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Delivering Decarbonization: Turning Goals into Actions on the Ground

“Decarbonization is at the top of all our customers’ agendas,” said Yasin Kasirga, Business Development Leader for Decarbonization Strategy & Partnerships with GE Gas Power for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Whether driven by environmental, social and governance (ESG) goalsetting, sustainability mandates from company boards, or net-zero policy and regulatory actions, the customers of GE Vernova – our portfolio of energy businesses – are looking to understanding how they can decarbonize their assets, Kasirga said. These include independent power producers, utilities, national or international oil companies, and other industrial businesses especially hard-to-abate sectors like aluminum smelters.

There are many technologies and solutions available to meet the different needs of diverse industries and regions, given factors such as natural resources (sun, wind, hydro, fossil fuels), land availability, regulatory framework, state of economic development, and infrastructure.


Carbon intensity

Decarbonization, which Kasirga defined as reducing the carbon emissions of each kilowatt hour of electricity produced or the carbon intensity of manufacturing for a given unit of output, has many solutions.

Examples which would not only help decarbonize as fast as possible but also address the everyday increasing electricity demand, include fuel switching from coal or liquids to gas, simple cycle to combined cycle conversions, increasing the efficiency of existing power generation assets, and eliminating gas flaring and using the flare gas captured to produce electricity.

More broadly, other GE Vernova solutions include onshore and offshore wind, battery electric storage, pumped hydroelectric storage, solar PV, hydroelectricity, small modular nuclear reactors, and direct air capture, a technology for which GE has just announced a major advance.

For gas-fired power generation, Kasirga’s current area of focus, there are two pathways: pre-combustion decarbonization, switching to low carbon / no carbon fuels such as hydrogen, ammonia and biofuels, or post-combustion decarbonization, such as carbon capture, which catches the CO2 before it goes up to the atmosphere and then utilizes or sequesters it underground.

Technology, including carbon capture and hydrogen fuel, is ready for implementation and successful demonstrations are taking place in some pilot projects around the world, however there still remains the missing combination of “commercial & policy motive” due to lack of carbon pricing, lack of incentives resulting customers in different countries having different pace for embracing these solutions.

Kasirga added, “As for any market being established, there will be early adopters and first movers and the more we have project implementations; the more first of a kind and second of a kind projects completed, the more the others will see that it is happening, these technologies are real, that they are being materialized and that they are also bankable. Then, people will really begin to lean into them.”


‘Probably the biggest challenge ever’

While acknowledging the importance for more implementation, he said progress on decarbonization can really benefit from policy and regulatory action.

“Time is not an ally since the world is running out of the global carbon budget every day to limit global warming within Paris Agreement threshold. To shift and transform the way we work and build the real incentives to support our customers to be able to decarbonize,” he said, “you have to look at what policies and regulatory incentives are being developed or in place to facilitate the steps required to timely tackle the climate change which is probably the biggest challenge we are facing ever.”



Another aspect of the energy transition that does not get enough attention is the grid. With electrification set to play a critical role in decarbonizing transport, heating, industrial manufacturing and other sectors, demand on transmission and distribution infrastructure will grow significantly, he said. Combined with the dramatic increase in supply from intermittent wind and solar power, a smart, robust and resilient grid is an essential component of a successful transition.

“As has been said: ‘There is no transition without transmission’,” noted Kasirga.


Oil and gas understand

Perhaps unexpectedly, one industry that will play a significant role in decarbonization are oil and gas companies. “Much more than many others, our oil and gas customers understand the new world and the paradigm shift underway to a low-carbon, decarbonized future. Major energy exporting nations, too, understand this,” he said.

He pointed to the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, which seeks to derive 50% of energy supply from clean energy sources, and its related strategy to be one of the world’s top exporters of low-carbon hydrogen.

Oil and gas companies and countries will play a major role in advancing technologies such as hydrogen and carbon capture, he said, able to leverage their global reach, ability to implement complex projects, and decades-long history working with carbon and hydrogen.

“They know how to handle, transport and store these molecules, having been working with hydrogen in refining and with capturing and utilizing CO2 for enhanced oil recovery,” he said.


Designing the decarbonization journey

alongside customers, GE is helping build decarbonization roadmaps that identify technologies, timeframes for deployment, regulatory issues, land requirements, financing aspects and infrastructure needs and availability, Kasirga said.

For some customers, GE is currently conducting engineering studies as part of this planning, including front end engineering and design (FEED) studies. Other assessments include identifying how customers can monetize their decarbonization actions through mechanisms such as certified carbon credits.

“A lot of work goes into building and crafting these decarbonization roadmaps to determine what needs to be done under what timeframe, alongside the financing, technology and implementation part, all developed with our customers and many other partners in the value chain to enable them to pursue their decarbonization goals.”

The process is exhaustive and involves coordination and partnership, Kasirga said, but GE is committed, and all the efforts are part of building a world that works to achieve the energy transition.

Read more here about how GE supports the energy transition and decarbonization across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkiye region.

Business: Energy

Country: MENA

Keywords: Carbon Capture, Decarbonization, energy transition, Engineering, Hydrogen, oil and gas, Roadmap

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