Avoiding climate disasters should be a top priority for the global community. The best and most efficient way to do this is by decarbonizing global energy systems. Wärtsilä has modeled the energy needs of 145 countries in the “Atlas of 100% Renewable Energy”, including Germany. According to the company, the results provide an accurate roadmap for the policy.
In November, the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP), known as the United Nations Climate Change Conference, will take place in Glasgow, Scotland. This is already the fifth since the famous Paris conference 2015, which defined global goals to tackle the climate crisis. Many are calling for a tightening of global climate strategies to secure the future of the planet and the well-being of future generations.
One of the most important driving forces in the fight against climate change is the decarbonization of the energy sector in all economies. Many countries are already working towards this goal and have increased their investments in renewable energy: there are indications that green energy will become the largest energy source in the world by 2025. But that is not enough. In fact, studies show that electricity generation from renewable sources will need to increase eight times faster than previously thought to achieve the goals of the Paris climate conference by 2050. It was not for nothing that the Federal Constitutional Court came to the conclusion that German policy-makers should reform and enact stricter laws to comply with the critical 1.5 degree mark.
Focus on averting the climate emergency
So how can we expand the use of renewable energy without overloading the existing power grid? Surviving the climate emergency is the focus of all business activity in Wrtsilä. This is why the company has dedicated itself to the theme in the Atlas of 100% Renewable Energy: it modeled the structure of 145 energy systems around the world and examined how they could be based on 100% renewable resources by 2030. – including G20 countries. An important consequence is that resilience should be the most important enabler of the renewable energy transition, in the form of future-proof gas engines, energy storage systems and optimization technologies. A look at these important industrialized nations helps skeptics understand that a 100 percent renewable future is not just a “green” fairy tale, but makes sense from an economic standpoint.
Policy Decision Roadmap
The atlas provides an important roadmap for policymakers and highlights the technologies that will enable the transition to a fully renewable energy system. He models energy markets with a hypothetical new beginning to portray the ideal renewable energy landscape. On the one hand, the simulation presents the option of allowing all renewable technologies in the capacity mix: solar and wind power, battery storage systems and flexible gas-fired power plants that operate with synthetic renewable fuels – using electricity that is renewable. are generated by electricity. -to-X (PTX) technologies. The alternative scenario relies only on wind and solar power as well as battery energy storage.
Storage plus balancing power plants save about 40 percent in cost
To illustrate the challenge, Wärtsilä has calculated the energy requirements of all G20 countries. Result: 12,364 GW of installed capacity will be required to enable a network with 100% renewable energy by 2030. This is eleven times the current total electricity generation in the United States. In simulations, this demand will primarily be generated from wind and solar power. For renewable energy to become the main source of energy for G20 countries, this mix must support a total of 3,408 GW of flexible energy capacity from energy storage and control power plants. This flexibility will not only support the required large-scale expansion of renewable energy, but will also be the most cost-effective route to decarbonization: adding control power plants along with energy storage results in approximately 40% cost savings, resulting in cost savings of nearly 40%. Variations with storage in alternate scenarios.
Great need for flexibility in Germany
Germany is part of the G20 analysis described, but what does this have concrete meaning for the Federal Republic of Germany? The German energy network already has a high proportion of renewable energy. This has resulted in a great need for flexible energy solutions – the fifth largest of all G20 countries by calculation. The reason for this is simple: of course, wind does not always move and therefore is not always available in the amount that would be needed to meet energy demand – as is the case with most renewable energy sources.
By calculations, Germany needs 466.1 GW of installed capacity to enable a network with 100% renewable energy. According to Atlas, the ideal mix to meet this demand in the most cost-effective way is: 181.4 GW of solar power, 185.0 GW of wind power, 52.6 GW of flexible gas and 5.4 GW of hydropower – all supported via batteries. Storage systems that cover the remaining 41.7 GW to enable a 100% renewable energy network. To make these numbers more tangible, it makes sense to take a look at a hypothetical scenario for a large German city with representative energy requirements.
Renewable Energy Scenario of an Ideal City
On a sunny day with moderate winds, renewable energy can supply electricity to model cities, charge energy storage equipment and produce climate-neutral, synthetic fuels. The next night, the fully charged batteries have enough capacity to supply electricity to the city. If the battery is discharged and solar and wind power are not available due to adverse weather conditions, flexible gas-fired power plants that run on CO2Neutral, synthetic fuel. During the night the wind picks up again and the flexible gas production may stop – but it continues to move to keep the system stable. Every gear in the system is matched to each other. This scenario demonstrates that flexible solutions such as gas engines using PTX technology are critical in a country like Germany to support solar and wind power and enable a 100 percent renewable future.
10.8 MW power in two minutes
This is why Wärtsilä has developed flexible, fast-start gas turbine power plant solutions like the Wärtsilä 34SG Balancer. This gas engine can be driven up to an output of 10.8 MW in under 2 minutes. It can be integrated into a system with renewable energy that is available on a regular basis and supplies electricity to compensate for fluctuations in supply and demand – as described in the above scenario. Gas engines currently operate on natural gas, biogas, synthetic methane or hydrogen mixtures. The combustion process is continuously being developed to enable the combustion of 100% hydrogen and other future fuels.
Climate-neutral fuel from excess energy
This will enable the ultimate goal of sustainable energy management: closed loop systems with 100% renewable energy. Future fuel production will require large amounts of electricity, which in turn solves a major problem facing energy providers. Then you don’t have to pay for “throttling” the generated energy when the grids are at full capacity. By combining a high proportion of renewable energy with an electrolyzer that absorbs excess energy, utilities can maximize energy production and create new sources of income: by using the excess energy to produce climate-neutral fuels. this co2The neutral fuel can then be burned in the engine to generate electricity or used to decarbonize other areas.
The future of renewable energy is within reach
So what is the basis of all this? A renewable future is within reach for Germany and 144 other countries. While battery storage systems have gained a reputation as the driving force behind energy systems, calculations and experience presented in countries around the world show that flexibility is one of the deciding factors. The key to success lies in combining components – including flexible gas engines – to reliably balance the network. Only if we develop a working ecosystem of technologies, can we use renewable energy for basic supply. Wärtsilä has the data to show the way there – and the technology needed. Now it is up to the politicians: they must provide the legal basis, funding and incentives for change. Not only is it morally necessary, but it can also be the most economically sensible thing to do.
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