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Global Futures Report 2013

72 Utility power grid integration and policy Is energy storage necessary for high levels of renewables? Experts pointed to many options to manage variability besides storage, and dispelled myths about storage being needed above some arbitrary share of renewables. Some said little or no energy storage would be needed to attain even high shares, and others pointed out that needs depend on grid characteristics and energy sources.7 (See Great Debate 3, page 25.) 12. “Power Grids” 14. “Energy Storage” What policies (if any) are needed to establish a “price” in power markets for flexibility and balance? Experts pointed out that many balancing/ancillary markets today are captive markets, but will need to become competitive. “We need new electricity market design—more competition for ancillary services and better integrated spot and future markets,” said one expert.8 (See utility power grids in Chapter 2, page 23.) 12. “Power Grids” How can utilities better use demand-response to manage variability, and what policies are needed (if any) to support demand-response? In the words of one expert: “Policymakers are beginning to understand that demand-response is really important for renewables, especially for industry and large commercial buildings. Is demand-response sufficient? Probably not, but it becomes one of the first priorities to balance power grids with higher levels of variable renewables.”9 (See utility power grids in Chapter 2, page 23.) 12. “Power Grids” Is the concept of “base load” meaningful for future energy systems? Experts pointed out that several different definitions of “base load” exist, and that meanings can be technical, economic, or institutional in nature. They questioned whether other concepts would better serve future thinking, and said that with some definitions, renewable energy could be considered “base load.”10 (See Great Debate 4, page 25.) 12. “Power Grids” 15. “Base Load” Centralized or decentralized power grids? Experts had divergent views on the question of distributed (decentralized) energy systems and the degree to which current centralized power systems will evolve into more decentralized and distributed versions. Some believed that centrally managed grids would become relics, while another said, “the economic case still very much favors centralized power systems.”11 (See Great Debate 5, page 27.) 12. “Power Grids” 13. “Distributed Grids” 19. “Cities” Transport and buildings integration How soon will builders and architects embrace “low-energy” or “passive” house designs? Experts said “low-energy” or “passive house” designs were not much more expensive than ordinary construction, but such designs had yet to be embraced by the building industry.12 (See buildings in Chapter 2, page 26.) 17. “Buildings” 19. “Cities” How soon will affordable battery-electric vehicles with “acceptable” driving ranges emerge? Experts debated how fast battery technology performance would improve and costs would decline. Others pointed to changing social views of “acceptable” driving range as recharging infrastructure emerges, and to high-efficiency micro-vehicles and the next generation of lightweight vehicle tech- nologies as factors reducing the importance of this question.13 (See transport in Chapter 2, page 30.) 16. “Electric Vehicles” 20. “Local Mobility” Which transport technologies will ultimately prevail for integrating renewables into transport? Many technologies and fuels offer possibilities for integrating renewables into transport, including biofuels, plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, synthetic natural gas, and compressed air. Expert views pointed to all these, although the future seemed quite uncertain to most. Some foresaw a coming full-scale transformation to electric vehicles.14 (See transport in Chapter 2, page 30, and biofuels in Chapter 6, page 60.) 12. "Power Grids" 16. “Electric Vehicles” 20. "Local Mobility" 30. "Biomass and Biofuels" RENEWABLES GLOBAL FUTURES REPORT ANNEXes

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