Renewable power generation technologies are now cost competitive with fossil fuels and innovation is gathering pace across the sector, a report by Lloyd’s Register said. The drive towards sustainability has never been more urgent – and technology will continue to play a crucial role said Lloyd’s in a research report. The research sought insights and opinions of leaders across the sector, as well as the views of almost 600 professionals and experts around the world – from utilities and distributors through to operators and equipment manufacturers. Key findings include low carbon generation technologies are cost competitive. 70% of renewables respondents said that renewables are now reaching cost parity with fossil fuels.
Solar cell technology is likely to have a major impact soon. Renewables respondents are most optimistic about the potential of advances in solar cell technology – and the likelihood of adoption, the report said. Software advances will be instrumental in transmission and distribution. They were seen by respondents as the innovation that will be the quickest to arrive and the most likely to be adopted. It is electrical technologies that will transform storage, rather than mechanical storage or chemical technology innovations. In particular, respondents expect super capacitors, which will rapidly speed up charging times for large batteries, to have the greatest impact on storage. Deployment is a major barrier. Implementation of technology in renewables is hindered by deployment, which faces its own distinct challenge. However, 71% of respondents agreed there had been an increase in the scale of deployment of renewable energy sources.
Standardisation as a much-needed development for the low carbon sector. Industry experts agree that regional and global consensus on regulations could speed up deployment and further reduce costs. “The findings, highlight not only a growing optimism across the industry but a vigorous and intelligent debate about the pathways to decarbonisation,” said Alasdair Buchanan, energy director at Lloyd’s Register, a leading provider of integrity, compliance and specialist risk consulting services. “Clearly, there are many uncertainties about exactly how the industry will evolve, but what is inarguable is that the conversation is no longer about “should we?” but “how should we do it?” he said.