Energy

Energy (268)

A More Integrative Approach Needed To Realise Global Energy Access Goals

Despite the critical role of appliances in enabling energy access, new comprehensive research by Efficiency for Access finds that no solar appliances are close to reaching market saturation. A more integrative approach to energy access is needed to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 and ensure that people have the appliances they need to reap the benefits of energy access fully. 

The off-grid solar market has grown dramatically in the past four years. Leading solar companies reported total global sales of approximately 1.15 million units of TVs, fans, refrigerators and SWPs in 2019. Despite this progress, there still exists a significant gap between current sales and the potential market size. 

To take stock of this burgeoning market, Efficiency for Access published the 2021 Solar Appliance Technology Briefs and overarching Synthesis Report. These documents identify the latest market trends and pathways to scale for 11 off-grid appropriate appliances and enabling technologies. 

“The Solar Appliance Technology Briefs and Synthesis Report is the culmination of four years of Efficiency for Access research aimed to characterise the solar appliance market. It was a collaborative effort with various sector partners, ranging from sales data collection with GOGLA to end-to-end impact measurement with 60 Decibels.

The synthesis report distils insights and learnings from research across the Coalition and presents recommendations to accelerate the trajectory of this fast-moving and impactful market”, says Jenny Corry Smith, Manager of the Low-Energy Inclusive Appliances Programme, the flagship program of Efficiency for Access.  

The reports reveal that energy efficiency has been an essential driver in energy access delivery, but additional market considerations must be accounted for growth to continue. A review of crucial barriers to appliances achieving market saturation finds that affordability, availability and the broader enabling environment hinder the market growth.  

To get more appliances in the hands of consumers, we need to improve affordability through more inclusive finance, improve consumer awareness via campaigns, increase the availability of products through more robust supply chains and improve product quality through quality assurance and policy. As countries look to increase their resilience to climate change, many nations are looking toward solar as a solution. 

The 2021 Solar Appliance Technology Briefs and Synthesis were authored by CLASP and the Energy Saving Trust, Co-Secretariat to the Efficiency for Access Coalition. The documents were funded by UK aid and the IKEA foundation. View the reports here.

AFIEGO Calls For Auditing Of $1.7bn Karuma Dam Project

Members of the civil society with Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) as the lead petitioner have written a letter to the Auditor General (AG) calling on his office 'to conduct an independent forensic audit covering the $1.7 billion Karuma dam project'.

The audit, according to the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) led by AFIEGO, should also look into the implementation of the Power  Purchase Agreement (PPA), the selection and capacity of the project developer, the quality of the dam being built, the costs of the dam, and the causes of the over three-years commission delays.

Further, the AG should examine the project's impact on the final electricity tariffs, the responsibility of the developer vis-à-vis those of government, the terms and conditions of the project loan borrowed from the Exim bank of China, the government institutions involved in the supervision of the dam and their capacity, the reasons for the delays in the land acquisition for the transmission/evacuation lines and their impacts and others.

In the letter, Dickens Kamugisha, Chief Executive Officer of AFIEGO noted that the CSOs have 'been following events around the Karuma dam project since its inception to date and 'available evidence indicates that the commissioning of the dam whose construction was launched in 2013 has been postponed to June 2022 under unclear circumstances.'

"Yet to date, the dam is said to be at 98.9% completion, though available information indicates that the quality of the dam is lacking. The delays in the commissioning of the dam are costly and available evidence indicates that the costs are being paid by the Ugandan government with taxpayers’ money. We need to know who is responsible for the said delays and their cost implications," Kamugisha noted.

Kamugisha noted that 'the delays will have far-reaching implications on clean energy access and affordability for citizens as the delays are expected to lead to high electricity tariffs.'

 

"We are concerned that the above challenges will affect Ugandans environmentally, socially, and economically. There is, therefore, a need to urgently carry out an independent forensic audit of the project. The audit report will support efforts to promote transparency and accountability in the project for the benefit of the citizens and the country at large." Kamugisha said.

ERA Reduces Electricity Tariffs For The Third Quarter Of 2021

The Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) has approved new Electricity End-User Tariffs to be charged by Umeme Limited for the supply of Electrical Energy in the Billing Period from July to September 2021.

The New Electricity End-User Tariffs indicate a remarkable reduction across Consumer Categories, with the exception of Street Lighting.

According to the New Tariffs, Domestic Consumers will pay UGX 250 for the First 15 Units under the Lifeline Tariff and thereafter pay UGX 747.5 for the next Units purchased a reduction from UGX 750.9 in the previous quarters.

Commercial Consumers will pay UGX 616.6 from UGX 639.8, Medium Industrial Consumers - UGX 526.9 from UGX 556.0, Large Industrial Consumers - UGX 355.0 from UGX 361.0, Extra Large Consumers - UGX

300.2 from UGX 301.7, while the Tariff for Street Lighting has been maintained at UGX 370.0.

The approved Electricity End-User Tariffs represent a Weighted Average Reduction of 2 per cent, relative to the Tariffs of the Second Quarter of 2021.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of the Electricity Regulatory Authority, Eng. Ziria Tibalwa Waako, “the Commercial Consumers and Medium Industrial Consumers are the biggest direct beneficiaries of the reduction in Tariffs applicable for the period July to September 2021, with a reduction as much as UGX 23.2 per Unit and UGX 29.1 per Unit of Electricity consumed for the Two (2) Consumer Categories, respectively.”

Eng. Waako explains further that “the reduction in the

Tariffs of these Two Categories is a deliberate effort by the Electricity Regulatory Authority to support the Small and Medium-sized businesses to recover from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, thereby contributing to the recovery of the economy”.

The new End-User Tariffs are attributed to the following factors: 

(i)            Appreciation of the Uganda Shilling against the United States Dollar

In the Second Quarter of 2021, the Exchange Rate of the Uganda Shilling against the United States Dollar appreciated by 3.3%, from Ush 3,665.78/US$ as at 26th February 2021 to Ush 3,546.0 as at 31st May 2021. The Exchange Rate of the Uganda Shilling against the United States Dollar also appreciated by 4.1% from the Exchange Rate of Ush 3,699.17/US$ in November 2020, which was used to determine the Base Tariffs for the year 2021.

(ii)           Increment in the International Fuel Prices

The International Fuel Price for crude oil for May 2021 was US$ 66.91 per Barrel, compared to US$ 40.08 per Barrel used in the determination of the Base Tariffs for 2021. This represents an increase in the International Fuel Prices by 66.9% from the Base Period. 

(iii)          The Total Quarterly Energy expected to be purchased by UETCL, which is 1,220.32 GWh.

(iv)         The Water Release at the Nalubaale-Kiira Generation Complex, which is projected at 1,000 Cubic meters per second (cumecs) for the Third Quarter of 2021, which translates into an Average Generation Capacity of 172.7 MW from Nalubaale-Kiira and 178.8 MW from Bujagali Energy Limited. 

The New Tariffs apply to all Electricity Consumer Bills raised by Umeme Limited, based on Meter Readings and Yaka purchases taken in the period July to September 2021.

In line with the Quarterly Tariff Adjustment Methodology that was approved by ERA in 2014, the Authority sets out an Annual Base Tariff at the beginning of each calendar year.  

GE Helps Secure Power Availability At Songas's Ubungo Power Plant Despite COVID-19 Pandemic

GE has announced the successful completion of service works at four LM6000 aeroderivative gas turbines at the Songas Ubungo Power Plant in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. 

Amidst the pandemic, the work was executed safely and ensured the continued delivery of up to 150 megawatts (MW) of electricity from the units to the national grid.

The service work conducted, which includes predictive maintenance with routine parts replacement, also boosted performance and reliability and improved the operational efficiency and flexibility of the power plant.

“Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, GE succeeded in helping us improve our power generation capabilities, through its upgrades and maintenance solutions,” said Dr. Michael Mngodo, Songas Plant Manager.

“We are pleased that the service interventions were executed on time to the highest standard of safety and quality, increasing the availability and overall reliability of our power plant,” he added.

Engineers from FieldCore, GE’s owned field services company, worked in collaboration with Songas under the established COVID-19 site protocols to ensure the safe completion of the project. The Ubungo power plant provides nearly 12 percent of the grid connected power in Tanzania.

The gas turbines are equipped with SPRINT (SPRayINTercooling) technology, which increases gas turbine performance, improves power flexibility, enhances the combustion system, improves fuel efficiency, extends maintenance intervals for the combustor, hot section and major overhaul and lowers maintenance costs.

“We are honored by the trust placed by Songas in our team’s ability to execute critical maintenance work at the Songas Power Plant, and to have delivered on that trust,” said Elisee Sezan, CEO of GE Gas Power Sub-Saharan Africa.

“This project illustrates our commitment to work with our customers, like Songas, to provide industry-leading technologies and advanced services that help power plant operators around the world meet their operational needs and fuel the economic growth of the countries where they operate,” he added. 

The announcement was made on April 28 in conjunction with the World Day for Safety and Health at Work which focuses on strategies to strengthen national occupational safety and health systems.

“We are working with our customers, while coordinating with local governments, to ensure the health and safety of our employees and suppliers during this pandemic. The excellent professionalism and dedication to safety of all teams was crucial to the success of the service work,” said Sezan.

With almost 70 years of presence in Sub-Saharan Africa, GE has been collaborating with energy stakeholders to deploy innovative technologies tailored to respond to the needs of the Sub-Saharan Africa region with reliable baseload and flexible power.

GE delivers across the entire energy ecosystem from generation to transmission and distribution and throughout the region, GE-built technologies are supported by GE local service and maintenance teams working together and in close co-operation with FieldCore to help ensure access to reliable and sustainable energy.

Electricity & Debt: Does Government Have An Escape Route?

By Patrick Edema

The parliament of Uganda is currently reviewing the Budget framework paper 2021/2022. The pro­posed na­tional bud­get for FY 2021/​2022 is projected at UGX 45.658 tril­lion which is a slight increase of 164 billion shillings of the current budget of FY 2020/2021. A total of UGX 10.330 Trillion Shillings is expected from external borrowing, with Shs 6.744 trillion coming in form of project loans, while Shs 3.585 trillion is expected as budget support loans. 

While debt repayment will take the lion’s share with nearly 80 percent of the country’s total tax revenue, the government continues to borrow billions of shillings to invest in sectors (infrastructure, electricty and oil) which have further increased the national debt. By end of 2020, Uganda’s total debt was Ugs 56.526 trillion that’s about 48% of the value of the economy (GDP) and this is expected to grow to about UGX 66 trillion by 2021 as stated by the Bank of Uganda report. 

Indeed, the infrastructure and energy sector are among the sectors that are compelling the government to borrow exorbitant funds which has greatly attributed to the increasing debt burden. Recently, it was noted that the government was in advance stages to borrow more UGX 1.4 trillion to support the free Electricity Connections Policy (ECP).

The ECP project was launched in November 2018 thinking that this would increase the number of connections made annually from the average 70,000 before the policy was made to 300,000 customers annually at full implementation. However, the policy has not achieved its targets and electricity access is still low because of the high-power tariffs for the poor consumers. 

A huge amount of money has been invested in the energy projects. For instance, an estimated $3.5 billion was invested in the sector during the first exploration phase and over $20 billion is expected to be injected Uganda’s East African Crude Oil Pipeline, oil refinery, the finished petroleum products pipeline, roads, an international airport, airstrips and other infrastructure to commercialize Uganda’s oil and gas.

Further, three hydropower projects of Bujagali, Karuma and Isimba dams alone are responsible for Uganda's $12.55 billion debt burden yet such investments have not performed at their expectations of providing cheap and reliable electricity in the country. 

It is true that the electricity industry has high potential to unlock the production capabilities of the country but because of the exorbitant power tariffs on poor Ugandans, this has lagged behind the country’s ambitions to increase access to electricity from 19 per cent to 67 per cent by 2027.

In Uganda, over 22% of the people live below the poverty line meaning that about 9,400,000 million Ugandans survive on less than $1 dollar per day and cannot manage the most important areas of wellbeing such as food, education and health at the same time with the debt burden, which stands at almost UGX 66 trillion. 

The continued investment in expensive electricity even when it is evident that grid electricity has failed to benefit citizens especially for the rural households, clearly indicates that the borrowed money to invest in electricity and oil will not realize the returns. Currently, electricity capacity in the country stands at 1268.9MW as of October 2020 by Electricity Regulatory Authority.

Out of the available 1268.9MW, only 700MW is consumed at peak demand majorly by industries and few citizens while an estimate of over 526MW remains un consumed. This has created a puzzle because government has to spend over UGX 2.3 billion annually to compensate for unconsumed power which is huge dent to the budget consumers that have to pay for unconsumed power. 

The government commissioned the 183MW Isimba dam and 42MW Achwa 2 dam bringing the total installed capacity to over 1200MW, yet Ugandans can only consume 700MW at the peak and lower than that off-peak. This year 2021, the country will commission the 600MW Karuma dam, availing more power that must be consumed.

With the issue of low consumption taking centre stage, it also means that Ugandans have to wait longer to have the tariffs lowered. Ugandans pay 19 US cents (700 Shillings) per unit of power, they consume, making expensive for households which has made poor citizens to resort to just lighting to keep the bill low. 

This is therefore, the time for the parliament of Uganda to save the poor citizens by rejecting approvals of loans by the government to invest in failed energy projects that don’t translate into the economic development of the country. There is also need to increase investments in renewable modern energy options particularly off-grid solar that have the potential to meet the energy needs of majority of Ugandans especially the poor women and men who live in rural areas. Electricity and oil will not save the country from the chocking debt burden as well as meeting the needs of communities.

Patrick Edema, Environmental Engineer at AFIEGO

IRENA, IHA Forge Partnership To Advance Sustainable Hydropower

In recognition of their shared objectives to increase the uptake of renewable energy, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Hydropower Association (IHA) have signed a formal partnership agreement. 

Hydropower is the world's largest source of renewable energy, contributing over half of global renewable energy installed capacity, and directly employing around two million people. 

The agreement sets out IRENA's and IHA's joint ambition to accelerate the development, financing and deployment of sustainable hydropower. This will involve future policy and market initiatives aimed at better rewarding hydropower for the clean storage and flexibility services it provides to the energy system. Cooperation will facilitate public-private dialogue, strengthen international cooperation and promote sustainable hydropower through the development and dissemination of knowledge.

Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, said: "IRENA's Global Renewables Outlook estimates that an additional 850 GW of hydropower is required by 2050 for the world to stay on a climate-safe track in line with the Paris Agreement. There is therefore an urgent need to boost sustainable hydropower."

"The Covid-19 crisis has shown beyond doubt the unique flexibility and resilience provided by hydropower compared with other energy sources", he added. "IRENA has always considered hydropower an essential and central element of the renewables power mix."

Recognising the important role of hydropower in the clean energy transition, IRENA's recently published Post-COVID Recovery Agenda  recommends a 150 per cent increase in sustainable hydropower investments from USD 22 billion to USD 55 billion per year to 2030 to support the recovery and accelerate the energy transition.

Eddie Rich, Chief Executive of IHA, said: "IRENA is the leading agency for the global advancement of renewable energy. We are delighted that it has recognised the essential role that sustainable hydropower will play to meet the climate change commitments set out in the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7." 

"While hydropower will continue to play an essential role in global electricity, hydropower's flexibility and storage capabilities are also important to complement variable renewables such as wind and solar. Hydropower acts as an enabler of higher shares of variable renewable energy in future energy systems," he said.

Partnership activities will be focused on the development and sharing of knowledge, data and best practices. In addition, as part of the agreement, IRENA will join and play a leading role in IHA's new International Forum on Pumped Storage Hydropower. Created in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, the forum is a government-led multi-stakeholder platform that aims to shape and enhance the role of pumped storage hydropower in future power systems. Pumped storage hydropower is a low-cost and mature, long-duration energy storage technology that represents over 90 per cent of the world's grid-scale energy storage.

The partnership builds on another recent initiative by IRENA, the Collaborative Framework on Hydropower, supported by IHA, which aims to promote dialogue, co-operation and coordinated action among IRENA's 161 member states. IHA is supporting the framework by leveraging knowledge and experience from initiatives such as:
  • XFLEX HYDRO, an EU-funded initiative to demonstrate how innovative, flexible hydropower technologies can help countries meet their carbon reduction targets and support variable renewables.
  • The Hydropower Sustainability Tools, a set of guidelines and assessment tools used by leading developers and operators to design and develop sustainable hydropower projects.. 
  • IHA's Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide, which offers a methodology for identifying, assessing and managing climate risks to enhance hydropower's resilience.

Energy Transformation In Southern Africa Boosted By New IRENA Agreement With SACREEE

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to work together on accelerating the deployment renewable energy solutions, including decentralised technologies, in Southern African countries.

The two organisations will also cooperate on policy development, capacity building programmes and regional events aimed at attracting investments to the region. 

Southern Africa has seen remarkable improvement in electricity access over the past decade. This is largely due to a strong commitment from SADC member states to take advantage of the region's vast renewable energy potential to improve energy security and meet rising energy demand. As a result, the total share of renewables in power generation rose from 23 per cent in 2015 to almost 39 per cent in 2018. However, despite significant progress, electricity access remains a challenge. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has re-emphasised the importance of a reliable, affordable, clean energy," said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera. "It has served as a stark reminder that the new energy age must be inclusive, just and low-carbon if we are to achieve sustainable development in Southern Africa and around the world.

Africa can seize the moment for meaningful change, and dramatically improve socioeconomic outcomes by moving decisively towards the energy transformation. This agreement will bolster regional progress," concluded Mr. La Camera. 

By building capacity in the SADC region, IRENA and SACREEE aim to accelerate renewable energy deployment and achieve universal energy access by creating environments more conducive to renewable energy investments. The two organisations will conduct joint activities under the Africa Clean Energy Corridor (ACEC) in the areas of renewable energy resource assessment, long-term planning, as well as investments, policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks. Implementation of activities under ACEC provides a comprehensive opportunity to avoid greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the objectives of Paris Agreement. 

"SACREEE has implemented several joint programmatic activities with IRENA through the African Clean Energy Corridor initiative and the SADC Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship Support Facility since 2017," said SACREEE Executive Director, Kudakwashe Ndhlukula.

"The renewal of this MoU will expand and strengthen our collaboration in areas of mutual interest and given mandates.  We therefore appreciate the continued partnership and support from IRENA towards the fulfilment of our mandate towards an energy secure and resilient society  through clean, affordable and sustainable energy solutions," concluded Mr. Ndhlukula. 

IRENA and SACREEE will also work together to accelerate renewable energy investments through the implementation of the "Southern African Investment Forum" that will facilitate access to sustainable finance in the region. The forum is part of IRENA's contribution to the Climate Investment Platform (CIP), designed to advance sustainable energy projects to investment maturity and facilitate their access to finance. Key forum activities include matchmaking between projects, project developers, and potential financiers and investors. 

IRENA and SACREEE also renewed their commitment to support entrepreneurship in the region. The two organisations previously partnered on establishing the SADC Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship Support Facility. The objective of the Facility was to enhance and strengthen the capacity of small to medium entrepreneurs in assessing the business potentials of sustainable energy, develop viable business plans and loan requests, and managing their businesses successfully.

Siemens Gamesa Seals Its First Wind Farm Project In Ethiopia

Siemens Gamesa has signed its first wind power project in Ethiopia with state-owned electricity company Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP), strengthening its leadership in Africa as the country begins to expand its green energy capacity to meet ambitious renewable targets.

The 100 MW Assela wind farm will be located between the towns of Adama and Assela, approximately 150 km south of the capital, Addis Ababa, and will contribute to clean and affordable power for the country’s electricity grid.

The country has set an ambitious target to supply 100% of its domestic energy demand through renewable energy by 2030. According to the African Development Bank, Ethiopia has abundant resources, particularly wind with a potential 10 GW of installation capacity and having installed 324 MW at present.  

“Siemens Gamesa is intent on expanding its leadership across Africa, and in turn help a growing transition to green energy across the continent. So, we are extremely pleased to begin work in Ethiopia and look forward to collaborating with both EEP and the country to continue to promote their drive to install more renewables and meet transformational energy targets,” said Roberto Sabalza, CEO for Onshore Southern Europe and Africa at Siemens Gamesa.  

According to a Wood Mackenzie forecast, around 2 GW of wind power would be installed in Ethiopia by 2029.

The wind farm will be made up of 29 SG 3.4-132 wind turbines and is expected to be commissioned by the start of 2023. The project will generate about 300,000 MWh per year. Siemens Gamesa will provide full engineering, procurement, and turnkey construction.

The Assela wind project will be financed by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs via Danida Business Finance (DBF) adding to a loan agreement signed between the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation (MoFEC) and Danske Bank A/S.

Ethiopia has many renewable resources covering wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass, and the country aspires to be a power hub and the battery for the Horn of Africa. The country’s National Electrification Program, launched in 2017, outlines a plan to reach universal access by 2025 with the help of off-grid solutions for 35% of the population.

Siemens Gamesa is among the global leaders in the wind power industry, with a strong presence in all facets of the renewable energy business: offshore, onshore, and services. With more than 107 GW installed worldwide; Siemens Gamesa is an ideal partner for Ethiopia at this critical juncture in the East African nation’s accelerating energy journey.

IRENA, AfDBPartner To Scale Up Renewables Investments In Africa

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and the African Development Bank (AfDB), have agreed to work closely together to advance the continent's energy transition through joint initiatives that support investments in low-carbon energy projects.

Under the Declaration of Intent, the two entities confirmed their wish to collaborate on supporting the continent's energy transition under a framework of core activities. These include co-organising renewable energy investment forums as part of IRENA's contribution to the Climate Investment Platform, and collaboration on the Bank's annual Africa Investment Forum. Furthermore, strong emphasis will be placed on concrete support for enhancing the role of renewable energy in Nationally Determined Contributions and sustainable development objectives.

The joint declaration was signed by Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, and Kevin Kanina Kariuki, Vice-President, Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth at the African Development Bank.

Mr. Kariuki said: "Driven by the aspiration to harness Africa's huge renewable energy potential, the African Development Bank is today at the forefront of investing in renewable energy in Africa. The Bank's partnership with IRENA will advance this aspiration and support Africa's energy transition and our goal to achieve universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy in Africa by 2030."

IRENA's Global Renewables Outlook report, released earlier this year, revealed that sub-Saharan Africa could generate 67 per cent of its power from indigenous and clean renewable energy sources by 2030. Further analysis shows that the energy transition would boost GDP, improve welfare and stimulate up to 2 million additional green jobs in sub-Saharan Africa by 2050.

Mr. La Camera said: "The African continent has some of the most abundant renewable energy resources in the world and the potential to transform outcomes for millions of people through the accelerated deployment of a renewables-based energy system. Renewables will increase energy security, create green jobs, advance energy access, including clean cooking, and help build resilient African economies.

"This agreement represents the type of coordinated international cooperation that is the cornerstone of the realisation of sustainable development in Africa and the achievement of Paris Agreement goals," he continued. "We will pursue an action-oriented agenda that puts African countries on a path to realising their full renewable energy potential."

The declaration also provides for collaboration on the African Development Bank's Desert to Power Initiative, which aims to mobilise public and private funding to install 10 GW of solar power by 2025 in 11 countries in the Sahel region of the African continent.

The two institutions will also engage in capacity building and knowledge exchange activities to reinforce joint efforts and cooperate on developing regional and national renewable energy case studies.

Call To Accelerate Deployment Of Renewables & Gas Power To Drive Faster Decarbonization Made

Building on its commitment to carbon neutrality in its operations by 2030 and announced intention to exit the new-build coal power market, GE has shared its position that the accelerated and strategic deployment of both renewable energy and gas power can make substantial progress in combatting climate change in the near-term while securing a path to a lower-carbon emitting world in the future.

In a newly published paper expanding on its decades-long commitment to decarbonization titled "Accelerated Growth of Renewables and Gas Power Can Rapidly Change the Trajectory on Climate Change," GE said neither power source will be sufficient alone; however, deployed in tandem, they can provide decarbonization at the pace and scale needed to help achieve substantial climate goals.

In addition, the paper outlines multiple technical pathways for gas power to achieve a lower-carbon generating footprint through the use of low and zero-carbon fuels—including hydrogen—as well as carbon capture utilization and sequestration (CCUS) technologies. 

"Addressing climate change is an urgent global priority and one that we think we can do a better job of accelerating progress on—starting now—not decades from now," said Scott Strazik, CEO of GE Gas Power. "We believe there are critical and meaningful roles for both gas power and renewable sources of energy to play, advancing global progress faster today with coal-to-gas switching while continuing to develop multiple pathways for low-to-zero carbon gas technologies in the future."

To help meet urgent climate goals while at the same time increasing power demand across the globe, the report details the merits of gas-fired generation as a complement to support and accelerate renewable energy penetration:

  • Gas is reliable, inexpensive, and doesn't require a lot of land; the ideal complement to renewable energy.
  • While renewable power is variable, gas power is dispatchable, dependable and flexible, available as much as 90% of the time.
  • The near-term impact of coal-to-gas switching represents a fast and effective win for emissions reduction in many regions around the world. For example, since 2007, power sector CO2 emissions in the United States have dropped by about one third while total electricity generation has remained fairly constant. The CO2 emissions reduction attributed to coal-to-gas switching was greater than that from any other fuel source.

The position paper released today provides technology and market overviews of several sources of power generation including renewables, gas, coal and nuclear as well as technology breakthroughs needed to make battery storage more cost-competitive.

"With more than 125 years of experience across the electricity industry, GE is well-positioned alongside our customers to continue to lead the way and drive the future of energy," said Vic Abate, GE Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer and former CEO of both GE's Gas Power and Renewables businesses. "We're prioritizing investment in technologies to cost-effectively scale renewables and to move toward net zero gas power with advances in hydrogen and carbon capture technologies. Together, the combination of renewables and gas can help lead an energy transition that enables us to achieve greater carbon emissions reductions faster compared to renewables alone."

GE Renewable Energy is continuing to invest in technology innovations that are driving down the cost of renewable energy, a key driver of the industry's continued growth as noted in the whitepaper. The company recently announced that its Haliade-X offshore wind turbine, the most powerful turbine in operation today, will be uprated to 13 MW as part of the first two phases of the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm in the UK.

GE's gas turbine portfolio is built on an 80-year gas turbine technology heritage that is unparalleled in the power generation industry and GE's HA gas turbine—the world's most efficient gas turbine and fastest-growing fleet—has established several industry-firsts and secured two world records. GE also offers the industry's most experienced gas turbine fleet in hydrogen and similar low-BTU fuel operations, with more than six million operating hours in decades of use across more than 75 gas turbines. GE continues to invest in research and development into hydrogen and carbon capture technologies in close partnership with GE's Global Research Center—to help further advance a low or near-zero carbon footprint for gas power.

GE's Gas Power business has also signed several major customer strategic decarbonization programs including agreements with Uniper and the Long Ridge Energy Center in 2020. GE is pursuing multiple decarbonization pilot projects with customers throughout 2021 and 2022 for both hydrogen-fueled projects and carbon capture and sequestration technologies. Finally, GE Gas Power today announced it has joined the Carbon Capture Coalition, a nonpartisan collaboration of more than 80 businesses and organizations building federal policy support for economy-wide deployment of carbon capture, transport, use, removal and storage.

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