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Is Tesla looking to enter the UK utility market?

Autobidder user interface.

US-based technology firm Tesla has applied for a licence to generate electricity in the UK, although the exact reason hasn’t been made clear in Tesla Motor Co’s application to the country’s Gas and Electricity Market Regulating Authority.

Whilst speculation is rife as to the tech giant’s intentions, a source close to the company told UK newspaper The Telegraph that Tesla may be looking to launch its Autobidder energy trading platform in Britain. The platform, which aggregates renewable energy generation by independent power producers (IPPs), and trades the electricity generated, has proven to be massively successful at the 100MW Tesla-built Hornsdale Power Reserve in Melbourne, Australia – known as the world’s largest battery.

The site, owned by renewables developer Neoen, enjoyed a 56% increase in revenues thanks to a jump in frequency and ancillary services according to the company’s 2019 annual financial report.

Autobidder claims that it’s service, which currently facilitates the sale of electricity from the Australian mega-battery to the UK market, states on its website that it has “added competition to drive down energy prices” – a prospect that may provide a new challenge to the UK’s Big Six energy suppliers, and see Tesla, given its size, interests in solar, energy storage, and electric transportation, take one step closer to becoming a full-circle energy business built on technologies that will drive the energy transition.

This article was first published by Smart Energy International and was reprinted with permission.

Renewables can support a resilient and equitable recovery – IRENA

Rio Tinto's Weipa on-site solar facility

While a pathway to deeper decarbonisation requires total energy investment up to $130 trillion (€119 trillion), the socio-economic gains of such an investment would be massive, according to IRENA’s Global Renewables Outlook.

Transforming the energy system could boost cumulative global GDP gains above business-as-usual by $98 trillion (€90.2 trillion) between now and 2050. It would nearly quadruple renewable energy jobs to 42 million, expand employment in energy efficiency to 21 million and add 15 million in system flexibility.

IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera said: “Governments are facing a difficult task of bringing the health emergency under control while introducing major stimulus and recovery measures. The crisis has exposed deeply embedded vulnerabilities of the current system. IRENA’s Outlook shows the ways to build more sustainable, equitable and resilient economies by aligning short-term recovery efforts with the medium-and long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Agenda.”

“By accelerating renewables and making the energy transition an integral part of the wider recovery, governments can achieve multiple economic and social objectives in the pursuit of a resilient future that leaves nobody behind.”

The Global Renewables Outlook examines a new perspective on deeper decarbonisation and a path towards net-zero and zero emissions. Building on five technology pillars, particularly green hydrogen and extended end-use electrification, could help replace fossil-fuels and slash emissions in heavy industry and hard-to-decarbonise sectors.

Low-carbon investment would significantly pay off, the Outlook shows, with savings eight times more than costs when accounting for reduced health and environmental externalities. A climate-safe path would require cumulative energy investments of $110 trillion (€101 trillion) by 2050 but achieving full carbon neutrality would add another $20 trillion (18.4 trillion).

The Outlook also looked at energy and socio-economic transition paths in 10 regions worldwide. Despite varied paths, all regions are expected to see higher shares of renewable energy use, with Southeast Asia, Latin America, the European Union and Sub-Saharan Africa poised to reach 70-80% shares in their total energy mixes by 2050. Similarly, electrification of end uses like heat and transport would rise everywhere, exceeding 50% in East Asia, North America and much of Europe. All regions would also significantly increase their welfare and witness net job gains in the energy sector despite losses in fossil fuels. However, economy-wide, regional job gains are distributed unevenly. While regional GDP growth would show considerable variation, most regions could expect gains.

Raising regional and country-level ambitions will be crucial to meet interlinked energy and climate objectives and harvest socio-economic welfare. Stronger coordination on international, regional and domestic levels will be equally important, the Outlook concludes, with financial support being directed where needed including to the most vulnerable countries and communities.

This article was first published on Smart Energy International and was reprinted with permissions.