Cornerstone - Winter 2014 - (Page 1)
F R OM THE EDI TOR
Finding Common Ground
enewables and coal are the two fastest growing forms of energy today.
The growth of these energy sources is particularly prominent in developing
countries, where most expansion in electricity capacity is occurring. Coal and
renewables often require less upfront investment, less infrastructure, and are more
widely distributed globally than other energy options, making them ideal choices
for regions that need to add electricity capacity in the near term.
Coal and renewable energy systems can be integrated in such a way that the advantages of each energy source can be more fully harnessed. For instance, coal and
biomass cofiring and cogasification, the most widespread combinations practiced
today, allow for larger, more cost-effective plants than would be possible with only
biomass, but a smaller carbon footprint than would be possible using coal without carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS). In fact, there are many more
examples of optimized systems in which renewable and coal energy systems could
be optimally integrated.
Executive Editor, Cornerstone
The main issues facing increased integration of coal and renewable energy systems are not technical. Instead, they are generally institutional. Advocates for such
integration are few and far between. However, some of the advantages are worth
consideration: Integration can produce more power than a standalone renewable
plant and can be an enabling technology to get high-cost renewables, such as unconventional geothermal and concentrated solar power, deployed in the near term. Yet
such projects are generally not included under renewable portfolio standards or
clean energy standards. In addition, negative net greenhouse gas emissions, which
can be achieved through cofiring coal and biomass with CCS, are often not recognized by emissions trading schemes.
The deployment of renewables is already changing the operation of coal-fired
power plants; tomorrow's plants will need to be smarter and more responsive than
those of the past. As is being demonstrated by Germany's fleet of coal-fired power
plants, rapid turndown to 25-40% of full capacity as well as rapid ramping is now
not just possible, but has become standard operating procedure.
Recently, low-carbon energy production from coal took a major step forward with
the commencement of operation of SaskPower's Boundary Dam project. This
monumental CCUS project is now demonstrating that low-carbon coal is within our
grasp. As coal and renewables grow globally, improved integration and efficiency
as well as deployment of CCUS can ensure that coal and renewables can both contribute to decreasing the carbon footprint of the energy sector without sacrificing
reliability, energy security, and eventually cost. Further demonstration, development, and deployment will be necessary to reduce costs, which emphasizes why
increased integration of coal and renewables must find support within the global
energy discussion today.
This issue of Cornerstone offers a wide range of articles that discuss the many areas
in which coal and renewables do and could intersect. On behalf of the editorial
team, I hope you enjoy it.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Cornerstone - Winter 2014
From the Editor: Finding Common Ground
Cover Story: The Energy Frontier of Combining Coal and Renewable Energy Systems
The Rise of Electricity: Offering Longevity,
Improved Living Standards, and a Healthier Planet
Understanding the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiativeand Storage
Developing Country Needs Are Critical
to a Global Climate Agreement
The Flexibility of German Coal-Fired
Power Plants Amid Increased Renewables
Toward Carbon-Negative Power Plants
With Biomass Cofiring and CCS
Evolution of Cleaner Solid Fuel Combustion
Making Coal Flexible:
Getting From Baseload to Peaking Plant
Geothermal Assisted Power Generation
for Thermal Power Plants
Shenhua’s Development of Digital Mines
Direct Carbon Fuel Cells: An Ultra-Low
Emission Technology for Power Generation
Exploring the Status of Oxy-fuel
Technology Globally and in China
Volume 2 Author Index
Cornerstone - Winter 2014
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