If I was to make one prediction for the next couple of decades, it would be that the future as we know it will be centred around renewable energy.
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), power from solar, wind and other renewables currently make up a fifth of global energy production, and it is growing faster than any other source.
While the fact that renewables are a clean and emission-free source of energy is undeniable, the rapid adoption of renewable energy, globally, is also based on sheer economics. Thanks to advances in technology, the costs of renewable energy production have come down dramatically, making it a preferred alternative to more conventional energy sources. According to IRENA, there has been a 75% drop in the cost of electricity produced by solar energy since 2009, while the cost of wind turbines has come down by half in the same period.
This has caused utilities around the world to aggressively adopt renewables in their energy production mix, or risk losing out on the next big revolution in the energy market. They are also seeking ways and means to back up renewable energy power generation with flexible generation and energy storage. This is crucial to ensuring that the transition to clean energy takes place smoothly. Energy systems integrators like Wärtsilä can help by providing smart solutions that can help energy producers make the switch safely, securely and profitably. This is also the goal behind Wärtsilä’s Smart Energy Vision to help our customers transition to a 100% renewable energy future by designing, building and providing them with complete solutions and services across the entire energy generation lifecycle.
To do this, Wärtsilä has employed a host of cutting-edge technologies including smart, flexible engine power plants, futureproof energy storage solutions and advanced software based on machine learning that can help continuously optimise energy generation from start to finish. Our flexible power generation systems can automatically adjust to weather conditions, store excess power and offer the ability to go offline and restart quickly, multiple times a day. Thanks to digitalisation, remote sensors and artificial intelligence (AI), this is possible at a rate of efficiency that is unheard of in more traditional systems. With these, we are able to support our customers over the lifecycle of their installations with services and solutions that enable increased efficiency and guarantee performance.
Over the next few years, I see market forces continuing to push unprofitable and inflexible baseload generation out while embracing more cost-effective solutions like renewables which will then become the new baseload. Wärtsilä is set to partner with its customers every step of the way as we build a 100% renewable energy future together.
Energy Business & Executive Vice President