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In discussions about decarbonising heat, we often hear people lament that heating just isn't "sexy" enough. A few months ago I was at an event where one of the UK environmental NGOs complained to a room of heating industry professionals that heat pumps are "bl**dy ugly", and don't really offer anything over gas boilers in terms of delivering comfort. Why can't we learn from the likes of Tesla or Apple, they asked, and make a product that offers a superior user experience and looks alright outside our homes?
This got me thinking about how comparable heat pumps are to electric vehicles, and to Teslas in particular. So I looked into the stats, asked the HVAC manufacturers what they thought, and debated the topic with my colleagues. There are certainly some lessons I think we can take from EVs, but there are also fundamental differences between heating and vehicles that we shouldn’t forget. In my view, all this talk of “making heat sexy” is a generally unhelpful distraction from the challenges we really need to address. Here’s why.
Electric vehicles with bidirectional charging, ‘everything as a service’, demand side flexibility and hydrogen are just some of the innovations long predicted by the energy experts who helped shape and integrate them. The emergence of energy communities, however, happened more quickly. In the space of just a few months, they became the new hot topic of new energy. But how did this happen, and what does it mean for the future energy system, especially within the context of a world in needs of a good health and economic recovery strategy?
We could argue that it all started with the two European directives (the Renewable Energy Directive for Renewable Energy Communities, and the Electricity Market Directive for Citizen Energy Communities) giving energy communities unprecedented rights. But giving credit where credit is due, these two directives are the results of energy communities, represented by the European cooperative REScoop, demonstrating to the European Commission that they have an essential role to play in the energy transition. Energy communities argued as well that every single person in Europe has the inherent right to take ownership of such a fundamental matter and yield benefits from it.
As we have previously mentioned, smart charging has become a common part of everyday vocabulary if you are in any way interested in the future of the energy industry. As EV uptake rates continue to grow and the associated impact on the electricity grid becomes clearer, the conversation around smart charging has evolved from asking if smart charging is required to the more nuanced questions of how should smart charging be delivered to the customer and who should deliver it.
How should smart charging be delivered to the customer?
On Thursday 28 November 2019, Energy Saving Trust hosted its annual Fleet Heroes awards and conference – celebrating those leading the transition to cleaner, greener transport. As a judge for this year’s awards, it widened my eyes on the imperative for closer collaboration between energy and transport sectors to deliver net zero ambitions. This collaboration is unlocking some of the more exciting opportunities across the energy transition. In this blog, I summarise my thoughts on why fleet should be central to your New Energy strategy for the next few years.
Fleet managers are the New Energy customer
The Czech Republic is similar to many European EV markets: neighbour to some markets that are truly taking off, yet domestic adoption is more limited. After attending Elektromobilita 2019 in Prague last month, here are my thoughts on whether we are reaching a tipping point.
A small but ambitious market?
The news of the mergers of two automotive conglomerates - PSA & FCA - makes a lot of sense. They both have volume vehicles in the same hotly contested segments, where margins are tight, the customer has choice and investment requirements are high.
Individually, both partners had previously announced significant investment in electrification of their fleet (PSA more so than FCA), but overall lagged behind their peers in the industry race to electrify transport.
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