This special interest group is for professionals to connect and discuss all types of carbon-free power alternatives, including nuclear, renewable, tidal and more.

Markus Dirnbacher's picture
Director ENcome Energy Performance

AMA - I‘ll be happy to answer all questions. For information upfront please check my LinkedIn profile. All the best, Markus

  • Member since 2020
  • 48 items added with 20,044 views
  • Oct 1, 2021
  • 417 views

Renewables are not expanding quickly enough to meet the global electricity demand. In fact, renewables only meet around 50% of power requirements in 2021. Unfortunately, fossil fuels, notably coal, have to satisfy the remaining half. Consequently, the power sector is set to produce record levels of CO2 next year, severely threatening global emission targets.  

Markus Dirnbacher's picture
Thank Markus for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member
Discussions
Spell checking: Press the CTRL or COMMAND key then click on the underlined misspelled word.
Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 1, 2021

Unfortunately, fossil fuels, notably coal, have to satisfy the remaining half.

This is true and unfortunate, but it's also a heck of a lot better than in year's past when coal/gas were combined for 2/3+. 

Moving forward, nuclear (particularly SMR) can also be a solution to fill in many of the baseload gaps renewables have for now, and within the fossil fuel numbers the mix is rapidly shifting from coal-heavy to gas-heavy which, while not ideal long-term, is better than all coal. 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 1, 2021

"...nuclear (particularly SMR) can also be a solution to fill in many of the baseload gaps renewables have for now..."

Maybe, but renewables will still require gas for ancillary services (phase and voltage correction), and supply-balancing.
SMRs will be able to do it all, including load-following, without reliance on fossil fuels - and without any of the land-use and environmental impacts of renewables.

Markus Dirnbacher's picture
Markus Dirnbacher on Oct 1, 2021

I agree, Matt. There will be a strong demand for nuclear power in the future if the goal is to generate carbon-free electricity. 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 1, 2021

"Therefore, given the goal of reducing CO2 emissions, nuclear power plants cannot shut down; quite the opposite, they need to expand in capacity to also cover the ever-increasing demand due to an expanding share for EVs" - exactly.

 

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Oct 1, 2021

Markus,

Why focus on the one year(2021) when demand recovers versus looking at the whole chart in article you link to? 

The data from looking at all 8 years tells a much different story. Here are the numbers for each of the years.

Looking at all 8 years we see that Renewables and Nuclear account for more than 70% of the increased generation and coal is a minor player. In other words a totally different story than the one you portrayed.

 

More importantly looking at the trends - we see Renewables continuing to increase.

 

I think once we see renewables averaging an additional 600 TWh/year and if nuclear can add 50TWh/year we will see the crossover point where more Zero Carbon is being added on a yearly basis.

 

Markus Dirnbacher's picture
Markus Dirnbacher on Oct 1, 2021

Joe, with this blog post we tried to point out that with all the combined effort we are seeing currently its still not sufficient to cover the rising power demand. Looking at all eight years, you are right, renewables are increasing in additional power provided. However, it's still not enough to to cross the line and fossil fuels are still required to expand, to cater the power hunger. 

In total, renewables contributed 26% to the global power mix in 2019. In order to strongly increase that number we will have to cover the rising demand at least. The trend, however, tells a different story and this is highlighted in the graph we have chosen to present.

https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/charts/world-electricity-generation-mix-by-fuel-1971-2019

 

The 600 TWh/year are not sufficient when the total increasing demand is >1000 TWh/year. You can find the total electricity demand scenarios here: https://www.iea.org/reports/world-energy-outlook-2019/electricity

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 2, 2021

Agreed, Markus. Renewables up 12% since 1971, natural gas up 74%? It's a losing battle.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Oct 3, 2021

Markus - you said:

The 600 TWh/year are not sufficient when the total increasing demand is >1000 TWh/year.

However, the report that you are using does not show that demand increasing by > 1000 TWh/year. Again, you seem to be cherry picking the recovery years. Over the full 8 years shown in the chart demand increased by only 631/TWh per year.

If you look at forecast of generation out to 2030/2040 - shown in Table 6.1 on page 256 of the report you cited - see below -  generation increases by an average of 550 - 737 TWh annually depending on the scenario chosen.  In other words, substantially less than 1000 TWh/year.

Plus - why would renewable generation stop growing once it reaches 600 TWh in 2022/2023?  Solar/offshore wind and batteries are still in their infancy WW.

 

I think the Sustainable development scenario in the chart below makes the most sense over the next 20 years. There will be a sharp decline in WW coal generation along with a smaller decline in NG. Renewables in the 2030s will be adding more than 1000 TWh/year. Not only will Renewables/Nuclear satisfy increasing demand - they will eat into coal and NG generation.

 

Markus Dirnbacher's picture
Markus Dirnbacher on Oct 5, 2021

Well, yes; We look into the future rather than into the past. We need to focus on winning the race ahead instead of resting on the success of previous years. In the grand picture, we should not forget that the power sector needs drastic change and other sectors. Hence, we are calling for rapid renewable developments. 

 

You asked: "Plus - why would renewable generation stop growing once it reaches 600 TWh in 2022/2023?"

Many countries are reaching grid parity and subsidies like FiT are running out. PPAs are a substitute and can act as a defacto state-guarantee for steady income but it doesnt provide the same investment case.

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Oct 4, 2021

Markus,    But what about the Wind , Hydro and Geo-Thermal that is being added? Are they all accounted for? You also say we need more flexible power. QUOTE-We have already written multiple times about this last point we highlight here, but it is definitely one of the most important ones! Electricity systems need to become more flexible to complement the increasing impact of variable energy sources. This is especially true for solar PV and wind. 

    Would you say the new Battery Storage in the Mega watts makes Renewable Power more flexible?

 

Markus Dirnbacher's picture
Markus Dirnbacher on Oct 5, 2021

Hi Jim, of course, wind, hydro and geo-thermal are classified renewable energies within the chart we have presented. Flexibility is a key attribute which needs to be enhanced for renewables. This can be achieved via several storage solutions, short- or mid-term, green hydrogen production, or, and in my opionion most importantly, generation-site management; Where via maschine learning, generation of renewable energy sites is forecasted 36h ahead and accordingly managed via smart inverter control.  

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Oct 5, 2021

What about the Megawatts of battery storage I mentioned used for stability? 

Markus Dirnbacher's picture
Markus Dirnbacher on Oct 5, 2021

What about them? I would include them within the storage solutions I have mentioned. Of course, they will have an essential role in grid stabilizing. 

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »