EEI Destination 2050 Dialogues
Thoughts from Dave Carroll, Chief Renewables Officer, ENGIE North America.
I was honored to participate on an EEI Panel recently as part of the Destination 2050 series of events in preparation for COP 26.
The panel focused on decarbonization “moonshots”. While “moonshots” often imply innovation into completely uncharted territory, the panel chose to focus on the tremendous opportunity to support the energy transition by capitalizing more rapidly and consistently implementing technologies and approaches that already exist to the uncharted territory of a net zero carbon economy.
I shared thoughts on four areas:
- Pairing storage alongside new and existing renewable production
This will be key in achieving net-zero, using existing interconnections and helping to smooth intermittency allowing better matching of demand and supply at greater cost efficiency. ENGIE is already implementing paired storage and assessing further opportunities for storage alongside our development pipeline, including opportunities for 2GWh of storage in MISO and PJM. The “moonshot” will be providing grid stability and baseload capacity through a higher penetration of these “hybrid” locations.
- Investments in transmission infrastructure to better connect centers of production (including offshore wind) with centers of power demand
The current Infrastructure Bill is a step forward in recognizing the importance of our transmission system to effectively match demand and supply. Technology on the production end is introducing larger generation opportunities and faster deployment of modern transmission infrastructure will be key in unlocking that potential. The “moonshot” is recognizing that we need to fix the supply chain challenge that is the current grid.
- The development of green hydrogen to help accelerate hard to access end users in transport and industry
While electrification will be key to the transition of many sectors, hydrogen can unlock hard to get at sectors such as heavy transit and industrial demand. Green hydrogen can also provide an effective “battery”. using advances in electrolysis and adapting current technologies such as gas turbines unlocks a path to meet demand. The ‘moonshots” here include supportive government policies, early adoption by industry and collaborations such as the one between ENGIE and Anglo American to provide green hydrogen to power mining operations.
- Recognizing the role of renewables in communities
Both in job creation as well as neighbors. With an expected 500,000 to 600,000 new jobs in renewables by 2030 on top of the 400,000 existing, our sector is becoming a major part of local communities. Our investments in the skills and training needed to deliver the energy transition provide a unique opportunity to support local economic growth, especially in more rural communities where renewables will be neighbors for decades to come. At ENGIE our on-site staff are members of the community, and we are invested in seeing these communities thrive. This is a goal that the renewable energy industry is already delivering on and will continue to do so.