Making renewable energy technology a national (and global) public good

UrbanChain Chief Commercial Officer Dr. Mo Hajhashem discusses why removing roadblocks to technological transfer, innovation and knowledge sharing is essential to achieving net zero.


The solution to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change is energy.

Paradoxically it is energy – the burning of fossil fuels – that accounts for almost 90 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions and around 75 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

For too long this problem has been building. It has come from a reliance on fossil fuels and the burning of them to generate electricity and heat.

By 2050 we must reach net zero. But in just over seven years time we need to pretty much half emissions.

The energy transition

We are living through the ‘great’ global energy transition and will continue to do so.

But what is it?

Renewable sources including wind, solar and lithium-ion batteries need to be used more and more as the critical years ahead come to pass.

The global energy’s shift from coal, oil and natural gas is what we must continue to move away from.

And collectively we are doing better but there is a long way to go and a lot more to do.

Each month National Grid releases electricity stats.

In August gas remained the largest share of the generation mix at 47.7%. Wind generated 15.9%, nuclear 15.1%, biomass 6.2%, coal 0.9%, solar 7.2% imports 4.5%, hydro 1.2% and storage 1.3%.

The percentage of electricity coming from zero carbon sources combined was 39% – not enough.

In summary carbon intensity increased again from July, said National Grid, rising to an average of 220 gCO2/kWh compared to 209 gCO2/kWh across July.

How we end our reliance on fossil fuels

Greenhouse gases trap the sun’s heat and are generated through energy production.

Why would we want this to continue?

At UrbanChain, we certainly don’t want or foresee this continuing. And that’s because renewable energy sources are all around us.

The sun, wind, heat from the earth and waste – all sources. Sources that give us clean energy; affordably and sustainably.

Reliable, safe and accessible are three further keywords here.

To harness them further and save our planet from disastrous impacts we must – at a national UK level and globally – remove roadblocks.

Roadblocks to technological innovations that have the ability to offer solutions.

Roadblocks to knowledge sharing and transfers of technology.

Roadblocks to flexibility, as flexibility is what will enable renewables to become the dominant force in energy provision.

Renewable energy technology is the solution to this great problem of our time. It is also something, as said by The United Nations, that should become a global public good.

When The UN said this, they meant renewable energy technology has to be available to all, not just wealthy.

Energy can no longer be a luxury, fuel poverty must end.

It’s an area we at UrbanChain studied academically prior to our inception as a commercial business in 2017.

And it’s an area that remains intrinsic to our mission.

For renewable sources to keep gaining ground on fossil fuels energy production technology has to become the priority. The UK Government and governments across the world must meet this requirement.

Look at battery storage systems for example. They enable energy from renewables to be stored and released.

Crucially, released when people, businesses and communities need them most.

Essential technologies such as battery storage systems allow energy from renewables, like solar and wind, to be stored and released when people, communities and businesses need power. They help to increase energy system flexibility due to their unique capability to quickly absorb, hold and re-inject electricity, says the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Moreover, when paired with renewable generators, battery storage technologies can provide reliable and cheaper electricity in isolated grids and to off-grid communities in remote locations.

In short the transition away from fossil fuels couldn’t make more sense.

Renewables are cheaper, make economic sense, are healthier, cleaner and create jobs.

The only peer-to-peer energy exchange in Britain

Participants of our AI and Blockchain driven platform – of which there are many – buy and sell green energy amongst themselves.

UrbanChain’s peer-to-peer (P2P) energy exchange system offers an escape from out-of-control volatile gas prices.

An escape for businesses, household consumers and organisations.

Technological accuracy means consumers place an exact order for clean and green electricity and renewable energy power producers meet it.

The P2P exchange manages generation and overcomes the fluctuation and intermittency of renewables.

Also managed is consumption, balancing and billing.

The energy market we created in 2017 sees consumers save at least 25% on bills.

The 100% clean energy generated sees power producers improve margins by 25%.

More renewable energy technology such as UrbanChain’s must be welcomed and embraced.

It is what will enable us to reach the landmark 2030 and 2050 goals collectively.