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Future with renewables is reliable, affordable and sustainable

Renewable energy sources have already made a tangible and permanent impact to power systems globally – and we have only seen the start of it! Renewables, notably wind and solar, in the power systems will permanently change the dispatch and power system design principles sooner than we think.

As the energy markets continue to reduce their carbon footprint by utilising renewable energy sources, the need for flexibility in power generating is becoming increasingly apparent. Need for flexibility varies from short-term frequency balancing to long-term seasonal balancing. Since renewables are inherently intermittent with a largely unpredictable supply of energy, utilities require fast-responding assets capable of reaching full output instantly. Time is money in increasingly complex energy markets.

It is a question of not only operational costs and supply reliability, but also potential earnings. In Europe, the current pricing structure within the European Energy Exchange (EEX) is shaped by intermittency of supply. In the future, fluctuations in price determinants will favour fast-acting flexible generation.

Future-proof investments are flexible and adaptable. We have already now quite a few examples of modern, state-of-the-art power plants like Kraftwerke Mainz-Wiesbaden AG’s (KMW) in Germany and the two new Centrica plants in the UK, to name a few. They are strengthening energy security, easing the integration of renewables, and therefore drastically lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

The energy transition is happening now – renewables will become the new baseload. Wärtsilä’s Smart Power Generation together with storage solutions brings the needed flexibility to the power systems, and enables transition to modern power system. We have all the potential already today to start to build a path towards 100% renewable energy systems.

By Wärtsilä Energy Solutions

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Thursday, 21 February 2019

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