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What are back-up energies and how will they shape the transition?

What are back-up energies and how will they shape the transition?

July 3, 2024
The current energy transition process, which aims to meet the objectives set out in the 2030 Agenda, will require so-called back-up energies. These are technologies that, in this transition period, contribute to guaranteeing security of supply. One example is natural gas.

Original article in Spanish: Expansión

They are called back-up because they function as system security in the face of the asynchrony of energy production characteristic of renewable energies, such as solar or wind energy, and in the face of instantaneous demand peaks.

These technologies include combined cycle plants, cogeneration with natural gas, pumped-storage hydroelectric plants and batteries. “Their main characteristics are their flexible capacity, their reliability and their ability to guarantee an adequate response time to the system operator’s requirements. Furthermore, we must not forget that in Spain we have a very large cycle generation park, which currently positions it as one of the most realistic and sustainable options,” says Ángel Crespo, CEO of MET Energía España.

Spain has a large natural gas infrastructure, as well as generation plants. Therefore, the guarantee of covering demand at specific times or providing stability to the system means that natural gas generation will play a leading role in the transition.

But what will happen next with these energies? “As we move forward with the ambitious deployment of renewable energies, the need to guarantee security of supply and grid stability will increase,” says Crespo. And, he adds, “as batteries play a more important role, the use of natural gas, which is essential today, will be reduced.”