My Job: Sparking Innovation within the Energy Transition

Why did I choose to give a specific focus on different aspects of innovation within the energy transition? Well, it is simple for me. I have focused on building capabilities, competencies and capacity to innovate for 20 plus years. Innovation has been my core area of focus. Today, I am channelling that specifically towards the building of innovation within our Energy Transition

The real imperative for finding new innovative technology is critical. We have such a real threat of climate change and any pathway to meet the Paris Agreements, where all countries pledged to keep the rise of the global temperature below 2 degrees C by 2050 and ideally try to work towards the position of 1.5-degree C above pre-industrial levels. These target goals mean bringing our temperatures down dramatically.

The critical period for transforming energy is coming in this current decade. We need to speed up that transformation.

We are presently at a very critical decision time; there is the level of investment needed to achieve this. The current estimate to create a safe climate system is a need to invest USD 110 trillion of new investments in the energy sector by 2050. That equates to $3.6 trillion each year for the next thirty years.

The majority of the investments need to be directed away from fossil fuels (the primary carbon emitters) into clean technologies. It is renewables, including most power generation and end-use applications that need to invest mostly through generation sources of wind, solar, hydrogen, and biofuels.

Presently we are not making the essential investments we need to make.

We are far to slow in Government policy in providing incentives and organizing the capital markets to raise, distribute, and commit to necessary investment levels. Our industry investments are constrained and lack the imaginative and bold thinking required to transform transport sectors, aviation, and those hard-to-abate sectors like iron and steel, chemical and petrochemicals and cement. Our buildings need converting away from reliance on heating and cooling by fossil fuels.

The period 2020 to 2030 is absolutely critical for investments not just to be pledged but effectively deployed on the ground in the physical solutions and effective operation needed to make this energy transition required on track to reach the climate goals.

Innovation is absolutely critical in this energy transition.

We need to move from research and development, through engineering validation but into the pilot and scaling actual solutions at speed. We do not have the luxury of evaluating these over standard lifetime returns or observing others over the years, there is the need to raise validation and take higher risks, than in more stable times.

We need to be more pioneering. Without a coordinated effort, the risk is always cautious without some form of guarantee or point of crisis. To date, we have not generated co-ordination in policies, collaborations, and commitments to shared risks. We have yet to fully place in the minds of everyone what the crisis is and where it is heading if we do not respond with a real sense of purpose.

The power of combining and collaborating

We require bold leaders, policymakers, institutions, researchers, engineers and marketers to combine, to recognize and establish the systems and structures to allow innovation to happen. To generate the capacities and competencies for delivering innovation breakthroughs.

Innovation capabilities do not happen overnight, they need investing in, building, learning and discovering how ideas turn to insights and then to commercial possibility. These innovation breakthroughs can take months and sometimes years to materialize to combine, coordinate and commit to making the energy transition happen.

Today applying ecosystem and open collaborative designs we can connect into broader networks and build relationships across diverse expertise, that can come together to ‘make innovation happen’. Setting up a collaborative innovation environment needs equal expertise in understanding its connected parts.

In Summary

So for me,  the energy transition is at the forefront of “cutting edge” innovation to deliver. Innovation requires its own build of structure, process, governance, investment and capability understanding.

This is why I am giving this even more of my increased level of attention in the work that I do, to understand, investigate and support others in their innovation needs on their energy transition journey. 

Author: @paul4innovating

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

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