The UAE renewables developer and investment company Masdar plans to put £1 billion into battery storage technology in the UK.
“We are committed, just on battery storage in UK, to investing £1 billion,” chief executive Mohamed Al Ramahi told the International Energy Week conference on Wednesday.
Masdar bought UK battery company Arlington Energy last year.
London-based Arlington Energy specialises in developing and financing battery energy storage systems and has more than 170 megawatts of assets in operation.
Momentum is working
Mr Al Ramahi added that there is no going back on transitioning to a decarbonised world.
“There's no coming back. We all know that,” he said.
“If you spoke to anyone in the Arab world 16 or 17 years ago about renewables, the first thing they would tell you was, 'what are you talking about?'
“Today, no country in the world has no target for renewables. In fact, most countries now say 'not only do we have a renewables target, we are also committed to net zero'.”
“So, we believe that the momentum we have created over the last two decades is working.”
For Mr Al Ramahi, transitioning away from fossil fuels is not only a question of money.
“Capital needs to be deployed, but we also need to create opportunities,” he told the conference.
“And opportunities do not occur without collaboration, without partnerships.
“We have never, ever, throughout our history, even though we had the capital, worked alone. Because we believe in the value of partnership.”
Sayma Cox, chief executive of the gas transport firm North Sea Midstream Partner, agreed.
“The mindset you need now to be successful with the energy transition is how to work together — collaboration, not competition. It's all about partnerships and collective visions,” she said.
Those collective visions need to be practical, however, added Rob Gross, director at UK Energy Research Centre.
“It's important that we don't believe in unicorns. We need to be mindful of how long it takes new technologies to become commercially viable.”
Solar and wind
For Mike Hemsley, deputy director at Energy Transitions Commission, a global coalition of leaders working towards net zero, the best bets in energy transition are wind and solar and they should be “backed all the way.”
“Game-changing technology is getting renewables as cheap as possible,” he said.
Mr Gross says the UK has been going “great guns” with generating electricity from renewables in the past 20 years.
“Solar is expensive; wind won't provide more than 10 per cent of the energy mix and EVs are too short ranged — all these games have changed.”