Enabling Low Carbon Energy Generation—and Resilience

In an article for Energy Central, Guidehouse says decarbonization is an important driver for decisions around future energy generation but that resilience is just as critical

The energy industry is in the middle of a significant transformation, one that will fundamentally reimagine energy generation, energy delivery to homes and businesses, and consumer interactions with energy providers.

In an article for Energy Central, Guidehouse’s Danielle Vitoff, associate director, and Hector Artze, partner, said while decarbonization is a primary driver for this transformation, resilience is also key—but not always considered.

“We must reduce the carbon intensity of our energy system, and quickly, to achieve scientifically derived, mid-century carbon reduction goals,” Vitoff and Artze said in the article. “However, how our system already feels the impacts of climate change is often left out of these discussions of system transformation.”

As significant extreme events grow in occurrence and severity, the pair said planners must do a better job of considering these events when making decisions about future energy generation. This could include considering the results of climate change impact analyses to develop resilient resource plans and mitigate the impact to transmission and distribution systems.

Vitoff and Artze said when both resilience and decarbonization are factored in, a future generation portfolio is likely to include the following attributes:

  • Increase in distributed, renewable generation: Decarbonization of the energy system will require significant growth, so that the majority of our energy is delivered from renewable resources. It will also see an increase in distributed generation serving critical loads and remote communities.
  • Maintenance of significant on-call resources: Most renewable resources are intermittent, which means that matching demand and generation becomes increasingly challenging, especially when an extreme event is experienced. In future resilient and decarbonized scenarios, these on-call resources are expected to be primarily supplied by hydrogen and nuclear.
  • Short- and long-term storage needs: Additionally, because of the intermittency of renewable resources, energy storage becomes more important in the future state. Batteries will serve much of this need for short-term storage issues but maintaining system resilience will also require long-term, seasonal storage, to be supplied by nuclear, hydrogen, or other low carbon fuels.

Hector Artze, Partner

Danielle Vitoff, Director

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