What are some of the energy trends we'll see in 2020 and beyond? Lidija Sekaric, policy expert and Director of Strategy and Marketing for Siemens Distributed Energy Systems, shared with Siemens Stories her 2020 energy market outlook, highlighting several key trends that will impact the energy landscape.
Trend #1: Local action on decarbonization and clean, renewable energy
According to Sekaric, many state and local governments are taking more concrete steps toward decarbonization. These steps have already included setting targets for the utilization of clean and renewable energy sources, and that trend will continue.
“Combined with the technical and cost advancements, these goals and actions are making energy systems turn over the technology they rely on even faster,” Sekaric says. “The end-users and local decision-makers are accelerating their use of renewables beyond what grids currently offer—and they’re doing so in response to growing public sentiments and demands about taking real action on climate change.”
Ultimately, the need for resilience will continue to accelerate, and communities will look for smarter ways to have closer access to vital services, Tech makes our lives better, for sure, but the day-to-day needs of citizens, not the desire to be high-tech, is what will drive the markets
Trend #2: Electric vehicles and fleets
The need to manage and balance the supply and demand of energy will expand beyond the grid level to affect both buildings and end-user consumers. Sekaric says that we will see a continued uptick in electric vehicles, especially for institutional and commercial fleets, as well as the widespread deployment of distributed renewables like wind, solar, and batteries, all of which will enable the flexible infrastructure that’s needed for charging. She also expects to see the offerings in the electrification space accelerate.
“Suppliers who can offer the broadest portfolio with an integrated suite of offerings up and down the value chain, with behind-the-meter applications, will become more relevant,” she says. “They’ll have diversified business models that support their longevity in the field where staying power is already important for contracts that last for decades.”
Trend #3: Energy aggregation and virtual power plants
Trends in deregulation have allowed for more flexibility in using distributed renewables on the grid. Energy aggregation is a mechanism for distributed resources to offer grid services in a synchronized manner. Several independent system operators (ISOs) have already allowed aggregated distributed resources to participate in the energy market.
Sekaric believes more of these opportunities in renewables will open up across the U.S., and that these will enable the growth of “virtual power plants” to support clean-energy portfolios and the utility grid with added resilience, energy management, and integration of supply and demand.
“Ultimately, the need for resilience will continue to accelerate, and communities will look for smarter ways to have closer access to vital services,” Sekaric says. “Tech makes our lives better, for sure, but the day-to-day needs of citizens, not the desire to be high-tech, is what will drive the markets.”
Editor’s Note: Lidija Sekaric wrote “These Three Long-Term Steps Can Help Cities Minimize Extreme Weather Damage and Disruption” for Siemens Stories in September 2019.