The 100 percent renewable energy future doesn’t start with a country, state or region. It starts with a city. One power plant in a city, in fact. In Glendale, California.

Glendale is a city of 200,000 people just north of Los Angeles. And in 2014, Glendale was in a tricky spot. The city’s natural-gas plant was old. The City Council faced a decision that would impact the municipality for decades to come: revamp the 252-megawatt gas plant or find local alternatives?

After modeling many different types of local resources, the city found the perfect mix: 75 megawatts of utility-scale storage; 15 megawatts of solar, efficiency and demand response; and 93 megawatts of Wärtsilä engines for backup reliability. It saved the city millions of dollars.

“And it’s just a huge win,” said David Millar, a resource planning consultant at Ascend Analytics, who helped model Glendale’s energy system, “and really, an important model for the future of energy.” 

In this episode, produced in collaboration with Wärtsilä, we look at the hidden hero of the 100 percent renewable future: power systems modeling.

This is the second in a three-part series produced in collaboration with Wärtsilä. You can listen to part one here.

As cities, states and countries make tough choices about cleaning up their power systems, they need to rely on sophisticated models. 

We’ll look at the experience of Glendale and then turn to Joe Ferrari, the general manager for utility market development at Wärtsilä North America. Ferrari is an expert on how utilities are planning for the 100 percent renewable energy future.

“The technology is there,”  said Ferrari. “It’s just understanding how to put all the pieces together.”

Wärtsilä creates smart, flexible power technologies to enable a cleaner grid and put the world on a path to 100 percent renewable energy. They’re helping clients worldwide meet their clean energy goals in an efficient and cost-effective way. Find out more.