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⚡"The 'Three Ds' Driving the Energy Transition"

Renewable Energy SmartPod

Photo by israel palacio / Unsplash

Host: Sean McMahon
Guest: Bob Yeager | President | Emerson’s Power & Water Solutions
Category: ⚡ Renewable Energy

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[3:53] “I like to put [the driving forces of the energy transition] in basically three categories. It's decarbonization, […] decentralization, and digital transformation. So we know that with all the regulatory issues around the world, and the negativity towards carbon, the decarbonization of the global generating infrastructure is and continues to be a high priority. And it's creating some really good things and some not so good things. And then decentralization as that decarbonization occurs, we're transitioning from […] these massive amounts of spinning metal for maybe a 1,000 megawatt coal unit or an 800 megawatt combined cycle unit to distributed energy and micro grids. That could be maybe a gas turbine, but wind and solar, That creates some issues with respect to reliability and just grid distribution. And then digital transformation as there's more complexity in the grid, and maintain in the grid and the bi-directional flow of electricity, there's more of a need for software, and analytics that we've seen dramatically increase in the last two or three years.”

[5:22] “I would say they're all equally important. But certainly, the decentralization is creating a lot of interesting grid dynamics, because […] the grid is very sensitive to frequency. So in the United States, that grid has to run pretty much at 60 Hertz. […] If the frequency varies too much, some bad things happen. You can get equipment damage, there's a lot of trip circuits that go into effect and the result can be brownouts or rolling blackouts that we've seen in the United States recently. So, there's one thing that keeps the grid stable, and that's inertia. And inertia is basically the instantaneous conversion of rotational energy to electricity. And that's great for fossil fuels […] . But in wind and solar, for example, […] there's really no inertia […] and there isn't this massive dampening effect on the grid. So as more and more renewables come into play, it creates issues with frequency and ultimately, grid reliability.

[7:02] “On the front page of The Wall Street Journal today […] it says “Coal shortages weigh on global economics”. The issue is, as the economy recovers, and there's more demand for electricity, the fact is that about 40% of the world's terawatt hour consumption still comes from coal, and maybe a little less than that from gas. So you have these enormous amounts of fossil fuel generation driving the economy. And what's happened and just in the last six months, because of this surging demand, coal prices have tripled. […] So this decarbonization effect while it's good for CO2 can have hidden effects on the economy and reliability. So that is […] I believe one of the biggest challenges we face: how do you balance decarbonization […] with global economics.

[10:27] “If you just think about CO2 emissions by country, China […] emit[s] 11 million kilo tons of CO2 per year. […] The US about 5 million kilotons, India about 2.5. But interestingly, if you look at it per capita, the US is about 16 metric tons per person and China is only about 7. […] Also, if you look at megawatts on the ground installed per 1,000 people, that's the generation available, US about 3 megawatts per 1000, China 1. So you have this […] push for decarbonization on one hand, but […] in these emerging markets like China, they need the electricity. […] So they're still building coal units, Southeast Asia, still building coal units. So you have this […] natural flashpoint there between decarbonization globally and the demand and need for electricity.”

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 36 min | 🗓️ 10/12/2021
✅ Time saved: 34 min