Disruptive Development in the Energy Industry
The first iPhone was introduced in 2007. Less than ten years later, there are more than 1.8 billion smartphones around the world. Within a few short years, smartphones have almost completely pushed cellphones from the market. Quick and massive changes like that are referred to as disruptive. The same thing that happened in the mobile communications market is now happening in the energy industry.
The Turning Point Has Been Reached
Tony Seba, a scientist at Stanford University, is confident that renewable energy will come out on top as the form of energy. As soon as the major technology breakthrough has been achieved, the global energy transition will be unstoppable. That point is usually reached once costs sink massively. We can see that already happening with solar power, for example: Solar power has become the cheapest form of new electricity generation in many regions of the world. The cost ranges from EUR 4ct/kWh in sunny Austin, Texas, USA, to EUR 8ct/kWh in cloudy Germany. With developments like this, Seba is certain that solar power generated on building rooftops will be cheaper than the cost of delivering electricity by 2020.
Sinking Costs For Solar Power and Batteries
If the installation of solar energy collectors continues to double every two years, as it has been doing, then the entire energy supply will be solar by 2030. Parallel to the sinking costs for photovoltaics systems, Tony Seba is seeing a similar development with an important partner for solar power – batteries. A study by the Swiss bank UBS supports his observation. According to UBS, the prices for batteries will go down by 45 percent from 2015 to 2020, and by even up to 70 percent by 2025. Seba believes that a household will be able to store an entire day’s worth of electricity for just one dollar by 2020. The current business model based on electricity produced centrally will not be able to keep up with this trend.
Mega Trends in the Energy Transition
LichtBlick and the WWF have also noted five mega trends in the energy transition in a joint study:
• The bells are tolling for the end of the fossil-fuel era
• The future of energy has begun
• The future of energy is renewable
• The future of energy is distributed
• The future of energy is digital
Like Seba, we see the energy world of the future as being distributed and renewable. That is why we developed the IT platform ‘SchwarmDirigent®’, which allows us to manage and optimize a pool of distributed energy resources. We have been using the ‘SchwarmDirigent®’ for a while already in Germany as part of groundbreaking research projects. We include the batteries of electric vehicles in the electricity markets, for example, to create balancing energy and let the vehicles’ owners benefit from the profits. We turn an apartment building into a mini power plant in which electricity is generated and stored in stationary and mobile batteries. The key here is ‘SchwarmDirigent®’, which networks all the components and adapts them to fit residents’ (energy) needs perfectly.
LichtBlick also offers the ‘SchwarmDirigent®’ as a Software as a Service to international customers. Our IT platform is already being used within an island solution in Vietnam. On the island reliable and cost-efficient energy supply is enhanced by successively using wind and solar energy as well as battery storage to replace diesel generators. Within another project the ‘SchwarmDirigent®’ is employed to manage photovoltaic systems and storage to provide self-sufficient supply in a residential area in Manila, Philippines. We provide a solution to embrace disruptive trends in the energy sector.
Find out more about LichtBlick’s international activities at: www.lichtblick.com