With a better understanding of the complexity involved in the transformation of the electricity industry the words smart or future energy' are becoming more prominent. BuddeComm believes that the term smart grids' is too narrow and that eventually smart energy' will become the accepted terminology especially once the communications developments in national mobile and fixed broadband networks start to converge with smart grid developments. Smart grids unfortunately have become synonymous with smart meters, again leading to too narrow a view on this market.
Smart energy signifies a system that is more integrated and scalable, and which extends through the distribution system from businesses and homes and back to the sources of energy. Developments at the edge of the network will increasingly determine its future direction. A smarter energy system has sensors and controls embedded into its fabric. Because it is interconnected there is a two-way flow of information and energy across the network, including information on pricing. In addition to this it is intelligent, making use of proactive analytics and automation to transform data into insights and to efficiently manage resources.
This links with the telecoms development known as M2M or the internet of things' (IoT). For this to happen various functional areas within the energy ecosystem must be engaged consumers; business customers; energy providers; regulators; the utility's own operations; smart meters; grid operations; work and asset management; communications; and the integration of distributed resources.
With energy consumption expected to grow worldwide by more than 40% over the next 25 years demand in some parts of the world could exceed 100% in that time. This will produce an increase in competition for resources, resulting in higher costs. In an environment like this energy efficiency will become even more important.
Quite apart from any increased demand for energy in specific markets, the move to more sustainable technologies for example, electric vehicles and distributed and renewable generation will add even more complexity to operations within the energy sector. As was mentioned at the COP20 in Lima, technological innovations will have to play a larger role in climate change adaptation.
Concerns about issues such as energy security, environmental sustainability, and economic competitiveness are triggering a shift in energy policy, technology and consumer focus. This, in turn, is making it necessary to move on from the traditional energy business model. Renewable energy, linked to distributed energy systems and battery storage, is going to be the game-changer here.
As a consequence electricity utilities could end up in a spiral of death' situation similar to that of the companies that invested in the building of the internet infrastructure they may own the means of delivering electricity and associated services, but may not be able to take advantage of the new business opportunities that will arise. This will limit their opportunities for future growth. Instead companies should develop a vortex of opportunities'.
Another problem will surface when, due to users reducing consumption and producing energy themselves through energy efficiency strategies, the traditional pricing models become inadequate in terms of maintaining the energy infrastructure.
The potential for transformation of the energy industry to smart energy is still at a very early stage. Valuable advances have already been made in some areas but consensus needs to be reached regarding a collective approach to interoperability and technical standards. SHOW LESS READ MORE >
2. From UtiliTel to Smart Grid to Smart Energy and Smart Cities.
3. Progress hampered by lack of smart energy policies
4. Industry analysis mid 2015
5. SGA Industry analysis
6. Disruptive retail plan for renewable energy
7. Challenges for the future
8. Delighting and exciting electricity customers
9. Electricity death spiral'
10. Energy industry in transition
11. Storage technologies making progress
11.1 Market estimates
11.2 The effect on smart grids
12. Energy retail market developments
13. People power in the energy market
14. Key international Developments
14.1 Googles acquisition of Nest will affect the utilities
14.2 Resource and energy management are hot issues all around the world
14.3 Energy Internet of Things
14.4 Transactive Energy
14.5 Linking ICTs with climate action for a low-carbon economy
14.6 The UN Broadband Commission and RIO+20
14.6.1 Renewing our commitment towards sustainable development
14.6.2 Broadband for the integration of the three pillars of sustainable development
14.6.3 Turning vision into action
14.7 OECD publishes report on internet of things and M2M
14.7.1 New Technology
14.7.2 New Markets
14.7.3 New Policies
14.8 Driving smarter energy usage through consumer education
14.9 Smart technology to improve generation performance
15. Business analyses
15.1 Australian Smart grids from a global perspective
15.2 Business case for smart grid appears strong
15.3 Home Automation Service Strategies
16. Key Analyses Australia
16.1 Ground-breaking standard for smart grids
16.2 Investments in the Australian smart grid market
16.3 New business opportunities for mining and energy industries
16.4 Energy in Australia remains cheap
16.5 Peak demand requires a smarter energy distribution concept
16.6 Government should show leadership in smart energy policies
16.7 Smart technologies challenging traditional energy scenarios
16.8 The business case for solar energy is getting closer
17. Key developments Australia
17.1 AGL launches battery storage
17.2 Households can save $100-$200
17.3 Spending increases to $2.4 billion in 2012
17.4 NBN facilitates wind farm
17.5 Fuel Poverty
18. Surveys and statistics
18.1 2014 Australian Energy Update
18.1.1 Energy consumption
18.1.2 Energy production
18.1.3 Electricity generation
18.1.4 Energy trade
18.1.5 UBS: Tesla Powerwall can deliver six-year payback in Australia
18.2 Australian energy survey
18.3 Worldwide smart grid spending will reach $46.4B in 2015
18.4 Microgrids revenue to reach $17.3 Billion by 2017
19. Industry reform
19.1 Two decades in the making
19.2 Retail reform
19.3 Deregulation of retail prices
19.4 NEM Review
19.5 Network Costs
19.6 Network pricing reform
20. Separate background reports
Table 1 - Machine-to-machine applications and technologies, by dispersion and mobility
Exhibit 1 - Key developments in the industry moving forwards
Exhibit 2 - How to move forwards
Exhibit 3 - Example - Solar PV