Insider's Guide to Energy

138 - Connecting Solar & Storage to the Grid 2.0

September 04, 2023 Chris Sass Season 4 Episode 138
138 - Connecting Solar & Storage to the Grid 2.0
Insider's Guide to Energy
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Insider's Guide to Energy
138 - Connecting Solar & Storage to the Grid 2.0
Sep 04, 2023 Season 4 Episode 138
Chris Sass

Why is attaching batteries to grid-scale solar (colocation) projects so essential to beat the duck curve in Europe, evolving the technology to offer more with less and most importantly decarbonise the grid? Join us as we talk about why removing the red tape is so essential to bring clean energy generation + storage projects online and much more with Gareth Dauley, Founder and CEO at KOE group.

Hosts: Chris Sass 

Additional Reads: 

KOE Group: https://koe-group.com/  

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Why is attaching batteries to grid-scale solar (colocation) projects so essential to beat the duck curve in Europe, evolving the technology to offer more with less and most importantly decarbonise the grid? Join us as we talk about why removing the red tape is so essential to bring clean energy generation + storage projects online and much more with Gareth Dauley, Founder and CEO at KOE group.

Hosts: Chris Sass 

Additional Reads: 

KOE Group: https://koe-group.com/  

03:44.79 

chrissass 

Welcome to insider's guide to energy I'm your host Chris Sass and with me today is Gareth Dauley, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the KOE Group Gareth welcome to the program. 

  

03:58.28 

Gareth 

Hey Chris how you doing. 

  

04:01.79 

chrissass 

I am doing fantastic this afternoon we are on a podcast recording and that's always part of my favorite part of my day. Um, what are we going to be talking about today. 

  

04:11.31 

Gareth 

So I'm going to talk about the perspective of European mostly colocation is solar battery and wind energy so renewables in ah in the European space. 

  

04:22.23 

chrissass 

Renewables in European space. Well we do a lot of that an insider's guide to energy. So hopefully we we get there. Um, why don't we start a little bit about who you are professionally. 

  

04:29.89 

Gareth 

Thank you for number 1 getting in on the podcast number 2 professionally me so I originally was inenergy trader commodities then I went to a well-known engineer and firm called Honeywell to lead their european efforts for smart grid and smart tech or as we know now. Clean tech. Um, from there I went to be 1 of the founding members of a massive Uk startup called Limejump that was free by sitting around the desk to gro it to a massive exit which was with show energy in 2019 from there I start my own energy consultancy consultant for giants like Edf energy. And some of the big distribution network operators and then I went into the development path I went to China saw you know what's going on in China how to developing batteries, soda and wind and for actually I can do that myself so I went through there done a development company and that got bought by an american company. Called Pacific Green Technologies where I was vice president or executive vice president for there and then after year I exited I started to do it all again and that's where de kao ah group come from. Um and I can't take claim for the name was my kids stay was up daddy you are King of energy and's like perfect. Ah. Yeah let's go from there. That's a good style block. 

  

05:46.33 

chrissass 

Awesome! So pretty rich history. It sounds like you've been doing renewables for quite some time have some experience there. Um, where are we at today? What what? what kind of projects and things are you excited about? and. 

  

05:57.73 

Gareth 

I'm super excited about colocation solar and battery is something I've been doing for about a decade now but 1 of the the best thing is that we're trying to hit net zero. We're trying to build upon it into anewable future and electrification of the future. But. What we've got to look at is how do we connect these projects to the grid. You know there is enough energy in the world to give everyone what they need, but it's just at the right time so you know your listeners most really know you got a duck curve which is you know it's no energy at night Midday nighttime uk was slightly different. We have 4 seasons of of weather at day he feels so it's not always sun e in the summer and it's not always rainy in the winter but the gaps and the nuances between this that's where the battery starts to really work its magic and to kind of balance your battery and your solar projects together. It's. New frontier type of stuff. You know we've we've had stand-alone solar which has been subsidized and now with some subsidized. We've now done standone battery which hasn't been subsidized but helps maintain the grid but putting these 2 assets together isn't going to create a new breed of potentially securities backed ppas. Looking at higher yield for your investment and it's also looking about greater grid stability to kind of compare yourself not quite yet but to like ah a stable output in power plant such as nuclear or coal. Yes, there's going to be fluctuations. But that's where the battery kind of fills in the gaps for the solar. 

  

07:25.50 

chrissass 

So we're talking Grid Scale battery. Are we talking behind the meter your grid scale. So you're working with the abilities. 

  

07:29.35 

Gareth 

Yeah, grids scalell yet grids scalell batteries um done a do commercial as well. But I preferred grid scalell stuff. That's the more exciting area where I kind of focus on for you to put a commercial side of it behind a meter It's a fantastic tool for log shifting. And but again, it's just finding the right profiles for the right company and that's always slept sometimes challenging. So at Honeywell we've done a lot of that. But as I've gone through my career. The grid scale is where I want to be and where I can get the best investment from. 

  

08:01.67 

chrissass 

Absolutely and then grid scale depending on who I ask over the last few years is depends what they answer is is it ready for prime time and how much storage are we getting from from battery at grid so where are we in that journey. 

  

08:15.27 

Gareth 

Um, where we are is it is primed and there's a lot of dry tinder out there to to make this happen the massive challenge that we have here. Not only here europe globally is getting that power onto the grid I think there's been a lack ah of investment in in infrastructure around the world. And I'm going to focus on a uk for this part of the conversation but you know we should have invested twenty years ago to get to where we need to be. We had targets to set so one of the biggest challenges is actually connecting these assets to the grid. Um, one of the areas that people want to get into this mark here like we can do this. But you're getting connection dates of maybe 15 years away you know 2035? which for the investment in community is no sense. You know they will invest in something in the next three to five years kind of thing and then also we've got planning laws which kind of are understanding. What's going on but we've got so many projects being rejected through planning. Yeah, for various reasons but the whole point is we're primed to do it. But it's just they're making so much red tape is making it difficult and that's why I'm not just u k I'm european because I have to because you know if I can't do it here my investors and a kind of um. Agnostic. They just want to invest money to make sure that they can deploy capital into this. 

  

09:31.98 

chrissass 

And what size projects. How much power are we looking at storing and what kind of generation in the grid. Can we do today? um. 

  

09:38.60 

Gareth 

It's been an evolution so when I first started in this journey half an hour to an hour was like the main stable. Um, then this last couple years. It's been for storage. It's been 2 hours minimum because we're looking at different trading periods and the different services we can access. But already. We're talking about longer duration and that's 4 to 8 hours with all of this It's just trying to have in them the financial mechanisms that sit behind this to make this financially viable. What I find very interesting is there's always going to be an evolution and that's the exciting part about where we are on our journey because. Say five years ago I used to have we used forty foot containers to sort of batteries in. We're calling and at the time when I first started this. It was like one and a half Megawatts of batteries in a forty foot container now I'm getting four Megawatts in a twenty foot container so you're starting to see the evolution. The price of batteries are coming down and the good the bad and ugly is china is a world leader at this and they've got the best technology in their opinion. But also the best price to deliver and they've also been bankable by lots of kind of not only Uk European Banks but world banks the deliver these projects. So it's trying to get that whole mix of different areas and go what can I do now. But that's why I mean it's super exciting because that's the dry tinder going. There is loads of investment firms that are willing and want to put to deploy projects but they just can't find the projects to deploy them into. 

  

11:04.27 

chrissass 

And when you're talking container size for batteries. Are you talking Lithium batteries or flow batteries or what what kind of batteries are we talking about here. 

  

11:10.30 

Gareth 

So I am talking for this first stage is lithium batteries and that's the kind of shorter duration of 1 to 2 hours maybe potentially 4 hours the flow batteries theliium flow batteries the kind of new technologies coming out. Day I hear and are starting to integrate with the shorter term batteries. But what we've got is a system where they're relying on certain revenue streams because they're essentially merchant risk so with the longer duration. They haven't really got that area where people are comfortable investing into so. In a Sonia climates. Fantastic. But where you know that you've got a mechanism you've got products that you can trade your battery in because you can kind of go from 1 product to another so a a balanr mechanism some sort of dynamic frequency. You can mix and match those products together whereas the longer-term batteries and their reaction time may not be as quick. Or there's a different profile for this. So. It's hard to bunch all batteries into the same pot but you've got kind of short medium and long-term batteries and I think the short ones have made the headroom they have kind of broken the glass ceiling kind of as you see it. But now it's the kind of medium or long-term batteries will take over. This ah mantle and be the kind of um investment for the future. 

  

12:27.47 

chrissass 

And when you're talking about investment I mean are you talking that? The utility is investing in these or private investors kind of working in private public partnerships or you know the rate pair is paying for this. Where's the investment for this kind of stuff coming from. 

  

12:43.45 

Gareth 

Um, so I specifically talk about Uk. Um, the investment is coming from private investment utilities. There has been a historical firewall so they couldn't invest in their own batteries because they could be seen to game their own market. So they kind of historically stayed out this now starting to come into this. However, it's all been private investment so far and some of the first deals that I done in the yeah uk it was very challenging to make people understand the revenue streams from what batteries can do and and some of the pioneers was like line jump and edf. And then you've got new players I've kind of really tried to push the boundaries to see what you can do um but in other countries utilities because it hasn't been decentralized so you today invests in this but then they still go to private investment because they know that actually there's programs that work around the world and they think it can work in a similar way. And can you save agrid. So recently I've been talking to various governments around the world. So like especially around the caribbean because they're island type um environments and they're always looking for international investment into those countries where especially with battery and solar but around the Uk. It's more specifically. It's been had established and it's now wouldn't say vanilla but you're so comfortable that investors are now willing to take a merchant risk without no underlying cap or collar on the investment. 

  

14:05.52 

chrissass 

Now in the us what I know from the batteries is interconnecting is the problem and so you you said earlier in your comment you said twenty thirty five or some time out to get batteries in how is that problem being solved to. Get these deployed and get connectivity to the grid. 

  

14:24.25 

Gareth 

Very good Question. So The policy is changing rapidly in the yeah Uk and I actually quite like it because effectively what they are saying is use it or lose it and before battery was classed as a generational asset so you used to generate Well actually a battery doesn't generate any energy. So It kind of imports and exports. So Now they're kind of class in the battery is its own asset class and going if we see movement we can prioritize in theory to put the batteries online because it saves reinforcement costs going down down um Upstream or Downstream. That's where it's kind of you're seeing the policy shifting and changing and I think a lot more countries are now seeing that that the battery is more of a is going to help the grid rather than hinder the grid. 

  

15:12.80 

chrissass 

Um, and what's the life expectancy of a project get this kind of scale so you deploy new batteries today and you know charging discharging all the time your whatever, whatever to balance the grid. Um, how long these projects slated to last. 

  

15:16.28 

Gareth 

Yeah, so. 

  

15:25.68 

Gareth 

So very good question so to to from start to finish. It's about 2 years to get a battery up and running and earn in revenue in terms of the lifeing expectancy the batteries essentially say it was 100 megawats of power. Always have a hundred mgalts of power but it would be for the duration so it may be 1 hour say it's 2 hours or 1 hour for for arguments sake over the years of discharge charge discharge like many of our phones especially for an iphone. It essentially still gives you full power but it will last for say 45 minutes so you've only got 1 tradinging period rather than 2 the beauty of that batter is what we're trying to do is most people oversize them slightly because you always need a depth of discharge left at the bottom so on average a warranty is about 10 years that it would last and that's with the profiles that you make with the optimization companies. However, because they're not getting fully charged discharge every day. The earliest the the companies that put batridge in four or five years ago they think they've got another free 4 years on top of that 10 years for what's going on. So that's really cool in that regards that even though the the newer later technology. We all have a longer duration. The older technology is still doing overperforming of where we've all estimated to be. 

  

16:41.89 

chrissass 

And how is this working with more traditional base loads. So as you try to get rid of hydrocarbons or coal or other technologies. Um is is it making a difference are are we seeing a change so far in production for base load. 

  

16:55.13 

Gareth 

Very good question. It's challenging because batteries are most effective when they can get like load shifting so to decarbonize what we're doing if they're paired up and this is where the colocation comes in so with the colocation say you've got an average of in a summertime 8 hours of solar use. The battery would top it up by the duration that you get the battery for so you could potentially have 10 hours of energy use where couple hours go into the battery and then deploy at say evening time so you still want that base load 1 thing with the longer durations that will start to help in the future and give us a 24 hour base load. However, with solar. Same thing if a cloud happens it happens you know he's going to divot your ah kind of power output and also wintertime we still haven't found that miracle button yet to kind of push to go. Yeah, we need more sun in the winter where can we get it from. 

  

17:49.48 

chrissass 

And then so you but you mentioned that you're not just in the uk so when I think of uk I think cloudy rainy days. A lot of the time. Um, then when I think stolelar projects in Europe I think south of Spain and happy sunny days. Um, how is this balancing out across the the. 

  

17:53.70 

Gareth 

A lot of the time. 

  

18:05.73 

Gareth 

So 2 2 points there I think number one solar technologies get in far more if more efficient so by fau by facial kind of solar panels coming on which has given you far more efficiency and there's a same size panel but they're giving you I think originally it was a two hundred watts per but panel. 

  

18:06.79 

chrissass 

Ah, region. 

  

18:25.24 

Gareth 

Now you can get that eight hundred Watts per panel same size. So that's a great thing. Um, but a bit like America we're all interconnected but we're not so it's kind of quite regional still quite geographically where the power is so give Spain for example, they have a lot of different import exports. But to the main cities. Fantastic. But to the regional places their infrastructure's not great. So it's kind of they can't put too much solar or batteries into those markets because it would just open out through the grid recent was in italy I'm looking at they kind of split into two Regions North and south whereas south you'd think all of italy is sunny but actually the southern bit like southern parts of Rome that's the kind of premium market and in up north because it's in the shadow of the mountains inferior you get less sun. So it's kind of got work out all these different nuances between each country. Um like Poland fantastic 1 of the biggest growth markets in Europe. But again, they've got a similar kind of climate to the Uk. So it's about trying to balance all of these out and these small areas are what we kind of look at for yield. So we look at the kind of sun the yield and look this kind of stuff. 

  

19:34.57 

chrissass 

And you mentioned colocation we had that in the pre-call as well as something that I talk about we're we're talking quite a bit about batteries. We're talking solar but there's other renewables that could be in there such as wind. 

  

19:41.22 

Gareth 

Um, yeah. 

  

19:49.17 

chrissass 

Um, how did these 3 kind of play together or off each other. 

  

19:52.61 

Gareth 

So the reason why I talk about battery and solar so much is the time to deploy and time to make money from an with wind slightly more challenging it potentially up to 7 years to you know, start to finish to electrify a wind plan but these working in sync actually works super well because. Any excess you kind of balance. It's a self-balancing mechanism in terms of the wind is going. You know any excess can go into the battery with of the sunny sunny windy day perfect. You know we've got excess energy going onto the grid. It's the days that it's flat and dark. You know, no wind. No sun. You know the batteries being deployed. That's the challenge that we face and this is the kind of it wouldn't stop the energy Trilemma but it's the renewable trilemma in terms of trying to get energy when there's no energy there. Um, so we always going to need some sort of base load to keep all countries going. But I feel that once we start to do more and more deployment. It's about bannercing the grid and it's ah's ah, it's a fine act because this is what I say to the governments when I am when I do it so don't feel don't feel out out place here. The uk grid we go at fifty Hertz too much power all the time we start going too much. You know. Not enough power nor yeah it start slowing down so that's what the battery does is counteracts. But when you add wind and solar to this mix with our base load is still going right? A to sinknc all of the time and that's the challenge that all country space is making sure that every region if there's a surge over there that can balance here and I think. 

  

21:27.33 

Gareth 

Batteries is a good grid forming grid following type of buffer to make energy waves clean cleaner so you know you've got waves of Energy. So if they're all distorted. It doesn't It's not great, but if you clean the energy for the batteries. It actually really helps and then secondly it's. Challenge of they are different sources. Yeah, you've got Hydrogen hydrogen that we're looking at so any excess energy goes into Hydrogen long-term Storage. We've got Hydro We've got biofuels. So There's all these other mixes coming in. But. I' got to be realistic in terms of the commercialization and what the financial industry feel Comfortable. So as an engineery type brain and kind of want to do renewables. It's fantastic, but the reality is I've got to mix the the engineer brilliance with financial nows to bring us together to go. What does that feel comfortable with and instead of what does that fund. 

  

22:20.54 

chrissass 

And I guess what exactly you mentioned a couple times you talked to governments and and you're working with grids and and providers or utilities. Perhaps what exactly is it. The service you do? are you engineering This are you doing the business side of this are you doing the software side of this work.. Where do you fall into the equation. 

  

22:40.92 

Gareth 

I've got twofold so on the the initial side I look at finding spare grid connections in any grid around the world. So that's one of the the companies I run and a second one is I build own operate and maintain assets around Europe. So I build them own him operate and maintain them and basically get fund secondary funders in so I'm a ipp effectively independent power producer and that's where I'm going to grow as big and as wide in renewables as possible. 

  

23:10.42 

chrissass 

And then in the early days you alluded to as well. There were subsidies and in subsidies. There's there's arguments that they they hurt because when they go away. They're not so popular there. There's things like the um you know the ira in the us where it's really driving and kickstarting a long term plans and the. The United States kind of putting gasoline on the fire so to speak. Um, what's your opinion on subsidies and and how are the europeans in the Uk handling that for for storage. 

  

23:40.29 

Gareth 

Um, so solar subsidies disappears I think there's still a couple subsidies for wind. However I compare it to oil and gas. They're still getting subsidized to this day and they are making billions of billions of pounds of profit. So. In 1 way. Yes, it's bad when the subsidy finish but the second way is we've only got one planet. So if they can invest to make sure that we can have another push I am actually looking forward to Europe and a Uk having an equivalent to the ira because that will then drive more competition more um more ways of. Uniquely getting projects done because you know some of the projects I'm looking at now were old gas power stations and we're trying to convert them to battery stations because why not, you know we don't need a gas it will. We do need a gas but we don't need to get in that way anymore. But if we convert it to a battery system. Fantastic. So we're looking at all these kind ofinative innovative ways to make sure that we can deliver a decarbonized energy system and with the subsidies it does. Ah, it's a kickstar you know people on you know we are subsidy free solar subsid-free batteries. We are doing what we need to do because they're making the products and mechanisms that we still can earn money and make sure that it helps not only the grid but it also helps us do what we need to do within the grid and I give an example I think we have paid our. 

  

25:05.14 

Gareth 

In UK 350000000 for keeping the grid going in terms of renewables. But you compare that to the oiling gas subsidies. It's it's a pinch. It's a pinchest pinch of sand and on the beach kind of thing. It's nothing. 

  

25:20.16 

chrissass 

And then you know on on the finance side I know I just moved back from what's on to the Us and interest rates and the fed have been doing quite a bit to slow down the economy here. Um, how is interest rates playing into the investment for these kind of projects. 

  

25:30.74 

Gareth 

Um. 

  

25:36.30 

Gareth 

Ah, it's a joke I make all the time but t trustsenomics really hurt us in the yeah uk um, essentially I think before the rapid rise in interest rates peoples. Expectations Irs and return of investments was incomparable but they've just linked it straight away so all of a sudden. We've got to find cost savings to make this you know battle against other other areas and one of my um funds that I work with they said garriff sometimes. We just we might as go buy a bond. It's not us a lot safer so we've always got that because renewables big renewables big infrastructure. It's not you know these massive returns. It's not these crazy kind of numbers. It's quite know teens very low but very safe and very kind of long long longevity and so. Is trying to realign people's expectations in terms of what you're investing in in the long-term versus the short-term and if you want the amazing returns of like 10200 renewables not for you kind of thing it's more of a we're in the teens in terms of iirrs kind of thing and and lower or return of investment is is super low. So it is going to be challenging and it's not for everyone but at the same time I'm seeing lis loads of kind of new ideas I'm doing I'm trying to work with but I have to kind of make sure that they're bankable. 

  

26:58.13 

Gareth 

For now until I don't need the bank's money to do these super cool, renewable energy projects. 

  

27:02.20 

chrissass 

Now we've we've also talked a bit with insurance as a way of funding renewable projects and things like that. Are you seeing that kind of Avenue as well is that part of one of the ways you would consider. 

  

27:11.65 

Gareth 

Absolutely so what? one of the strangest things you said there Chris is I was the old company pacific green we built and its this old public information and then we sold the project but it was actually an insurance company that bought the project so a hundred Megawatts they bought the project which i. Just go to show that they are looking at you know how they can hedge themselves and how they can kind of align themselves with their kind of esg targets as well. Um, on that one of the biggest growth markets I've seen for myself personally is data centers. So data centers use and I mean all touch date centers officially use. Just under 17 % of the world's energy and they are desperate to try and get clean energy into their data centers via private wire or sleeveing or anything like that so that is phenomenal. But as we all go to the cloud and I'm talking to you across the water in real time. Just go to show that actually it's ah it's a growing target market. 

  

28:09.75 

chrissass 

And so we kind of covered Finance. We've we've covered you know what you're doing um and and is this really early innings as I like to say is you know American Ethism or for baseball but is is is this. Is this prime time yet is are the utilities really taking this sir seriously and are they allowing you to connect and are the investors getting there at scale are we going to meet the need. 

  

28:36.35 

Gareth 

We are way behind targets and we're getting there I think this is the warmup act effect. This is you know this is innings to baseball terminology. Um, when we get mid-in inks. That's where the big investors are coming in now. I've seen a lot of them and they are starting to raise some serious amounts of cash to get into this market I think the ira in America has sparked that especially in America for for larger projects european projects. Not so much but what we are seeing is I think. There is about 40 gigafactories and large battery factories and some solar factories been built in Europe now so they see they've recognized that this is going to be a massive target and each of these factories are worth billions of pounds of investment so it's really interesting to see that we we're getting there and I think we're warming up to it. I think this next couple years would be pivotal and but it's just because of europe and separate governments. It's about who puts the best policy in place and who makes it easier. The red tape is red tape wherever you go in the world but at the same time I feel that we're starting to find more easing of of these rules. Help us achieve net 0. 

  

29:44.87 

chrissass 

And and these are all distributed assets so they're they're spread throughout the grid to to balance or are we going to look at a future where like when I drive around Europe now sometimes or some of of the nordics I see windmills everywhere I look not a bad site but they are everywhere. 

  

29:51.13 

Gareth 

Um, yeah, yeah, absolutely. 

  

30:01.23 

Gareth 

People? Yeah, but. 

  

30:03.42 

chrissass 

Ah, Switzerland kept them from having them everywhere I think we had very few living in Switzerland am I going to see battery packs in every corner when I'm driving around in the future. 

  

30:12.12 

Gareth 

Um, that comes down to a real estate and I think yes, ah, there's one of my projects that I'm working on now which is small battery packs which are like 5 to ten Megawatts distributed around the country by reality is prime space is prime space. You know. With and renewable energy especially batteries. You're trying to get as least prime real estate as possible to make it cheaper and so it's not going to be on the corner where you see kind of Mcdonald's or Tesco's type of fit. But what you are going to see is a more a better reinforced grid to help with the ev charging. And that's gonna be super important so you would it be in your face. No, it will be there somewhere but the same time. It's like a substation. You don't realize it's a substation until you go past it and go what's that up to substation. So. And because the technology is getting so much denser you could put in a forty foot container you don't know what's going on there. It could be in two free years time 10 megatt of battery you in a forty foot container so it's it's getting there with solar again I think four or five years ago it was four acres for one Megawatt now I think you can get down to about but two and a half acres for one megawatt of solar. So we're getting even denser and dense hour and hiding in more unique places and you know I'm seeing lots of projects in North Scotland where I would never see solar before. Yeah. 

  

31:26.94 

chrissass 

Now your former trader as well. What I heard you say so trading and you've mentioned trading block windows right? I think they're getting shorter as time goes on what's the impact to energy trading with with this distributed architecture and so many different owners and projects going on. 

  

31:43.71 

Gareth 

This is where I could speak for hours on but ill try and keep it brief. It's what you're going to see is people are going to aggregate portfolios so before distributed energy resources was everywhere and it's a 1 ne-way flow now it's kind of Multiway flow. We're going to start seeing. 

  

31:44.90 

chrissass 

What do you think happens there. 

  

32:02.73 

Gareth 

Regionalized note of trading areas kind of things so geographically it's gonna be different so it's going to be like the the America where each kind of cannot say county but tristate has their own kind of way of doing things. We're going to start seeing things broken down like that and I pioneered one of those projects with it was western power distribution. But now it's called national grid distribution. Before so we can see it going down that path but it's having a resource to take a nate take advantage but balance stick grid in that particular area so where it was central to local now is me local to central so is is's actually going to evolve and get better. The prices will be challenging. Especially if you're in the southeast of of England or one of the main hubs of any european city or even any city because that's where most power is needed so it's going to be super interesting to see how the dynamics of human nature is going to change. Um so was working in Spain and we saw. 

  

32:59.61 

Gareth 

Because energy was cheaper at night. Lots of factories turned to night shift work. But then because so much energy was used at night. The price has started to. You know, be parallel with the daytime so you know all of those kind of shifts and patterns of people trying to take advantage they would have to get refunk. Foughtugh about how we can kind of go forward with this's it's super interesting. It's just how how it's going to work in the future and see you know are we going to be having a flat price as a consumer a flat price or are we going to have um you know 10 different prices per day that someone's going to aggregate and. Like my house I'm I'm I'm offgrid in a summer so solar battery ev car heat pump all that stuff practicect is what I preach so my bills in a summer ah a noneexistent literally I get paid to actually live my house got 2 kids and the du a wife so that gets easily spent very quickly but you know energy wise. We're we're really really kind of super efficient. 

  

33:58.40 

chrissass 

And and so when when I look at the cost structure of this and and more and more homes will have solar or community solar. Um, so the distributed architectures will be there. Do do we think think ultimately. 

  

34:06.28 

Gareth 

Um, yeah. 

  

34:13.40 

chrissass 

It's going to be more expensive than based on what you're saying because you seem to hedge a little bit on the pricing you're saying in some areas. It's going to be more so energy Independence at a price. 

  

34:16.91 

Gareth 

Yeah I think until we break the system and make it work. It will be I think you know we get Paid. We have to pay a stand in charge just to have access to power when we need it. So I feel that. I've seen it in different countries. They was like either you pay our price full time or we make it so expensive because we don't want you to take energy off us. So It's going to change how we go forward with the energy companies. 

  

34:48.13 

chrissass 

And which your thought on demand response because whenever I get in these kind of conversations somebody inevitably says Demand response solves a lot of problems. Um, where is that play in this equation. 

  

34:56.98 

Gareth 

So demand response is what I'd done I pioneered at honeywell in Europe and I said it's in America we bought it from America to Europe in America it's about demand responses essentially turning off or turning down your aircon in England we have 4 seasons a day. I was in a coat and a t-shirt today alone kind of thing. So. It's kind of it's very challenging demand response response helps shift load. You know that's what it does it shifts loads from one period to another. You're still going to use it so it flatten out that peak. Um, it definitely will help but it's not the silver bullet to make it all. Kind of go with. 

  

35:35.23 

chrissass 

Um, and the 1 word I haven't heard you you talk about is nuclear modular nuclear some of the smaller distributed projects. You could do does that play into the equations you're seeing today I mean I know policy doesn't necessarily allow it in a lot of european places at the moment. But. 

  

35:46.64 

Gareth 

Yeah. 

  

35:49.44 

chrissass 

If you're looking at a base load. That's a renewable base load or not renewable, but ah non-carbon producing sorrypo. Ah um I think it's in a lot of people's equations. What what's happening in Europe with that. 

  

35:54.31 

Gareth 

Blue Blue Green Yeah, whatever its class is now whatever what they want a class is. 

  

36:04.70 

Gareth 

Um, so nuclear I'm go say I'm a fan of but I understand we need a baseline policy is killing it. You know it's still 15 to twenty years before they would give you a license to do it so I haven't really put it in my short or medium term plans because I see it as. Will be a few experimentals kind of thing going onto a grid that get a massive subsidy to to kind of do. But it's not for every person so it's to me a very specialist one but the reality is the commercialization of this is won't be ready for at least 15 years so I haven't really kind of included in my plans just yet. 

  

36:37.10 

chrissass 

So then we're talking gas for the interim for turbines to keep baseload. 

  

36:43.78 

Gareth 

Yep gas biofuels this is some really cool stuff coming out of some of these big energy companies and the biofuels that be like an algae-based Biofuel and I'm a big fan of f one and I've seen a lot of the kind of technology getting through into the commercial mainstream. Um, but I feel that there is. Definitely a area of because nuclear the the nuclear plant that we're building in the uk at a moment where over budget over time you know is just ridiculous of of how long it's taken. Um, but also one of the the the startup I've got called volon essentially looked at the flood plas you know. What's sea levels going to do over the next five ten fifteen years all nucleus declated by the sea or by a span of water. How's that going to affect it now we saw it happen in in Japan and it's kind of like we have to be conscious of that to make sure that you know if that does worst case happen what we covering ourselves with. So it's it's it's a I have we've had many debates around over a few rums about this and it's really challenging because we just don't know the future. We kind of got all of the the mix ready but with its kind of government policy so we talked to that our government we've talked to other governments and it's. For me, it's all hot air if I could bundle up all to hot air that the government say you know we wouldn't need nuclear at all because there's enough enough hot air going in every part of it to to make power of our grids but it's it's a very difficult question to kind of get into at this moment in time. 

  

38:10.42 

chrissass 

And then kind of as we pull this together. Um is the future of energy that the the kind of power plant plant power companies. We are used to today and utilities. We used to today or do you think there's going to be more of an internet kind of you know. Buying my power from Google or Amazon down the road type of thing coming down the pipe. 

  

38:27.73 

Gareth 

Hundred percent agree with that one I think it's more of the it be community energy versus you know, central hubs and I think that's the that's the path we will go because they will Bundy with all of your infrastructure your telecoms your water your this that ever. Bundled it all together and go here's a package for your area. Do you want to be part of it I see it going that way and that's a micro-grid model that I've ah loved to see more of is just how what happens if there's not enough energy to power that micro-grid what's the kind of excess cost that you have to pay and that's the the challenging thing. 

  

39:03.16 

chrissass 

Cool. So as we wrap up here Any final thoughts of bringing together. We've been all over the place I think we started a little bit about what you do and and who you are and then we've talked about storage and putting it together with solar and little bit longer term maybe wind. Um, how do we bring this conversation together. 

  

39:16.52 

Gareth 

I Think how we break together is renewable. Energy is not a bad thing. It's actually really really good I Think the only challenge we will have around this world is connecting energy to the grid and I think on that point that's the whole thing we can say is I can have a gigawat 2 gigats or projects funded tomorrow. If I could connect to the grid but the whole point is those connections so difficult in a moment. 

  

39:37.60 

chrissass 

Okay, the risk you're running just a little bit longer. You say the grid like we all know what the grid is is this the grid as we know it today is this a grid smart grid at 2 Dot O Grid let's let's define the grid a little bit. 

  

39:48.77 

Gareth 

So the grid is a transportation system for energy and I think it's it's a mixture of we have to respect the old grid sort to 1.0 or or a 0.5 in our case in the Uk and we've got to pay due to the future grid which is going to be 2 point three point four point zero I think reality will get to grid 5 and that's where we'll have all y nodes setting place and kind of have our local community energy centers go into the national centers and then kind of you know, disagreeing in that way as well. 

  

40:16.21 

chrissass 

Um, and is that funded and is that newer infrastructure being in place being put in place as we're speaking or is an evolution of the old grid. You know as as I want to interconnect you have to fix this little location then the next little location. How's this working. 

  

40:29.31 

Gareth 

I Think this is an evolution of newgrid which is self-funded and kind of we have to put that package together ourselves because the current grid is not fit for purpose and so it's going to have to be packaged within that kind of way and there's other been innovative ways of doing this.. It's been really cool, but the reality is. All these things are going to be self-unded. 

  

40:52.40 

chrissass 

Well cool. Well I think that we've had a ah great Conversation. We've gone all over the place. Um I Appreciate you your your tolerance for my questions I just kind of. Ask what comes to mind and you know just curious because the grid we all take for granted that we know what the grid is and we know what interconnects are and we all know what solar is but I think sometimes it's good to qualify what we're talking about um I Want to thank you so much for coming on the show I've enjoyed this conversation I think our audience will have enjoyed it too. Thank you so much. 

  

41:06.10 

Gareth 

Um, yeah now I Really do appreciate you. 

  

41:18.64 

Gareth 

No wories anytime that? yeah anytime I think it's ah the grid of the future is here to stay. 

  

41:23.52 

chrissass 

And yeah I think I think the grids evolving in the grid of the future will be here. It's It's definitely evolving for our audience. We hope you've enjoyed this conversation as much as I have making it if you do share it with others follow us and we'll see you again next time an Insider's guide to energy. Thank you Bye bye. 

 

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