The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) issued a whitepaper highlighting how technology will impact the energy sector in 2017.
The report, State of the technology 2017, highlights eight trends which emerged within the energy sector as stakeholders developed an integrated energy network.
The trends include efforts to achieve:
Efficient electrification: Efficient electrification will be instrumental in environmental improvement, and we see its potential to lower customers’ costs, increase productivity, improve product quality, and provide a cleaner, safer work environment. As we rely more on cleaner electricity, we can use energy more efficiently and use natural resources more sustainably. Natural gas, hydrogen and other clean energy sources will be instrumental in reducing emissions.
Empower integration: Electric, gas, transport and water systems are increasingly interdependent, but their planning and operations are largely separate. By integrating them, we can improve reliability, gain efficiency and increase value to customers.
As we integrate energy systems, we will rely on advances in wireless connected technologies, sensors and information and communications technologies along with advanced data analysis and modelling. Investment in these technologies can drive rapid advances essential for the efficient operation of energy system’s plants, wires and pipelines for enhanced customer engagement.
The integrated grid will connect central and distributed energy resources and empower consumers to produce, store and use electricity as they desire.
Broaden Collaboration: Global collaboration in science and technology innovation, demonstrations and thought leadership are key to navigating the rapidly changing and increasingly complex energy sector.
Advance infrastructure and technology: The emergence of low-cost shale gas and the rapid deployment of large-scale solar and wind energy are changing the power generation fleet in fundamental ways, imposing new demands and stresses on grid infrastructure. Investment is essential in transmission and distribution systems for grid reliability, security, resiliency and to expand regional and long-distance transmission.
Future energy networks
The whitepaper highlights how technology will impact the energy market between 2020 and 2050.
According to EPRI, electricity’s share of the final energy use by consumers will increase from 20% today to 30% or 40% in future.
Consumer adoption of economically viable electrification technologies as an alternative to fossil fuel will substantially increase electricity’s share of final energy, while also providing significant benefits for society, customers and utilities.
Investment in technologies including electric vehicles is expected to rise. The role of new policies in reducing carbon emissions will be significant.