Speeding Up Transition to Renewables Can Cut Power Generation Costs in Half, Says Wärtsilä

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by | Oct 7, 2021

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Wärtsilä, a Finish smart energy company, published a report Wednesday that suggests accelerated adoption of renewables can reduce electricity production costs by up to 50%.

The report, titled Front-Loading Net Zero, models Germany, India, and California — three markets with vastly different socio-economic dynamics, energy systems, and challenges — to demonstrate three different paths to 100% renewable power. It also offers case studies of Australia, Chile and the UK’s energy transitions, demonstrating that the technologies needed to achieve 100% renewable power systems are already available at scale around the world.

Wärtsilä outlines the benefits of an accelerating renewables adoption, including:

  • Significantly reducing electricity costs. India can halve its electricity costs by 2050, while California and Germany can cut costs by 17% and 8% by 2040 respectively.
  • Replacing high-pollution, high-cost coal-fired power plants with renewables.
  • Strengthening energy independence.
  • Achieving “colossal carbon savings,” avoiding trillions of dollars in projected climate damages.

Its five steps to front-loading net zero are the following:

  1. Add renewables.
  2. Add thermal balancing and storage.
  3. Phase out inflexible plants.
  4. Convert to sustainable fuels.
  5. Phase out fossil fuels.

Wärtsilä recommends transitioning as soon as possible, warning that power producers holding out for renewable technology costs to drop even further will put themselves at a competitive disadvantage, lagging behind early adopters and being harder hit as carbon pricing and other climate regulations kick in. 

Renewable energy sources are more financially stable than fossil fuels, whose market prices fluctuate with geopolitical and economic factors. They are also cheaper to construct and operate and require less maintenance. And they are more flexible than traditional, large power plants, responding to energy demand more precisely due to their decentralized nature. Battery storage guarantees reliability when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

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