Energy has always been one of the foundations of human prosperity. In recent years, many countries have begun to “decarbonize” their electric power grids, replacing coal-fired power plants with a combination of natural gas and renewable energy.
As coal and nuclear retirements continue, natural gas becomes more important – it’s now the No. 1 fuel source of electricity in the U.S., and global demand is escalating. Advanced class gas turbines run with lower cost and lower emissions, and because these turbines also ramp up and down significantly faster and turn down to lower power levels, utilities and independent power producers have greater flexibility.
Low cost clean energy is altering conventional business models, and as it reaches higher penetration levels in front of and behind the meter, it is altering the grid itself. Solar and wind power give power generators and consumers an affordable new option when producing and purchasing electricity, but also create new challenges in dealing with intermittency.
Hydrogen represents a multifaceted breakthrough in the making. It supports solar and wind power which need to be supplemented when the sun’s not shining or the wind’s not blowing. Hydrogen is currently being validated as a carbon-free energy source in the latest gas turbines.
As everything becomes intelligent and electrified, power producers are able to be proactive as never before. Devices and entire power plants will monitor themselves, comparing historical and real-time performance data to predict failures and avoid expensive unplanned downtime.
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