The world is delivering on renewables; robust engineering is fortifying infrastructure and the distribution grid functions well, despite economic and industrial growth and increased populations. “Connect and reinforce,” the conventional way of bolting on additional network capacity, is managing. As far as progress in the energy sector goes, so far so good.
But five years from now, it’s all going to change.
We are on a rapid trajectory towards decarbonization, which will increase the burden on electricity demand. In the meantime, technology is advancing at full tilt, redefining what is possible with intelligent innovations that make energy cleaner, smarter and tradable. The energy model is becoming increasingly decentralized as consumers generate and store their own. Adoption of distributed energy resources (DER) is going up as prices come down. Affordable electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming mainstream, with potential to act as storage and capacity providers.
The extent of the transition is huge.
The energy industry concurs. Our survey among 117 electricity sector professionals identified significant challenges ahead for distribution system operators (DSOs).
The time to prepare for an entirely different energy future is now.
Energy future will be decarbonized, decentralized and electric
The charge towards a decarbonized energy future is underway. Europe’s power sector says decarbonization is achievable by 2045. This ambitious target demands substantial investment, innovation and new business models to bring distribution system operators up to scratch.
Ultimately, renewable generation will contribute more than 80% of Europe’s future energy needs. Onshore wind capacity is expected to triple to 640GW by 2045, with offshore wind expanding to 470GW. Solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity is set to increase seven-fold to 950GW. By 2045, as much as 63% of the EU economy could be decarbonized, with new load coming from the electrification of transport, heating and industry.