It is not just replacing energy sources; it is all about solution renewal end-to-end and that needs innovation
Within the energy transition, we must not lose sight of the final consumer. The final consumer of energy is going to be the ultimate arbitrator.
As we seek to make a change in any energy supply or solution, we need to continually ask those basic questions innovators should always do. Has what we are offering greater utility and flexibility? Is the alternative more connected, more informative, and helpful? Does it provide better value than the existing solution? Simply, what is in it for me?
These are the connecting points to the end-user. They “feel” the value of the energy transition in benefit; in energy security, increased choices, and greater involvement in handling their own energy costs and local energy design choices, they see the “effect of change.”
The nature of the energy landscape will require the transformation of businesses, the push to find and develop new market dynamics and embrace government policy and regulations in an orderly and planned way. Still, above all, it needs to offer value, appeals, and that “compelling” reason to make a change.
This “transformational mix of new energy and solutions” gives rise to different innovation dimensions to explore, be these enabling technologies, new business models, different market designs, and changes in the methods of system operation that make up a broader innovation ecosystem of solutions.
Innovation can accelerate progress, especially at the user-end point.
A very critical piece of the energy transition puzzle is the necessary focus on the end-user sectors of how we work, live, and be connected to the need for energy change. It is the transport, industry, and buildings we “interact” with that make energy transitions real. We want to see what different energy provides.
Otherwise, any transition is a “hard sell” Here, it is the combination of new system designs and ways to operate, combined with technological innovation. We need to achieve the most pressing need to undertake greater energy efficiency and effectiveness at the consumption end of energy.
The increased electrification of these end-user sectors of transport, buildings, and industry are providing new designs for energy systems to operate can give increased reliability, lower costs, and greater efficiency.
Many of the energy solutions being offered are placing an increased emphasis on digitalization. This provides the system design to be managed on a more decentralized and democratized participation. This data knowledge enables better control and management of our costs, choices, and uses.
These energy choices are beginning to break up previous monopolistic providers in power generation. Passing the judgments of energy design closer to the end-user has the exciting prospect that allows us, as energy users, to potentially participate in the energy market.
We are moving more towards having a choice in our energy supply, and a growing opportunity to sell off excess energy if we chose to self-generating our energy, an option unthinkable until recently. The changes are transforming energy management as the end-user is potentially becoming very engaged in the whole transformation of their energy.
The end-user market of transport, buildings, and in our own energy consumption is predicted to be making a shift of their primary energy supply. Energy will shift from fossil fuel to renewables. The change is significant, from the present 15% of renewable energy to 65% by 2050.
The share of Renewable power is expected to rise to 85% by 2050 (source: Irena 2018 “Global energy transformation report”), and that adds the recognition that our energy is being sourced by sustainable and clean energy means.
The design of energy systems needs to bring closer to the end-user the utilization of mini-grids to enable greater flexibility and participation in energy co-operation between transmission and distribution system operators. These designs are building the two-way flow where excess energy can be delivered back to the grid.
The role of innovation is to translate the end-user need into reality within these sectors of transport, buildings, and end-user needs.
This rethinking design and innovations will involve changes in system designs to digitalize grid services, build more local and grid-scale energy storage, deploy significant charging solutions for electric vehicles.
Access to clean energy needs to be as transparent and energy availability on-demand, reliable, and abundant to our needs.
These innovations needed are galvanizing change; they are the catalysts of any change. Energy becomes one of increasingly managing the lifecycle design and transition, innovating end-to-end so energy is constant, affordable, and always available.
The end-user is becoming critical to “enable” the energy transition. Never forget in any rush for energy transitions; it is the consumer or customer who ultimately decides on making the change.
Our job, as innovators, need to always make the compelling reason for the change and help as best we can in any transition.