Michel Bauwens: Renewables Changing Energy Market in 5 Years

05 Energy, Commercial Intelligence, Extraterrestial Intelligence
Michel Bauwens

How renewables will change electricity markets in the next five years

Ruggero Schleicher-Tappeser

Science Direct, 3 June 2012

Abstract

Photovoltaic (PV) cells, onshore wind turbines, internet technologies, and storage technologies have the potential to fundamentally change electricity markets in the years ahead. Photovoltaic cells are the most disruptive energy technology as they allow consumers of all sizes to produce power by themselves—new actors in the power market can begin operating with a new bottom-up control logic. Unsubsidised PV markets may start to take off in 2013, fuelling substantial growth where PV power is getting cheaper than grid or diesel backup electricity for commercial consumers.

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Managing loads and achieving a good match between power consumption and weather-dependent power production will likely become a key issue. This consumption—production balance may trigger massive innovation and investment in energy management technologies involving different kinds of storage and controls. Increasing autonomy and flexibility of consumers challenges the top-down control logic of traditional power supply and pushes for a more decentralised and multi-layered system. How rapidly and smoothly this transformation occurs depends to a large extent on the adaptation speed of the regulatory framework and on the ability of market players to develop appropriate business models. The paper discusses conflicts of interest; hurdles and drivers; opportunities; and traps for this perspective.

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