Wärtsilä perspective on portfolio diversity’s role in the renewable energy transition featured in EnergyTech

In a recent article contributed to EnergyTech, Wärtsilä Energy’s Karl Meeusen, Director of Markets, Legislative, and Regulatory Policy, and Bhawramaett Broehm, Energy Market Analyst, outline the importance of portfolio diversity in enabling the renewable energy transition.

As noted in the article, the increase of renewable resources on the grid, like wind and solar, is a big and important step toward a sustainable grid, but it also creates significant operational challenges. It is particularly challenging when considering the increase in extreme weather conditions like droughts, heatwaves, and wildfires that threaten grid reliability.

“The grid requires flexibility and firmness from other resources to balance the real-time variability in wind and solar output,” according to the article. “When the sun sets, for example, other resources must be ready to come online quickly and ramp up to replace vanishing solar output.”

That needed flexibility is usually provided by thermal power plants and battery storage, though current battery storage technologies are limited to durations of about four hours. That underscores the importance of thermal power plants that can ramp up and down quickly when needed.

“Grid planners must pursue no-regrets solutions that address the reliability problems of today without compromising the decarbonization goals of tomorrow. New, fuel-flexible thermal resources that can efficiently operate on gas and hydrogen blends and are designed for future conversions to 100 percent sustainable fuels provide one such solution,” according to the article.

Read the entire article here.

For more on the importance of sustainable fuels, read here.


How Utah Olympic bid could bolster shift to clean energy


Salt Lake City is vying to host the Olympic Games in 2030 or 2034, but all host cities must meet the demands of the International Olympic Committee to “run a two-week, snow-based international sporting event and leave the climate better off than before.” It’s hoped this will catalyze the clean energy transition in Utah, where more than 60 percent of the state’s net electricity generation came from coal in 2021. For more read: How Utah Olympic bid could bolster shift to clean energy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Mario Molina, president of the climate advocacy group Protect Our Winters, said that an Olympics bid should put pressure not just on the host city, but the state and entire country, to be more aggressive about renewable energy — even with Utah’s current reliance on fossil fuels.
  • According to IOC guidance issued in 2020, organizing committees for each Olympics will be required to minimize and compensate direct and indirect carbon emissions created by the event, as well as implement “lasting zero-carbon solutions for the Olympic Games and beyond.”
  • Salt Lake City has set a goal of achieving net 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030.
  • A study from the University of Waterloo found that without action to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, only one of 21 previous Winter Olympics host cities — Sapporo, Japan, which hosted in 1972 — would have the right climate conditions to hold a safe event by 2080. Even if the goals of the Paris climate accord are met, the report said, only eight of the 21 cities would have the right conditions.

Path to 100% Perspective:

Massive world events like the Olympic games can influence change. It is encouraging that the IOC is requiring future host cities to think about the environment and make it a requirement. If Salt Lake City can achieve its decarbonization goals, in cooperation with the state of Utah and other surrounding cities, it can be an example to other cities around the world.