Shaping the Power Generation sector

I recently viewed a Power Generation survey conducted a year or so back and found it valuable to what motivates change. It was centred on the Middle East Power Generation sector and conducted by Siemens to help them understand future power generation’s underlying trends.

This Siemens survey had as the main question to the survey: “Which trends do you think are currently having the biggest impact on the power generation sector in your region“.

Now in reading this, we have to recognize this is the Middle East with an abundance of oil and gas, but are the trends similar for other regions of the world? The responses I would suggest are certainly reflecting a global movement; the ranking orders might vary. They bring out the opportunities and challenges all power generation is going through presently, I would think.

So in the Middle East, the top three trends that were having the biggest impact were felt to be:

  1. The power /gas market liberalization
  2. Changing customer expectations
  3. Environmental regulation and New emission standards

Then the next three impactful trends

  • Decentralization of power generation systems
  • Demand growth and urbanization
  • Privatization of generation and distribution assets

Followed by these shifts taking place

  • The lower range of oil price
  • Growth in renewable power generation
  • Digitalization of process and operations
  • Emerging technology disruption (i.e. battery storage)

Other observations from this report

One area is the increasing priority of digitalization, looking to overcome or bridge the trend impacts. This will come in the form of 1) improving customer data collection and analysis, 2) process automation, 3) virtual power plant (VPP) for management of distributed energy sources, 4) modelling digital asset performance management through greater connected IoT, digital twins etc.

As digitalization grows as part of the solutions, an increased focus on 1) Cybersecurity, 2) the increased use of Artificial intelligence, and 3) Blockchain are all prioritized.

I don’t see these challenges and trends as different for all those involved in power generation globally as they grapple with a changing generation mix but are nicely summarized.

What I draw from this ranking of trends let me offer the following views.

It is the external factors of liberalization, changing expectations and standards that drive the power generation’s underlying changes.

If changes were not “forced”, then we would have no or slow change. The shift in thinking about managing power generation is then triggered, of considering new business models or ways to undertake business, then recognising the impacts driving the actual changes (oil to renewables, digitalization and alternative technologies).

The report states that it seems to be one of optimism as privatization gathers. This gives opportunities to open up a more flexible business model as deregulation continues, and options to build a business become more driven by market and consumer trends.

There is a shift taking place from the combination of an increased pace of regulatory change, raising expectations and demands for flexibility in pricing and energy choices by the final consumer, energy security of supply, and growing competition are all raising the potential for different business models and generation options to explore.

The opening up of previously monopolistic positions does recognize competition will come in different forms. This incentivises the incumbent to focus more on cost and performance, driving down operating costs and finding new ways to manage changing market expectations.

Change can be very uncomfortable for the incumbent.

It is always interesting as “market forces” shift optimism—a feeling of a new lease of life changes to one where change takes on harder meaning.

Eventually, what emerges when you undertake to change is that it suddenly requires different perspectives at the different stages of any change based on how markets’ open up and eventually take hold.

I found it a good prompting report for reflecting on important trends in Power Generation.

 

Complexity, Debate and Many Starting Points in the Energy Transition

Image source and rights: Siemens Energy

I have just finished the third and final day of panel events offered by #SiemensEnergyME in their #EnergyWeek. I took the time to attend all of the panels, the debates, the complexities, and the significant differences as starting points in the #energytransition we are all undertaking was well brought home.

The panels were full of highly knowledgeable people, the hands-on ones that are dealing with the energy issues of today each day, and thinking through the ones for tomorrow. Siemens drew in Ministers, CEO’s, Senior Management, CFO’s, CTO’s and Director-Generals to offer insights and create the atmosphere for what I would call “creative tension” that good knowledge brings to a debate.

The third day was positioned on Sustainability with digitalization as key to the future of solving grid complexity and the growing challenges of renewable integration. Continue reading “Complexity, Debate and Many Starting Points in the Energy Transition”

The Energy Transition we all need to undertake

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.

Continue reading “The Energy Transition we all need to undertake”

We all need to think differently about our connecting Work Spaces

In recent weeks I have been thinking about our business environment differently. The past few months have forced the majority of us to work in different ways. We have become in a very short time “remote workers.” in necessity and need.

Yet for many “newbies” in remote working, who have been working from home in these last few months, are now facing the decision of when and if they can return to their old normal of their office. It is a difficult decision and one that needs careful consideration and clarification of “how safe is this and what will have changed in my old working environment?”

Going back to the business office is undergoing such a radical shift due to the pandemic and all of what it has forced us to do; social distancing, being in lockdown, minimizing physical contact. The environment we work in is not simply a physical one, it has become a psychological one to manage as well.

During this week I was listening to one of a series of discussions or webinars about the massive changes being undergoing in a new reality in our business buildings. These helpful discussions instigated by Comfy called “thinking beyond workplace re-entry” was timely, and very relevant to trigger my thinking a little more. Continue reading “We all need to think differently about our connecting Work Spaces”

Innovative Urban Development needs public engagement

source of image: https://www.thegpsc.org/knowledge-sector/integrated-urban-planning

I strongly relate to Smart Cities or Smart Infrastructure as the grouping area within businesses, focusing on the Edge, delivering energy transmission to the final delivery point for residential, mobility or commercial needs.

There is so much potential in technology currently being invested in our cities and their infrastructures. There are many estimates of this investment, according to the McKinsey Global Institute, they estimated that cities around the world would need to double current infrastructure investments from $10 to $20 trillion annually, to build the necessary physical infrastructure to support growing populations and needs[1].

So often, the focus tends to be on physical or urban infrastructure, but the importance of social support needs equal attention. Continue reading “Innovative Urban Development needs public engagement”

The Smart Grid is driving us towards a new Energy Future.

The Smart Grid is evolving and will be essential in the next decade to bring the kind of transformation our existing energy grids require. Infrastructures to be fit for purpose must be fully integrated and smart to manage the increasing complexity and needs of electricity in the 21st century.

Smart Grids are part of the Smart Infrastructure approach in our need for complete Urban Transitions currently being undertaken. Let me try to step back here and give some broader understanding of “smart grids”

Firstly there is a need and push to changing the Energy Systems we have installed to be more responsive, adaptable and flexible. Continue reading “The Smart Grid is driving us towards a new Energy Future.”

Deploying smart infrastructure, a journey needing to happen

Smart infrastructure connects many parts of the city both physically and digitally. Services that capture the relevant information enable the deployment and introduction of the appropriate assets as the solutions.

Smart solutions for resolving the demands placed in everyday events like traffic flows, energy, and water requirements, transportation utilization, or in managing energy peak demands or optimizing buildings.

Through digital understanding, you learn from what is in place to improve the future in designs, capability, and asset utilization through the use of intelligent data providing relevant insights.

A digital understanding can help predict many variances and assumptions, for example on load demands, on traffic flow, on shifting resources to balance the “system” for the immediate and future; all of these are based on the data collected and can be compared on the forecasts made.

To achieve this, you need a constant flow of ‘real-time’ data, not historical ‘lagging’ information, that is often out of date before you can evaluate it.

Modernizing the infrastructure

Smart infrastructure provides many of the solutions for the journey all cities must travel.  Continue reading “Deploying smart infrastructure, a journey needing to happen”

Viewing our buildings differently for what they offer

Image Credit: https://analyticsindiamag.com, Gaurav Burman

In an extraordinary time of being “locked down,” we appreciate the safe haven we call home, the office, or the working environment. We are expecting it to be a safe environment for us to continue to operate and provide us the comfort and protection we are all looking for.

Having intelligent connected structures is playing an increasing role in our lives, in the mission of your organization, in your loved one’s daily lives; in offices, in our building like hospitals, in government offices, in research labs or schools, and most importantly in our homes.

We often do not recognize everything that goes int our building to deliver an optimal or suitable space for us to be productive. We assume it is there, working and functioning as required. It is when something goes wrong, we begin to notice. It is when we have time to stop and look around we begin to wonder how we can improve our environments. There is a lot we can do, and as we learn to work increasingly “at a distance.” Continue reading “Viewing our buildings differently for what they offer”