[26] From energy efficiency to energy flexibility

Will we have thermal power stations in a low-carbon economy? If so, a number of conditions need to be in place (see [24]). What will be the economic performance of a biogas-fired, combined-cycle thermal power station? How will it compare to the cost of a variable renewable electricity power plant with an energy storage solution?

Today, beyond efficiency, flexibility is key for utilities to be profitable. Capacity remuneration mechanisms are naturally evolving from rewarding base load towards incentivising flexibility in all its forms.

[24] Efficiency is part of the licence to combust

For thermal power stations, the licence to operate will increasingly depend on a number of conditions, such as the use of renewable fuels, the efficient conversion of combustion energy into electricity, the use of residual heat through district heating systems, or carbon capture and storage.

Not all of these conditions need to be in place everywhere. We can easily imagine some winning combinations.