TechUK, Solar Trade Association, and RenewableUK announce new partnership to advance use of power purchase agreements and improve links between the technology and clean energy sectors
Trade bodies representing the technology, solar power, and wind and marine energy industries have this week issued a joint declaration calling for a business-led green recovery.
TechUK, the Solar Trade Association (STA), and RenewableUK yesterday unveiled a new partnership designed to bolster ties between the technology and clean energy sectors, and highlight the central role both can play in the economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
Specifically, TechUK is set to work with RenewableUK and the STA to promote long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) that can provide tech companies with access to cost competitive clean power while stimulating the development of new renewables capacity in the UK.
A growing pipeline of projects over the next few years are set to provide over 10 gigawatts (GW) of large scale solar, with planning permission and grid connection agreements already in place for 2GW of solar and 3.5GW of wind generation. However, such projects frequently require reliable long term offtake agreements in place for developers to commence construction. PPAs, where large corporate customers ink a deal to procure power from a given project, are seen as a highly effective means of ensuring new projects come online.
"The technology sector is already the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world," said Julian David, chief executive of techUK. "We are committed to working with the UK's renewable sector not only to bring more new renewables onto the grid as part of our own efforts to decarbonise our operations, but also to support companies in the sector in understanding how emerging technology can support their businesses."
Meanwhile, the Solar Trade Association (STA) and RenewableUK said they will launch new initiatives to encourage members to collaborate with the UK technology sector in a number of areas, such as the integration of smart systems into the growth of the renewable and energy storage industries, to support the development of flexible, responsive digital energy systems.
In addition, the use of smart energy and heat systems alongside renewable assets in residential buildings will be promoted through the new partnership.
Finally, members of both organisations will be asked to assess the potential of emerging technologies and their use in the renewable energy sector. For example, a number of leading companies are keen to explore how AI and machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the use digital twins - dynamic virtual representations of physical object or system - could all help optimise renewables generation.
Chris Hewett, chief executive of the Solar Trade Association said: "Private sector leadership is vital to deliver a net zero economy. We are proud to strengthen our commitment to working with the UK's technology sector to accelerate decarbonisation and the transition to clean energy."
The next step for the partnership comes on 21 September when the three organisations host a virtual marketplace, RE-Source UK Virtual. The event will showcase industry case studies, offer the latest market information and provide opportunities for buyers and sellers of renewable power to meet.
In 2021, an online guide on the best routes to ensure operations in the technology and communications infrastructure sector are fully powered by renewable energy will be launched. Further events, as well as regular briefings on the potential of emerging tech in the renewables sector, are promised.
"Wind and solar are the cheapest forms of new power generation which will lead the green economic recovery the UK needs," said Barnaby Wharton, director of future electricity systems at RenewableUK. "Events like RE-Source UK Virtual later this month offer precious opportunities for companies to sign Power Purchase Agreements to stimulate that recovery and to reach net zero emissions at the lowest cost."
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