Connecting the Energy Story to the Final User

image credit via IEEE Innovation at Work

Within the energy transition, we must not lose sight of the final consumer. We have to focus on the broader aspects of “energy transition” by re-engineering much of the existing infrastructure to create smart grids, provide storage, solar for individual homes, and the ability to introduce e-mobility across the transport sector.

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”.

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 that are for the vast majority of us as the places where we “interact” with that make energy transitions real.

We want to see what different energy alternatives can really provide, otherwise “energy transitions” seem to be simply occurring elsewhere.

Any transition is a “hard sell” Here, for energy, 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. It is not just replacing energy sources; it is all about solution renewal end-to-end

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.

This “transformational mix” 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.

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.

The solutions offered are placing increased emphasis on digitalization so that the system design is managed on a  more decentralized and democratized participation and that 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 choices 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, in choice of energy supply and a growing opportunity to sell off excess energy if we are self-generating our energy.

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 the industry is predicted to be making a shift of their primary energy supply 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. You as a provider of energy, start seeing the benefits of reduced bills and even earning some cash from your energy contributions.

Innovation can accelerate progress, especially at the user-end point.

The role of innovation to translate the end-user need into reality within these sectors of transport, buildings, and industry 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 as we can design and build it.

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.

We need a robust design, connecting us as individuals as well as seeing ourselves within a community of being part of the end-user market for the energy transition In my opinion;  that comes partly from telling the emerging innovating story for energy solutions in exciting and effective ways based on offering clear roadmaps of energy design.

Author: @paul4innovating

A transition advocate for innovation, ecosystems, and digitalization for the energy and IIoT systems

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