Rome - Embassy of Finland in Italy and Wärtsilä Corporation hosted a “Smart Energy Future Seminar ” in Rome, Italy on June 18, 2019. The event focused on analysing how renewable energy is changing the existing electricity market in Italy and how the country can build a path towards a 100% renewable energy future. The world is in the middle of a huge energy transition towards more sustainable and modern energy systems.
Along with the constant increase in energy demand and falling technology prices, the renewables will become the new baseload in energy generation, permanently changing the power system. Renewables are intermittent in nature, requiring the existing inflexible baseload capacity, like coal and nuclear, to be supported by modern flexible generation assets. Without fast - starting flexible capacity, renewables will cause instability to the grid and hug e difficulties for grid operators. Wärtsilä is leading the power industry’s transition as an energy system integrator: “In the 100% renewables world, the majority of the energy produced will be from solar and wind power -, said Melle Kruisdijk, Vice President, Europe, Wärtsilä Energy Business. - The required operational flexibility and reliability will be provided by engines and energy storage technology. The technologies required to achieve this vision are already available, and it makes not only environmental but also economic sense to increase the share of renewables.” Already today, renewables - solar PV and wind in particular, constitute a major share of the total power generated in a number of markets. The transition to renewable energy is, however, being slowed down by the existing inflexible thermal capacity.
Wärtsilä’s flexible power generation solutions provide the required operational flexibility to maximise the renewable generation and increasing the share of renewables in the power system.The National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) sets ambitious targets for Italy to further increase the share of renewable energy sources in the powe r system and to reduce emissions. The target is to double the wind power generation and triple the solar power generation compared to current status in 2019. Coal will be phased - out by 2025, significantly cutting the CO2 emissions. In addition, 5 GW of additional energy storage capacity is envisioned to come online to provide frequency regulation and time shifting of renewable energy: “By 2030, Italy targets to have 32% of final energy consumption of renewable origin and reduce CO 2 emissions by 40% compared to 1990 levels -, said Marco Golinelli, Senior Manager, Business Development, Wärtsilä Energy Business. - Italy, with already more than 35% of electricity coming from renewable sources, is one of the leading countries in the transition towards renewable power systems.” Wärtsilä supports Italy in building the optimal path to reach these targets by doing power system modelling and assets optimisation.
The power system modelling aims to understand the operation and fundamentals of power systems and quantify system level benefits of different power plants to find an optimal capacity mix with optimised system total cost. The detailed modelling includes a full scale long-term chronological dispatch model as well as dynamic parameters and operational reserves.
The development of the Italian power system poses a great challenge in terms of renewable integration, curtailment reduction and providing the Italian people with affordable and reliable electricity: “The preliminary modelling results show a clear value for flexible capacity in the Italian system” - said Jan Andersson, Senior Analyst, Market Development, Wärtsilä Energy Business - “While installing the planned capacities of wind, solar and battery energy storage, the Italian power system requires 5-7 GW of additional flexible gas - fired power generation capacity. The results also indicate a 400 MEUR annual system cost reduction, equalling 2.5% of total system cost, which mainly comes from better utilisation of renewable energy and non-spinning reserve provision. The lowest system cost is achieved with 6 GW of new flexible capacity.” The energy transition is happening right now, also in Italy, and renewables will become the new baseload sooner than we think. Renewable energy is reliable, affordable and sustainable when it is combined with fast-starting flexible energy generation assets. We have all the potential today to build a path towards renewable energy systems. The “Smart Energy Future Seminar” brought together energy professionals, policy and decision makers, and representatives of authorities, institutes and industry. Among the presenters were Davide Crippa, Under Secretary, Ministry of Development and Janne Taalas, Ambassador of Finland in Italy.