challenging situation is the monetization of the system flexibility as well as the involvement of stakeholders.

  • Energy Storage at Transmission Level (TSO): We need to consider cheaper alternatives to batteries as storage solutions and hydrogen is a good option. It is also interesting to know that every part of the industry can be electrified. For example, using thermal batteries that store energy at high temperatures in a low-cost concrete-based structure, Energy Nest helps to reduce the amount of feedstock, specifically fossil fuels, used by steam power plants.

To round up, I absolutely loved re-learning about the Big Hit project on the Orkney islands - an isolated and self-dependent green hydrogen system on a set of islands.

The Big Hit Project

Source: Google

Day 2 continues today and I am having Eureka moments. To register: IRENA Innovation Week 2020

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