Wärtsilä’s Karl Meeusen, Director of Markets, Legislative and Regulatory Policy, recently appeared on Veritan’s Close of Business Tuesday (COBT) podcast, discussing the importance of reliable capacity as we work to meet ambitious decarbonization goals.

Those goals are great, Meeusen told C.O.B. Tuesday host Maynard Holt,  but there’s a risk if utility operators move too quickly without a plan in place to ensure power is always available.

“We don’t want to see the population turn on these targets because system operators aren’t getting the fleet of resources to operate reliably,” Meeusen said.

Meeusen works with utilities to design systems that incorporate renewables while maintaining resilience. Wind and solar energy is clean and cost-effective, but it’s also variable. What happens when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing? What system do you have in place to provide immediate backup power?

“Reliability right now is on the forefront of most regulators’ agendas,” Meeusen said.

Right now, we are seeing renewable energy sources carrying more and more of the power load in some places, like California and Texas. But Meeusen said it’s too soon to turn to these sources exclusively. Right now, other thermal resources are still needed, and that’s been a big challenge for his team to overcome.

“There’s still a view that all thermal is bad, where we come from is, there are different grades, different efficiencies, different technologies that help facilitate reliability from renewables and they happen to be thermal resources –- natural gas-fired resources. Greater efficiency and fewer running hours can help,” he said.

Meeusen said Wärtsilä. has the technology needed now to enhance the transition to a clean energy future.

“We’re the one stop shop for renewable balancing and firming,” he said. 

To learn more, listen to “Facilitating Technology That Addresses Uncertainty” Featuring Dr. Karl Meeusen, Wärtsilä