Now that the spring sunshine has finally arrived, I thought I would revisit a chart that I showed at an STA conference last year and which was subsequently picked up by Ofgem Chief Exec Dermot Nolan in a speech to Energy UK (and misattributed to Cornwall Energy…). Ofgem has also used it more widely as part of their narrative on energy system change, including talks on their innovation plan and smart energy. It is all to do with the dangers of underestimating the potential pace and power of power system transformations. By the end of 2015 we had almost 9GW of solar PV, an outcome that was supposed to be reached in Ofgem’s high scenario only by 2026, and that is way above total deployment in 2030 in the low and medium scenarios. there is a danger in taking a conservative view on technology take-up. Governments, regulators and network companies have a bias towards a concern with stranded assets that has made so-called ‘anticipatory investment’ difficult in the past. But the solar PV story shows that when tipping points are reached, things can change very quickly. It is not inconceivable that what happened with solar PV will also happen with electric vehicles. If Elon Musk really can accelerate the existing downward trend in battery costs, we may well see a sudden surge in people buying, and charging, EVs. For networks, that will make the solar PV boom look like a walk in the park.
IGov 6th May 2016 read more »