Spotlight Tomorrow: All Hands on Deck to Meet the Energy Decarbonization Challenge
November 22, 2021
With rapid action required to address climate change and more than 700 million people today still lacking reliable access to electricity, it will take action by all stakeholders and a wide range of technologies to drive decarbonization in the energy sector.
That’s why a discussion on the energy sector at the recent GE-hosted Spotlight Tomorrow event at the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai was called “All Hands on Deck.” Participants at the sustainability-focused session included Joe Anis, President and CEO for Europe, Middle East and Africa at GE Gas Power; Roger Martella, GE’s Chief Sustainability Officer; and Ivano Iannelli, Head of Sustainability at Emirates Global Aluminium.
They discussed a number of technologies and other enablers to support an equitable energy transition that meets the needs of the planet, while also expanding energy access to more people and enabling emerging economies to continue their economic development.
Whatever the energy pathway forward, and even when renewable energy will provide the vast majority of new generating capacity, there will still be a need for dispatchable fast power, such as provided by gas turbine technology. This is necessary, not only to meet unexpected emergencies but also to ensure grid stability and quality, given the large role to be played by variable renewable energy generation.
The discussion made clear that while policy incentives are necessary to drive the progress required to meet global decarbonization goals, those incentives will look different in different countries, depending on their energy situation and level of development.
What must be universal, however, is building resilience into energy systems, with a big focus on upgrading the grid, in part through digitization. Digitization is not only key to resilience by helping operators prepare and plan for a wide range of operating scenarios, including the variability of renewables, but also by helping them leverage predictive maintenance to maximize the uptime of grid assets.
The panelists also addressed technologies such as carbon capture use and sequestration (CCUS) and green hydrogen – technologies that can help decarbonize heavy industries, such as aluminum smelting. They also can be used in power generation, whether that is blending hydrogen with natural gas for lower emissions, or using CCUS to capture CO2 and thereby creating power plants with no emissions.
GE Gas Power is developing pilot projects in the United States and Australia to operate commercial power plants with a hydrogen blend.
Ultimately, to achieve the decarbonization of the energy sector, it will take partnership among all stakeholders, including technology providers such as GE, industrial players like EGA, government and policy makers, and other players in the sectors, such as utilities.
To view this 25-minute discussion, click the link below.