Flexible and Renewable Energy Solutions for Building Growth
The past 100 years have brought unprecedented gains in many of the indicators that we use to measure progress in human development, from life expectancy to per capita income to education. During the same period, however, human impact on the natural world has risen dramatically as the scope and intensity of human activities has increased. In fact, in just over fifty years, human energy consumption has exceeded the total amount used throughout our collective history.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, long known as one of the world’s largest energy sources, is now emerging as a growing consumer of energy. Economic and population growth, investments in infrastructure and energy-intensive industries such as petrochemicals are a few reasons for this growth.
While global demand grows – 44 percent in the next 20 years – so too will the need to reduce greenhouse gases – a factor which is believed to have contributed significantly to climate change. The most critical question is how we balance demand for power that is clean, abundant and reliable with the mandates of energy security, carbon reduction and economic growth.
Given the challenges of future energy demand, now is the time for MENA countries to take a closer look at adopting technologies and programs to support energy efficiency. We’ve seen wind and solar play a growing role both in the region and around the world. But they are not the only answer. We must also explore cleaner, more efficient ways of burning fossil fuels in parallel. And that’s where flexible and efficient gas generation comes in.
Simply put, flexible power generation allows utilities to match electricity supply to demand. Flexible technology reduces total fuel consumption – and carbon emissions – because it allows utilities to “turn down” power generation when less electricity is needed, and “turn it up quickly” when more is needed.
In addition to efficiency, flexible technology has another important benefit: it supports the increased adoption of solar and wind technology by eliminating the “variability” issue with renewable energy. Solar and wind power is variable – power is only generated when the sun shines or the wind blows. Because flexible technology can be turned up and down to meet demand, it eliminates this “variability” by allowing utility companies to reliably meet day-to-day energy demand regardless of ambient conditions.
Installing flexible and renewable technology together allows clean solar energy to produce electricity when the sun is shining, and cleaner, more efficient power from gas technology when it’s not. It’s a framework for more efficient and flexible power generation from fossil fuels, as well as an increased focus on renewable sources. This means cleaner, more efficient and more reliable energy onto the power grid, and into our homes.
At the end of the day, meeting the region’s energy demands is no simple task. There is no single technology to solve the challenge of meeting growing energy demand and carbon reduction goals. Multiple technologies are required. We believe the solution must be technology neutral – one that doesn’t favor one clean technology over another. And the solution must also acknowledge regional differences in energy production and use. After all, it’s clear that in many MENA countries, solar makes sense, whereas wind might be more effective in places like Egypt.
As population and infrastructure grows and energy demands increase across the region, we must find more efficient ways of burning fossil fuels such as the deployment of flexible power technology. Not just for the populations and economies of today, but for a cleaner, healthier future for generations to come.
To find out more about flexible power technology, please visit this link.