The Energy Transition Needs A Structured Innovation Process

All of us are at present, caught up in the terrible spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). It is hard to think about other things when such societal and economic impact is hitting each of us every day.

In this period of such disruption, we do need to hang onto our beliefs, objectives, and goals, both short and long term. We are at a real point where we will be reshaping our economies, it is unlikely we will return to the ‘old’ normal.

Although we feel trapped in the present, worried over daily events and what they might mean, we must look beyond, we do need to look towards the future, to recognize there are challenges ahead but equally opportunities.

There is undoubtedly a time to find ways to come together. In recent years communities have become more polarized in their opinions, political positions, and choosing what to believe it. It is getting hard as truth is getting “blurred” more with this, often in such conflicting news.

A fact none of us can ignore is the planet, our world is undergoing significant change, and this is so much human-made. We can’t seemingly escape from daily occurrences of floods, famine, disease, and fires.

So far, 2020 has been a terrible year, the bushfires of Australia, the floods across many countries, the lack of rain, and the general “stirring” of mother nature. It seems mother nature is fighting back; it wants to bring the planet back into a balance.

One of our most significant challenges is to stabilize global mean temperatures. Continue reading

Understanding the Innovation Landscape needed for Enabling Technologies in the World’s Energy Transition

During this September to November 2019 period, I deliberately chose to have a 100% focus on the energy transition that the world is committing to as an undertaking, of reversing the rising global climate temperatures through a shift from fossil fuels to increasing commitments to renewables.

Renewables that give us greater sustainability and clean energy and dramatic reductions in carbon emissions.

I wrote twelve dedicated posts over this period, including this one, to highlight the important place innovation has within the energy transition that we are undertaking. View all the opening introductions on the “home page” and scroll down.

To have any chance to reverse these temperature rises there is an increasing emphasis on innovation solutions within the technology that is required for the Worlds energy system. Solutions are needed to shift from the world’s present reliance on fossil fuels to renewable cleaner fuels to stop the growing pollution and harmful effects of greenhouse gases (GHG) that carbon-emitting fossil fuels are causing to our planet and giving us global warming issues that are deeply worrying.

I drew down on many different resources to get my more in-depth understanding of an area that is partly passion and partly a business focus, but one resource has stood out for their detailed work on innovation and the energy sector’s needs. Continue reading

The Digitalization of Energy

We are on the cusp of a new digital era in energy. Digital technology has been involved in the energy system for decades.

What is new, is the pace of digitalization occurring through technological innovation, providing solutions that enable the energy system to be transformed?

Digitalization across the energy landscape is determining the system-wide changes of connectivity; it is linking, monitoring, aggregating, and controlling assets to cause a fundamental “blurring” between who supplies and who consumes energy.

The old paradigm of central grids will undoubtedly continue to provide the energy infrastructure backbone and keep balancing the electricity transmission network, but there will be significant differences at the local level (final point of supply) to trade energy through different grid edge designs and services.

Digitalization brings us closer to the end-user – knowing your grid edge and how to respond Continue reading

Continuing the Energy Transition Journey

This week I have had one of those most intense periods of researching and then absorbing the material around different energy issues.

Everywhere you turn, you stumble across reports on one aspect or another of the energy transformation we are undertaking.

I am looking at this energy transition through the eyes of the innovator, as it offers so much in new solutions and designs that any innovator would love to be part of.

Energy is tackling one of the world’s toughest tasks, turning our existing energy system, reliant on fossil fuels into one based on renewables, is an enormously complex set of challenges in its goal of decarbonizing it.

There is such an innovation landscape of solutions that are contributing to the world achieving a more renewable-powered future. Technology innovation, suggested new business models, outline proposals for changing policies, processes, and market design all are being “sketched out.” It is overwhelming, but innovative solutions need to be continuously refreshed to reflect this consistent inflow of understanding, relating to the energy transition that is being undertaken. It is evident innovation must be way broader than just technological RD&D.

During this past week, I have been working through specific aspects of the energy transition model. Continue reading

Innovation adoption in the technology lifecycle for Energy Translation

Building the systems enabling framework. Source: World Economic Forum

Technological innovation has a central role to play in the Energy Transition currently being undertaken throughout the world. The shifts need to take the different parts of the energy system through a lifecycle approach to any future energy system

Briefly, our energy system has been based mostly on fossil fuels (oil, coal, gas) and as we extract these, they are non-renewable and the primary cause of the carbonization crisis we are all facing on planet earth. The solutions to replace these fuels are renewables based on wind, solar, biofuels, and have a sustainability credential. The economics of powering the energy system with renewables has got to the point where there is real competitiveness so we can undertake this energy transition and reduce the emissions of carbon into our atmosphere. Continue reading

Confusion or Diffusion in Energy Transition?

Following on from my recent post, “Managing Energy Transition through Innovation,” let me build out the innovation argument further. Innovation needs to be talked up within Energy. It is the catalyst to all within the current energy transition underway.

There is this compelling and urgent need to accelerate low-carbon technology innovation if the world can achieve decarbonization of the energy sector between now and 2050, to significantly contribute to meet international climate goals set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The twin combination of energy efficiency and renewable energy seems to be the only plausible way to achieve 90% of the emissions reductions needed by 2050 with renewables accounting for two-thirds of the primary energy supply by this date (IRENA analysis).  The essential requirement for energy efficiencies and renewable energy needs is to come from significant technology innovation and systemic innovation, so as o achieve these ambitious numbers. Will it?

To undertake such a radical redesign of the energy system, to pilot and rapidly scale critical renewable energy technologies requires a dramatic set of shifts in such an energy transformation. Can we? Continue reading

Checking for the global pulse of innovation

As a report, the 2019 Global Innovation Index (GII) is a whopper, at 450 pages, although 50% of this is detailed economic profiles and data tables for each country within the index.

This GII report investigates and reports on 129 countries and then analyzes and ranks them accordingly.

When you are caught up in generating innovation within a business these sorts of reports can often pass you by as not so relevant to your everyday job of innovation.

I can certainly understand that but as a barometer of the health and investment going into innovation, it will eventually filter through to you and has more relevance than you first imagine.

This report is mainly for those interested in forming national policy on innovation, or judging where they are within the global race on innovation, yet it tells us all some really important points on the current health of innovation.

Yet the innovation message is for us all. If nothing else read this summary. Continue reading