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energy sector

Energy efficiency is the fastest-growing segment of U.S. energy sector employment, now employing more than 2.3 million Americans, according to a new analysis from E4TheFuture and the national, nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs). Energy efficiency workers now account for 28% of all U.S. energy jobs.

The new report, Energy Efficiency Jobs in America, finds energy efficiency jobs grew 3.4 percent in 2018 –more than double the rate of growth for overall jobs nationwide — with 7.8% growth projected for 2019. Among the states, California leads energy efficiency employment with 318,500 jobs, followed by Texas (162,800), New York (123,300), Florida (118,400), and Illinois (89,400). Thirteen states saw efficiency jobs increase by more than five percent in 2018, led by New Mexico (11.6%), Nevada (8.1%), Oklahoma (7.2%), Colorado (7.2%), and New Jersey (7.1%). Not a single state saw declines in energy efficiency employment in 2018.

Efficiency businesses added 76,000 net new jobs in 2018, accounting for half of all net jobs added by America’s energy sector (151,700). The sector also employed twice the number of workers in 2018 as all fossil fuel industries combined (1.18 million). There are now more than 360,000 energy efficiency businesses operating across the U.S.

Energy efficiency jobs include positions in manufacturing, such as building ENERGY STAR® appliances, efficient windows and doors and LED lighting systems. They include jobs in construction – retrofitting buildings, offices and schools to make them more efficient. Efficiency careers are found in high-tech design and software and professional services, as well as at the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) companies that upgrade outdated inefficient HVAC systems, boilers, ductwork and other equipment.

Energy efficiency jobs aren’t limited by geography, geology or political persuasion. There are workers in energy efficiency in every state and in virtually every U.S. county, the report shows. More than 317,000 energy efficiency jobs are located in rural areas, while 928,000 jobs are found in the nation’s top 25 metro areas. In 41 states and the District of Columbia, more Americans now work in energy efficiency than fossil fuels.

Other key findings:

• 10% of energy efficiency jobs are held by veterans — nearly double the national average of 6%.
• Construction and manufacturing make up more than 70% of U.S. energy efficiency jobs.
• More than one out of every six U.S. construction workers spend 50% or more of their time on energy efficiency (1.3 million workers).
• 321,000 energy efficiency jobs are in manufacturing.
• More than 1.1 million energy efficiency jobs are in heating, ventilation, and cooling technologies.
• Efficient lighting technologies employ 370,000 workers.
• ENERGY STAR appliances employ 167,000 workers.
• Energy efficiency employers are projecting 7.8% job growth in 2019
• Small businesses are driving America’s energy efficiency job boom, with 79% of energy efficiency businesses employing fewer than 20 workers.
• 17 states employ more than 50,000 workers, and 40 states are home to at least 10,000 energy efficiency workers.

Source: E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs)

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Inerco Ingeniería, Tecnología y Consultoría enters a Strategic Business Alliance Agreement with the energy storage company SaltX Technology – listed on Nasdaq First North Premier –. The partners enter a joint development plan where the first step is to build a pre-commercial pilot in Megawatt scale during 2020.

Inerco has a strong reputation within thermal power generation engineering and technology. The Energy Storage system to be designed will be charged using a non-dispatchable renewable energy or high temperature waste heat. This system will also allow a controlled discharge in periods of high energy demand, as decarbonised high temperature heat (producing steam for electricity generation or heat for direct industrial use).

The goal is to lower the dependency on fossil fuels and increase the flexibility of thermal and renewable power plants. The partners have also agreed to a road map for commercialising the solution. The target markets for the alliance will initially be Spain, Portugal, Central and South America and Mexico. INERCO will be responsible for the development of the first pilot and will also lead the funding of it.

“Inerco finds relevant advantages in nanocoated salts for thermochemical energy storage, which have led us to establish a strong partnership with SaltX. The future of the energy sector undoubtedly implies the use of robust and cost-effective energy storage solutions to be integrated with hybridised conventional and renewable energy sources. SaltX´s nanocoated salts present intrinsic advantages with respect to systems based on other energy storage principles, such as those using molten salts, concrete, or electric batteries, due to their improved energy efficiency, management and safety characteristics. With this technological approach INERCO is convinced about finding competitive solutions for the new decarbonised energy scenario related to both power generation and energy intensive industries”, says Pedro Marín, CEO of Inerco.

Source: Inerco

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Macquarie Infrastructure Debt Investment Solutions (“MIDIS”), on behalf of its European and Asian insurance company clients, today announced a new transaction in the Spanish renewables sector, with a 38 M€ debt investment in a portfolio of solar farms.

The portfolio is owned and managed by Q-Energy, a leading European investor and asset manager in the renewable energy sector. Comprised of six operational PV plants in south-eastern Spain, the portfolio totals 13.6MWp in installed capacity. MIDIS refinanced the portfolio’s existing debt with 21-year, amortising, floating rate, senior secured bonds, and structured an orphan interest rate swap facility to support the transaction, provided by Goldman Sachs International.

MIDIS continues to explore opportunities in the Spanish renewables market, seeking to match long-dated liabilities with investments that generate stable, long-term cash flows. In the last twelve months, MIDIS has deployed over 150 M€ into the Spanish solar sector to help meet the evolving demand through a combination of separately managed accounts and its Macquarie Global Infrastructure Debt Fund strategy.

MIDIS and Q-Energy completed the transaction on a bilateral basis, with Banco Sabadell and Santander acting as arrangers. Goldman Sachs International provided the interest rate hedging to the issuer.

Since 2012, MIDIS has invested 2.100 M€ of infrastructure debt across more than 30 renewable energy projects with total installed capacity of approximately 6.8GW.

Source: Macquarie

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Asia-Pacific (APAC) is expected to lead the wind turbine market with an annual installation capacity of 33.14 GW by 2023, largely driven by onshore deployment; followed by EMEA and Americas with capacities of 19.9GW and 11.7GW, respectively, according to GlobalData.

The company’s latest report ‘Wind Turbine, Update 2019 – Global Market Size, Competitive Landscape and Key Country Analysis to 2023’ reveals that the buoyancy in the market is largely due to the global investment trends in renewable energy to address power sector challenges.

In the forecast period (2019–2023), wind turbine installations are expected to reach an aggregate of 312.39GW. APAC will continue to lead the market, with an aggregate of 157.61GW of installed capacity, followed by EMEA and Americas with 88.41 GW and 66.36 GW, respectively.

The APAC region led the onshore wind turbine market by registering an aggregate capacity of 138.20GW between 2014 and 2018, and will continue to do so in the future. The need to improve access to electricity, increasing consumption trends and strong industrial market are primary driving factors for onshore wind turbines market.

The growth in the APAC region is largely contributed by China, which has established comprehensive development plans focused on using renewable energy to sustain its growth and ambitions of becoming a global leader in wind technology development.

In the offshore market, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) dominated the market and will continue to do so reaching 4.77GW in 2023. EMEA’s dominance is largely driven by the European market. The strong technology base in Europe, favorable wind conditions and increasing effectiveness of offshore wind turbines have contributed to the large scale deployment of offshore wind technology to capitalize on the significantly larger resource.

Source: GlobalData

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Photo: IEA, Getty Images)

The electricity sector attracted the largest share of energy investments in 2017, sustained by robust spending on grids, exceeding the oil and gas industry for the second year in row, as the energy sector moves toward greater electrification, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest review of global energy spending. Global energy investment totalled USD 1.8 trillion in 2017, a 2% decline in real terms from the previous year, according to the World Energy Investment 2018 report. More than USD 750 billion went to the electricity sector while USD 715 billion was spent on oil and gas supply globally.

State-backed investments are accounting for a rising share of global energy investment, as state-owned enterprises have remained more resilient in oil and gas and thermal power compared with private actors. The share of global energy investment driven by state-owned enterprises increased over the past five years to over 40% in 2017.

Meanwhile, government policies are playing a growing role in driving private spending. Across all power sector investments, more than 95% of investment is now based on regulation or contracts for remuneration, with a dwindling role for new projects based solely on revenues from variable pricing in competitive wholesale markets. Investment in energy efficiency is particularly linked to government policy, often through energy performance standards.

The report also finds that after several years of growth, combined global investment in renewables and energy efficiency declined by 3% in 2017 and there is a risk that it will slow further this year. For instance, investment in renewable power, which accounted for two-thirds of power generation spending, dropped 7% in 2017. Recent policy changes in China linked to support for the deployment of solar PV raise the risk of a slowdown in investment this year. As China accounts for more than 40% of global investment in solar PV, its policy changes have global implications.

While energy efficiency showed some of the strongest expansion in 2017, it was not enough to offset the decline in renewables. Moreover, efficiency investment growth has weakened in the past year as policy activity showed signs of slowing down.

The share of fossil fuels in energy supply investment rose last year for the first time since 2014, as spending in oil and gas increased modestly. Meanwhile, retirements of nuclear power plants exceeded new construction starts as investment in the sector declined to its lowest level in five years in 2017. The share of national oil companies in total oil and gas upstream investment remained near record highs, a trend expected to persist in 2018.

Though still a small part of the market, electric vehicles now account for much of the growth in global passenger vehicle sales, spurred by government purchase incentives. Nearly one quarter of the global value of EV sales in 2017 came from the budgets of governments, who are allocating more capital to support the sector each year.

Final investment decisions for coal power plants to be built in the coming years declined for a second straight year, reaching a third of their 2010 level. However, despite declining global capacity additions, and an elevated level of retirements of existing plants, the global coal fleet continued to expand in 2017, mostly due to markets in Asia. And while there was a shift towards more efficient plants, 60% of currently operating capacity uses inefficient subcritical technology.

The report finds that the prospects of the US shale industry are improving. Between 2010 and 2014, companies spent up to USD 1.8 for each dollar of revenue. However, the industry has almost halved its breakeven price, providing a more sustainable basis for future expansion. This underpins a record increase in US light tight oil production of 1.3 million barrels a day in 2018.

The improved prospects for the US shale sector contrast with the rest of the upstream oil and gas industry. Investment in conventional oil projects, which are responsible for the bulk of global supply, remains subdued. Investment in new conventional capacity is set to plunge in 2018 to about one-third of the total, a multi-year low raising concerns about the long-term adequacy of supply.

Source: IEA

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More than 4 billion people are not connected to the internet today, representing a huge opportunity for both development and business. Bridging the ‘digital divide’ for these un-networked billions requires affordable and reliable access to electricity. Power is a crucial element at all stages of providing internet access: from running backhaul services to the core of the network and base stations to powering the devices that consumers use to get online. Yet, across much of the developing world, reliable electricity remains expensive and hard to get.

Achieving universal access to the internet will require expanding access to affordable and reliable electricity, especially for people living in the remote areas in emerging economies, finds a new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance in collaboration with Facebook.

The report Powering Last-Mile Connectivity outlines some of the challenges the developing world faces in giving more people access to the grid and the implications for the mobile industry if billions of people continue to lack that access.

Five key insights from the study are:

  1. Bridging the ‘digital divide’ for the four billion people without internet access, especially those in remote areas in emerging economies, requires affordable and reliable access to electricity.
  2. Electricity access is key for both provision and consumption of connectivity services. Power is needed across the value chain, from backhaul to access networks, to the devices that people use to get online.
  3. Globally, mobile network operators and cellular tower operators spend $3.8 billion on diesel fuel for remote sites annually. These costs make up a significant component of the operating budget.
  4. Solar and battery storage are now cheap enough to play a key role in expanding internet access.
  5. Partnerships between the telecommunications industry and the energy sector will enable both sectors to scale more rapidly towards universal access.

Powering the consumers of new connectivity

Without access to electricity in the home, connecting to internet services is a significant challenge, primarily due to the difficulty and cost of device charging. Even though people might live in communities covered by 3G networks, their smartphone use will be limited if they lack electricity at home. Off-grid consumers travel up to 15 km per week to charge their phones at small kiosks. Depending on the location, kiosk charging can constitute over a third of the total cost ($2-7 per month) of owning an internet-capable device, and a significant portion of household income. Such conditions make daily charging prohibitive and curb smartphone ownership and use.

Small-scale PV and storage have started to gain traction as primary energy sources for remote infrastructure and communities, particularly when innovative financing structures bring them to market. The critical components for such systems are rapidly becoming cheaper. Energy access companies are using these technologies to power connectivity with various business models, from small portable solar kits for individual households to village-scale micro-grids that can power local businesses and cellular infrastructure.

Powering connectivity infrastructure

Expanding a cellular network typically requires the construction of new towers for the base stations that connect mobile phones to the wider network. However, in remote areas, towers need expensive power and generate limited revenue due to low population density. A combination of cheaper, distributed solar-powered energy for conventional cellular infrastructure, and smaller, more efficient base stations designed to plug coverage gaps in the main network could reach more people at lower cost.

More than a million cellular towers in developing countries are off-grid or have at best extremely unreliable grid supply. These towers typically rely on diesel generators for primary power during large parts of the day to avoid interruptions to the mobile network.

Composed of a mix of solar, diesel generator, and batteries, hybrid power systems can save MNOs or tower operators up to 54% of the energy cost for an off-grid tower that a conventional diesel generator would incur.

Opportunities for partnerships abound

A combination of technological advances and innovative business models now provide alternative approaches to powering connectivity at the ‘last mile’. There are plenty of opportunities for both large companies and start-ups to make the most of them. Partnerships between telcos, energy companies and start-ups on innovative business models, alternative communication infrastructure and early stage venture capital can drive energy and network connectivity for billions of people.

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The power sector will play a crucial role in attaining the European climate targets, which aim to cut greenhouse gases by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 1990. Tracking progress in the power sector is hence of utmost importance. For the fourth year in a row, the second year in a row with Agora Energiewende, Sanbag has presented the state of the energy transition in the European power sector, to update what happened in 2017, with the report The EU Power Sector Review 2017, launched at the end of January in Brussels. Key topics include renewables growth, conventional power generation, power consumption, and CO2 emissions.

The report celebrates how the wind, sun and biomass overtook coal, in supplying electricity across Europe in 2017, but also highlights some of the failings of the current electricity transition, and gives a very mixed picture: EU renewables has been increasingly reliant on the success story of wind in Germany, UK and Denmark, which has been inspiring. But other countries need to do more. Solar deployment is surprisingly low, and needs to respond to the massive falls in costs. And with electricity consumption rising for the third year, countries need to reassess their efforts on energy efficiency.

But to make the biggest difference to emissions, countries need to retire coal plants. The study forecasts Europe’s 258 operational coal plants in 2017 emitted 38% of all EU ETS emissions, or 15% of total EU greenhouse gases. In 2017, Netherlands, Italy and Portugal added their names to the list of countries to phase-out coal, which is great. We need a fast and complete coal phase-out in Europe: the thought of charging electric cars in the 2030’s with coal just doesn’t compute. A 35% renewables target would make a 2030 coal phaseout possible.

Key findings include:

• New renewables generation sharply increased in 2017, with wind, solar and biomass overtaking coal for the first time. Since Europe‘s hydro potential is largely tapped, the increase in renewables comes from wind, solar and biomass generation. They rose by 12% in 2017 to 679 Terawatt hours, putting wind, solar and biomass above coal generation for the first time. This is incredible progress, considering just five years ago, coal generation was more than twice that of wind, solar and biomass.

• But renewables growth has become even more uneven. Germany and the UK alone contributed to 56% of the growth in renewables in the past three years. There is also a bias in favor of wind: a massive 19% increase in wind generation took place in 2017, due to good wind conditions and huge investment into wind plants. This is good news since the biomass boom is now over, but bad news in that solar was responsible for just 14% of the renewables growth in 2014 to 2017.

• Electricity consumption rose by 0.7% in 2017, marking a third consecutive year of increases. With Europe‘s economy being on a growth path again, power demand is rising as well. This suggests Europe‘s efficiency efforts are not sufficient and hence the EU‘s efficiency policy needs further strengthening.

• CO2 emissions in the power sector were unchanged in 2017, and rose economy-wide. Low hydro and nuclear generation coupled with increasing demand led to increasing fossil generation. So despite the large rise in wind generation, we estimate power sector CO2 emissions remained unchanged at 1019 million tonnes. However, overall stationary emissions in the EU emissions trading sectors rose slightly from 1750 to 1755 million tonnes because of stronger industrial production especially in rising steel production. Together with additional increases in non-ETS gas and oil demand, we estimate overall EU greenhouse gas emissions rose by around 1% in 2017.

• Western Europe is phasing out coal, but Eastern Europe is sticking to it. Three more Member States announced coal phase-outs in 2017 – Netherlands, Italy and Portugal. They join France and the UK in committing to phase-out coal, while Eastern European countries are sticking to coal. The debate in Germany, Europe’s largest coal and lignite consumer, is ongoing and will only be decided in 2019.

Source: Sandbag

Keynote speakers at the Global Power & Energy Leaders' Summit will examine the long-term change in the way energy is produced, distributed and consumed

With the core theme of the global energy transition, the Global Power & Energy Leaders’ Summit at GPEX 2018 will address important commercial, regulatory, geopolitical and technical issues impacting the future of the power and energy industry.

Government, policymakers and senior business leaders from international organisations including the International Energy Agency, Gas Natural Fenosa, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and GE Ventures, have today confirmed their participation.

Speakers include:

Blanca Losada Martin, Chief Technology and Engineering Officer, Gas Natural Fenosa
Neil Chatterjee, Commissioner, US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
Lazlo Varro, Chief Economist, International Energy Agency (IEA)
Eric Bielke, Director of Energy Investment, GE Ventures
Ulla Sandborgh, Director General and Chief Executive Officer, Svenska kraftnät
Wilfried Breuer, Managing Director and Member of the Executive Board, TenneT
Laurent Schmitt, Secretary-General, ENTSO-E
Santi Martínez Farrero, Chief Executive Officer, Estabanell Energia

Both the global commitment to reduce GHG emissions and the increasing role of digital technologies are driving major changes within the power and energy industry. Leading energy companies, combining growing renewable energy generation and digitalisation, are shifting to a cleaner and more efficient energy mix. GPEX will gather the leaders and innovators of the energy transition to discuss the challenges, solutions and opportunities of the changing energy landscape.

The Global Power & Energy Leaders’ Summit will centre on five key themes: Vision for the Energy Transition; New Business Model; Progressive Policy; Financing the Future of Energy; and The Digitalisation Era. It will provide international power and energy professionals with the latest insights on the transition, in terms of where we are today, what steps can be undertaken in the near-future, and where we will be in the 2030-2050 timeline.

Stewart Bundock, Event Director, at organiser dmg :: events global energy, says: “We’re delighted to welcome such a diverse, exciting and innovative speaker line-up to GPEX, for what promises to be a highly topical, controversial and dynamic debate on the energy transition.

The Summit is an integral part of the Global Power & Energy Exhibition (GPEX 2018) – which takes place in Barcelona, Spain (17-20 September) – to showcase the strategies and technologies needed to adapt to the global transition, and the move towards a more sustainable, low-carbon and smart energy system.
Co-located with Gastech, these events will bring 30,000 global power and energy industry professionals together – government, commercial and industrial power users, gas operators, power producers and distributors, technology providers and renewable energy companies – to enhance the dialogue between the sectors that will play a significant role in the global energy transition.

Source: dmg :: events global energy

A new policy brief co-authored by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) finds that increasing the share of renewables, in particular solar PV and wind, in India’s power mix, and implementing changes in cooling technologies mandated for thermal power plants would not only lower carbon emissions intensity, but also substantially reduce water withdrawal and consumption intensity of power generation.

The brief, Water Use in India’s Power Generation – Impact of Renewables and Improved Cooling Technologies to 2030, finds that depending on the future energy pathways (IRENA’s REmap 2030 and the Central Electricity Authority of India), a power sector (excluding hydroelectricity) transformation driven by solar PV and wind, coupled with improved cooling technologies in thermal and other renewable power plants, could yield as much as an 84% decrease in water withdrawal intensity by 2030, lower annual water consumption intensity by 25% and reduce carbon emissions intensity by 43%, compared to 2014 levels. It builds off of the findings of Parched Power: Water Demands, Risks, and Opportunities for India’s Power Sector, launched by WRI.

More than four-fifths of India’s electricity is generated from coal, gas and nuclear power plants which rely significantly on freshwater for cooling purposes. Moreover, the power sector’s share in national water consumption is projected to grow from 1.4 to 9% between 2025 and 2050, placing further stress on water resources. Renewable energy, with the added potential to reduce both water demand and carbon emissions, must hence be at the core of India’s energy future.

Key findings

The power sector contributes to and is affected by water stress. Rapid growth in freshwater-intensive thermal power generation can contribute to water stress in the areas where plants are located. Power generation is expected to account for nearly 9% of national water consumption by 2050 (in a businessas-usual scenario) – growing from 1.4% in 2025 (Central Water Commission, 2015) and this figure is likely to vary quite significantly from region to region. There is a mismatch between water demand and supply when usable surface water capacity and replenishable groundwater levels are considered. Water stress is particularly acute in naturally arid regions and areas where water is also needed for other uses such as irrigation. Confronted with growing risks to water and energy security, the power sector needs long-term approaches to reduce its dependence on freshwater while also meeting other environmental objectives such as reducing atmospheric, water and soil pollution.

The combination of improved power plant cooling technologies and»renewable energy technologies, especially solar PV and wind, could lessen the intensity of freshwater use and carbon intensity of the power sector. In its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), India committed to increasing the share of non-fossil sources in its installed power capacity to 40% by 2030. India has a related target of 175 GW of renewables capacity by 2022, including 100 GW of solar PV and 60 GW of wind. As solar PV and wind power require significantly less water than conventional and other renewable sources during the operational phase, their substantial uptake could contribute to a reduction in freshwater use as well as carbon intensity of power generation. Simultaneously, phasing out once-through cooling technologies at existing power plants and restricting their installation at new thermal plants, through enforcement of the announced regulatory water use standards, will substantially reduce water withdrawal.

By 2030, the water withdrawal intensity of the electricity generation (excluding hydropower) could be reduced by up to 84%, consumption intensity by up to 25%, and CO2 intensity by up to 43% in comparison to the 2014 baseline. Under all scenarios analysed, the Indian power sector’s freshwater and CO2 intensity (excluding hydropower) would substantially fall compared to the 2014 baseline. Even as intensities reduce, changes to absolute water withdrawal and consumption in 2030 vary. The transition from once-through to recirculating cooling systems will drastically reduce withdrawal but will increase total water consumption in most scenarios. Coupled with continuing thermal and renewable capacity development, total water consumption in 2030 is estimated to increase by up to 4 billion m3. Measures discussed in this brief to reduce freshwater and carbon intensity complement demand-side measures, such as energy efficiency improvements, thus warranting an integrated approach to power sector planning.

The joint brief was launched at the World Future Energy Summit 2018 in Abu Dhabi

Source: IRENA

Digital technologies for fossil fuel operation and maintenance are big business today, but activity is shifting towards services for distributed renewables and the connected home. New energy innovations will be centered on digital technologies and the strategic use of data, according to new research published today. A shift is coming in the energy industry from a focus on hardware to the increased importance of software in order to make systems more efficient, resilient, and digital.

Digitalization of Energy Systems, a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), predicts significant shifts in the intelligence of digital technologies used in energy from today to 2025, and a big change in the sectors of the energy system that most benefit from these technologies.

Today, the biggest use of digital technologies like sensors, data collection and analytics in the energy sector is to improve the bottom line of fossil fuel generators. Revenue for digital services for fossil fuel operation and maintenance, or O&M, are estimated to be $24 billion in 2017 – some 44% of the total market size for digitalization measured by BNEF.

However, as natural gas and coal plants come offline, and those that remain become digitalized, the opportunities for new revenues from the fossil fuel sector will shrink. By 2025, digital technologies will be more intelligent and more capable, helping home owners that own rooftop solar, batteries or EVs (often termed ‘prosumers’), to become more autonomous and derive greater value from these assets. This could be through trading energy with neighbors or better management of peak power prices.

Home energy management technologies will see the most significant change in digital revenues, rising from $1 billion in 2017 to $11 billion in 2025. The largest driver for digital technology revenues in 2025 will be smart meters, growing 44% between now and 2025, to $26bn. This revenue increase matches the fall in digital revenues from fossil fuel O&M – 46% over that time period.

Digital technologies like big data, analytics and machine learning, blockchain, distributed energy resource management, and cloud computing, can help overcome some of the key challenges in the energy sector – most notably intermittency, aging grids, balancing distribution-connected generation, managing consumer self-generation, and coping with increasing system complexity.

Countries with high penetration of distributed renewables, good communications network infrastructure, and robust venture capital investment in digital technologies are likely to take rapid advantage of energy digitalization. Italy, for instance, is one of the global leaders in small-scale PV, has almost 100% high speed network coverage, and supportive regulation for digital technologies.

The U.S. will also do well, having long been a leader in digital technologies and early-stage fundraising. Australia, although ranking lower today, will move near the top of the group in 2025 due to high forecast levels of decentralized energy production. In emerging markets, countries that have beneficial government policies, foster innovative start-ups and are rolling-out network infrastructure are likely to digitalize soonest – for example Chile, Indonesia and Nigeria.

The motivation for industry digitalization will be different for each player. Generators and ‘prosumers’ are motivated by cost reduction, additional revenue streams and new services. Utilities face pressure from customers, government policy and regulation to improve their businesses. They can use digitization to streamline operations and enhance customer services.

The power sector has traditionally been served by large industrial companies selling primarily hardware, but innovation is increasingly centered on software and advanced technologies such as machine learning. Whether the winning solutions will come from industrials, start-ups, or technology companies remains to be seen.

Source: BNEF

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