In this ever-changing landscape, the energy industry is undergoing a remarkable transformation driven by the growing importance of sustainability. Technological advancements have already revamped many facets of the energy sector, from production to transmission and storage. The mere presence of smart grids, energy-efficient appliances and other innovative energy solutions is invaluable.
However, it is essential to acknowledge that while these innovations may have some differences, they all share a common goal — prioritising sustainability and increasing our reliance on renewable energy sources.
The ELEKS’ Head of Product Design Office, Oleg Slyusarchuk shared his expert opinion on the main trends that are driving the development of sustainability-driven digital products for the energy sector.
The world is undergoing a renewable energy revolution, and it's time to embrace this change. With the increasing demand for energy and the growing concerns about climate change, green energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower are becoming more popular.
Harnessing the power of renewable energy revolves around a fundamental principle — tapping into an endless supply of natural resources within our environment and converting them into practical electricity or sustainable fuels. In this pivotal endeavour, product design assumes a crucial role, driving the creation of groundbreaking solutions to capture, store, and effectively harness renewable energy.
As consumer demand for sustainable energy sources like solar and wind power continues to rise, energy companies find themselves at a pivotal juncture to proactively meet this demand. They have an opportunity to embrace renewable energy themselves and provide customers with renewable energy choices. These options can encompass community solar initiatives and eco-friendly energy tariffs, empowering consumers to participate in the clean energy movement.
Moreover, individuals are increasingly interested in generating power through distributed energy resources (DERs) like solar panels and energy storage systems. By offering DER solutions and services such as net metering and virtual power plants, energy companies can effectively cater to this growing preference for decentralised energy generation and consumption.
With an array of innovative technologies available to generate power from renewables, this trend has become one of the most significant developments within the energy industry today, and many governments, companies and individuals are already reaping its benefits.
With the help of the European Union, small and medium enterprises in Kosovo have embraced the promising realm of renewable energy, reaping remarkable rewards. For instance, Forma SHPK, a medium-sized enterprise specialising in plastic product manufacturing, made a strategic investment in solar panels. The outcome has been twofold: a substantial reduction in energy expenses and a significant stride towards environmental preservation. Forma SHPK successfully installed a robust 112kWp solar panel system, resulting in an impressive 80% reduction in energy costs.
While renewable energy sources offer immense benefits, they often face a significant challenge: maintaining a consistent output throughout the year. Solar panels excel in sun-drenched regions but cannot generate power at night or during cloudy days. Similarly, wind power can be a potent source of electricity, but it relies on the whims of the wind. Recognising this, the renewable energy sector has embraced a crucial trend: finding innovative ways to store surplus power when production conditions are optimal.
Storage projects in power applications primarily aim to accumulate excess renewable energy and unleash it when needed. This stored energy is pivotal in alleviating grid strain during peak periods while empowering prosumers to profit from expensive energy purchases.
Energy storage technologies, including batteries and pumped hydro storage, are increasingly vital in shifting toward customer-centric energy ecosystems. Energy storage enhances resilience by effectively balancing the grid and providing backup power during outages. Furthermore, it enables customers to store energy generated from their own distributed energy resources, harnessing it at their convenience.
Many companies have entered the energy storage market diligently working to address the energy storage challenge.
By leveraging the intermittent power generated by renewable sources like solar and wind, Energy Vault's, a Swiss startup, the innovative solution ensures a consistent supply of baseload power around the clock. Inspired by the proven concept of pumped-storage plants, their system harnesses the power of gravity and the movement of water to deliver unparalleled performance.
Another example is STOREH Energy Storage Technologies’ solution, that revolves around a hydrogen on-demand (HOD) system. Setting itself apart from conventional methods, this innovative system eliminates the need for compressors and tanks by producing hydrogen precisely when needed. Furthermore, STOREH's storage solution employs natural and environmentally friendly materials like zinc and water.
The imperative of digital transformation reverberates across industries, with the energy industry no exception. As the array of energy sources expands, managing such a dynamic system requires highly sophisticated automation and analytics. Supporting technologies, including predictive artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things, and blockchain, play a pivotal role in studying demand patterns and dynamically adjusting power allocation across distributed grids.
The power of digitalisation and data analytics takes centre stage in the seamless integration of distributed energy resources and energy storage into the grid. By harnessing these transformative technologies, customers can access real-time information about their energy usage and associated costs. Thus, customers can make informed decisions about their energy consumption, optimising efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Simultaneously, utilities benefit from the ability to effectively manage the grid, promptly responding to fluctuations in supply and demand. This synergy of digitalisation and data analytics empowers customers and utilities to navigate the energy landscape with precision, ensuring a harmonious and dynamic energy ecosystem.
At the forefront of this digital revolution, smart grid infrastructure is a prominent trend in the energy industry. Smart grids leverage advanced sensors and automation systems to enhance efficiency and curtail power wastage within distribution networks. This empowers utilities to optimise resource management, bolstering reliability by mitigating issues like overloaded circuits or equipment failures, thus minimising outages.
In technological advancements, autonomous energy systems are poised to gain significant traction in the coming years, primarily fueled by strides in AI and ML. These innovative systems enable utilities to monitor their operations autonomously, identifying areas for improvement and optimising performance with minimal reliance on manual intervention from on-site operators and technicians. This pioneering shift towards autonomy promises enhanced operational efficacy and streamlined maintenance processes.
At ELEKS, we have years of experience addressing the challenges of the energy sector with advanced digital products. We have developed our own solution, DAKAR, a software product crafted by the experts at ELEKS to revolutionise real-time power systems management within vast power networks. This solution empowers organisations with automated system stability analysis and optimised load flow calculations, resulting in unparalleled operational efficiency. By centralising data storage and equipping users with specialised data management tools.
DAKAR's impact extends beyond the realm of efficiency as well. During times of adversity, such as constant missile attacks on the electric power system in Ukraine, DAKAR played a pivotal role. By modelling the optimal plan to power critical infrastructure, it skillfully balanced reduced power generation and current consumption, creating a schedule for emergency shutdowns. This critical functionality helped maintain the stability of the power system, safeguarding essential services even in the face of imminent threats.
While the energy and power business landscape constantly evolve, we can see that no trend is set in stone. To successfully navigate this intricate environment and stay ahead of the competition, more and more companies are turning to sustainability consulting experts like ELEKS, who possess the knowledge and expertise to guide them towards a greener future.
The energy industry is undergoing a remarkable transformation driven by the need for sustainability and the increasing demand for environmentally friendly energy solutions. Technological advancements have revolutionized various aspects of the energy sector, developing innovative power products. These products prioritize sustainability and rely on renewable energy sources, aligning with the global movement towards a more sustainable future.
Renewable energy, innovative energy storage solutions and digitalization are among key trends shaping the energy industry. Real-life examples illustrate the successful implementation of these trends. From medium-sized enterprises in Kosovo adopting solar panels and reducing energy costs to Swiss startup Energy Vault's innovative solution for consistent baseload power, there are tangible benefits to embracing renewable energy and energy storage.
The impact of digitalisation is evident through software solutions like DAKAR, which revolutionise power systems management and ensure operational efficiency and stability.
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