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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Even in the UK, solar makes a big contribution



Forgive me, Brits, but the UK isn't known for its sunny climate.  Not, say, like California or Arizona or Australia.  So it's even more heartening than usual to see what a large contribution solar is making to the UK's switch to renewables.

From PV Magazine:

UK’s solar fleet helps reduce power demand to lowest level in eight years. Data from energy analysts EnAppSys reveals that average [net] half-hour power demand in July was just 26.2 GW, the lowest point since the last recession, as more distributed solar energy eased grid peaks. 
Improved energy efficiency in consumer electronic goods, and a marked reduction in energy-intensive heavy industry have certainly been factors in helping Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland, so not the U.K. as a whole) register its lowest quarterly power demand for eight years, but the role of distributed solar power embedded into the system cannot be overlooked – that is the conclusion of the latest Q2 2017 GB Electricity Market Summary Report by EnAppSys. 
According to the data, average [net] half-hourly power demand in July was 26. 2 GW, and average half-hourly gross demand was 29.2 GW – the former the lowest monthly total since 2009, the latter a record low. With 3 GW half-hourly average of embedded generation, the impact of solar’s rise has been stark, the data showed.

[Read more here]

Of course, there won't be much solar in winter.  But winter is also the time of gales and storms, which means that wind generates a lot more.  Even so, the UK and other northerly nations without hydro will most likely need some seasonal storage, where the energy from surplus electricity is stored as gas, either directly as hydrogen produced by the electrolysis of water or by converting the hydrogen to methane via the Sabatier process.

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