Every power market is unique. But Path to 100% research shows that no matter the market, all transitions to decarbonized power systems require similar actions. These should be adapted to local conditions so that any country, state or community can develop its own Path to 100%.
The steps on the Path to 100% are not sequential, but instead run parallel to each other, often overlapping.
Make a plan
- Using computer modelling tools, make a plan that includes renewables, storage, and system flexibility while retiring inflexible fossil-fuel power plants.
- Modeling software can help identify the most flexible, economical and environmentally friendly options, providing a sound basis for setting goals and mapping the optimal Path to 100%.
- Different mixes of renewable sources will suit different locations and circumstances.
- Renewables will become the new baseload source of energy for the grid.
- Distributed renewables will expand, as well.
Add battery storage
- Battery storage can capture excess renewable generation and provide ancillary services such as frequency regulation and short-term reserves.
- Hydropower facilities can also serve this purpose.
Phase out large, inflexible fossil fuel plants
- Phasing out inflexible fossil-fuel-powered plants is the only way a power system can make room for all the electricity renewable sources can generate.
- As years go by and inflexible power plants are retired, renewable energy will take over the role of providing baseload, while a combination of flexible generation and energy storage will ensure that electricity always flows.
… While adding flexible generation
- Flexible capacity allows maximum use of variable renewables such as wind and solar, while also ensuring the constant and reliable flow of electricity.
- Flexible power plants can turn on and off in a matter of minutes in response to changes in wind or sunshine.
- Unlike inflexible, traditional gas and coal plants, flexible gas plants don’t need to keep running all the time, so they burn dramatically less fuel.
Convert flexible gas plants to synthetic fuels
- Power-to-hydrogen and power-to-methane powered by renewable energy produce fuels that act as long-term energy storage, accommodating needs arising from seasonal changes and providing backup power during long-lasting unusual weather events
- Once 80% to 90% of electricity in a system is generated with renewable sources, convert flexible generation plants from burning fossil-gas to running on synthetic carbon-neutral or carbon-free fuels produced with excess renewable power.
Celebrate a 100% renewable power system