Innovation has the power to unlock the Energy Transition

The energy shifts undergoing in the energy transitions today are allowing real innovation opportunities when you survey the innovation landscape.

There is complexity in all the energy transitions going on. Still, it is the ones that can see the possibilities and ‘energize’ through new innovative solutions that hold the future in our hands to capitalize upon as fast as we can..

All we can predict is that the pace of innovation and energy transition will speed and then scale up to meet the needs of a world rapidly wanting to decarbonize, and the companies that are the investors in innovation will be the best placed to capitalize on this.

During the next ten to twenty years, we are in a race to transform our energy systems, one that moves from fossil fuel reliant to clean fuels based on renewable energy. Innovation is the catalyst for this.

We need to decarbonize and make energy greener.

The magnitude of realization of achieving deep decarbonization of our energy systems, the upending of fossil fuel reliance into renewables, and this undertaking of a complete energy system redesign is hard to comprehend within the time scales set.

What we do in the next ten years will determine if we can achieve the goals of reducing global warming by 2 percent by 2050. The cost of not achieving this will be significant for its impact on our lives if we do not attempt to undertake this.

The need is to allow time for new technologies to commercialize.

To undertake something like a global energy transition, you need time; time to figure it out, validate the options and pathways and then provide the necessary time to pilot, learn and then commercialize the (multiple) solutions to be scaled and applied. The cost of this transformation will eventually run into trillions of dollars.

The innovation aspect needs to gather momentum. Technologies are emerging based on several solution needs:

  • Ones that are grid edge in design, meaning more customer-facing and power-flow controls
  • Radically different storage technologies that can handle the variances in renewable of holding the supply of solar and wind generating energy as well as converting energy through electrolysis, hydrogen and synthetic fuels that serves the needs of mobility, heating, agriculture
  • The present gas and steam turbines need to be upgraded, optimized, converted and have applied hybrid solutions that combine different energy sources, various technologies that combine to provide mixed energy source power plants
  • The advancement of carbon capture techniques and carbon removal
  • Exploring next-generation nuclear fission and fusion
  • Finding different solutions that allow high-temperature superconductor transmission and solid-state transformers to be introduced increasingly into the energy system
  • We need to increase the transparency, reliability, and resilience through the application and use of sensors, monitoring, analytics, and self-learning systems to increase efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Finally, putting to use digitalization for machine and device connectivity, managing growing complexity in overall systems

Each of these initiatives “demands” new technology design.

They need to be economically viable and scalable and need to drive a clean energy transition and provide increasing systems flexibility

These new technologies need to break into the existing lifecycle of energy design to substitute incumbent solutions. The speed of development and deployment will be unprecedented for use to meet the climate goals, decarbonize the system, and change the fuel source.

Innovation is at the heart of the energy transition.

Innovation will be at the forefront of the energy transition; it will be both radical and full of breakthroughs to achieve the goals set to decarbonize our world.

Innovation is enabling technologies, offering new business models, market design, and system integration options in focusing on flexible solutions to overcome solar and wind variability, provide increased system flexibility, and allowing for reduced total system cost.

Innovation is playing a significant role in facilitating the integration of the emerging new renewable energy system providing new opportunities to explore and evolve:

1).  For new business models, where new services, enhancing the system’s flexibility, and providing the incentivizing of further integration models can play there part.

2). Then we have the consequence of any innovation change, in energy source and delivery, and that is in market design innovation. Regulations, policies, new incentives for value-adding services are building new business opportunities that give a new breed of energy players, including a new set of infrastructure investors, the opportunities to support and gain from the new introduction of solutions.

3). Lastly, the innovating models for operating in the electricity system can give a different way to share the value out of managing this VRE generation. It opens up the market to a whole new range of energy providers, including, you as a net contributor back to the energy grid with the right approach to usage, storage, and generation from your renewable technology stack of solutions.

Innovation solutions are both supply-sided and demand-sided

Innovation is working on both the supply-side in finding the new flexible solution but on the demand-side as well. Just providing two significant examples where innovation can transform parts of the energy system:

The Grid is offering real potential to different innovative solutions. The need for a growing range of flexible solutions to reduce the dependencies on large centralized grids offers a transformational set of opportunities. Network Grids that are more downstream or even operate at the edge, closer to final demand, enable energy to achieve a closer match for the generation and response to consumer demand. Also, the more variable generation having a more distributed grid provides increased flexibility in storage and new grid operations. From these new grid designs, Energy Utilities can deliver solutions that interconnect the systems to be more flexible and deploy digital solutions that support increasing effectiveness and coverage, closer to users to offer improved services.

Storage through advancing battery-scale solutions and the power-to-x solutions is also offering a completely different range of options for demand-side management. As designs become more optimized, the distribution of energy gets closer to the markets and the ability to aggregate distributed energy resources to match and design the grid services for giving the need consumer that flexibility by taking out the variability of renewables.

Within these two examples, Innovation through new technology application becomes the catalyst to the changes we need within the Energy Transition. Are you unlocking its power to transform?

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