As the world shifts towards cleaner energy, the role of hydrogen as a backup for intermittent renewables is gaining prominence. Centrica’s CEO, Chris O’Shea, advocates for emissions-free hydrogen-fired generation to provide reliable, dispatchable, and climate-friendly electricity when renewable sources falter.
Intermittent renewable sources, such as wind and solar, have proven their potential in decarbonizing energy generation. However, the challenge lies in ensuring continuous power supply when weather conditions limit their output. Chris O’Shea, the chief executive of Centrica, believes that hydrogen is the most optimal fuel to address this issue. In a LinkedIn blog, he highlights how emissions-free hydrogen-fired generation can serve as a reliable and climate-friendly solution to complement intermittent renewables.
One of the key advantages of hydrogen lies in its high-density storage capabilities with a low-carbon footprint. Hydrogen can be stored efficiently, and when needed, it can produce electricity for sustained periods, providing grid stability and support during low renewable generation.
While battery storage is an economical and effective solution for short-term energy storage, it falls short when it comes to long-term requirements. Batteries can charge and discharge electrons for limited periods, making them inadequate for extended backup during events like catastrophic wildfires. In contrast, hydrogen offers the potential for long-term energy storage through tanks or pipelines, providing a continuous and reliable supply.
Green hydrogen, produced from wind and solar electrons, holds promise as a sustainable alternative to traditional hydrogen sources. The costs of green energy have seen an impressive 85% drop over a decade, but the focus now is on achieving economies of scale for electrolyzers, which play a crucial role in green hydrogen production.
Hydrogen-based power storage solutions are becoming more affordable, particularly with the 30% credit from the U.S. government. With a return on investment in 10-15 years and the assurance of continuous power supply without contributing to carbon emissions, customers are finding peace of mind in adopting hydrogen systems.
While hydrogen shows great promise, it is crucial to strike a balance between renewables and hydrogen in the energy landscape. Continual advancements in technology and economies of scale will be essential to drive the widespread adoption of hydrogen as a long-term storage solution.
As the energy industry strives for a sustainable future, hydrogen emerges as a key player in supporting and backing up intermittent renewable sources. With the potential for long-term storage and a reduced carbon footprint, hydrogen offers a greener and more reliable path toward a carbon-neutral energy landscape.