Shell and Total plan electric charging at service stations, but BP’s Aral pushes back
The UK government has said that it wants to ‘ensure there is provision of electric charge points’ at large fuel retailers. Oil giant Shell has said it will install charging points at petrol stations in the UK and the Netherlands, and rival Total has said it will do the same in France.
However, Aral, part of oil giant BP and the largest petrol station chain in Germany with 2,500 service stations, is much less enthusiastic about installing electric charging at its own stations.
Temperatures are now so high at the north pole that scientists are contemplating radical schemes to avoid catastrophe
Physicist Steven Desch has come up with a novel solution to the problems that now beset the Arctic. He and a team of colleagues from Arizona State University want to replenish the region’s shrinking sea ice – by building 10 million wind-powered pumps over the Arctic ice cap. In winter, these would be used to pump water to the surface of the ice where it would freeze, thickening the cap.
The pumps could add an extra metre of sea ice to the Arctic’s current layer, Desch argues. The current cap rarely exceeds 2-3 metres in thickness and is being eroded constantly as the planet succumbs to climate change.
“Thicker ice would mean longer-lasting ice. In turn, that would mean the danger of all sea ice disappearing from the Arctic in summer would be reduced significantly,” Desch told the Observer.
Desch and his team have put forward the scheme in a paper that has just been published in Earth’s Future, the journal of the American Geophysical Union, and have worked out a price tag for the project: $500bn (£400bn).
It is an astonishing sum. However, it is the kind of outlay that may become necessary if we want to halt the calamity that faces the Arctic, says Desch, who, like many other scientists, has become alarmed at temperature change in the region. They say that it is now warming twice as fast as their climate models predicted only a few years ago and argue that the 2015 Paris agreement to limit global warming will be insufficient to prevent the region’s sea ice disappearing completely in summer, possibly by 2030.
“Our only strategy at present seems to be to tell people to stop burning fossil fuels,” says Desch. “It’s a good idea but it is going to need a lot more than that to stop the Arctic’s sea ice from disappearing.”
The loss of the Arctic’s summer sea ice cover would disrupt life in the region, endanger many of its species, from Arctic cod to polar bears, and destroy a pristine habitat. It would also trigger further warming of the planet by removing ice that reflects solar radiation back into space, disrupt weather patterns across the northern hemisphere and melt permafrost, releasing more carbon gases into the atmosphere.
The government has set out its plans for the future of UK electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the UK, including powers to standardise new publicly accessible chargepoints; requirements for smart technologies to allow chargepoints to help balance the grid; and minimum provision of charging infrastructure at motorway services.
The proposals have been unveiled as part of the government’s plans for a Modern Transport Bill, which will be introduced to Parliament at the earliest opportunity.
Within the response to a consultation on proposed ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) carried out at the end of 2016, the Department for Transport (DfT) has outlined a series of new powers to increase deployment of charging infrastructure.
Within this are plans to require infrastructure installed for the purposes of charging EVs to have ‘smart’ functionality to receive, understand and respond to signals sent by energy system participants.
This would allow charge points to help balance energy supply and demand in a similar way as battery storage, although the plans did not explain if this infrastructure would be able to access the same revenue streams open to storage.
This measure was met with overwhelming support from respondents, with 90% approving of the plans which could allow EV charging demand to “form a controllable load of immense proportions at a national scale”.
DfT also plans to adopt powers requiring operators of motorway service areas to ensure a minimum provision of electric and hydrogen fuels for ULEVs at their sites. This may mean they need to engage a third-party operator to provide the required infrastructure.
The U.K. government is on the verge of making structural changes to the energy market that will benefit storage
Last fall, the U.K. government reached out to players across the electricity industry for suggestions on how to reform the grid. Now industry observers are expecting the country’s energy storage market to take a major leap forward if legislation is enacted this spring.
The U.K. is set to become “the world’s best market for scaling up storage,” said Simon Daniel, CEO of energy storage developer Moixa.
“There’s a perfect storm on its way,”
thanks to a combination of new government promotion programs, a deregulated electricity market and a high adoption of solar, said Daniel.
The legislative changes should be implemented after the government finishes mulling over the results of a recent industry consultation on how to make the grid smarter and more flexible.
Joe Warren, managing director of storage developer Powervault, said the laws will
“focus on removing barriers and opening up access to electricity markets through smart tariffs and more stable network charging regimes.”
U.K. government officials have been warming to storage, most recently announcing funding for £9 million (USD $11 million) worth of projects. Storage advocates remain hopeful that the government will integrate their suggestions for market reform.
David Capper, deputy director and head of future electricity networks at the U.K.’s newly created department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), has expressed the need to encourage markets for flexibility services.
Removing the regulatory barriers for storage are a major priority for BEIS, Capper said. He also believes developers should be allowed to stack revenues.
Some regulatory changes boosting the prospects for storage are already underway. The regulator Ofgem is planning to separate management of the distribution system from National Grid’s management of the U.K. transmission system in order to encourage competition and improve flexibility.
The new distribution system operator role will allow for greater coordination with the regional network operators to help speed up the grid connection process for new projects, according to the Renewable Energy Agency.
London’s Metropolitan Police Service has kick started its rollout of electric vehicles in a bid to help combat the capital’s air pollution problem.
The Met is currently working to introduce around 250 electric or hybrid vehicles into its fleet, with an overall target to replace 700 of the police force’s vehicles throughout 2017.
The Met confirmed that vehicles being rolled out will be similar to the BMW i3 which was successfully trialled as an emergency incident response vehicle in various London boroughs.
In January last year the Met took delivery of its first BMW i3 Range Extender ahead of it being tested in Westminster, Greenwich and Bexley after it was considered to be a “brilliant fit” for the Met’s demands.
Jiggs Bharij, head of fleet at the Met, said the force was now looking at various plug-in hybrids and alternative fuel-powered vehicles, however stressed the need for the operational fleet to remain available at all times.
“We have an ambition to deploy 250 [alternative energy] cars, vans and motorcycles on the road within the next 12 months. To support this we need to make sure that there are charging points available across the estate and that the vehicles are capable of carrying and powering additional police equipment which enables officers and members of the public to remain safe at the scene of an incident,” he added.
Bharij also revealed that the response from officers to the new vehicles had been “very positive”.
“The Met is leading the way – certainly in the police sector – and this compliments the decision in late 2015 to stop mandating diesel fuel for our fleet. We continue to work with a variety of vehicle manufacturers to explore the range of technology and the use of vehicles for evaluation has been a great success,” he said.
The number of new cars registered in the UK hit a 12-year high in January, with electric vehicles taking a record share of the market, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The industry body had warned of a slowdown in the motor trade in 2017 because of the impact of the weak pound, but there was no sign of deceleration in the first monthly numbers of the year.
Drivers registered 174,564 cars in January, up 2.9% on last year, to reach the highest monthly level since 2005, the trade body said.
Alternative fuel vehicles, mainly electric cars, such as the Nissan Leaf, increased by a fifth to reach a record 4.2% share of new vehicle registrations, beating a previous high of 3.6% in November last year.