Planning concurrent shifts in Power Generation

With so much change in fuel sources, the power generation sector has some significant challenges to tackle

The pressure to reduce the concentration of Co2 in the atmosphere is driving a significant change in power generation management.

The combined forces of a growing source of cheaper fuel generation from renewables (solar and wind), the continuing high levels of global Co2 attributed to fossil fuel combustion of above 40% of all global emissions, along with the continued increasing demand for electricity as heat sources in buildings or in factories are being replaced from fossil burning to electricity-driven heat pumps and other equipment for greater efficiency the power generation industry is arguable undergoing a sea-change on the creation and dispatching of energy.

Emission reductions are needed across all sectors. It will be a ‘combination effect’ of coal-to-gas switching, deployment of new generation gas-fired power plants designed for hydrogen within the fuel mix and plenty of opportunities for upgrades to existing gas-fired plants.

The impact of generation through wind and solar is pointing to a future of electric or clean energy. There are also pushes for reducing power sector emissions by upgrading the transmission grids, building in storage and looking for more at reducing individual electricity consumption by for more demand-side energy management.

Demand-side energy sometimes called the first fuel or the fuel you don’t need to use, is looked at in terms of electrical intensity through more efficient methods and solutions. As appliances, LED lighting and energy-conserving measures are deployed close to or at the final consumption points of buildings or final production plants.

The proportion of electricity in final energy dramatically shifts from 19% to a technically maximum 65% of our needs. This includes the adoption of heat pumps in buildings. Electric vehicles become the vehicle of choice, and induction stoves replace many of the unhealthy cooking methods we have today (coal, wood, charcoal etc.).

The further potential for electrification, 35% of final energy, depends on breakthrough innovation in processes and fuel conversions to generate higher heat. These include Shipping, Aviation and certain high intense heat industry processes of Chemicals, Cement, Iron & Steel.

With transport having Co2 emissions running at 25%, Buildings 9% and Industry at 26%, the source of energy, its ability to perform and what it entails in changes is a massive set of individual challenges.

Today all of the Power Generation providers are looking hard at adjusting their fuel sources to accommodate (rapidly) increasing renewable alternatives. Still, the vast majority of invested assets in fossil fuel generation need to be managed as a bridge into the future. Natural Gas will be needed for the next thirty to forty years or even longer.

To modify existing plants or determine future power generation purchases, the three key points driving the thinking are 1) increase operational efficiency, 2) improve ramp rate and 3) improve reliability.

Then you have a wish list of rather objectives that need to be worked upon with OEM providers. These include adjustments and wishes into 4) improved availability, 5) increased power output on demand, 6) extend plant lifespan, and 7)improve fuel flexibility, interchanging fuels.

There is also a constant need to keep extending and securing 8) health and safety, 9) reduce cyber vulnerabilities, 10) Reduce Co2 emissions through new technology applications (CCUS), 11) Reduce other harmful gases of methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases and 12) through digitalization and other efficiency methods improve and maintain stability and maintenance.

All of these forming the wish list of power generation providers are tough, even in stable fuel markets. Still, with price/ demand volatility and the continued march of renewables and the demands for green energy, this is a very challenging set of times.

The positive point is the power industry has the technical capability and a complementary suite of solutions; if the long-term goal fixes on decarbonization with renewables and supported and complemented by natural gas power as its core strategy intent, it can manage the energy transition.

To shape power generation needs global and local understanding. Collaboration, building in increased flexibility, determining the tactics to meet the existing and future conditions and making the right power generation investments give optimization and adaptability in rapidly changing market conditions.

Conditions that are influenced by changing regulations, the balance between managing stable fuel supply and intermittency of renewables, the shift from public to private ownership, a need for cross border collaboration and exchanges and the climate pressures and commitment made locally and globally.

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.

 

Carefully managing and resolving Power Generation

Visual by dreamstime.com

Currently, renewables are the fastest-growing source of new power generation capacity and meet increased demand for electricity.

This renewable growth, expected to continue well into the future, is a combination of a growing public awareness of climate change issues, the realization that the continued scale of cost declines provides cheaper generation, continued advances in solar and wind technologies, and favourable policies have provided this dramatic shift.

I will be looking across power generation in a series of posts in the coming weeks- so taking this as my opening post.

Is this renewable shift enough on its own to manage the future Power Generation needs?

Wind and solar are still under ten per cent of global generation. However, in the last year of enforced shutdowns, imposed covid-related measures, renewables’ strength grew in its use as it offered increased flexibility to manage power generation differently.

Renewables are being constantly tested and validated in different energy demand needs. They are increasingly becoming a well-established part of the energy power generating mix. We must also remember the renewable that still contributes the most is hydropower, and we are only just at the beginning of tidal power. The whole renewable story for power generation is gathering increased momentum.

Predictions into the future between now and 2040 indicate a 3X increase in wind and a 6X increase in solar installed capacity. As we “tap into” water generation power, we combine the three natural available and abundant resources of the sun, wind and water we have available to us on this planet.

Dealing with well-entrenched power generators is going to be slow, painful, and needed.

Between the wind and solar, 75% of global net capacity additions up to 2040 will be in these renewables, so where does this leave those traditional power generators based on fossil fuel? The easy answer is still very well entrenched and in place.

Coal and current Gas plants have 30 to 40 years of productive life and can be extended and upgraded in selective core ways and replacement parts. The power generation mix of managing the existing and blending in the new will become critical to the energy transition’s success.

We are not going to see the dramatic shifts many expect away from fossil fuels but a planned transition over many years. Renewables will only be around par with coal and gas power even in 2040 unless the need to accelerate climate change determines more dramatic decarbonization changes. The change in power generation takes years and decades to translate and shift.

We are witnessing a shift from coal to gas in many regions. China and India’s position is radically different due to still relatively “young” investments in coal generating electricity in these countries. Coal still accounts for 40% of electricity generation and will remain that way for some decades to come.

Will decarbonization force the pace of change?

The acceleration of renewables alongside gas power can be the force to change the trajectory for climate change. The managing of gas power generation is going to be crucial in this decade to manage. Gas generation is continuing to advance the technologies for low or near zero-carbon power generation.

The future mix is dependent on the known variants we have today and often governed by the decisions made locally. These include resource availability, the current infrastructure, the existing policy positioning and the concerns over stability and security to meet the power demand are critical factors in the power generation mix.

In many ways, renewables, where an abundance of wind and sun can be providing electricity directly or can combine through water and hydrogen production, offers the very best solution path. Storage becomes critical to renewable advancement as well, but a different view expands upon at another time.

Using an alternative fuel can offset gas or compliment gas through both technologies to generate gas and hydrogen in the same gas turbine or blend them into a current or future pipeline.

Gas power is becoming positioned as a backbone where it co-exists alongside the continued advancement of wind and solar alternatives. As it dramatically reduces carbon emissions, this combination will be a significant pathway for advancing and accelerating coal assets’ retirement.

The continued abundance of affordable natural gas drives a coal-to-gas switch as this switch can reduce Co2 by half.

We do have the tools to do the job of shifting Power Generation.

The fuel mix needs to have far more climate change impact in existing and future decisions for future investment in coal, gas, or renewable options. No question, today the power industry does have at its disposal the tools to do the job of making an energy transition to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions today and in the immediate future.

The question is not taking the technology solutions available simply on their own standalone merits but to build out complex power generation pathways that have this ‘pathway’ to decarbonize in each country and region at a growing scale that meets net-zero emissions by 2050.

The story we need to build in power generation is the scales, multiple choices, the breadth of options over transparent timelines and offer the technological depth of logic, economics and consideration to many local dependencies and national concern df energy security.

Use the Low or near zero-carbon Power Generation mix constantly in the future.

For decades to come, we will have power generation providers offer a suite of complementary solutions. The importance of balancing renewables based on the sun, wind and water, with gas-fired, nuclear, and smart grid and digital technologies is essential to get right.

We need clear decarbonization pathways, constant replacing the existing infrastructure and energy power generation systems. The replacements need to demonstrate the decarbonization way, consistently and aggressively reducing the dependence of high fossil fuel power generating capacity.

The need is to change today’s unacceptable greenhouse gas emissions levels dramatically. Still, realistically this will be a site, region and country step-by-step approach needing an organized and systematic process of designing the decarbonization pathway in each change.

We need to be alert and challenge vigorously when the desired power generation results planned to be installed only to extend existing power generation. Today we all very aware of all the known consequences. Regretfully they are far too often driven by political motivation or narrow considerations.

Be alert, defend and always have justified Power Generation that does not have renewables at its core is important.

Any future addition of new high GHG emissions by Power Generation needs questioning. Each plan needs to provide a decarbonization pathway in carbon capturing or the progressive moves towards renewable alternatives.

The power industry must frame the climate challenge and solution pathway into any future investment justification for any new, or renewing or even extend the life of existing fossil power generating assets. This pathway should be part of any investment decision.

There needs to be a clear recognition that any transition to a zero-carbon future needs “fuel solution” bridges. Investing in natural gas solutions over the next ten to twenty years is required to maintain and support the energy demands.

It is the technical solution and decarbonized pathway surrounding the investment that needs a deeper evaluation. Renewables will continue to attract far higher investments, but total generation capacity needs a mix of power generation solutions in the foreseeable future to ensure the stability of demand.

Decisions need to clarify and justify any investment position that does not provide carbon capture or zero-carbon power generation as central.

Any investments that fail on this transparency of not clarifying the decarbonization pathway must be publicly challenged and questioned by the investors. It is surely unacceptable with all the power generation options available when we are in this race to decarbonize.

It is down to the good judgement of making sound investment decisions based on decarbonizing what we have and finding balanced solutions that have an end goal of zero-carbon in the next thirty to forty years at the latest.

My initial thinking behind Energy Fitness Landscapes

I am looking at the Energy Transition from an evolving technology innovation perspective. In other words, what “forces” can be identified or promoted that can transform the existing energy system through the pursuit of the new invention, innovation, or technological advancement.

Specifically, the ones that will be needed over such an extended time and complexity of change that this Energy Transition will take, upwards of twenty to thirty years to give it an unstoppable momentum.

I have been building out the value in my proposal of having a Fitness Landscape framework within the Energy Transition and why it makes sense.

Here in this post, I want to expand on my thinking around navigating a complex landscape that the Energy Transition demands.

When you look through the lens of innovating at the Energy Transition, you are often questioning the fitness, or the reality to achieve something.

A risk of the energy transition is we give higher emphasis on the depth of knowledge in one area and fail to pull this together, to map it into the bigger picture of the practical, broader-based one.

This “mapping back” gives our broader Society and non-expert groups needing to relate to the Energy transition gives them identification. It generates their need to change or support change and brings about more extensive (behavioural) change and awareness. Otherwise, they just accept the idea of advancement but equally block it if it does not fit their frame of thinking or how or why it is relevant to them.

The value of fitness landscapes as part of any Energy Transition awareness makes sense to bring identity and structure.

Let me explain this by keeping Hydrogen as the initial focus:

I have taken Hydrogen as my opening exploration to traverse this Energy landscape

I need to begin to evaluate the value of knowing the real part of any hydrogen ‘fitness’ and what makes up its distinctive dynamic capabilities that moves it towards the solutions we need to have in place to contribute in significant ways to the energy transition that is underway.

These solutions can be, but not limited to, Technology and Innovation, Scale and Adoption, Infrastructure and Market Conditions, Government Engagement and Involvement, Industry, and critically vital Public adoption.

We need to visualize and articulate change in connecting ways.

I believe both the Three Horizon framework that I have deployed for years  (see this post for relating it to the energy transition) and the concept of knowing your fitness and the landscape have real value in the Energy Transition.

Both methodologies allow for a greater collective identity and engagement of all the necessary expertise and generalists to come together. In a complex challenge like the Energy Transition, you need to create the identification and build the collaborative ecosystem to focus resources on the (shared) identified goals.

Taking Hydrogen as my point of reference, to understand the context, complexities, and creative tension.

By firstly, mapping out the hydrogen terrain to the task at hand enables us to understand and relate to what is needed – I call that the context for change. I have been investigating Hydrogen as a promising energy carrier to understand the barriers and obstacles to the energy transition we need to undertake. There are so many underlying “tensions” in this change from established fuels, infrastructure, and product delivery that Hydrogen needs to overcome.

Taking this fitness landscape thinking a little further here.

Any Energy Transition Fitness Landscapes identifies the opportunity spaces on where you need to focus your efforts- the appropriate resources to navigate the terrain. The higher the ‘fitness’ transforms your landscape potential into accelerating opportunities into final tangible outcomes.

Fitness Landscapes helps in this task by identifying the opportunity spaces on where you need to focus your efforts‐ and apply the appropriate resources to navigate the terrain. The greater understanding of the ‘fitness points needed’ can transform your hydrogen landscape potential, or in business parlance, achieve your goal.

Mapping out your capabilities, competencies, and capacities to the task at hand enables you to understand and relate to what is needed. You begin to get fit for the journey ahead.

I took what I call a “Fitness Landscape Result Expectancies” approach.

Fitness Landscape Result Expectancies

My approach here is a work-in-progress; it will evolve and adapt depending on interest and demand.

These are my “first pass thoughts” of the expected results or points of investigation sought, by identifying the critical aspects of capability identification for the Hydrogen (or any energy transformation journey), to make it a significant contributor to the Future Energy Mix.

We need to appreciate or consider the following as principles or guidelines:

  • A greater understanding of the obstacles and barriers to Hydrogen, becoming a significant energy carrier in the future energy mix is critical to understand. It “conveys” the fitness landscape journey.
  • The understanding of what needs to be changed moves Hydrogen towards an energy transition that is sustainable and evolutionary built on technology investigation, validation, and ability to scale. Solutions gain world-wide. Recognition and adoption as the resulting outcomes and processes from discovery to realization.
  • The journey generates a learning process for the identification of real and ‘false’ dynamic capabilities. Dynamic capabilities bring about change in the environment. As we frame, we can identify differences separating the more static ones that often just need reinforcement or retirement as not of lasting value.
  • Pursuing limited or ‘selective’ development allows for restrictive exchanges within a network of specialization. These will not have the desired effect to accelerate solutions that can replace the existing ones unless the broader network effects are not accounted for.
  • Any fitness landscape journey, where change is a significant level of requirement, requires a holistic view of the existing issues and the intent and goal of the journey by framing a clear strategic plan to mobilize the necessary forces.
  • The solutions suggested will draw out internal discussions, growing recognition, and reality of the present and future needs in this area of resource allocation and capital allocation.
  • Importance of linking capability across different activities or technology applications to become increasingly ‘dynamic’ for a more sustainable future.
  • The ability to build out a clear capability portfolio knowing where resource needs to be applied and their likely timeframe from concept to fruition. These evaluations will also help identify synergies to bring new value and future impact options.
  • We need to challenge long, well-established routines and processes to see how we can extend technology options. To discover and continue the existing can be valuable to place additional resources behind.
  • Having clarity in the fitness landscape allows for regularly taking additional “adaptive walks” to learn and adjust current thinking and question alternatives more openly.
  • Knowing your capabilities, competencies, and capacities become important so this understanding intensifies and equally solidifies the studies, through constantly challenging and questioning the investigation and landscape model.

Outcomes from these expected results raise dynamic capability and the importance of dynamism for more flexibility and fitness discovery. By identifying higher points of value, you accelerate the change process and plot different projects and their impact. You have greater confidence in where to invest new capital and resources.

Looking for outcomes and outputs.

The reason I am building this into a workable model is it firstly extends on my previous work in Innovation Fitness Landscapes and it takes out my focus on the Energy Transition.

Within this adaptive approach to the Energy Transition, we can seek out and determine the Energy Fitness Landscape to then determine where the critical focal points are so the necessary resources, and capital can be applied.

I want to identify the necessary capacities, competencies, and capabilities to undergo this journey. Its ultimate aim is to identify outcomes that can become ones that give additional focus to knowing which are valuable.

Also, which aspects need to be extended and accelerated, that build on the existing solutions and gives us also the decision points to let go of projects or concepts which have limited or no value. Then those resources and capital should be released to be redirected onto the ones that hold promise, impact, and value.

The energy complexities do need understanding, explaining, and mapping. The knowledge of how the traversing will be undertaken to get to the end goal of a clean energy system as soon as we can, needs often different articulation?

Fitness landscapes help make the journey a lot easier to determine what is needed to undertake it. It is a dynamic process that stays ‘evolving’

The Energy Ecosystem needs re-configuring to clean energy only.

Understanding any ecosystem, you have to attempt to understand the whole system. The energy system is no different to begin to relate and build out innovative solutions that bring this complexity into some form of a new order.

To help with this energy ecosystem thinking the International Energy Agency (IEA) are doing some pioneering work that I want to touch upon here briefly, so there is a broader awareness of this.

Exploring the IEA  report yet again, “Energy Technology perspective: Special Report on Clean Energy Innovation” released mid last year, actually on 2nd July 2020 it has so much depth of value to relate too, in the energy transition challenges being faced.

In this report, they have developed some improved modelling tools to bring a higher capacity to answer key technology questions in greater detail that make up the Energy Ecosystem. This new modelling is good news and highly valuable.

Incidentally, IEA further followed that up later in 2020 with a flagship ETP 2020 publication to keep a tighter and more consistent focus on the role and need of innovation to accelerate clean energy transitions.

The ability to map the entire Energy System is critical

The work undertaken by the IEA has produced a comprehensive perspective of where we are today and our needs to track the achievements of different innovation breakthroughs known and in development or validation, to bring about the required clean technology energy solutions that need to be innovative in design for a new Energy System.

Their ETP Clean Energy Technology Guide is an interactive framework that contains information for over 400 individual technology designs and components across the whole energy system that contribute to achieving the goal of net-zero emissions. Currently, this stands at 433.

For each of these technologies, it includes information on the level of maturity (or Technology Readiness Level, TRL) and a compilation of development and deployment plans, as well as cost and performance improvement targets and leading players in the field.

You can use the different filters offered to narrow down the selection of technologies you are interested in, to achieve your designated search. Also, they provide an amazing poster version that covers all the energy ecosystem aspects. Here is a download link to this poster.

The Critical Parts of the Clean Energy Ecosystem

Briefly, the IEA approach breaks down the Energy Ecosystem by the classic Supply-side, the Co2 infrastructure aspects needed for clean energy, and the Demand Sectors by the crucial parts of transport, industry, and buildings.

The Supply Side requirement from Clean Energy Technologies

The guide goes into all aspects of the technologies in the energy transformation on power generation, heat, tackling biofuels, hydrogen, ammonia, synthetic hydrocarbon fuels, and refining. The technology grouping is then further broken down into generation, storage, and infrastructure as well as specific production and transport where necessary.

The Co2 infrastructure required for Clean Energy

This looks at the importance of Carbon Capture, Storage and Utilization (CCSU) with a breakdown of Supply sided CCU’s, Direct Air Capture (DAC) and Demand CCU’s tackling high-value chemicals, methanol, ammonia, iron and steel, cement and aluminum by fuels and methods

The Demand Sectors needs from Clean Energy Innovation Technologies

Within the breakdown, you have a structured approach to the technology grouping, the technologies applied, the sub-technology where necessary, and the specific components or designed needed. Within this demand side, it breaks the three significant energy consumers down into transport, industry, and buildings.

Transport covers the road, rail, shipping, aviation, and freight, showing sub-components or design by vehicle mode, their needed infrastructure, operations, and necessary components of different design solutions.

The industry segment covers critical a comprehensive breakdown of dealing with different “harder-to-abate areas covering ammonia, methanol, ethylene, benzene, toluene, and xylenes. Then it covers the specific industry sectors of high-value chemicals, plastics, iron and steel, cement, pulp and paper, aluminium, metallic products, and finally, cross-cutting one that requires systems integration. The technology applied covers fossil fuel, biomass-based, electrolytic H2 based, further broken down into recycling, blast furnacing, smelting, kilns, grinding, curing, pulping, and waste production conversion.

The buildings segment is broken down firstly into construction, renovation, then their heating and cooling options and designs, with further sections dealing with cooking, lighting, and system integration. Here it is looked at by generation, performance, efficiency, co-generation, distribution, control system, and storage.

To capture the Ecosystem of Energy Innovations and Technologies is a fantastic piece of work

This work is a stunning breaking down of the entire Energy System, which was updated this year by the  International Energy Agency and presented in such a visual way in the poster design work by Lundgren+Lindqvist gives us all the understanding of the complexity but also the innovation technology opportunities available.

The other more amazing part is the interactive website for using and tracking the evolution of The Clean Energy in Innovations and Technology as an ongoing Guide for presently 433 identified individual technology designs and components across the whole energy system for knowing where we are in their contribution to achieving the goal of net-zero emissions is impressive.

Yout time would be well-invested in viewing this work by the IEA if you want to grasp the entirety of the Energy System as a whole and what makes up this Ecosystem

I have to recommend anyone interested in the Energy System take a look at the website or download the poster to appreciate the complexity of the design and change we are all caught up in and need to support.

Our energy systems and tracking their progress today and in the future allows us all to participate and build more pressure on those undertaking the need for a radical redesign. It is of a scale that can be better understood by this work that the IEA is undertaking, showing the innovations for technologies that can deliver the clean energy ecosystem we need to have in place..

Do take the time to visit the website https://www.iea.org/articles/etp-clean-energy-technology-guide

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.

Our need for a climate-friendly energy source

We need to find a climate-friendly energy source that overcomes those current end-use sectors that are hard to electrify as they need to require high-intensity heat levels than coal and natural gas provides. These high-grade industry heat sectors, known as hard-to-abate, such as steel and chemicals, some heavy transport, aviation, shipping, agriculture, and industrial feedstocks, need to put in place a clean energy carrier.

Enter Hydrogen, reinvigorated and repurposed based on Renewables and new Technology designs

Presently Hydrogen is the only feasible route for at-scale decarbonization. It is a highly versatile, clean, and flexible energy vector. So many have evaluated the potential of hydrogen sector by sector that ramping up Hydrogen is needed to achieve any energy transition in an efficient and economically attractive way.

The problem today is that Hydrogen is simply not (yet) fit for large-scale deployment. The accepted wisdom is Hydrogen is a really good solution as a clean energy carrier, feedstock, and fuel. It can facilitate the extensive scale integration of renewables through conversion from H2O to pure Hydrogen (H2). Continue reading “Our need for a climate-friendly energy source”

Why innovate Energy?

Why innovate energy?

The front end of energy means what exactly?

It is the place I feel I can make the best contribution, a place where innovation thrives and drives discovery to commercialization of a new idea that emerges as a concept of value, often replacing something that does not “serve today’s or tomorrow’s purpose, where the energy transition must embrace fully “

My aim here is : “To achieve better, faster and more valuable future solutions with a focus on sustainability, to anticipate constant change and build different more exciting and valuable business models for lasting impact”

We provide a range of services that support your energy transition at the front of the change process.

I have three sources of energy reference that is building the Energy Story, as I am seeing it. I encourage you to take a look….please Continue reading “Why innovate Energy?”