Clean, Cheap and Reliable – the new paradigm for renewable energy
Published on 4th June 2018
Senior Director, WTG Sales Management Asia Pacific at Vestas
Any talk of a hybrid solution must be discussed in the context of the problems it will solve; problems such as the intermittent nature of wind and solar generation, low capacity utilization of electrical infrastructure, or the difficulties around predicting and dispatching some renewable generation. These problems are interrelated and their importance depends on market conditions, regulation, site-climatic conditions and even on the specific preferences of a plant’s owner and operator. It gets confusing and blurry. I see this as the third paradigm of renewables.
The first paradigm of renewable energy was effectively just that: delivering renewable energy. The second paradigm evolved to deliver “cheap” renewable energy. Renewable energy auctions are the new normal in most markets and, on average, renewables are now on par with conventional energy sources. Now, we’re ready for the third paradigm, which is to deliver cheap renewable energy, and to do that in a predictable, reliable, dispatchable way, just like everybody else in the power sector.
That is where the boundaries of the renewable energy industry start to be irrelevant. We effectively become the energy industry, displacing nuclear and carbon-intensive fossil fuel generation, enabling the final step in the transition to a sustainable energy system - both in terms of a climatic and economic impact on society. It is now possible to build both healthy economies and sustainable societies simultaneously. All the pieces are now in place – clean, cheap and reliable.