April 06, 2020

Major sustainability impact via renewable power

Renewable Power

Paradigm Shift in Real Time

Globally, there is increased interest and investment in sustainable forms of energy via commercialized renewable power technologies such as solar (thermal and photovoltaics), wind, biomass, geothermal, and other viable sources that are at the center stage.  As part of the definitive pathways towards de-carbonization, investors, lenders, market players, and policymakers are increasingly becoming aware of the need for flexibility in the energy value and supply chain.  This key area is a critical market segment wherein renewable power technologies are expected to play an important role in both front of-the-meter (FTM) and behind-the-meter (BTM) applications.  Accordingly, renewable power is an attractive option to power generators, process plants, commercial and industrial (C&I), institutional, and residential facilities in reducing overall carbon footprint.

Key Drivers and Fundamentals

In terms of modes of service, namely, continuous duty, baseload, peaking, and cycling are important market segments for renewable power to capture and eventually displace conventional (hydrocarbon based) generation.  This will lead to higher reliability, availability, maintainability (RAM) and overall utilization of the energy system assets and infrastructure.  In addition, this further translates into a lower risk of overcapacity and higher average revenues along the entire energy value and supply chain covering generation, transmission, and distribution.  There are continual advances in renewable power technology innovation, and reductions in capital, operating, and lifecycle costs, as well as in the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE).  Accordingly, a key market driver for renewable power is to increase dispatchability thereby allowing revenue “stacking” from energy arbitrage and ancillary services offered to the grid.  This is especially valid as renewable power sources with storage are becoming competitive with open-cycle gas turbines operating in the peaking mode.

Nexant Focus on Sustainability

Nexant is preparing a new report, “Renewable Power” as part of the Biorenewable Insights (BI) program. The upcoming BI report will focus on both dispatchable and non-dispatchable renewable power, and will include commercialized technologies (with technology readiness level TRL>8), with global perspective and coverage (not just United States) as well as behind-the-meter (BTM) applications covering process plants and C&I facilities (not just electric grid).  In addition, as applicable, commercialized technologies to be covered include solar (PV and concentrating solar), wind, biomass (burning or gas turbines based on fuels from gasification, biogas, and landfill), hydro (high dam, river-run, and tidal), geothermal, and other (e.g., wave, piezoelectric, etc.).  As an overview, this BI report will: provide an introduction to renewable power, define pathways, review technologies and applications, assess scenarios, trends and opportunities in the market, evaluate the costs and techno-economics, and provide definitive case studies.  The BI report will not include commercial nuclear power due to fuel rod-related concerns and issues.

The Biorenewable Insights (BI) program provides in-depth evaluations and reliable data on the technology, cost competitiveness and business developments of biorenewable chemicals and fuels. BI was created in response to the increasing activity in this industry segment in recent years, including entrances and exits of players, emergence and commercialization of new technologies, feedstocks, product types, as well as growing interest from companies in the oil, chemical, financial and other sectors.  For additional details, refer to

The Authors

Ron Cascone – Principal, Nexant

Pat Sonti – Senior Consultant, Nexant

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