The Evolution of Hydrogen: From the Big Bang to Fuel Cells

Published on By 

It all started with a bang…the big bang!

The explosive power of hydrogen fueled a chain reaction that led to the world we have today.

Now this power is being deployed on Earth to supply the energy needs of tomorrow.

Visualizing the Power of Hydrogen

Today’s infographic comes to us from the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, and it outlines how hydrogen and fuel cell technology is harnessing the power of the universe to potentially fuel an energy revolution.

The Evolution of Hydrogen: From the Big Bang to Fuel Cells

What is Hydrogen, and How’s it Used?

With one proton and one electron, hydrogen sits at the very beginning of the periodic table.

Despite hydrogen being the most common molecule in the universe, it is rarely found in its elemental state here on Earth. In fact, almost all hydrogen on the planet is bonded to other elements and can only be released via chemical processes such as steam reforming or electrolysis.

There are five ways hydrogen is being used today:

  1. Building heat and power
  2. Energy storage and power generation
  3. Transportation
  4. Industry energy
  5. Industry feedstock

However, what really unleashes the power of hydrogen is fuel cell technology. A fuel cell converts the chemical power of hydrogen into electrical power.

Hydrogen Unleashed: The Fuel Cell

In the early 1960’s, NASA first deployed fuel cells to power the electrical components of the Gemini and Apollo space capsules. Since then, this technology has been deployed in everything from the vehicle you drive, the train you take, and how your favorite products are delivered to your doorstep.

Nations around the world are committing to build hydrogen fueling stations to meet the growth in adoption of fuel cell technology for transportation.

Hydrogen: A Green Energy Solution

Hydrogen fuel and fuel cell technology delivers green solutions in seven ways.

  1. Decarbonizing industrial energy use
  2. Acting as a buffer to increase energy system resilience
  3. Enabling large-scale renewable energy integration and power generation
  4. Decarbonizing transportation
  5. Decarbonizing building heat and power
  6. Distribution energy across sectors and regions
  7. Providing clean feedstock for industry

According to a recent report by McKinsey, hydrogen and fuel cell technology has the potential to remove six gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions and employ more than 30 million people by 2050, all while creating a $2.5-trillion market.

This is technology that can be deployed today, with the potential to transform how we live and power our economies in a sustainable way.

'You did not act in time': Greta Thunberg's full speech to MPs

23 April 2019, source edie newsroom

Read the full text of the speech Greta Thunberg gave to MPs at the Houses of Parliament, originally hosted by the Guardian.

Thunberg urged MEPs to

Thunberg urged MEPs to "wake up and take action" last week in Brussels. Image: Greta Thunberg

My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 16 years old. I come from Sweden. And I speak on behalf of future generations.

I know many of you don’t want to listen to us – you say we are just children. But we’re only repeating the message of the united climate science.

Many of you appear concerned that we are wasting valuable lesson time, but I assure you we will go back to school the moment you start listening to science and give us a future. Is that really too much to ask?

In the year 2030 I will be 26 years old. My little sister Beata will be 23. Just like many of your own children or grandchildren. That is a great age, we have been told. When you have all of your life ahead of you. But I am not so sure it will be that great for us.

I was fortunate to be born in a time and place where everyone told us to dream big; I could become whatever I wanted to. I could live wherever I wanted to. People like me had everything we needed and more. Things our grandparents could not even dream of. We had everything we could ever wish for and yet now we may have nothing.

Now we probably don’t even have a future any more.

Because that future was sold so that a small number of people could make unimaginable amounts of money. It was stolen from us every time you said that the sky was the limit, and that you only live once.

You lied to us. You gave us false hope. You told us that the future was something to look forward to. And the saddest thing is that most children are not even aware of the fate that awaits us. We will not understand it until it’s too late. And yet we are the lucky ones. Those who will be affected the hardest are already suffering the consequences. But their voices are not heard.

Is my microphone on? Can you hear me?

Around the year 2030, 10 years 252 days and 10 hours away from now, we will be in a position where we set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, that will most likely lead to the end of our civilisation as we know it. That is unless in that time, permanent and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society have taken place, including a reduction of CO2 emissions by at least 50%.

And please note that these calculations are depending on inventions that have not yet been invented at scale, inventions that are supposed to clear the atmosphere of astronomical amounts of carbon dioxide.

Emissions Targets - Shortfall Increases

New stats reveal growing shortfall in government emissions targets

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

The UK now looks all but certain to miss emissions reductions targets out to 2032, new statistics out today have revealed.

And the fresh projections compiled by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) confirm that “projected shortfalls” against the country’s fourth and fifth carbon budgets, for the periods 2023 – 2027 and 2028 – 2032 respectively, have actually increased compared to previous estimates.

This morning BEIS released its updated energy and emissions projections report for 2018, ultimately concluding that while it was now very likely that the UK’s emissions reductions would fall within the cap for the third carbon budget, it is now thought that for the fourth carbon budget the UK will fall short by some 139 MtCO2e, an increase of around 45 MtCO2e compared to last year’s projections.

And it’s a similar story for the fifth carbon budget, with the country’s shortfall revised upwards from 196 MtCO2e to 245 MtCO2e.

While there are uncertainties in the government’s modelling that could mean policies which affect decarbonisation throughout the 2020s over deliver, their development is not as such that they can be included in the projections.

The worsening of the country’s position with regards the fourth and fifth carbon budgets means that it is now the government’s consideration that the UK will get 95% and 93% of the way there respectively.

The damning statistics come just days before the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is expected to deliver its recommendation on establishing a net zero carbon deadline, and will likely attract the ire of green pressure groups and watchdogs.

Today’s report will also shine further spotlight on the government’s Clean Growth Strategy (CGS), the document that was supposed to outline its vision for how those carbon budgets were to be met.

The CGS was scrutinised within the CCC’s annual progress report last year, which the government then responded to during last October’s Green Great Britain Week.

However Lord Deben, chairman at the CCC, was left unimpressed. At last year’s Solar & Storage Live Lord Deben slammed the government’s progress as “not good enough”, concluding that it failed to “produce the necessary steps which, by law, they have to reach”.

Curiously Lord Deben also raised the prospect of legal action being taken against the government for its lack of ambition, a prospect which becomes even more relevant given today’s statistics.

“It won’t be us that takes them to court, but I fear I will be first witness for the prosecution,” Lord Deben said at the time.

Funding secured for Bridgwater EfW plant

30 NOVEMBER 2018 by Elizabeth Slow

Infrastructure investor, Equitix, and environmental investment firm Iona Capital, have announced the planned development of a £72 million energy from waste facility in Bridgwater, Somerset.

The 7.7MW Resource Recovery facility will process around 100,000 tonnes of commercial and municipal refuse derived fuel (RDF). Construction is expected to start in Q1 2019 and the plant to begin commercial operation in 2021.

The £72 million energy from waste facility will be sited in Bridgwater, Somerset


Waste will be supplied by Geminor UK Limited – a leading exporter and supplier of Refuse Derived Fuel – under a long-term waste supply contract. Geminor will supply 75,000 tonnes. [updated January 2019].

The project will be delivered under a turnkey design and build contract with STC Power SRL – a specialist in the supply of small-scale thermal energy plants. The company has delivered 20 facilities since 2001.

Pinnacle Power Limited has been appointed as the operations and maintenance contractor. Pinnacle Power is part of the Pinnacle Group and is a provider of construction and operations services for district heat and power projects.

According to Iona Capital, the facility is based on the conventional combustion of RDF with heat recovered via a boiler to generate power from a steam turbine. The grate use technology was consented earlier this year. The facility has secured a 15 year power purchase agreement with electric utilities firm, Engie.

‘Huge opportunities’

“This is a sector that we see huge opportunities in and are very excited to be working with our partners, Iona Capital, in developing this top-quality, high-impact facility.”

Geoff Jackson

Nick Ross, director and co-founder of Iona Capital said: “We are very pleased to partner Equitix in the financing of the Bridgwater project which is the first of a number of planned investments in the EfW sector.”

Developer Bridgwater Resource Recovery secured planning permission for the facility in January 2015. Once completed, it will employ up to 25 full-time staff.


Based in London, Equitix describes itself as a leading investment firm that manages over £3 billion. The firm’s investment strategy focuses on small to mid-cap infrastructure projects, predominantly located in the UK, covering a range of sectors with a focus on social infrastructure and renewable energy.

Iona Capital

Iona Capital has managed funds on behalf of institutional pension funds and invested these in long term projects within the UK bio-energy and low carbon markets.. It has offices in London and York.

Who’s right on residual waste?


According to Defra, policies laid out in the resources and waste strategy will result in all the UK’s residual waste being dealt with by 2035 through incin­eration and other methods. Not long ago, a Defra official told MRW: “Our evidence is suggesting that, when we meet future recycling targets in 2030 and 2035, recycling will leave no capac­ity gap.”

But the latest analysis of the UK’s capacity by Tolvik Consulting contra­dicts this. Its Filling the Gap report looks at the strategy in some depth, and concluded that the UK would still need to build around 20 mid-sized energy-from-waste (EfW) plants.

It is a complicated subject, prone to the vagaries of interpretation and pro­jected estimates of many datasets. These include, among others, changes in waste generation due to population and consumption patterns, Brexit, changing waste composition, recycling markets and waste crime.

At the end of it all, we have the same fundamental disagreement between industry figures and those of the Gov­ernment that has been rumbling on for many years.

Tolvik said the impact of compulsory food waste collections, harmony in household waste collections, extended producer responsibility and a deposit return scheme as proposed by Defra would reduce the existing amount of residual waste produced each year by around 3.3 million tonnes. The report said: “This is some way short of the 10 million tonnes a year reduction which is set out as a goal in the annex to the [Defra] strategy.”

Tolvik director Adrian Judge said: “We think there will be more residual waste than previously projected because we can see how much by modelling the strategy.” For the first time, Tolvik mod­elled the impact of bulky waste, outages on EfW capacity and geographical remoteness from EfW sites – which it collectively termed BOG – all material that must be landfilled.

“Just 10% of the UK’s capacity gap is located in northern England but it accounts for 37% of EfW capacity under development.”

Judge said: “If you take the increased tonnage of residual waste and the effect of BOG, you get to a seven million tonnes a year shortfall in EfW capacity.”

Tolvik found there was 16.2 million tonnes of potential EfW capacity at var­ious stages of the planning process, from proposal to construction. But it estimated that only 3-3.5 million tonnes of capacity could be built in the next few years, and at least half of the remainder “will never be built because it is too unrealistic in location or scale, so we will inevitably still need landfill capacity for a long time”.

The report also said there would be sharply increased transportation of residual waste around the country because the location of existing and pro­posed EfW plants was biased towards northern England while most of the waste was in the south.

It said: “While 30% of the UK’s capacity gap is in southern England, only 15% of EfW development projects are located [there]. On the other hand, just 10% of UK capacity gap is located in northern England but it accounts for 37% of EfW capacity under development.”

If left unchanged, this imbalance would lead to “a near doubling in the bulk haulage requirement for residual waste by 2025”, Tolvik concluded.

But where will investment for new EfW come from if the consultancy’s fig­ures are right? There is currently no political will to put public money into the technology, partly in reaction to public concern over incineration and partly because of the failure of Public Finance Initiative (PFI) schemes.

The collapse of Interserve, the group of support services and construction companies, with £480m of debt was in part blamed on its troubles building EfW facilities in Glasgow and Derby­shire. EY, Interserve’s administrator, said: “The company has been suffering from much-publicised issues from losses on certain legacy construction contracts, in particular in the EfW sector.”

PFI funding is now at an end, and chancellor Philip Hammond has launched a review into replacing it with a different method of getting private money to back infrastructure projects.

If the demand for residual waste treatment outlined in Tolvik’s report is really there, private equity may get more involved in the sector. There seems to be increasing interest already: in Novem­ber last year, investment firms Equitix and Iona Capital teamed up to back a £72m EfW in Somerset, to be operated and maintained by Pinnacle Power.

There have been other models put forward to fund EfW, including using blockchain technology.

GoGen has raised £3m so far by crowdfunding for a gasification plant. The Community R4C group opposed to the Javelin Park EfW project in Gloucestershire has launched a crowd­funding campaign to take up the legal battle and has already raised £10,000 of its £30,000 target.

New money, but old arguments.

residual waste

Source: Tolvik Consulting

Analysis excludes any EfW projects currently in development, irrespective of how imminent the planned financial close. ‘Total capacity’ includes EfW that is certain to be online, mechanical and biological treatment, co-incineration and estimated amount of material that will still need to be sent to landfill.

Hydrogen push in Australia

'The perfect storm': hydrogen gains ground on LNG as alternative fuel

With demand set to rise across the world, Australia is set to become a global primary producer of hydrogen

The greatest demand for hydrogen is likely to come from its use as a fuel for hydrogen-powered electric cars, long-haul heavy transport and public transport buses.
 The greatest demand for hydrogen is likely to come from its use as a fuel for hydrogen-powered electric cars, long-haul heavy transport and public transport buses. Photograph: Paul Kane/Getty Images

In March, the Queensland University of Technology made history when it achieved the first export of a small quantity of clean, green hydrogen produced in Australia from renewable energy, to Japanese energy giant JXTG – proving that it was in fact possible.

Hydrogen is increasingly being seen as an alternative to LNG and other fossil fuels and Australia has a lot to gain from a new export industry, with companies such as Woodside Energy and Siemens already investing.

Each year the world consumes 55 million tonnes of hydrogen, a figure which is expected to increase dramatically over the next decade. As countries such as Japan and South Korea embrace hydrogen to rapidly decarbonise their economies in response to climate change, global demand is expected to rise by eight million tonnes as of 2030 and about 35 million tonnes by 2040

While hydrogen is used in the manufacture of glass, steel and fertiliser, the greatest demand is likely to come from its use as a fuel for hydrogen-powered electric cars, long-haul heavy transport and public transport such as buses.

And while Australia may not be able to make those vehicles, it has the potential to become a primary producer of hydrogenThe only thing holding it back is the pace at which it embraces the technology and build its industrial capacity over the next few years.

So far, the main roadblock has been political will. This seemed to have been resolved in February when the Coalition announced it would hold public consultations on establishing the new industry before the next election.

Labor has likewise set aside $1bn in funding for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to develop clean hydrogen technologies and an additional $90m for the Australia Renewable Energy Agency for research.

Support for a clean hydrogen industry has been a long time coming. In August 2018, Dr Alan Finkel, Australia’s chief scientist, released a National Hydrogen Roadmap spelling out how Australia could develop a hydrogen export industry.

Finkel’s plan was adopted by COAG and the 30 companies currently working on hydrogen projects in Australia knew they had a future.

Dr Fiona Beck, a theoretical physicist working with an ANU team recently awarded $10m in funding to conduct holistic research into setting up a hydrogen export industry in the Asia-Pacific, compared the current state of hydrogen to the early days of solar.

“With hydrogen, there is really the feeling right now that it’s not just researchers and technologists talking about this. There is the alignment. The perfect storm,” said Beck.

She said in the past hydrogen faced objections from people who said it just was not possible. Like solar, the technology had been around since the 1970s, but it was only with a growing awareness of climate change and the need for a transition that the technology started to receive more attention.

A hydrogen powered bus is refuelled at a depot in London.
 A hydrogen powered bus is refuelled at a depot in London. Photograph: Graeme Robertson/The Guardian

Broadly, there are currently three ways to make hydrogen. Brown hydrogen is is produced when the element is stripped out of fossil fuels such as coal, while blue hydrogen is produced from gas. Green hydrogen is produced from running an electric current through water using an electrolyser powered by renewable energy such as solar.

“The technology is ready today but has not been widely deployed in Australia,” Coleman said. “We view hydrogen production and export as a potential adjacent activity to our core business of LNG. We are also ideally placed to produce hydrogen in the north-west of Australia, where we have access to abundant sunshine for solar power.

“Blue hydrogen is the key to building scale and lowering costs in hydrogen transport and distribution, which will enable an earlier transition to renewable green hydrogen, produced through electrolysis of water, powered by renewables. The earlier we can shift, the faster we can reduce emissions.”

Martin Hablutzel, the head of strategy for Siemens – which manufacturers electrolysers, the main equipment needed to make zero carbon hydrogen – said the company welcomed bipartisan support for the industry and said demand for the company’s equipment is growing.

“What we need now is for Australia to fast-track green hydrogen projects of scale and governments to have a clear role in supporting this great new industry as it establishes,” Hablutzel said.

Where once their electrolysers were only capable of turning kilowatts of renewable energy into clean hydrogen, the company is now building larger scale devices.

Siemens will soon deliver a unit with a 1.25MW capacity to the Tonsley Innovation District in South Australia. It also offers another unit capable of scaling up above 10MW, with plans for newer equipment capable of producing into the triple digits.

Other companies aren’t waiting either. Yara Pilbara operates a fertiliser plant on the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia’s far north and is racing to commercialise hydrogen production in partnership with French company Engie. Hydrogen is a key ingredient in fertiliser and general manager Chris Rijkson says the company sees it as a way to decarbonise its range.

While the original plan was to build a test-site, about a year ago Yara Pilbara chose to skip straight to building a full-scale 100MW solar-powered commercial-scale green hydrogen plant with a 66MW electrolyser. If successful, it would be the first in the world.

“[With this] we could make our whole product portfolio carbon-free in the future,” Rijkson said. “On top of that, Yara is looking into what other options there are to produce fuel in the future.”

At this critical time…

… we can’t turn away from climate change. The Guardian’s environmental coverage reports the scientific facts, social consequences and political choices that are shaping the fate of our planet. As the world's leaders turn their backs on the environment, we are at a crisis point. Individual consumer choices are important, but we need collective action to achieve the systemic change that will really make a difference. Our pioneering and our fearless reporting on the environment can play a vital role in that. But we need our readers’ support.

More people are reading and supporting our independent, investigative reporting than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford.

The Guardian is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important as it enables us to give a voice to those less heard, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.

Every contribution we receive from readers like you, big or small, goes directly into funding our journalism. This support enables us to keep working as we do – but we must maintain and build on it for every year to come.

Landfill Tax rate rises to £91.35 per tonne for 2019

1 APRIL 2019 by Will Date

Landfill Tax rates have moved above £90 per tonne for the first time from today (1 April 2019).

The latest tax rates – which are currently the same for all areas across the UK – are: for standard rate material £91.35 and lower rate (‘inert’) material (qualifying fines with a loss of ignition of 10% or lower) £2.90 per tonne.

Landfill Tax
£ per tonne (England)
From 1 April 2020From 1 April 2019From 1 April 2018From 1 April 2017From 1 April 2016
Standard rate94.1591.3588.9586.1084.40
Lower rate3.002.902.802.702.65

The increase is in line with the Retail Prices Index (RPI), rounded to the nearest 5 pence, confirmed by the Treasury in the Autumn 2018 Budget.

HMRC has also lined up a further rise in the standard tax rate from 1 April 2020 when it will jump £3 to £94.15 per tonne (see above table).

Landfill Tax

Landfill Tax is charged on material disposed of at a landfill site or an unauthorised waste site. As such, said the Treasury, it encourages “efforts to minimise the amount of material produced and the use of non-landfill waste management options, which may include recycling, composting and recovery”.

The tax was first introduced on 1 October 1996 to encourage waste producers and the waste management industry to switch to more sustainable alternatives for disposing of material.

There is a lower rate of tax (which applies to less polluting qualifying materials covered by two Treasury Orders) and a standard rate (which applies to all other taxable material disposed of at authorised landfill sites).

Previously, the Landfill Tax applied across the UK but from 1 April 2015 it was devolved in Scotland and from 1 April 2018 in Wales.

Landfill tax receipts 1999-2018 (source: ONS)

According to the Office for Budget Responsibility Landfill Tax is likely to have raised around £0.9 billion in 2018-19. Around 77.9% of this total from UK government landfill tax, with the remaining 17.1% and 5.1% coming from the Scottish landfill tax and Welsh landfill disposals tax respectively.

National Grid says it can go 100% renewables by 2025

Fintan Slye: We can do this

National Grid ESO believes it will be able to operate the power system with 100% renewable power – for periods at least – by 2025. But says it will need to “fundamentally change” the way it operates.

“Operating a zero-carbon electricity system in 2025, whenever there is sufficient renewable generation, is a major stepping stone to full decarbonisation of the entire electricity system; enabling new technologies and removing barriers to ever increasing levels of renewables,” said ESO director, Fintan Slye.

In order to achieve that goal, the system operator has to roll out new ways of managing system characteristics like inertia and voltage across the system. That means in some cases developing new markets, for system products that have not yet been designed, and it requires far more data to be handled to model the system.

The ESO said, “we need to fundamentally change how we plan, analyse and operate the electricity system and innovate in the development and deployment of new technologies, products and services. The development timeline includes plans to:

  • Be able to use wind and solar to provide reserve and response services by 2020.
  • Increase deployment of storage and its use in frequency markets.
  • Define new ancillary services that deliver the inertia currently provide by rotating fossil plant, so that new markets for these services can be developed and put in place by 2022.
  • Investigate existing and new technologies that can provide voltage support.
  • Improve forecasting of wind and solar, along with embedded generation.
  • Develop the ability to monitor and measure inertia and new network analysis tools that allow it to be modelled and different operating scenarios assessed in real time,

The ESO said that although this would be a step-change in grid operation, “We know, through approaches that we have had to date, that there are customers with the right technologies that can provide these services. Therefore, once we have identified and described the technical requirements of the network it should be possible to create the right products and market place.”

See details here.

Bristol City Council gives go-ahead to low-carbon city plan

Bristol City Council has decided to go ahead with its ambitious ‘City Leap’ programme and will be procuring a strategic partner to deliver the project in a joint venture. A council meeting on 2 April agreed seed funding for the energy projects and funds to procure the joint venture partner.

City Leap was launched in May last year with a prospectus featuring up to £1 billion of partnership and investment opportunities (see below). The aim is to attract new energy investment into the city, a strategy which includes domestic energy efficiency improvements and power generation. The  city intends to be carbon neutral by 2050. It attracted interest from over 180 local, national and international organisations, including tech firms, investors, community organisations and innovative energy and infrastructure developers.

After assessing different options the city recommended that the council  procure a Strategic Partner to form a joint venture (City LeapEnergy Partnership) with Bristol Energy and the council’s Energy Service (BCCES) playing an integral role.

It concluded that Bristol Energy and BCCES have significant capability across the whole project value chain. Bristol Energy can cover the full range of services around supply, trading, and monetisation of flexibility in-house, the city concluded. It has developed innovative propositions such as heat-as-a-service and battery storage, and is developing a local energy market design under its BESST (Bristol Energy Smart System Transformation) project. Meanwhile, BCCES has a  track record of successful delivery of low carbon infrastructure, has a pipeline of in-flight projects such as heat networks, and is also delivering a number of innovation projects.

As well as the energy opportunities (listed below) the partnership may include two major development opportunities: the city’s Temple and Western Docks areas.

Potential investment opportunity

Estimated investment opportunity over ten years

Heat networks


Smart energy system


Domestic energy efficiency


Commercial energy efficiency


Renewable energy


Monitoring, dissemination and evaluation






Marine energy





ElectraLink and REA launch partnership to champion a decentralised electricity system

ElectraLink and REA launch partnership to champion a decentralised electricity system

Posted: 4 April, 2019. By Daniel Brown

Daniel Brown

ElectraLink and the Renewable Energy Association (REA) are delighted to announce a new partnership which will culminate in a report and conference on Thursday, 12th September 2019 at the offices of BCLP LLP.

A market in flux

Smart Power, a major report and piece of analytical modeling commissioned by the National Infrastructure Commission, was released to the public on 4 March 2016. The report was a milestone in the process of quantifying, justifying, and legitimising a future power system that is radically more decentralised, flexible and decarbonised. Smart Power revealed that the UK can save £8 billion a year by 2030 by supporting greater interconnection, storage and demand flexibility. Building a smarter power system, the report suggests, is good for UK PLC and businesses, and can deliver savings to the public at large with data underpinning this transition.

Since Smart Power’s launch, oil majors have bought aggregators, automotive manufacturers have become solar developers and ‘subsidy-free’ renewables deployment has gone from promise to reality. Now with nearly a million domestic and commercial solar installations, a rapidly developing energy storage sector and a boom in corporate and consumer purchase of renewable power, the UK energy sector is about to start a new chapter on how power is generated and consumed. Great change is expected in the decade to come, with many anticipating rapid electric vehicle deployment and much of the existing stock of large, centralised power generation capacity due to come offline.

Building the Flexible Power Report

Whilst Smart Power has made a major contribution to the UK debate and has drawn a line in the sand as to what we can achieve, for many the road still appears fraught and uncertain.

Part of the purpose of the REA and ElectraLink partnership is to produce and launch Flexible Power – a new document that will use ElectraLink’s dataset under its Energy Market Data Hub, together with REA expertise, to understand the electricity system’s changes to date and chart a course for the next decade.

The report will build on the skill demonstrated in the outcomes of ElectraLink’s LCT Detection Project which used advanced analytics to identify indications of 15,000 previously unknown solar PV and electric vehicle charging installations on the Western Power Distribution network.

Flexible Power also assists in drawing a roadmap, based on industry experience, about how we can achieve our common goal of £8bn per year in savings. This document is the first in a series of reports and is split into three parts, focusing on trends in:

  • renewable power supply,
  • activity behind the meter for homes and businesses, and
  • grid-scale changes on electricity distribution networks.

Each chapter in the report will reflect on what we know about market changes to date, outline barriers to growth at present and incorporate a vision for development of the market to 2030.

In addition to employing real-world data provided by ElectraLink, along with the internal expertise of the REA team, we have enlisted the support of senior market experts such as Robert Hull, who for ten years served as Managing Director at Ofgem.

Flexible Power will be launched on Thursday, 12th September 2019 and will be accompanied by a half-day conference at the offices of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP in London.

Conference and launch

A half-day conference and networking reception on Thursday 12th September 2019 will coincide with the launch of this report. Further details are available on the REA website here.

The conference will feature three panels, on renewable power supply, on developments behind the meter (commercial and industrial), and standalone grid-connected or co-located.

Once published, the report will be freely available to the public.

Registrations will go live shortly. Discounts will be available to members of the REA. The event and drinks reception is kindly hosted by Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner at their beautiful offices at Adelaide House, London Bridge, London EC4R 9HA.

Get involved

If you are a manufacturer, developer, operator or another UK energy market participant aligned with the flexibility movement who would be interested in contributing a case study to, or sponsoring a chapter of, this report, please email the REA’s Head of Events, Marketing, and Membership Lindsay Barnett.

With other questions please email Daniel Brown, Policy Manager at the REA.

You can follow the conversation about this partnership on social media - #FlexiblePowerUK

About ElectraLink

ElectraLink is a central body regulated by Ofgem at the heart of the UK energy market. We are owned by the DNOs and are responsible for operating the Data Transfer Service that underpins the UK energy market and we ensure that this solution remains secure, low cost and facilitates vibrant competition. Our management of the DTS provides us with unique access to a wealth of energy market data which allows us, with the permission of the users of the DTS, to support industry to develop solutions, facilitate innovation and reduce costs to consumers.

ElectraLink also provides expertise to several energy industry codes which set the ‘rules’ for the gas and electricity markets. Our reputation for impartiality and energy market expertise makes us an ideal partner in the implementation and change management of energy market governance arrangements. ElectraLink is the bridge that underpins the utility market and plays a key role in the transition to a smarter, more flexible energy network.

About the REA

The REA is the UK’s largest trade association for renewable energy and clean technologies. As a non-profit organisation representing over 500 companies operating in technologies such as solar, energy storage, grid management and electric vehicle charging, and with nearly two decades of experience in advocating for decarbonisation and green growth, it is well suited to offer input and expertise about this historic market change.