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- Karim Amin
The decarbonization of the power sector will transform the role of thermal assets. Increasing renewable penetration will reduce the need for thermal generation. At the same time, thermal plants will remain necessary in the medium term to back up variable renewables and ensure supply security. How will decarbonization impact thermal plants’ operation and business? How will new developments allow conventional thermal technologies (hydrogen, carbon capture, bioenergy) to remain part of a low-carbon power system?
Historically, the energy industry has been good at reinventing itself and at deploying new technologies, such as unconventional oil/gas production, ultradeepwater development, and solar PV. More recently, the energy industry has been quick to embrace a wide spectrum of digital technologies. However, according to the IEA, in 2050, almost half of CO2 emission reductions will need to come from technologies that are currently prototypes or being demonstrated. What are the most promising technologies and how can these innovations be rapidly deployed at a gigaton scale? Which digital and energy technologies have the biggest potential to contribute to meeting sustainability and net-zero goals? What are the potential options to solve the intermittency of renewable power and make it fully competitive with fossil-based generation?