Heading toward a Sustainable Energy future

Meeting the challenges of a sustainable energy system. The world’s population is growing – the demand for energy is growing faster. This presents four core challenges for a sustainable energy system: security of supply, affordability, climate protection, and resource efficiency. It will take ingenuity to succeed.

Improvements needed all along the energy conversion chain

In order to meet the sustainability challenges, measures must be taken along the entire energy conversion chain – from the utilization of fossil resources for power generation and transportation to improvements in consumption.
Demanding targets

Mastering the operation of a Sustainable Energy system

Working on the improvement of energy efficiency always has been a core driver for the industry. And it has made tremendous progress in providing innovative technologies that contribute to the better utilization of fossil and renewable resources as well as generated power. Still, this is not enough to meet future demanding targets. The energy system of tomorrow will need to produce much lower greenhouse gas emissions than the one we have today. In order to do so, it will have to master a much higher share of renewable energy sources, fluctuating feed-in volumes, and increasingly decentralized production at ever smaller power plants. This will require many different market operators and technologies to join forces, forming a complex power supply system with new business models. So, besides improvements to each part and piece of the hardware along the energy conversion chain, in the future digitalization will be key to running a stable and sustainable energy system and its parts. Take a minute to listen to the opinions of high-level experts:

The market becomes manifold

The energy system has never been easy to handle. But with the new possibilities arising with digitalization, it has (and will continue to) become even more demanding to manage a sustainable energy system. At the same time, there will be many more opportunities for more players to participate profitably in the market.

Prof. Jacob Østergaard, Head of the Center for Electric Power and Energy at the Technical University of Denmark DTU, talks about the major trends and the impact of IT developments for market players.

New possibilities by smart digital technologies

More market participants produce much more data than ever. In a large gas turbine alone, for example, hundreds of sensors measure temperature, pressure, flow paths, and gas compositions every second. And all of them – producers, prosumers and consumers – have to be connected in a smart way in order to enable a stable operation of the Future Energy System. Given that there’s no other way than taking the opportunities of digitalization: State-of-the-art analysis methods are required to ensure this data is intelligently evaluated and utilized.


The energy landscape

With a growing and constantly changing range of power generation methods, as well as new developments in power distribution, storage and consumption, the energy landscape is becoming more and more complex. Numerous small producers of renewable energy, for example, supplement the familiar picture of large power plants. This, in turn, calls for “smart grids” to handle fluctuating feed-ins. Let us take you on a journey through the complete energy landscape and its many interdependencies.

Energy Use

Saving energy and using it better

The cleanest energy is the energy that isn’t needed. There is a huge potential for energy conservation, especially in buildings, industry and transportation. Saving energy and using energy more efficiently are the two main factors involved in creating a sustainable energy supply for the future. This can be achieved by controlling energy consumption and integrating energy-saving products and solutions in buildings, industry and transportation.
Electric engines account for nearly two-thirds of the electric energy used in industry, for example for conveyor technology or pumps. With optimized solutions, the energy consumption of industrial drives can be lowered by up to 30 percent. Worldwide, about 40 percent of energy is consumed by buildings. Here too a lot can be achieved: through heat insulation and pumps, smart building technology, or efficient lighting.

of the world's
energy is consumed
by buildings
of greenhouse gas
emissions come
from buildings
Up to 40%energy savings can be realized through
Intellingent Building Automation

Energy Storage

Integration of renewable energy sources

Today’s energy mix leads to fast-changing imbalances between generation and load, impacting grid stability and power quality. Battery storage can act as an energy consumer as well as producer. This combination helps to improve grid stability and enable greater integration of renewable energy sources. Thus the grid can utilize more available energy.  

Alternative you can feed surplus power into an electrolyzer, which uses electricity to decompose water into hydrogen, and oxygen and generates heat. The obtained hydrogen can be stored and used to fuel a gas turbine and in several industrial processes.

Since the supply of power from wind is
irregular, power storage and converting
systems will be a necessity.
Battery StorageHydrogen Storage


Infinite potential for sustainable energy

Wind, photovoltaik, small hydropower plants and biomass greatly contribute to meeting power demand and environmental awareness.  Especially offshore wind power plants with an installed generating capacity in the triple-digit megawatt range are already in operation and deliver great amounts of electricity with a high degree of continuity. But a growing number of onshore wind farms are being sited in regions with moderate to low wind speeds. Therefore we offer a new generation of wind turbines, which extract the maximum energy yield from low to moderate wind velocities.

Also solar energy has a great potential and is an inexhaustible energy source. As a long-term, reliable source of energy, the sun provides a huge annual amount of energy. Thanks to the technological advance of recent years and the development of the photovoltaics market, PV systems are now ready for large-scale production of electricity. And if we would like to turn water into energy small hydropower plants have proven to be a sustainable source of energy as well.

For example Germany. “In 2030, there will be 44,100 wind turbines along
with 3,000,000 photovoltaik systems.”

Central Power Generation

High-efficiency power generation

If clouds block the sun or the wind dies, power fluctuations must be balanced out quickly. Gas-fired power plants that can be started up quickly are ideal for this. Combined with a steam turbine, the world´s most efficient combined heat and power plant (CHP) from Siemens can convert approx. 61,5 percent of the energy from natural gas into electricity. Thanks to its CHP concept the overall fuel efficiency increases to 85 percent.

Bringing out the best:

World records at the
Lausward Unit “Fortuna”,

Power output
603.8 MW(el)
Plant net efficiency ~61.5 percentSteam extraction district
heating 300MW(th)


Intelligent financing solutions

When cities and buildings look for technologies to reduce their energy consumption, smart financing solutions are often needed to overcome the shortage of funds. When engineering and financing solutions come together, buildings can unlock huge energy saving potential – in consumption and in cost. A good example of this is Siemens' energy performance contracting for building technologies – a combination of consulting, modernization services and customized financing. With this, customers do not need to make any initial investment; they simply use the energy cost savings to pay the installments.

Worldwide, Siemens has modernized more than 5,200 buildings this way, with more than €1 billion in savings and more than ten millions tons of CO2 reductions.


Energy performance contracting:
a self-financing cycle


Intelligent electricity networks

In the future, not only large plants but also millions of small and medium-sized power producers will feed electricity into the grid. More and more former consumers of energy are becoming producers as well. This fact, and the fluctuating feed-ins of renewable energy, make intelligent power grids necessary for power distribution. With “Smart Grids” like these, Siemens helps to achieve the right balance between electricity production and demand - throughout the world, and here in Germany.

5 times as much power
produced as consumed

The village of
Wildpoldsried produces
5 times more power from
renewable sources than it

Natural Gas

A major backbone for the world’s power supply

Natural gas accounts for around 25% of the global energy demand. The proven reserves climb new highs, based on deep sea exploration and unconventional resources. As the cleanest fossil energy resource natural gas will continue to increase its share of the global energy mix, growing at 1.8% per year until 2035. Gas trade is primarily carried out as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and by pipelines. Mission critical technology from Siemens makes the total process from production of gas via transportation to electrical power more safe and efficient.

Growing importance
of natural gas globally

Primary Energy (Share)Source: BP Energy Outlook 2016 (base case)

Power Transmission

Low-loss energy transmission

Should primarily be used where they occur in abundance: solar energy in sun-drenched areas and wind energy on the high seas. Therefore, long-distance networks must be further expanded, beyond national boundaries, using classic overhead lines, cables or gas-insulated lines. Besides classical high-voltage AC connections, high-efficiency power superhighways with high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) technology can be used for very long distances.

For example, in a HVDC Technology project in China, Siemens has shown that around 95 percent of the electricity makes it to the consumers, even over a distance of 1,400 kilometers and at a transmission capacity of 5,000 megawatts.

Delivering electricity right to where it is needed.

Power Distribution

Always well supplied

The requirements on power distribution and therefore on medium- and low-voltage grids are increasing continuously. Changing directions of power flow, load and voltage fluctuations, which are caused especially by the strongly growing number of power supplies from volatile power sources, e.g. photovoltaic/biogas plants and wind farms, make the distribution grids of today go to their capacity limits. The solution is an active distribution grid with intelligent transformer substations as key components. These contribute to an active load management in the distribution grid and enable an automatic and fast fault clearance in case of disturbances.

How to reduce mean down time from hours to seconds

Self-healing grid for Rotterdam harbor district Stedin, Netherlands

System restart in less
than a minute

Grid Control & Applications

Information technology is what we need to get the meter data and the consumption data into the system so that we can measure consumption and draw the necessary conclusions. Automation technology makes the meter data available for outage management and outage measurement in the grids. So this is where operations technology and information technology become one. The collected data is stored and analyzed, in the interests of stable and efficient power supply.

The enabling factor for all of Siemens’ cross-sectoral solutions is a smart grid that allows an intelligent energy management.

From Big Data to Smart Data
smart meters
are estimated to be installed globally
leading to 280
petabytes of data a year
storage capacity of
BluRay discs


Crude oil supply, the dominant primary energy source

Oil consumption is expected to grow and crude oil remains the dominant primary energy source for the next 20 years. Especially transport fuel is dominated by oil, its low relevance in electrical power generation will further decrease. Oil reserves are enough not at least thanks to exploration and production in deep sea regions and opening production from unconventional resources like oil sands. Furthermore, enhanced oil recovery technologies for mature fields enable to get more out of a field. Siemens innovative technology makes production, transportation and processing more efficient and environmentally compatible.

Global oil demand by sectormboe/d = million barrels of oil equivalent per day
  • Electricity generation
  • Resid./comm./Agriculture
  • Other industry
  • Petrochemicals
  • Transportation
Source: OPEC, World Oil Outlook 2015 (reference case)
Smart technologies

Leading-edge solutions to shape the future of energy

To ensure an efficient and reliable power supply, both now and in the future, Siemens offers a wide range of physical and digital products, technologies, and solutions – from state-of-the-art compressors, turbines and generators to virtual power plants, intelligent grid management and innovative storage solutions. With its innovative technologies, products, and solutions, Siemens is helping to close the gaps in energy supply and make production, transmission, and distribution smarter. Together with its customers, Siemens analyses their requirements for energy systems and develops tailored solutions that address their challenges along the entire energy conversion chain. Siemens’ portfolio includes technology and expertise for an economically efficient and reliable power supply, which accounts for resource scarcity and helps to protect the climate. Enter the virtual showroom to get an overview.
Product overview

What we hold in stock for you

Siemens products cover the complete energy conversion chain from the various types of power generation to power transmission and distribution leading to all forms of energy application. Find here an overview of our expertise and services and discover what's possible.
Energy trends

Energy trends and topics

New developments, interesting stories and in-depth information around the energy topic