Analysis

Developers focus on sustainability to stay relevant in the market

7th June 2017
Enaie Azambuja

The demand for efficient and sustainable energy is intensifying with the global rise in standards of living, digitalisation and economic growth. Technological advances in management platforms, automation and control solutions, building energy management solutions, tight oil extraction, and microgrids are changing traditional paradigms in the energy sector, making it smarter and more environmentally friendly.

Indeed, microgrids are all set to help the sector transition from a centralised power grid structure to a more decentralised pattern. Top Technologies in Energy and Utilities, 2017 is part of Frost & Sullivan’s TechVision (Sustainable Energy) Growth Partnership Subscription.

The study discusses the top technologies that will have a significant impact on the efficiency of the energy sector in the next 5 years. These include lithium batteries, battery management systems, enhanced oil recovery, microgrids, waste heat recovery, tight oil extraction, distributed energy generation, offshore wind energy technology, fuel cells, and integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC).

“Owing to the proliferation of smart technologies, almost all energy solutions in the market boast of faster communication solutions as well as better sensing and control,” observed Frost & Sullivan TechVision Research Analyst Guhan Sriram R V. “Renewable energy solutions, in spite of all the improvements in efficiency levels, still have a long way to go before becoming the primary source of power.”

The rising awareness towards the adoption of distributed solutions for energy like microgrids and the higher interest in electric vehicles is stoking rapid developments in relevant solutions like energy management platforms and lithium batteries. However, each energy technology comes with inherent challenges pertaining to either regulation compliance or technical loopholes.

“Technologies focusing on decentralising the central grid are battling regulation issues related to power and monetary exchange. A common set of regulations pertaining to monitoring needs to be in place before these solutions can be deployed on a large scale,” noted Sriram.

“Similarly, technology developers also need to resolve technical challenges, such as dendrite formation in energy storage solutions like lithium batteries and low efficiency in thermoelectric waste heat recovery.

Another challenge to energy security is the volatility in the global oil markets and fluctuating international crude oil prices. Countries all over the world are therefore exploring alternative fuel sources like natural gas and renewables. Asia-Pacific, led by China, is expected to continue to make considerable investments in the renewable energy sector, particularly solar and wind.

Europe has been leading the offshore wind sector from the front. Despite a slight slowdown this trend is expected continue with countries in APAC playing a key role in the next five years in the offshore wind sector.

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