Page 11 - European Energy Innovation magazine - autumn 2022 edition
P. 11

Autumn 2022 European Energy Innovation
                                                                                  COMMUNICATION         11

            its renewable pipeline, diversify its
            energy supply, and ensure energy
            is used as efficiently as possible to
            reduce waste.

            The global coal phase-out is at risk
            of stalling
            Last year’s Conference of the Parties
            (COP26) produced a landmark      Illustration of a future energy system. Renewable energy – plus flexible
            global consensus that coal must   solutions such as balancing engines and energy storage – offers the most
            be “consigned to history”. However,   effective solution to bring energy bills down and reclaim energy independence.
            with COP27 around the corner, this
            previously assured consensus has   This trend must be reversed rapidly   needed to level-up renewable energy
            wavered. The current energy crisis   to ensure that renewable energy   to become the primary source of
            has left many countries planning to   can be levelled up to provide almost   energy, including the removal of
            extend their reliance on coal.   all of Germany’s power demand by   restrictive planning regulations that
                                             the 2030s. The urgent deployment   limit the level of new development.
            Nowhere is this truer than in    of renewables should be combined
            Germany. The new “traffic light”   with power system flexibility from   Secondly, energy efficiency is crucial.
            coalition government – formed    energy storage and balancing engines   Energy waste must not only be
            on a foundation of green policies   which can be converted to run on   reduced by the end user, but also by
            – has been hit by a perfect storm.   sustainable fuels in the future.   improved grid flexibility. To provide
            Germany was dependent on Russia                                   an example, it cost the UK £500M
            for around 60% of its gas before   Germany should rise to this    in 2021 to curtail wind energy due
            the war, meaning it has now been   challenge, as the rapid deployment   to the presence of inflexible power
            forced to introduce several reactive   of the renewable energy offers huge   plants which are unable to manage
            measures to cut gas consumption by   opportunities for European nations.   the intermittency of renewables .
            15% by March 2023, including refiring   Modelling by Wärtsilä demonstrates   Flexibility solutions, such as balancing
            mothballed coal plants.          that if renewables can be scaled up   engines and energy storage, will
                                             across Europe, gas consumption can   help to supercharge the country’s
            Despite this backslide, hopes of a   be halved, reducing energy costs by   decarbonisation by reducing waste.
            2030 coal phase-out should not be   €323 billion by 2030. To get there 80
            lost. To get there, new renewable   GW of renewable capacity is needed   Thirdly, energy must come from
            energy is urgently needed. Our   across Europe every year. This would   diverse sources in the future. This is
            modelling indicates that by 2035,   not only usher in an era of energy   not only true in the short term, but
            Germany will require 780 TWh of   independence for Europe, but it   also in terms of building future power
            renewable energy to operate a net   would also lay the foundations for   systems where energy storage and
            zero electricity system, up from   net zero – and Germany can lead this   green hydrogen will play an important
            195 TWh today, supported by grid   transition.                    role. Ensuring technological diversity
            balancing technology to provide                                   is crucial, especially for flexibility
            backup supply when energy is not   Applying policy lessons to the rest   where both short and long-duration
            being produced by renewables. That   of Europe, and the world     storage is needed to manage daily
            will require at least 45 TWh of new   We have completed an in-depth   and seasonal peaks.
            renewable capacity each year, which   study into Germany’s energy system
            amounts to a 10% year-on-year    which provides several lessons that   Without doubt, this will require
            increase, or 7500 new wind turbines   can be applied around the world.   a herculean effort. However, if
            each year . 1                                                     policymakers around Europe
                                             Firstly, renewable energy – plus flexible   can rapidly scale up renewable
            Worryingly, things are moving in the   solutions such as balancing engines   energy, and deliver diverse flexible
            wrong direction. Recently, it was   and energy storage – offers the most   power systems, they will not only
            reported that Germany had only built   effective solution to bring energy bills   significantly reduce carbon emissions
            235 wind turbines this year and permits   down and reclaim energy independence.   but also unlock cheaper energy bills
            for new projects were down by 15%.   Clear and concerted political will is   across the continent. l

            1  An average wind turbine with a capacity of 2.5-3 MW can produce 6000 MWh per year, or 0.006 TWh.

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