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Including Renewables In The EV Charging Mix

Climate crisis, geopolitics, the rising cost of living; fossil fuels have a lot to answer for. Managing Director of Mer UK, Karl Anders looks at how using renewable energy sources to power EVs can help address these existential challenges. As part of Statkraft, Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy, being good for the world is part of Mer’s DNA.

Renewable Energy Turbines and Solar Panels

With the UK’s energy mix moving away from coal-fired electricity, gas is being used as the main interim transition route to renewables, so the UK is very, very exposed to gas. When there is disruption in the market across Europe, like we’ve seen since February, we are subject to price volatility, supply shortages, and are almost hostages to factors outside of our control. Strategic energy supply factors come much more sharply into focus. The UK is actually very well connected to Europe when it comes to moving energy across networks. When we make renewables here – through onshore and offshore wind, solar and hydro – we are subject to influences from the outside to a much lower degree than if we were transporting gas and oil. You could say that renewables are more stable, which I know runs counter to the arguments of those who point to the predictability of fossil fuels for generating energy.

The strategic side of having control over supply and pricing is important, but more important is the impact on the planet

Electricity generated through coal-fired power stations transfers emissions and pollutants into the atmosphere. It not only affects the climate – which most people recognise – but it has a direct impact on the atmosphere in the area and the health of the local population. This has a knock-on impact for the economy. Wind and solar farms and hydroelectric systems, 1) generate far, far fewer or zero emissions and 2) are usually situated away from population centres.

Renewable Energy At The Charging Point

For Mer, it is important that we are an integral part of the whole renewable story. We are owned by Statkraft, the largest generator of renewable energy in Europe and we offer and promote the use of zero carbon, 100% renewable energy to our business, commercial landlords and local authority customers. In reality, the UK grid is a lot cleaner than many other grids and 100% of the energy that Statkraft puts into the network is from renewable sources.

 

The Low Emissions Scenario

Statkraft has recently published their yearly low emissions scenario report. These have been developed by their strategic analysis team in partnership with other energy and environmental experts. Their work explores how the energy world is changing both with hindsight and foresight and looks at how the global demand for low-emissions energy will accelerate towards 2050. We are looking at a low emissions scenario that is based on four trends that reinforce each other and create a powerful dynamic. These are a renewable energy revolution, increased electrification, emission free hydrogen and ammonia and increased interaction between these energy sectors to create a complete, flexible, power system.

renewables in ev charging

With specific relevance to our activities at Mer and the contribution we are making towards a decarbonised future, the share of electricity in the transport sector will grow the most to around 27% in 2050, from a very low starting point of 1% in 2019.

We are also seeing the cost of batteries – often used as an anti-EV argument – decline rapidly as the number of electric vehicles increases. In Statkraft’s Low Emissions Scenario, passenger cars, city buses, vans and two- and three-wheelers will be electrified quickly. Our analysis shows that the life cycle costs for electric vehicles are rapidly becoming lower than for fossil fuel vehicles in a growing number of countries. It also shows a more than 70% reduction in battery costs by 2050.

 

Moving The Needle On Climate Change

Effectively, we are looking at a two-pronged attack on fossil fuels from EVs and renewable energy. Electric vehicles take petrol pollutants out of the atmosphere at the point of both manufacture and use, and powering EVs with renewable energy further reduces our dependence on carbon and fossil fuels. At Mer, we are a vital part of that transition and it’s something we are passionate about, balancing where we need to go with what is right to do for our business and our planet. We believe in EV solutions that are sustainable beyond their primary purpose – to charge low carbon vehicles with clean energy. In this way we are helping to move the needle on climate change, and we really need to act on that now, in five years’ time it may be too late.

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