It is fairly unanimous that we want to transition to an energy system based on clean energy and reach carbon neutrality. But is 100% renewables feasible? The share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption in the EU last year was 22%. The newly proposed 2030 target is 40%. So we have a long way to go - should this be our goal, how can we deal with seasonality and intermittency and what do we need to focus on to reach 100% renewable energy?
Founder of Next Kraftwerke, Jochen Schwill expects PV to skyrocket in the near future. "Europe is just having such high electricity prices right now that this should attract so much PV, so we should attract all the production of the world and…I cannot imagine that this will be overcome by supply chain issues right now." He points out that this huge amount of PV in the middle of the day will be useless if we don't have the storage solutions to be able to use it when we need it.
Steffen Schülzchen, CEO of Entrix, a company that offers large-scale batteries and intelligent trading solutions, says, contrary to popular belief, Germany actually has peak production in Winter due to so much wind power. This highlights the important of tailoring solutions to each country and diversifying renewables for different time periods. But even before this, the first step is electrification. He says: "we need to see how fast we can move things to power and electricity, that’s the part which will be tricky. We want to electrify the heating industry, mobility industry and so on and so forth. I think its super cool that we agree on a common denominator and that we say, okay the entire system runs on power and then we can only focus on power and electricity green."
Christoph Strasser, Co-CEO of Tion Renewables AG, points out the importance of digital solutions so overcome issues of space. "In Europe we have less large tracts of land, like in other regions, so we need to think of innovative solutions, not just big PV parks, big wind parks, more like in densely populated areas. One topic which I find super exciting is community solar: building PV on rooftops and densely populated areas, sharing the electricity, not just doing it on individual houses," says Strasser.
Another issue is market design. Lisa Strippchen, Expert for Energy Policy and Strategy at DENA, says, "market design is also a hot topic at the moment, especially when looking into the electricity prices. What we need to think about is when in the future we have more renewable energy sources, the electricity price with the current market design will be really low and I think we should not stop paying for the actual generated electricity but for the capacity."
Finally, Jean-Baptiste, VP of Digital Innovation and Low Carbon Solutions at BP thinks we need to take the road to 100% renewable energy step by step. "Let's start doing what we can do today: more wind, more renewable, demand-side management, battery because lithium ion is a major technology and then proper investigation and find the appropriate solution for every country’s journey," he says.