Today, rising electricity demand, a changing energy mix driven by innovation and new technologies, a push for cleaner energy and environmental responsibility, fuel price volatility, and growing cyber risks are transforming global energy production, distribution, and use. At CERAWeek this year, speakers and attendees talked about how these market disruptions and innovative technologies are driving decarbonization, digitization, and decentralization throughout the industry. These challenges and opportunities prompted questions about the technologies that will comprise the energy ecosystem of the future and how companies like Siemens are helping customers adapt to this changing landscape.
At Siemens, we believe that the future energy ecosystem will combine natural gas and renewable energy technologies to provide reliable, low-carbon power with the flexibility and adaptability to accommodate a range of resources and the unique conditions of our customers. We also believe that using natural gas and renewables in a cohesive system will require us to leverage breakthroughs in digital capabilities across every level of the energy value chain.
The fact that renewable energy is increasing its share of the power generation mix is helping to decarbonize the planet for future generations, but the technology is still unable to provide energy on-demand at all times of the day. This reality underpins the need for both large and small, fast-ramping natural gas turbines to balance the grid when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. With digitized power generation systems enabled by the Internet-of-Things, grid operators will be able to switch between natural gas and renewable energy to reduce costs and cut emissions without sacrificing reliability. With expertise in power generation, Siemens engineered its utility-scale HL-class turbine and smaller, even mobile units to supply power in remote areas or emergency situations with the new energy ecosystem in mind.
The new energy ecosystem, however, extends far beyond the relationship between gas and renewables for power generation. Enabled by the Internet-of-Things, generation technologies won’t just communicate with the grid to balance variability, but the data we gather will help to predict peak demand for charging electric vehicles, storing excess electricity, and even preventing blackouts on hot summer days. With this data and advances in electricity storage, renewable energy will be more stable and even more cost competitive to provide customers with the lowest carbon option, while also ensuring reliability with back-up natural gas resources.
This transformation is already underway. Fluence, the joint venture launched earlier this year between Siemens and AES, is building the largest lithium-ion battery storage system in southern California – a 100 megawatt size. As large and small-scale battery storage matures, we can increasingly rely on renewable power generation and a distributed grid with natural gas balancing any remaining volatility.
The conversations around the changes in the energy industry at CERAWeek this year almost always came back to one enabling factor – innovation. Throughout our company’s history, Siemens’ legacy of innovation has created opportunity out of the world’s most complex problems which is why our natural gas and renewable technologies are helping customers across the value chain adapt to the new energy ecosystem.
Published On: March 15th, 2018