Reflecting back, moving forward. As we begin 2021, we all have had even more time to reflect on “that year” of 2020. For me, that was my “Energy Transition” year.
I really value these reflective periods. They allow you to simply “recalibrate” so you can at least start the new year off on a more purposeful set of objectives, those strategic stakes in the ground. Of course, you can argue these can simply end up as new year resolutions, often broken in the first few weeks, but hopefully, these objectives stay anchored into the ground as a firm intent, they become the foundation to build out from. Well, that’s my intent.
When I reflect back on the 2020 year, I have recognised the needs to make a significant energy change. As I posted my critical top six energy developments in 2020 in this recent post “Energy Progress- the best of 2020 leads to a great 2021″ it triggered a deeper evaluation to lead out to 2021.
The key to 2021, in my opinion, will be a real breakthrough year of innovation, based on technology invention.
“2020 advanced the commitment to the shift from fossil fuel to renewables that has real momentum in the coming years. 2021 will be the breakthrough year where the energy transition has the unstoppable forces happening.”
Being restricted, not able to travel has its benefits, you gain more time to climb into your own reading, research or passions. For me, this has been my “Energy Transition” year.
The sheer amount of articles, reports or webinars around all aspects of energy have been partly overwhelming but significant in their reference and knowledge gaining. This intensity of purpose towards the energy transition has given me an enormous boost in its understanding.
When I reflect back on this 2020 year, recognising the needs to make a significant energy change has really gained a very high awareness.
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. Continue reading “Connecting the Energy Story to the Final User”
We are at the point where “the rubber hits the road” or in Green Hydrogen’s case “the water needs to turn into H2 at scale and real value” and for that to happen it needs a massive commitment across so much that is work-in-progress today.
So much of where we are in Hydrogen is more of a promise theory or intent, than a reality. We need to moderate our rhetoric and provide realism before we completely overhype the green hydrogen. Impatience and growing frustration might kill off the hydrogen solution (again).
We need to massively be able to scale out solutions like the electrolyzer. We need to radically bring down existing production costs through different technology applications and design. We have to build a dedicated infrastructure and create real sustaining market demand. Today producing hydrogen means possible energy losses on the alternative. Continue reading “A Massive Dose of Hydrogen Reality”
We are falling into a real trap around the efforts of much of the invention and innovation we are putting into the Energy Process. We have the danger of getting our innovation balance wrong.
We are emphasizing shifting significant resources towards energy efficiency, not real energy transition work that comes from radical or breakthrough innovations. The focus on extending prolongs what we have and does not offer the transformation affect our energy systems do require to achieve a decarbonized world over the next fifty years.
We all are accepting that the energy system needs to undergo a massive transformation, one that provides breakthrough innovations in new technology, ones that do transform the energy systems. Are we striking the right balance between incremental and breakthrough innovation? I would question this.
Further major Energy Solution Providers have announced their intentions of withdrawing from Coal.
Toshiba will stop taking orders for coal-fired power plants in line with growing global trends toward reducing carbon emissions. Toshiba holds 11% of the global thermal-power generation market, excluding China. This includes building power plants, producing steam turbines and providing maintenance. While the company will stop accepting new orders for coal-burning plants, it will build 10 stations under existing orders in Japan, Vietnam and other countries.
Siemens Energy, which builds steam turbines for power plants, will no longer take on new business to supply coal-fired powered stations, it said on 10th November 2020 making it the latest firm to scale back fossil fuel-related operations. Selling turbines to coal-fired power plants accounts for a low single-digit percentage of the company’s sales or roughly 820 million euros ($970 million) based on 2020 figures. According to a recent comment, the business was profitable. Siemens Energy has stated it will still meet existing commitments, including placed bids, and honour service contracts for combined heat and power stations but not engage in further coal business (Source Reuters).
Also Black & Veatch, an engineering and construction firm, has announced it also will cease participation in any further coal-based power design and construction. This shift allows its workforce to further accelerate the creation of solutions that help transform the industry, including helping clients reduce dependence on coal power assets and minimize the impact of those assets to the environment. The company says its transition away from any coal-related activity is about a commitment to sustainability and accelerating efforts toward a carbon-free energy future, reported the press release.
Our landscapes seem never to change, power transmission lines spread out across the land as far as the eye can see delivering our electricity. Nothing seems to change, but nothing actually is as far from the truth.
The electricity industry is waging a sweeping transformation and in a recent report by Black & Veatch providing the present position of the state of Electricity called Strategic Directions: Electric Report, where they have gathered 600 power utility stakeholders to offer the challenges and opportunities that are occurring in the transformation being undertaken.
The challenges and opportunities are all caught up in a constantly shifting, complex ecosystem of everything, from conventional power generation to the renewable energies sources derived from the wind and sun and the significant changes underway in the use of putting in place microgrid systems.
Getting to the point of the digitalization of Energy in a holistic way, not piecemeal as in the past is going to take a massive mindset shift within the energy industry. We need a dedicated internet of energy that brings energy together in ecosystem designs and platform delivery.
There are so many pressures to invest fresh capital to replace existing aging infrastructure, to adapt energy sources increasingly to accommodate renewables, and to build out the resilience within the energy system, adding new storage options and reduce the variabilities and demand fluctuations.
You can go on and on in need to invest in a very challenging, changing environment for energy. Layering-in digitalization on top just adds to the need for change, we need to fully integrate it as a core necessity.
Having a greater insight and understanding of the management of energy is going to prove crucial in the future and “going digital” provides the essential energy transformation we need, being connected up.
I certainly feel we are on the cusp of a new digital era in energy. Digital technology has been involved in the energy system for decades but its time is now to be central to any new energy management system. We need to manage not just individual assets but manage the ‘connected’ energy system from the supply, through transmission into demand.
Digitalizing the energy system can provide much of the understanding of where, when, and what to invest in and validate the why in the relevant data supporting. We need a clear line-of-sight and data needs to deliver transparency and insights to all involved in managing or providing and consuming energy. Continue reading “Building the Internet of Energy”