One year on since the Barakah Nuclear Plant began generation, the conversation around decarbonisation and the race to net-zero has continued to gain traction.
Arabian Business caught up with Stefan Kranz, global industry lead for power generation, KROHNE Group, to understand his global industry perspective.
How would you describe decarbonisation and why do we need to decarbonise the power sector in this region?
The main greenhouse gas in the power sector is CO2. It is produced be the combustion of fossil fuels which is mainly gas and oil in this sector. To understand the mechanics better we should imagine a triangle with the energy demand at one side, the amount of fossil fuels on the other side and the GHG emissions on the third side.
In general, decarbonisation in the energy sector can be achieved by increasing efficiencies in the energy production, for example be replacing open cycle plants by combined cycle plants or the utilisation of unused heat from the power production. At the other side of the triangle the share of renewable power generation can be increased. These measures help to reduce the GHG emissions.
As experts on the ground, we need to be both the advisors and executors collaborating with the relevant stakeholders, whether governmental or private sector. Ultimately everyone involved wants the best resolution for the planet.
What is your assessment of the current efforts in this region to meet Net-Zero goals in the power sector?
The main driver is the LCOE (levelised cost of electricity) generation. The cost for renewable electricity generation is decreasing and with increasing gas prices renewables are getting even more attractive, helping even the laggards become more interested in making the change.
We are seeing the first projects have been executed or are being commissioned, with further projects in the pipeline. For example the Noor Energy 1 - Dubai, UAE project with is a 950 MW Hybrid plant consisting of two solar trough and one power tower CSP plant and in addition a Photo Voltaic plant. The Hatta Wind power project in UAE, the Sudair PV 1.5 GW plant in Riyadh, KSA, or the Manah I & II solar project in OMAN with 1 GW.
All are key decarbonisation proofpoints and the world will be watching the Middle East closely for learnings they can roll out in other regions. In many ways even the most experienced in the field are learning and only through collaboration and knowledge sharing can we move with agility towards net zero.
What are the most cost-effective, time-efficient options for decarbonising existing assets?
Of course, the best options are going to be those energy efficient upgrades to existing infrastructure and the utilisation of unused energy like waste heat including the usage of industrial waste heat or gas which was formerly flared. The first steps are the least costly ones as they tackle what we might call the low hanging fruit similar to when one might go on a diet, the initial kilos are the easiest to shed.
As we go further with towards full decarbonisation, with the associated increasing share of renewables, both efforts and costs will rise, meaning we will need new and varied solutions from all parties.
I believe the hardest task for all entities at this point is how to measure the efficacy of the measures we take and to agree on global standards. When a company is able to display strong ESG credentials through transparent data sharing, they are able to attract the interest and investment from a wider field. My focus at this stage is on the measurement aspect and how we can contribute to this conversation for a clearer improvement by everyone.
What do you see as the most important requirements towards the instrumentation world regarding technology, digitalisation and artificial intelligence?
The requirements for instruments must adapt to the increased requirements of these new processes. Plants cycle more frequently and are also operated at lower loads, with new processes utilising molten salt or even sodium as an energy carrier.
The number of measuring points is increasing, with more accurate and reliable real time data required at lower costs for stable and reliable plant operation. We are also seeing different kinds of energy flows that need to be measured at the process boundaries like heat and cold.
What trends are you seeing in sustainable finance and what promise does it hold for the decarbonisaton of the power sector in this region?
The cost for renewable energy production is one of the lowest in this region. I am pleased to see that this in itself is accelerating renewable projects. I see the main challenge lies in the grid stabilisation measures.
These measures must also be made financially attractive in order to secure the grid stability as an important backbone for the industry. We have seen time and again in previous regulatory shifts that when the financial incentives are in place, business will follow.
As referenced above, we are also aware and increasingly involved in the measurement discussion. As investment opportunities increase in the sustainability arena, the microscope will sharpen on key aspects and, without the ability to demonstrate improvement in industrial processes, the energy transition and decarbonisation in general, the industry will lose funding.
KROHNE, as the trusted measurement partner to industry players of all sizes and geographies, is well-positioned to provide the necessary counsel to shape the analytical landscape of the near future.
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