Turbines convert the kinetic energy of a moving fluid – such as gases or steam – into mechanical energy through the rotation of a bladed rotor. This energy, then, drives a generator that produces electrical energy. The process is similar for wind or hydro power, where the fluid turning the turbine is the wind or water. The process were gas or steam turbines are used can also simultaneously provide heat.
Gas and steam turbines are well-proven technologies and key components of today’s and tomorrow’s energy system. The growing shares of variable renewables may compromise the stability of the energy system, increasing the need for flexible generation and storage solutions to ensure the reliability and flexibility of the system. Gas and steam turbines power plants provide flexible, dispatchable and efficient power and heat, independently from weather conditions.
While, at the moment, their operation is often connected to the use of fossil fuels – as the most available and common sources –, gas and steam turbines are not bound to a fuel. Their use in combination with renewable energy sources will increase as the shares of renewable gases and heat grows, guaranteeing the technology’s sustainability in the long-term.