Driven by the increased awareness of environmental and energy concerns, the energy industry, as one of the largest emitters of CO2, began to review its operations, with the aim of addressing both the environmental issues (reducing the emissions) and the energy issues (the need for more efficient use of electricity).
The electricity grid was earmarked as a key element that needed to be looked at. While the initial reaction was to focus on the physical infrastructure, including smart meters, it soon became clear that both the infrastructure and the structure of the industry itself would be subject to a massive transformation.
The present situation is often compared with the transformation that took place twenty years ago within the telecoms industry. The electricity industry is today where the telco industry was 20 years ago, which at that time offered little or no customer service, hardly any competition, and no choice of devices and applications that suited the user.
The transformation will have to be of a trans-sectoral nature and should include industries involved in renewable energy, electric vehicles, micro-grids, IT and telecommunications. Collaboration and cooperation is the key to the success of this transformation.
As the industry has learned the hard way; customer engagement is critical to effecting market changes, especially in an environment where energy prices are sharply increasing.
Similar to the changes in the telecoms industry, which are giving rise to the digital economy; smart grids will be at the core of the transformation that will lead to the green economy, where many new jobs, companies – and indeed a new industry – will be created.
This report analyses what is needed for a successful transformation of the energy industry.
There are now several countries that are putting smart infrastructure central to their energy policies as they see this as the key to link the various policy and innovation developments together. Germany, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries are amongst the thought leaders in this field and Germany has invested heavily to make this happen.
Hot topics in this report:
Smart grid transformation; Green economy; Smart meters; Smartphones; Internet of Things; M2M; Intergrid; Telecommunications; Renewable energy; Distributed energy resources (DER); Demand response; Time of Use (ToU).