The crucial role Innovation must play in the Energy system

Innovation is vital to the energy system’s integration and operation design, and we need to further recognize its crucial role. I believe we undertake a radical transformation in the way we supply, transform, and use energy. This requires a profound transformation in technologies, systems, and infrastructure.

Innovation is made up of many enabling technologies that support energy. This complexity requires innovative approaches to be built in highly systematic ways. Its ultimate result is to offer innovation that can continually look for re-imagining new market designs and business models to stimulate the changes and solutions for our future energy transformation.

Innovation needs to be transformational, offer greater value than what it is replacing, show the real advantage, set out to achieve competitive gains and offer a higher level of sustainability, value and impact.

We need an innovating mantra for energy.

Energy is a vital part of any country’s ability to be competitive. Today half the world’s capital is invested in energy and its related infrastructure as it is the backbone of any industrial and urbanization strategy.

Our need is to keep pushing for discoveries, for experimentation, for demonstrating. We must nurture innovation, and we must continuously look for ways to facilitate its pathway.

Our economic prosperity will be determined by transforming the energy sector, and it is through innovation we will achieve this. To avoid the predicted consequences of climate change, the global energy system must rapidly reduce its emissions.

The vast majority of global CO2 emissions come from the energy production sector, from our buildings or transportation systems. They all need a purposeful design of a new, cleaner energy system.

Innovation needs to be at the top of its game, to be accelerated and scaled.

The energy transition that the world is undertaking is one of the most critical areas where innovation needs to be at its absolute best, top of the game, to make the level of change necessary. We need to deploy every innovative tool to leverage ideas and discoveries and then accelerate the validation into a commercialization path sooner than later.

Innovation needs to get out of the laboratories, moved from theory to application, and off the desk of those executives who fail to see the urgency of change we need to achieve the energy transition.

Innovation has risk always associated with it, but that imperative to push the boundaries does need always to be constantly in our minds; global warming, pollution, and resource finite are our “burning platform.”

We need to ramp up our need for solutions to reduce greenhouse gases, redesign energy generation, transmission, and distribution and bring a balance back into our environments.

Pushing our present understanding, looking beyond the knowns.

  • Today the solutions are centred on decarbonization, applying digitalization, and switching to an energy system that is more decentralized than at present. It is finding imaginative, innovating solutions that become essential to achieve this climate change through the energy transition we are undertaking.
  • Each organization within the energy transition looks at its own position and applies any changes to advance its competitive position. Quite rightly, but in focusing on one specific perspective, you can lose the bigger opportunity.
  • We need to extend the reach of electricity; we need to focus on Hydrogen, validate carbon capture and storage (CCUS) as well as bioenergy and take them out of the lab, out of the realms of theory and validate the innovation concepts into scalable ones that deliver the gaps we have in our energy transition.
  • We must find innovative solutions to reduce local air pollution, strengthen energy security, and develop a more significant energy system that is resilient to minimize the shutdowns and power outs. We need to find solutions to reliable and sustainable energy solutions that deal with heating, lighting, cooking, and cooling. Any change needs to find a way to create local economic value and jobs, as others in any change of this magnitude will be displaced.
  • As we search for enabling technologies, we need to constantly facilitate the integration of renewable energy, accelerate storage, explore sector coupling, introduce new ways to operate within the electricity system, seek out new power generation, design the grids for increased flexibility and digitalize solutions to provide further services, tools and distributed generation deployment knowing how to diffuse innovation in these general five approaches becomes valuable.
  • We need to continue to de-carbonize challenging industry sectors like steel, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, or our transportation systems if we wish to achieve any positive outlook of curbing carbon emissions and moving onto a pathway towards a zero-carbon future.

Innovation and showing progression give market confidence and encouragement that the innovation story is designed to take decisions through this innovation adoption approach.

Everything we are looking at in energy solutions faces a scalability challenge. 

It will be the ability to harness the existing with the new, and this is the role of innovation to deliver the changes by being the bridge and being the catalyst of change with new technology and innovative solutions.

Innovation adoption in the technology lifecycle for Energy Translation

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.

The six critical focal points of the energy transition.

The six main thrusts for technological innovation within the Energy Systems for today’s energy transition are:

  1.  To accelerate the deployment of renewable energy technologies throughout the system.
  2. There is a real need to find innovative solutions that focus on the end-user sectors of transport, industry, and buildings.
  3. The technological and digital innovative solution needs to focus on the overall system design and the operation needs.
  4. Innovation needs to increase electrification through emerging solutions on the grids’ digitalisation and provide grid-scale energy storage for resolving variable renewable power and building out further energy storage.
  5. To push, nurture, and facilitate different energy sources to provide solutions to scale them up. These include solar power, geothermal, biopower, hydropower, onshore and offshore wind and finally tidal power.
  6. Lastly, innovation needs to achieve an affordably decarbonize industrial transition.

Many new innovation solutions need to continually unlock the system’s flexibility.

Besides technological innovation, there is growing potential for redesigning operational systems through new services, tools, and distributed generation deployment. There are opportunities to find fresh market designs that have demand-response models central to then provide new, more tailored services and then the exciting potential of designing new business models that look to greater co-creation, more flexible power purchase agreements and bring the consumer into the system as contributors, aggregators and highly energy aware.

My focus is on innovating energy.

Innovation must be at the forefront of the energy change; otherwise, we will fail to deliver on the 2050 commitments and goals, and that will have consequences for our very existence as we know it.

Besides writing about innovation and energy on two dedicated blogs of innovating4energy.com and digital4energy, I recently launched a complimentary website of innovating4energy.website, one that is laying out my business positioning and offerings to help in accelerating innovation within the energy system. That “open for business” sign.

I set out to offer the external perspective to those busy inside organizations focusing on mapping out the future of energy and where they fit to support, compliment, and provide different value points to this thinking and eventual work. I see this as more advisory to complement their insights, more feeding into and complimenting their expertise with different points of value.

** published simultaneously here and on my innovating4energy.com site relating to “all things” in the Energy Transition.

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

Focusing on Innovation for our Energy Transition we are all undertaking

When you are undertaking such a transformation in any system like energy, innovation becomes vital to inject new forces of dynamism and creative thinking to tackling such a change.

The energy transition that the world is undertaking is one of the most critical areas where innovation needs to be at its very best, that top of the game to make the level of change necessary.

The existing solutions found in wind and solar solutions jockeying to replace oil, gas, and coal, in our present electricity distribution, as well as our current customer solutions for managing our energy, will only take you so far in our need to change our energy systems.

If we are to meet the mandated Paris Agreement of 2015, where member states agreed to limit global warming to 2 degrees C versus pre-industrial levels by 2050, we have to look at every climate change mitigation we can find. We have to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 to 95 percent of the 1990 level by 20150. Today the solutions are centered on decarbonization, applying digitalization, and switching to an energy system that is more decentralized than at present and it is finding imaginative, innovating solutions that become essential to achieve this climate change through the energy transition we are undertaking. Continue reading

The Hard-to-Abate sectors need innovation solutions to reach Net-Zero Co2 Emissions

I have been looking at those Hard-to-Abate sectors for reaching Net-Zero Co2 Emissions like the cement, steel, plastics, aviation, shipping, and heavy road transport within our need for a global energy transition. These are the really big carbon emitters and it is argued that they could achieve, using known technologies already under development a pathway to complete carbonization over the next decades. It is going to require significant public policy will and private investment to drive both the present incremental solutions and push for the breakthrough ones. Innovation is really needed here.

There are six innovation areas of electrification, hydrogen, biochemistry and synthetic chemistry, material efficiency and circularity, alongside new materials and the ability to carbon capture and carbon use that need to have innovative solutions. Working on the innovations within these six critical areas does have a real chance of fully decarbonizing these harder-to abate sctors of the world’s economy.

Yet, let’s step back just a little and get some clarifications out of the way. They help frame this story.

In understanding the energy transition that is well underway, there are many companies and countries all proudly claiming dates for achieving their carbon neutral targets. Most of these centers around 2030, but where I keep coming back to is the discussions around Net-Zero carbon emissions. Is this a mission impossible? For me, all I hear about are the cities and companies all proudly announcing their target goals for achieving carbon-neutral, yet is this good enough in this rapidly warming world? I think not. Continue reading

So are we doing enough in the Energy and Urbanization Transition?

In a recent SIEW Opening Keynote Address,  was an opening view by Cedrik Neike, a member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and CEO Smart Infrastructure on “Accelerating Energy Transformation”, He asked the question to the audience: Are we doing enough?

Sadly he only had ten minutes. It would have been good to have this opening challenge expanded out so we can all recognize many of the areas that we are not doing enough in our need for the necessary energy transition.

Mr. Neike spoke of the battle we have in the energy and urbanization transformation, the need to accelerate the transition.

So his question sparked my thinking here that in my view, there are four parts to any Urban Transition. Continue reading

The energy transition we are undertaking

Sources FT Guide: The Energy Transition
https://www.ft.com/reports/energy-transition-guide

In recent months I have become totally “wrapped up” in the energy transition occurring across the world. The whole transformation we are undertaking is not just for our energy sake; it is for more for our climate sake and having a sustainable future.

Energy is one of the critical drivers of our well-being, providing one of the essentials to survive and thrive. We need water, food, air, shelter, and sleep, and our source of energy underpins all of these as the energy transition in its solutions are aimed at cleaning up our climate and environment before it is too late and give us more energy to power the next growth cycle.

We are suffering increasingly from polluted air; we need increasing intensive farming. We are living in a very crowded planet where our shelter (home) becomes our “place to be or simply survive” Our water supplies need consistent refiltering as freshwater is increasingly growing in shorter supply. Humans need their sleep, and it is the environment that enables that, and as 70% of the world’s population by 2050 will live in cities, all are becoming  “highly dependent” on energy to fuel the system. 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