How will we produce energy for our own needs again in the future?
Energy supply is an increasing challenge, both for companies and for individuals. At the same time, in the era of energy shortages and rising prices, decarbonization and the transition to carbon-neutral sources represent an additional aggravating circumstance for the market. The question arises, how to reconcile these, at first glance, irreconcilable trends? If you ask the experts, the answer is in the electrical grid, prosumers and decentralized energy management with two-way flow. However, in order to find out what this means in practice, what are the advantages of this model and why the principles by which it works are well known to mankind, we have to go back to the very beginning.
Before the advent of centrally managed energy, which comes from sources such as coal, oil and gas, energy supply required a direct connection to the energy source. From fire used to cook meals to factories powered by water power, a significant amount of human effort has gone into deciding not only whether energy is needed, but also where it can be found and how to collect it and best use it.
One of the great themes of the twentieth century is the story of how for the first time access to energy became “easy”, at least for the user. Centralized production of energy, supported by huge investments in fossil fuel research, global logistics chains and national energy grids, meant that the end user no longer had to consider how the energy he needed was generated. Decision-making has become much simpler, focused on agreeing delivery terms and monitoring consumption costs.
Recently, that way of thinking has been called into question, and energy consumers are once again looking for a certain degree of independence. However, new circumstances in the past period have led to significant disruptions in the market and changes in consumer expectations, both in terms of the speed of transformation of energy supply and consumption, and in terms of prices. Aleksandar Vasićcluster manager at to the company Eaton believes that the relationship between supply and demand was crucial for price fluctuations on the market.
„The pandemic, especially in its earlier stages, led to a significant drop in demand for energyand when they are during the recovery period industrial areas began to raise production, it became is clear that the supply he can’t u completelysti and meet the demand. The result was a jump in prices, dwindling fuel reserves and problems for companye which based their business models on cheap energy on spot markets. High prices and their instability in the energy market represent real problems for consumers and companies. Looking ahead, we should not expect a quick return of cheap energy“, says Vasić.
Along with the growth in electricity demand, decarbonization is also a strong challenge for producers, especially when it comes to meeting the needs of large energy consumers such as industry and automobile production. Vasić believes that as a result we can expect a complete change in the market in favor of the delivery of renewable energy production.
„In most geographic areas, the cost per kWp for photovoltaic generation is currently lower than the cost of a comparable fossil fuel unit. This means that production solar on-site energy, combined with energy storage solutions, can at companies creates a certain degree of energy self-sufficiency. This will do them enable them to more successfully cope with fluctuations in the energy market and creatures more flexiblei i more resistanti electric poweri system“, Vasić points out.
Given that renewable energy is currently available at almost zero margin, another way to look at this is as a shift from the general market to decentralized electricity. In addition to being reminiscent of a time before centralized energy sources, this paradigm shift will significantly affect on the development of this field in the future.
Combining renewable energy with on-site storage is a win-win for companies, as it allows them to save money by using it to offset their electricity needs from the grid and sell some of the energy back into the grid. At the same time, they can use the surplus to decarbonize and add resilience to their operations. For electricity distribution networks, storage as a means of low-carbon adaptability helps manage generation-demand gaps related to the unpredictability of solar and wind power sources. This also offers them the potential to significantly reduce the need for network reinforcement and hard-wired capacity.
These changes will be enabled and strengthened by the increasing digitization of oursh energy systems. A key component of the transition to net-zero emissions will be demand-side adaptability, which will reduce the demands of certain industrial consumers at times of lower supply. and in that way garantovaof availability of energy for systems and purposes of critical importance. Achieving this adaptability will require insight and interaction with assets “beyond the metering devices”, about which distribution networks traditionally do not have detailed data.“, explains Vasić.
Consequently, the power grid will be more important than ever. It is a highly sophisticated system for monitoring and managing energy, however, for most of its existence, the flow has been unidirectional, from a relatively small number of production sites to many consumption sites. In the new era of the “prosumer” (which represents the consumer who also produces energy), we will rely on a strong and intelligent grid to manage the two-way flow.
These changes cannot and will not happen immediately. A radical change technologies and labor economics, as well as key infrastructure will not be easy. The full benefits of adaptability will only be unleashed when smart, two-way distribution systems are deployed on a large scale, so the decision to adopt them needs to be made by various stakeholders – from multinational companies to individual consumers. Clear regulation for the introduction and integration of means that bring adaptability is needed as soon as possible, so that the electricity grid is reliable, safe and ready for a completely different future.
Source: BIZlife by bizlife.rs.
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