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10 decisive energy trends

10 decisive energy trends

Solar panels modules decrease by 20% at every doubling capacity. By 2025 solar panels will be the cheapest form of electricity in many parts of the world.

10 decisive energy trends and drastically changing energy realities. That’s what DNV GL reports in its Technology Outlook 2025.

Note: this is not a futuristic prediction. It’s a picture of the impact of trends that have already been deployed, trends that will provide a new energy reality.

DNV GL published in their Technology Outlook 2025, 10 trends.

Theo Bosma, Director Research & Innovation for Energy at DNV GL:

“The next 10 years, the implementation of these new technologies will be crucial and accelerate the energy transition.”

10 decisive trends

The current electricity systems have been designed and built near a number of large power plants and passive components. That will change. The next 10 years the energy landscape will develop into a hybrid network of large and small scale elements:

  • large-scale renewable energy plants and super grids for energy transmission over long distances
  • microgrids and energy-producing buildings where end-users play an active role

Renewables

Renewable energy is not only a safe and profitable investment, but will also play a decisive role in building new power plants. In addition, transmission and distribution network will be controlled more and more often with the aid of software.

Many electric technologies and applications, such as heat pumps, electric vehicles, solar panels and batteries are integrated into IT systems in buildings.

These buildings not only consume energy, but they will also produce it. Thanks to ICT, these buildings can generate electricity while contributing to the current quality and maintaining balance within complex energy networks.

The grid needs this type of flexibility. And it will be available via the mass market in the future.
Finally, energy will be personalized, allowing end-users to have more insights into the energy source and price of their electricity supply. Why? Encouraged by digital platforms, consumers want to be able to choose and keep control of the energy they are consuming. And these smart devices are ready for use.

The new energy reality trends

  1. electrification of energy
    The electrification of the energy demand will ensure an increasing energy efficiency and reliability. It’s a century ago when we electrified our railways and there are now more and more electric cars and trucks.
    Additionally, electric heating contributes to efficiency, because heat pumps are used on a larger scale, replacing other gas or oil heating and other electric heating systems.
  2. new materials
    New materials such as graphene for solar panels, hybrid solar cells and semiconductors with wide band gap for inverters ensure that the reliability, performance and efficiency of the next generation solar panels and electricity networks can be improved.
  3. digitization
    Digitisation ensures that we quickly have more and better data.
    In addition, the computing power increases and improves communication between all elements of the power system.
    This enables the design, planning and operation of assets in the field of wind and solar energy, transmission, distribution and electricity consumption can be optimized.
    The maintenance costs for wind turbines and wind farms are lower.
    In addition, demand response programs, allowing customers to reduce demand at peak times, will be better tailored to the individual and changing needs of the customer.
  4. wind power: bigger and smarter
    Wind turbines are getting bigger and are fitted with lightweight, flexible blades and aerodynamic nacelles.
    The aerodynamic nacelles, innovations in the field of transmission systems, new sensors and smart control systems ensure that the new wind turbines can better handle the available wind and that can better respond to the demand in the grid.
  5. costs decline solar energy
    More than 30 leading developments in the solar energy array, mean that the cost of solar panels will go down during the next decade. Up to 40%.
    Solar panels modules decrease by 20% at every doubling capacity. By 2025 solar panels will be the cheapest form of electricity in many parts of the world.
  6. times discharge energy
    Electricity storage systems will be optimized for three discharge times: large-scale consumption, system support and ‘behind the meter” Possible technologies are chemical batteries for storing solar energy for consumers, technologies with high power system support at the system level and intelligent software in batteries.
  7. demand management
    Two-way communication with Demand Response Management (DRM) is responding to the changing conditions by customers in order to take the big disadvantages of the two most common forms of demand response away.
    1. By managing the first form of energy, companies manage the program without taken into account the local conditions and changing customer needs. This form can therefore be experienced as intrusive.
    2. In the second form, the question is automatically adjusted based on the reaction of consumers to price incentives. From the perspective of the systems, this kind of demand response is less reliable and manageable.
  8. Smart, energy-producing buildings
    In a smart energy-producing building, solar energy is the main energy source.
    By adding systems that allow flexibility in the energy behavior, such as batteries for storing electricity, heat pumps, air conditioning and charging stations for electric vehicles, energy consumption can be further optimized with smart thermostats.
    With smart meters, this flexibility may be measured and converted into cash.
    Although developments in solar energy and energy storage appears to indicate that buildings are increasingly “off grid” providing their own energy, it is more likely that the opposite happens. Buildings can become energy nodes, which are valuable for the necessary flexibility in electricity grids.
  9. augmented electricity grids
    In future, electricity grids will regulate themselves and are packed with features to enable self-configuration.
    Thus networks themselves
    – regulate the robustness and reducing losses
    – make adjustments to compensate for voltage fluctuations
    – minimize disruptions using self optimization
    However, this development will have other challenges entail: regarding to the ensuring of the safety and reliability of the system.
    For these challenges, new modeling techniques for designing, testing and control of the network at system level will be developed.
  10. Hybrid power systems
    In order to growth with the proportion of renewable energy, electricity must be distributed over longer and longer distances. The cheapest solution is to be found in this area HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current).
    Existing AC power systems will evolve into hybrid power grids, which are defined as the addition of more and more HVDC connections within and between AC power systems. In this way, electricity grids will develop into a combination of AC networks and manageable DC systems ..

20% more energy consumption

DNV GL predicts that the global energy consumption will increase with 20%. All energy will be from a noticeably different mix of sources, especially in the power sector.

According to DNV GL on the site:

‘(…)The transition is mainly being driven by:

  • Cost pressures in the oil and gas industry
  • The imperative to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions
  • The rapid decline in the cost of electricity generated from solar and wind
  • The emergence of a more distributed and consumer-centric power system

These trends will drive technology development, and so too will new policy and regulatory measures that will influence energy source preferences and spur deployment of new solutions.

2025

These forces are likely to result in the following changes in global energy flows between 2015 and 2025:

  • Strong growth in natural gas production
  • Growth in nuclear power generation
  • More than 50% growth in the use of biomass and waste for power generation and biofuels
  • The peak and decline of coal production
  • A sharp decline in oil-fired power generation
  • A booming renewable power generation sector, more than doubling global capacity

The pace and strength of these energy flows are delicately balanced on the fulcrum of policy and regulation. This is especially the case for the transition to renewables, and the associated reductions in annual GHG emissions relative to a ‘business as usual’ trajectory, which is strongly dependent on policy intervention. (…)

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