The changing energy mix
All over the world, countries have been looking to move towards more diversified and sustainable sources of energy.
This is for a number of reasons, including to protect against rising electricity prices from traditional power sources, to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly, and to support sustainable economic growth.
According to Navigant Research, the smart energy sector is evolving rapidly and is now becoming a standardised part of the global energy portfolio, as opposed to simply a collection of niche markets.
Sustainable energy production methods such as solar power, wind energy, cogeneration and trigeneration are just some of the technologies that have changed the way the energy industry operates, giving power to the people by allowing individuals and households the ability to produce or even sell their own electricity.
Due to such technologies, the energy industry is becoming more and more democratised as previously dominant companies now face increasing competition, and societally there is a raised awareness of the importance of sustainability and energy efficiency.
Kerry-Ann Adamson, research director with Navigant Research, commented on May 7 that this year will be a landmark in the transition of the energy industry.
"This will be a key year in the evolution of the Smart Energy paradigm – a period when the rules of the game are debated, the roles of the incumbents challenged, and the foundation for the transition towards a more decentralized, democratic energy system is put into place," Ms Adamson said.
Navigant Research also predicts that the role of government innovation funds is changing.
Currently, Australia has a number of government grants available to help fund new clean energy technologies or developments, or to encourage investment in such areas.
Some examples of these funds include the Clean Technology Investment Program, the Clean Technology Innovation Program and the Energy Efficiency Opportunities program.
All of these programs are designed to encourage a more sustainable energy landscape and to encourage people at the corporate level to implement energy efficiency and clean technology measures; to make it a more integrated and standard aspect of everyday life.
According to Navigant Research, oil majors, governments and technology developers have now all reached the consensus that a more diversified energy mix is crucial to the future's sustainable economic growth, and therefore this kind of diversification of the energy mix is being widely embraced.
Posted by Charlie Moore