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

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