Innovation for a renewable energy

5/9/2019

Innovation is the engine powering the global energy transformation. Globally the speed of developing and introducing more efficient and effective renewable energy technologies is increasing.

Clean and renewable energy has become the default option for many economies in their transition towards a cost-efficient and environmentally sustainable energy supply. Renewable power generation supports socio-economic development with employment and value creation and simultaneously combating climate change and local air pollution improvements.

The renewable energy sector has rapidly reduced the cost of solar and wind technologies resulting in widespread adoption in many countries such as Australia. Notwithstanding the remarkable progress to date, the pace of the energy transition needs to increase further. The policies also have a role to play. The policies in place need to encourage and drive technological innovation. They should be continually revisited and updated to keep up with new developments and breakthroughs and remove barriers to entry allowing continued acceleration in decarbonisation of the energy sectors. 

The introduction of variable renewable energy introduces new challenges. Furthermore, as its share of power generation increases, balancing of supply and demand forms a new challenge. Flexible and integrated power systems are needed to maximise the value of low-cost variable renewable energy (ie. solar and wind). The conventional approach of providing solutions from the supply side of the grid is one approach, however, a distributed and decentralised energy sources have a significant potential to contribute to the solution. The increased and rapid adoption of micro-generators and storage (home solar and batteries) coupled with an intelligent platform can provide a viable solution. 

Regulators and grid operators around the world are working on a range of measures and initiatives to maintain an economical and reliable balance of supply and demand in this evolving landscape. Innovation is centred on fostering the development and deployment of solutions that increase the system flexibility needed to integrate high shares of solar and wind power. 

Recently governments and innovative companies have been creating, trialling and deploying a multitude of innovative solutions that have the potential to radically transform energy systems globally. The sheer diversity of solutions, coupled with differences between local energy systems, and economic drivers produce a complex picture disabling effective decision making and assessment of the appropriate solutions for each context. 

These innovations are being combined in a wide range of power systems globally. The Innovations have been grouped into four themes: · 

  • Integration Technologies: Technologies that facilitate the integration of renewable energy. · 
  • Business Models: New business models that create new services, enhancing flexibility and encouraging further integration of renewable energy technologies. · 
  • Market Structure: Innovative market structures and updates in the regulation to encourage flexibility and value services needed in a renewable-based power energy system. · 
  • Grid Design: Innovative ways of operating the grid system, enabling an increase in renewable energy share.