In 2021, the share of renewable energy increased worldwide by 8 percent and now accounts for almost one-third of annual global electricity consumption. China, India, the U.S. and the EU are all making progress, but there are major hurdles that prevent us from relying solely on these power sources.
For one, wind and solar energy are intermittent. We currently do not have the ability to effectively store surplus electricity from these sources for distribution on overcast and windless days.
For another, power grids were designed for a steady supply of electricity to avoid power blackouts. This is why natural gas, which burns cleaner than other fossil fuels, is an important part of the solution as a reliable complement to renewable energy.
The truth is that the expansion of renewables is not possible without expanding the use of bridge technologies, such as hydrogen-capable gas turbines, and if every coal plant right now switched to natural gas, it would cut CO2 emissions in half.
Moreover, gas turbines from Siemens Energy are already capable of running on 75 percent green hydrogen when the infrastructure for climate-neural fuels eventually fall into place. By 2030, gas turbines from the company will be 100 percent hydrogen ready. But until then, we need solutions that can have an immediate impact today.
Every step toward being “greener” is better than not taking any steps, and better than waiting for perfect solutions. So, while we continue to put more and more renewables into the system, let’s use what we already have to make a difference.