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The importance of a diverse energy grid

Tim Sasseen gives an overview of the three pillars and how they damage the energy grid.

The importance of a diverse energy grid

"Hi, I'm Tim Sasseen, Director of Market Development and Public Affairs for Ballard Power Systems. Ballard has been in the fuel cell and hydrogen industry for nearly 45 years, and we've been very encouraged by the growth of the industry at this important time of increased federal funding and increased industry acceptance. We are now at the forefront of a historic change in our energy system as we transition from carbon sources to carbon-free sources all across the United States. At the same time, we are challenged by the real present dangers and effects of climate change. We are faced with the double challenge of transitioning our energy systems at the same time that we're dealing with the effects of our older energy systems. Hydrogen is here to help. In fact, that's what hydrogen does best. Hydrogen is the zero-emission common currency of energy, and hydrogen flexibility is what makes it so important at this time. Our ability to capture and intrinsically store energy from wind, solar, and nuclear generation, from renewable, fossil, and biogenic sources, and to move it to where it is needed when it is needed, is absolutely critical.

We know that the grid is strained today. Interconnection queues are backing up. Meanwhile, wildfire dangers in California and tragically fires erupting in Hawaii point to weaknesses in a grid-centered approach for distributing energy. Hydrogen is here to help. Hydrogen allows that energy to be collected in places where it's too dangerous to put in the grid or to where grid infrastructure might be too difficult to maintain, and allows it to be used in a way that we want it to use it when we want it for our zero-carbon energy system. We need, at this time, to give the maximum flexibility to those who operate the grid, who operate fleets, and who manage these energy systems so that they can adapt as these new loads are coming on. Charging sources such as EV fleets are going to be strange and new loads for the grid, coming on at times when it's operationally needed and not only when it's most convenient or when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing and collected when those sources are in abundance and not curtailed. We know that we will need to provide at least twice the amount of energy served on the grid today to also electrify transportation.

Right now, the grid is at best 50% renewable in the best places, which means we will need at least four times the renewables that we have in place today within the next couple of decades. That makes the question of additionality of renewables really a short-term problem. Every bit of renewable energy that we have to add on to decarbonize is going to be used and accounted for, and talking about the existing renewable energy that's available today, that small fraction of it, is really what additionality amounts to, and that's just restricting the choices that we need at a time when we have so much volatility and dynamics coming into our energy systems. It's therefore extremely important that we allow the people that are operating our grid and making it stronger for us to keep industry and our residences running to truly be able to exploit all that hydrogen can do for us as an energy carrier and a zero-carbon solution at a time when resilience will be imperative. Please join the US Hydrogen Alliance in voicing your opposition to additionality to pillars or other efforts to hold back hydrogen through bureaucratic tricks and to make your support for carbon-free hydrogen to your state and federal policymakers known. Thank you very much."

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