Biden decarbonization goals could triple reliance on electric grid: EPRI

At-a-Glance: 

Maintaining grid reliability is a mis-guided plight within the energy transition journey. The Biden administration has set a target to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% by 2030 on the path to a carbon-neutral economy in 2050, and this adjustment will require transitioning the transportation sector to electric vehicles and electrifying buildings and industrial processes that currently run on fossil fuels. Preparing the electric grid for the new normal is a crucial aspect in transitioning the energy sector. Read more on, “Biden decarbonization goals could triple reliance on electric grid: EPRI.

Key Takeaways:

  • About 20% of end-use energy consumption in the United States today is electricity, but that could rise to 60% by 2050 as the country moves towards a carbon-neutral economy.
  • To meet the 2030 target, EPRI sees electricity’s share of end-use energy consumption rising from 20% to 33%. Looking out to 2050, that could rise to 40-60%.
  • There will be a “massive increase in dependence on the electricity sector by society as we go forward,” requiring better energy planning and modeling, collaborative innovation across the industry, and supportive policies and regulations.

Path to 100% Perspective:

The electric grid is expected to be tripled in the coming years – developing the supportive infrastructure to offer a reliable, carbon-free and flexible power system requires proactive solutions to answer the call. Addressing grid capacity will be essential to realizing a 100% zero emission electricity system by 2050, and solar, wind, hydro and nuclear will all play a role in the future grid – the Path to 100% will require leveraging the appropriate technologies and renewable fuels to equip the energy transition. Clean energy goals along with clean energy investments is accelerating the decarbonization journey by putting a focus on decreasing carbon emissions, and in order to accommodate the significant amount of renewables to be installed – flexibility in the form of energy storage and carbon neutral flexible gas power plants will be key to balancing the grid. 

Photo by Ernest Ojeh on Unsplash

#PathTalks: Energy transition in Central America and the Caribbean

The renewable energy transition is complex, but it is possible, practical and affordable.

#PathTalks‘ Host Fernanda Castro speaks with Business Development Manager, Energy Solutions, Central America & Caribbean for Wärtsilä, Francisco Picasso about the energy transition and excitement around renewable fuels, energy storage and progress being made around renewable energy in Central America.

 

#PathTalks: Chile moving towards a future of 100% renewable energy

Chile has one of the most ambitious decarbonization plans in the world, targeting carbon neutral electricity in 2050. This South American country is already at a 70% renewable energy share with some of the world’s best wind and solar resources available. It is possible to retire coal in Chile before 2030 and to reach a 100% carbon neutral power system before 2050.

#PathTalks host Fernanda Castro speaks with Wärtsilä Chile General Manager, Alejandro McDonough about the updated study “Towards a Future of 100% Renewable Energies” and what it could mean in accelerating the energy transition in Chile.

The study indicates that although competitive renewable energy and battery storage are available, the missing piece of the puzzle is long-term energy storage, which has the role of ensuring proper system function and reliability even during longer usual weather patterns such as drought, extreme heat or cold waves, cloud cover and rain, low wind periods as well as low solar seasons such as winter.

This video is in Spanish, but includes English subtitles.

#PathTalks: Developments and challenges of decarbonization in Brazil

#PathTalk Host Fernanda Castro chats with Wärtsilä AMER Region South Energy Business Director Jorge Alcaide and Wärtsilä Senior Manager, Project Development Gabriel Cavados about the opportunities and challenges of Brazil’s energy transition to decarbonization.

Want to know more about energy transition in Brazil? Join Jorge, Gabriel and industry experts to discuss ways to balance the electrical system with large renewable share.

This video is in Portuguese, but it includes English subtitles.

#PathTalks: The Path to decarbonization in Honduras

Globally, renewable energy sources are becoming the vertebral column of energy systems. Our market development experts have studied and modeled the Honduras power system and the results demonstrate the Central American country can save millions of dollars by incorporating renewable energy when balanced by flexible thermal capacity and maintaining reliability while decreasing CO2 emissions.
In this #PathTalks with host Fernanda Castro and Silvia Zumarraga, GM Market Development Latin America & Caribbean, discuss Wärtsilä’s research and decarbonization results for Honduras.

This video is in Spanish, but it includes English subtitles.

The EU Finally admits natural gas and nuclear are key To decarbonization

At-a-Glance: 

The European Commission recently acknowledged that natural gas and nuclear are key in transitioning to a renewable-based future. In this opinion piece, the author believes if decarbonization is the goal, natural gas and nuclear energy must be a big part of the continent’s energy mix. In this article, the author compares and contrasts the current narratives discerning the incorporation of natural gas and nuclear energy towards decarbonization. To learn more read, The EU Finally Admits Natural Gas And Nuclear Are Key To Decarbonization.”

Key Takeaways:

  • The European Commission released a statement which said “There is a role for natural gas and nuclear as a means to facilitate the transition towards a predominantly renewable-based future.
  • The New York Times proposes gas and nuclear could be considered transitional sources to be used to bridge countries’ moves away from coal and carbon-emitting power toward clean energy technologies like wind and solar.
  • The International Energy Agency states that in Germany, “Connections to carry wind power from the north to the south are insufficient,” Public opposition remains an impediment to the siting of necessary infrastructure.
  • The author claims that natural gas and nuclear are not bridge fuels or transition fuels, but that they are the fuels of the future for their low or no-carbon, small footprints, affordability, and scalability.

Path to 100% Perspective:

While two thirds of the world’s electricity is generated from fossil fuels today, by 2050 two-thirds of electricity will be generated from zero-carbon sources, with almost half coming from renewables and the rest from hydroelectric and nuclear power. 

Whether gas and nuclear are a bridge or transition fuel, it is evident that we must decrease our reliance on fossil fuels as soon as possible in order to initiate the final 100% renewable system featuring carbon neutral or non-carbon emitting fuels in order to maintain a reliable, clean, affordable power system. Once 80% to 90% of electricity in a system is generated with renewable resources, utilities can convert flexible generation plants from burning natural gas to running on synthetic carbon-neutral or carbon-free fuels produced with excess renewable power. Sustainable fuels can be stored indefinitely and used on demand for long periods of time to produce power and provide balancing services to the grid. These sustainable fuels can help us reach our decarbonization goals.

Photo by Lukáš Lehotský on Unsplash

#PathTalks: Fernando Damonte believes clean energy should be accessible for everyone

Clean energy for everyone is Fernando Damonte’s mission. He is the Chief Operating Officer for Quantum America, an international consulting firm specializing in the area of ​​public services, with a strong presence in the Latin American market and expanding to the rest of the world.

In this #PathTalks with host Fernanda Castro, Damonte says he believes that public services are essential not only for life, but also so everyone reaches their full potential. Part of achieving that is ensuring that everyone in the world has access to clean, renewable energy. He says to achieve 100% renewable energy, we cannot expect the authorities to do it themselves in their own time, we need to create social, horizontal, distributed movements that begin to generate clean energy in a distributed manner, that store energy in their vehicles and in batteries in their homes. He founded IRIS to help energy consumers in Argentina to become protagonists of the energy market.

Fernando Damonte is part of the Path to 100%. Read more here.

 

Tantalus seeks to end utility frustrations in digitizing the grid

At-a-Glance: 

Tantalus Systems Holding intends to bring electric, water and gas utilities into the digital age. The technology company relieves the frustration of public power and rural electric cooperative utilities by deploying a digital network of connected devices to assist utilities in receiving data to make informed, proactive decisions that improve the efficiency, reliability, and resilience of the distribution grid. Their innovative approach to strengthening the electric grid stems from installing a meter device to elicit data communication from a power generation source to a utility. To learn more read, “Tantalus Seeks To End Utility Frustrations In Digitizing The Grid.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Tantalus uses a 220 MHz band, the narrow band set aside by the Federal Communications Commission, to access meter data in remote locations through  wireless communication. Removing the need for expensive, time-consuming manual processes.
  • Their proprietary technology includes a small device which fits under the glass of a meter, enabling it to analyze, send and receive vital data via the radio network.
  • The technology grants a utility a total operating picture in near real time – providing prompt data to where there is low voltage or high voltage, whether a tree limb is chafing a line, or what is causing the blink.

Path to 100% Perspective:

A system imbalance can cause electrical equipment and industrial processes to malfunction, lights to flicker, and sensitive electrical equipment to be damaged; if the imbalance is significant enough, the entire electric grid can fail, causing a blackout. The transition towards a 100% renewable power system must be a phased transformation – leveraging different mixes of technologies and fuels at different steps along the path. As more communities and organizations come to rely on smart grids and renewable fuels for their electricity needs, the future of power generation will depend on the collaborative efforts between innovative technology and public utility cooperation. 

 

Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash