If California is to reach its renewable energy and emission targets as quickly and inexpensively as possible, some key policy issues will need to be addressed. Energy experts will explain the issues as outlined in an updated white paper during a webinar, Advancing California’s Faster, Cheaper Path to 100% Renewable Power, to be hosted by Wärtsilä on 5 May. The webinar is the second in a series that is part of the Path to 100% initiative, a global effort to build a community of experts who support moving toward 100% renewable energy.

The white paper also details how California can reach its clean electricity target by 2040 instead of its current goal of 2045; these findings were initially discussed in the first webinar of the series, held in March. The May webinar addresses policy considerations and answers questions arising from the first webinar.

The policy recommendations to be discussed among expert panellists and guests include:

  • The need for California formally to recognize thermal plants running on renewable fuels — including methane and hydrogen produced with excess solar and wind energy — as renewable and net-zero-carbon generation for the purposes of meeting clean electricity mandates
  • California’s ability to retire once-through-cooling power plants by 2023, while also ensuring adequate power supplies, if it follows the optimal path to 100% renewable energy as identified by state-of-the-art PLEXOS modelling of the energy system
  • The need for California to enable deployment of the optimal proportions of solar, wind, lithium-ion storage, and strategic amounts of fast-start, flexible thermal generation, if it is to align its power system with the optimal path discussed in the white paper

In response to questions raised during the last webinar, Wärtsilä also added a scenario to the white paper which models using excess clean power to produce hydrogen, which could then be used as a carbon-free fuel in flexible power plants.

The results of the modelling work by Wärtsilä show that for California, the fastest, least-cost path to 100% clean energy involves expanding wind and solar generation while adding fast starting, flexible generation plants that can burn gas now, and use synthetic renewable fuels from power-to-hydrogen and power-to-methane processes as those technologies advance.

The combination of synthetic renewable fuels, which can be stored indefinitely, and reliable, flexible, and efficient thermal generation forms a large, distributed energy-storage system capable of weeks, rather than hours, of renewable energy storage. In this context, thermal generation from synthetic renewable fuels occurs only as needed to maintain reliability when both short-term energy storage and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are unable to meet load.

For more information, please contact:

Jussi Heikkinen
Director, Growth & Development, Americas
Wärtsilä Energy Business
Mob. +1 281 7714886

Mirja-Maija Santala
Manager, Marketing & Communications
Wärtsilä Energy Business
Mob: +358 400 793 827


Wärtsilä Energy Business in brief
Wärtsilä Energy Business leads the transition towards a 100% renewable energy future. We help our customers unlock the value of the energy transition by optimising their energy systems and future-proofing their assets. Our offering comprises flexible power plants, energy management systems, and storage, as well as lifecycle services that ensure increased efficiency and guaranteed performance.Wärtsilä has delivered 72 GW of power plant capacity in 180 countries around the world. https://www.wartsila.com/energy/

Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä is a global leader in smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising sustainable innovation, total efficiency and data analytics, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2019, Wärtsilä’s net sales totalled EUR 5.2 billion with approximately 19,000 employees. The company has operations in over 200 locations in more than 80 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.