Article | June 14, 2022
The evolution of smart grid and the transformation in the power sector?
The concept of a Smart Grid has taken centre stage with an evolution of Solar, Wind energy sources, advanced technologies such as AI/ML , Energy storage , introduction of Electric vehicles, sensors that transmit real time data all of which make a smarter, more efficient electrical power grid possible.
In contrast the Existing grid is facing some complex challenges that include integrating renewable energy, Cyber security, high losses, unable to support large Electric vehicle penetration and empowering consumers to become power producers.
It is time for India to make this paradigm shift that touches right from Generation, Transmission, Distribution and consumption. So, the first step would be the installation of smart meters and Advanced Metering infrastructure which is a key component of the smart grid. The roll out of smart meters has already started and integrating other pieces into this smart meter value chain and other building blocks. This new metering system enables two-way flow of information between consumers and utilities and improve the overall grid operations, cost efficient and support large scale penetration of Electric vehicles. A major transformation is underway and utilities need to develop their roadmap for creating a modern Smart Grid.
Solar is seeing low tariffs and what one can interpret from these solar tariff trends?
In the last one year, more than 10GW worth of solar projects are auctioned and tariffs discovered are between Rs2 to Rs 2.5. These low tariffs are result of many factors that include aggressive bidding, entry of foreign players, and expectation that module prices will further fall. Also this Covid pandemic has shrink the economy, thus there are fewer tenders from the govt. with more developers chasing fewer tenders to stay in the race.
These low prices put enormous pressure on EPC companies and Module suppliers to deliver at these rock bottom prices. These bids take into account the low prices of Chinese imports, now with BCD (Basic custom duty) in force from April 2022 it will be challenging for power producers to continue executing projects at such low prices.
Another concern is the delay in signing PPA’s (Power purchase agreements) by Discoms. PPA’s once signed are valid for the entire term of PPA which is usually 25 years. But given the tender tariffs falling every few months, Discoms prefer to wait and delay the signing or renegotiate the existing PPA, dampening the investor confidence and threatening the viability of the Projects. In these circumstances the role of regulatory oversight increases to protect the interests of all the stakeholders. However, in the coming years technology improvements with addition of energy storage and better forecasting techniques, Solar would become the major source and also the cheapest source. So sunny days ahead of solar.
The decentralized solar and innovative business models and financing?
In the current system of centralized power system, a large power plant produces power, transmits, and distributes it among industries and homes. This process is inefficient as some of the electricity is lost in transmission and distribution.
A De-centralized solar is more efficient to generate and consume power locally. It also helps create small businesses and technicians to build and maintain these solar plants. Also as Solar and battery systems increase and become more economical Peer to Peer energy trading is possible where consumers become prosumers (both producers and consumers) and sell their excess power to their peers.
This next generation Energy Management and Peer-to-Peer Energy trading facilitates buy and sell orders just like share trading stock exchange. The Energy trading platform maps the buyers and sellers as per their bids and settles the trades. By introducing Block chain technology for energy trading further reduces the transaction costs. The possible business models would be Community based Solar plants where rooftops and open spaces could be used to generate power and trade. All of this result in less losses and brings the much needed dynamism in the distribution of energy.
Role of AI and data analytics in the energy sector?
The Power sector generates large amounts of data from various nodes on the grid and unfortunately most of this data go unanalysed due to lack of infrastructure and domain expertise. But now with the maturity in data management systems and two-way communication enabling real time data from various components of the grid giving latest and integrated snapshot of the entire power system, it is possible through the application of AI to provide services such as Fault detection, Predictive maintenance, Power quality Monitoring, and Renewable energy forecasting.
Many discoms are plagued by theft of power and Cyberattacks. The recent Cyber attack on Maharashtra power grid is an example that caused massive power outage in Mumbai last October plunging the city into darkness. By using the power of AI/ML, algorithms can be trained to detect any attack based on certain attributes. As soon as the attack is detected an alert is sent to the security engineers to bring the system to safety mode. In addition, Smart meters with pre-paid mechanism are expected to be deployed for remote meter reading and accurate billing thus preventing revenue loss.
AI/ML has the potential to cut energy waste, lower energy costs, and bring more operation efficiencies for the utilities.
Strategies in EV charging and integration with smart grid?
EV’s are promising solution to cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the cost of transportation and improving the health of citizens. The emerging business models are Public charging stations, third party owned operated charging station, and owner operated charging station.
However, the ground reality is far fewer EV’s are running on road due to higher cost, Range anxiety, and long charging times. So, there is need to work closely with all the stakeholders right from utilities, Regulatory bodies, Car manufacturers, charging station operators to expedite the process of EV related infrastructure and incentivize customers to adapt to EV’s rather than convention vehicles.
In your question you asked about integration with smart grid and this is a term that captures the shift from basic to smart charging. A smart grid is key to smart EV charging as large number of EV charging at same time can degrade grid performance causing voltage and frequency fluctuations and cause peak power demand or sudden drop in demand. With smart grid in place it is possible to do load balancing, adjust charging patterns and avoid peaking of power.
Also one more challenge is there are 3 competing standards and India should define its own standards and enable charging of any vehicle at any charging station. This interoperability is possible by developing standards for front–end and back-end communication and signalling process between Electric vehicles and charging stations and the grid that supplies the power. Smart grid is essential for large deployments of EV’s.
Investment opportunities and job creation in this transformation to clean power?
Covid has changed the entire investment paradigm and made all of us Environmentally conscious. This is wake up call to prioritize a more sustainable approach to investment in companies that are high on Environmental, Social and Governance score.
The recent momentum in ESG investment with more than 3,300 ESG funds is an indication that businesses that demonstrate business ethics, transparency, Sustainability benefit companies and investors and attract best talent too. The spectacular rise of share price of Tesla is a clear message from investors on clean energy and EV transportation. As the world is getting serious India has a catching up to do from the findings of Refinitiv on ESG.
As Asset managers, Pension funds, Oil and Gas companies evaluate their exposure to fossil based energy sources and switch towards clean energy this is going to create new Green jobs. These new Green jobs range from retrofitting homes with solar panels, providing home based charging stations, energy efficient appliances, Solid waste mgmt, e-waste mgmt. Similarly, Smart cities, Green buildings, greening of enterprises can be achieved by training the work force on these new concepts and driving investments towards job creation and sustainability.
In summary, power sector is in for a major transformation and utilities, industries need to tap the right talent to deal with this disruption and reap immense benefits.
Solar+Storage, Strategy and Best Practices
Article | September 17, 2022
Covid-19. It’s everywhere, and it’s probably the reason that your food cupboards are unusually more stocked than usual, or the fact that you’re likely reading this blog from the confines of your own home, as opposed to at your office or during your daily commute. But, despite the impact to business, economies, daily life and public health, there’s one bittersweet development which we can all take away from the outbreak – and that’s the considerable reduction of global CO2 emissions, and a resurgence of hope that it is fully possible for us to slow the onset of climate change and preserve our planet for future generations.
Strategy and Best Practices, Energy
Article | July 27, 2022
Discover top events shaping the future of solar power. These solar conventions and events in 2023 bring together experts and industry leaders to explore groundbreaking technologies and foster collaboration.
In an era marked by environmental concerns and the urgent need to transition towards sustainable energy sources, the global focus on solar power has never been more critical. As the global community endeavors to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change, the significance of exploring innovative solutions and fostering knowledge exchange in this field becomes increasingly apparent. Attending top solar events dedicated to solar power and renewable energy is an exceptional opportunity for professionals, researchers, policymakers, and enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the latest advancements, industry trends, and groundbreaking technologies. This article delves into some of the top solar events that are a must-attend for anyone passionate about solar power and renewable energy. These events serve as hubs of inspiration, collaboration, and education, driving the renewable energy sector forward and shaping a sustainable future for generations to come.
1.Global Energy Show Exhibition & Conference
June 11 - 13, 2024 | Calgary (Canada)
The Global Energy Show is a leading B2B exhibition and conference that brings together industry buyers, sellers, stakeholders, partners, CEOs, and young professionals to foster knowledge sharing and fuel innovation in the ever-changing energy landscape. This event will serve as an inclusive platform encompassing all energy systems, providing features on the exhibition floor and conference sessions dedicated to oil sands, hydrogen, wind, solar, petrochemicals, gas and LNG, electrification, and nuclear energy. This inclusive approach will ensure that attendees gain a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities present in the global energy sector. The event's comprehensive program tackles various topics, including meeting energy demand, navigating the energy transition, showcasing cutting-edge technology and innovation, and exploring the role of various energy sources within the broader energy system. By attending the Global Energy Show in 2024, energy professionals can play an active role in leading the path toward sustainably meeting energy demands.
2.ES 2023 (17th International Conference on Energy Sustainability)
July 10 - 12, 2023 | Washington D.C. (USA)
The ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Energy Sustainability Conference serves as a focal point for identifying innovative technologies, research advancements, and design solutions that contribute to developing renewable and sustainable energy systems. The conference will focus on various topics, including utility-level systems integration, aiming to create a path toward a more sustainable energy future. Participating researchers will have the opportunity to present their high-quality papers, which will be considered for selection in a special issue dedicated to Energy Sustainability by the ASME Journal of Energy Resources Technology (JERT) and ASME Journal of Engineering for Sustainable Buildings and Cities. This ensures that groundbreaking research and design advancements receive recognition and dissemination in esteemed publications. ES2023 will feature keynote and plenary speakers, as well as panelists from national labs, the Department of Energy, and renowned researchers from universities worldwide. These experts will bring invaluable insights and perspectives to the conference, fostering knowledge exchange and inspiring collaboration among attendees.
3.IEEE Power & Energy Society General Meeting 2023
July 16 - 20, 2023 | Orlando (Florida)
The IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) General Meeting (GM) stands as the premier annual event in the power and electrical engineering field, dedicated to meeting the energy needs of a dynamic world. This highly anticipated gathering will bring together over 3000 leading PES members, power and electrical engineers, prominent academics, and engineering students from around the globe. With a rich history dating back to 1964, when IEEE PES held separate winter and summer meetings, the GM has evolved into a single consolidated event since 2003. It has been a vital platform for knowledge sharing, collaboration, and networking among professionals in the field. By hosting the GM, IEEE PES aims to create an international forum that promotes networking, knowledge sharing, and collaboration among experts in the field. The event will serve as a platform to discuss vital issues, explore progressive developments, and address the challenges and opportunities in electrical and power engineering.
4.Global Summit and Expo on Sustainable and Renewable Energy (GSESRE2023)
August 28 - 30, 2023, | London (UK)
The 2nd Global Summit and Expo on Sustainable and Renewable Energy (GSESRE2023) aims to bring together renowned researchers, scientists, and scholars from around the world to foster knowledge exchange, present cutting-edge research works, and engage in discussions on the latest topics in the field of sustainable and renewable energy. This 3-day summit will gather key players in the sustainable and renewable energy community and related sectors. It strives to establish itself as a leading event, attracting global participants passionate about sharing, exchanging, and exploring new avenues in Sustainable and Renewable Energy-related scientific and commercial developments. GSESRE2023 features a comprehensive scientific program designed to cover a wide range of topics in Sustainable and Renewable Energy. Attending the summit will gives participants a unique opportunity to enhance their knowledge and stay at the forefront of interdisciplinary approaches to sustainable and renewable energy. The summit not will only offer a platform for learning but also provide invaluable networking opportunities.
5.SEST 2023 (6th International Conference on Smart Energy Systems and Technologies)
September 4 - 6, 2023 | Mugla (Turkey)
Governments worldwide are investing substantially in smart energy systems and technologies (SEST) to optimize energy utilization, enhance planning for outage responses and recovery, and foster seamless integration of diverse technologies such as renewable energy systems, electric vehicle networks, and smart homes within the power grid. The SEST conference is a premier event that endeavors to address the engineering complexities associated with designing and operating smart energy systems. At the SEST Conference, the primary objective is to facilitate in-depth discussions on advanced methodologies and best practices for developing various components of smart energy systems and ensuring their seamless integration within the grid infrastructure. This conference will serve as a vital platform for researchers, academics, industry professionals, and government regulators to collectively tackle the challenges faced in this domain. It will foster an environment conducive to sharing knowledge, exchanging ideas, and exploring innovative approaches to design and implement smart energy systems.
6.2023 7th International Conference on Renewable Energy and Environment (ICREE 2023)
September 22 - 24, 2023 | Eskisehir Technical University, Turkey
The 7th International Conference on Renewable Energy and Environment (ICREE 2023) is an eagerly anticipated event taking place in Eskisehir, Turkey. As a workshop of the ICPSE 2023 conference, ICREE 2023 provides an excellent platform for researchers and developers to come together and share their experiences, ideas, and research findings across various fields related to renewable energy and the environment. ICREE 2023 welcomes participants from diverse backgrounds, fostering a collaborative environment where students, postdoctoral researchers, and established scientists can engage in fruitful discussions and contribute to an integrative approach for addressing the challenges and opportunities in renewable energy and environmental sustainability. The conference will encompass an extensive range of topics, focusing on key areas such as photovoltaic technology, PV manufacturing, PV for rural development, solar thermal electricity, wind energy applications, hydropower applications, and more. Through research talks and presentations, attendees will have the opportunity to showcase their work, share insights, and gain valuable feedback from their peers.
7.Renewable and Sustainable Energy (RENEWABLEENG 2023)
September 25 - 27, 2023 | Barcelona (Spain)
The International Conference on Renewable and Sustainable Energy (RENEWABLEENG 2023) is a prestigious event that brings together a diverse range of participants, including academia, government laboratories, industry professionals, business entrepreneurs, and specialists from around the globe. This conference will offer an exciting environment to share the latest findings, exchange ideas, and establish strategic alliances, all with the shared goal of securing a clean and sustainable environment. RENEWABLEENG 2023 focuses on addressing the current challenges associated with climate change, emphasizing the quest for sustainable development goals and the transition to a low-carbon future, in line with the objectives set by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The conference will serve as a platform for identifying pressing issues and generating viable solutions to achieve a more sustainable and environmentally friendly world. Moreover, RENEWABLEENG 2023 will operate in a hybrid format to ensure inclusivity, allowing remote attendees to participate via Zoom.
8.Renewable Energy Markets (REM) 2023
September 18-20, 2023 | Washington D.C. (USA)
The annual Renewable Energy Markets conference serves as a gathering point for a diverse range of industry professionals driving the rapid transformation of the global clean energy marketplace. With a history spanning over 25 years, Renewable Energy Markets has earned a reputation as the premier conference series for professionals working in the clean energy sector. Thousands of renewable energy experts rely on REM conferences to equip them with the necessary tools to excel in the expanding retail renewable market. REM brings together corporate leaders, policymakers, and suppliers, fostering collaboration and providing guidance in navigating the dynamic and rapidly expanding renewable energy market. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore emerging trends in policy, exchange best practices in renewable energy procurement and marketing, review the latest technological advancements, and collectively shape the future of renewable energy. Organized by the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions and co-sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Renewable Energy Markets offers a highly respected platform that will facilitate knowledge sharing, networking, and collaboration among industry professionals.
9.5th International Conference on Renewable Energy, Resources and Sustainable Technologies (EnergyTech 2023)
November 13 - 14, 2023 | Paris (France)
The 5th International Conference on Renewable Energy, Resources & Sustainable Technologies (EnergyTech 2023) is a highly anticipated two-day event that brings together academics, researchers, professionals, administrators, educational leaders, industry representatives, and business leaders. It serves as a dynamic platform for knowledge sharing, discussion, and networking among experts in the field. The conference will feature an array of engaging activities, including keynote speakers, presentations, oral talks, poster presentations, and an exhibition. The theme of EnergyTech 2023, 'Accelerating the Advancements in Renewable Energy for Sustainable Growth,' will set the stage for in-depth discussions and exploration of various topics. Renewable energy, with its diverse range of resources, taking center stage, covering areas such as REN21, solar energy, bioenergy, ocean thermal energy conversion, 100% renewable energy, sustainable technologies, developments, advanced technology, and more. Participants can delve into advanced details and engage in interactive sessions that foster collaboration and knowledge exchange. The conference will offer a comprehensive program that addresses critical aspects of renewable energy, aiming to accelerate advancements in the field and drive sustainable growth.
10.Energy Trends 2023 (European Congress on Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development)
November 16 - 17, 2023 | Rome (Italy)
Energy Trends 2023 is a peer-reviewed European Congress on Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development. This prestigious event serves as a platform for researchers, professors, scientists, business delegates, entrepreneurs, practitioners, managers, and students from around the world to come together and strengthen their professional networks for the advancement of a sustainable future. The conference is dedicated to the theme of Developing and Securing Energy Technologies for a Sustainable Future. It aims to provide advanced, eco-friendly energy solutions that offer a competitive advantage and cost savings in various industrial and business sectors. Energy Trends 2023 will facilitate lively engagement and knowledge sharing among industry leaders and experts by focusing on cutting-edge presentations, special panel discussions, and interactive sessions. The conference will provide a platform to share new and exciting research findings and results. This exchange of knowledge and expertise contribute to the continuous development of renewable energy solutions and fosters the achievement of a sustainable future worldwide.
As the world increasingly recognizes the urgent need for sustainable and renewable energy solutions, attending top solar power conventions and events becomes crucial for professionals, researchers, and enthusiasts alike. These solar events will serve as catalysts for innovation, knowledge sharing, and collaboration, driving the advancement of solar power and renewable energy. By attending these top solar conventions and events in 2023, individuals can stay at the forefront of solar power and renewable energy developments, gain valuable insights, forge meaningful connections, and contribute to a sustainable future. These events offer unparalleled opportunities to engage with the brightest minds, discover groundbreaking technologies, and collaborate toward a cleaner, more sustainable energy landscape. Attending these top solar power events is not just an investment in personal and professional growth but also a commitment to driving the renewable energy revolution forward.
Article | March 22, 2021
Despite rising energy costs and dwindling customer ratings of the ‘Big Six’, over 37% of Brits still believe they are getting a good deal when it comes to gas and electricity.
Here, Keith Bastian, CEO of rising independent Outfox the Market, challenges those age-old perceptions that are damaging consumer bank balances…
I have never quite understood the notion of pay more for the same service. Except that last part, is really where the difference lies.
As I have made my way through the energy market, it seems clear to me that we are facing a common notion.
Age-old dinosaurs, that have relied on name status and brand power to retain customer loyalty, despite not providing anything different or any value-added service, give the impression that customers are somehow safer with them. That is the biggest misconception.
We at Outfox the Market would like to challenge that.
Of course, when I speak in such a way, I am referring to the ‘Big Six’, those long-established brands whose share in the energy market whilst substantial, is increasingly coming at the cost to its customers.
For example, in the latest independent customer rankings from Which, it was determined that the traditional big energy companies had some of the lowest scores for customer service and value for money, yet some customers still feel secure with them.
On the contrary, rising independents, such as ourselves, were scoring highly in these areas and this is where I feel the difference lies.
Regardless of your opinion on fossil fuels and/or renewables, it is more the value of looking after your customers, understanding their concerns and dealing with them efficiently that has become somewhat lost for the ‘Big Six’.
It is true that they have a larger proportion of customers to serve with a larger workforce, but that should not be to the detriment to the service they provide.
What were are seeing now, as evidenced by the recent Ofgem price hikes, is the ‘Big Six’ once again failing consumers in these areas, with most of the top names putting costs up by £96 a year on average as of April.
I am not one to not acknowledge that energy firms are tongue-tied in some respects in passing regulated costs on; there are times when we must. However, customers could also benefit from a little research.
Even with growing numbers of consumers switching, nearly 60% of all households in the UK are still on standard variable rate tariffs, those that are subject to the incoming Ofgem hikes.
So, the real question is why aren’t more customers switching? Heritage, loyalty and brand association. These facets really should not come at cost of paying more for energy.
I really believe it is down to time-sensitivity and a misunderstanding around the barriers to switching, with cost somewhere in the middle.
According to MoneySuperMarket, 75% of us would switch if we could save £149.99. A hefty figure, but why not the £96 highlighted earlier? That is still pretty good, and something that would add up nicely over the years.
I understand we are time-poor as a nation, it’s well publicised, but we’re all well averse in switching phone contracts and insurance deals, so why not where our energy comes from?
Truth be told, I believe it’s an age-old notion that energy is ‘just something that comes with the house, not worth the hours or hassle to change.’
But in all honesty, it takes a matter of seconds to switch. Firms such as ourselves offer this and more via a quick and easy quote online. Best of all, many energy providers will help manage the switching process for you, contacting your current provider and notifying them of your intentions.
I would also like to challenge this notion that once an energy firm ‘gets you’, you are ‘locked in’ for years upon end in ever rising contract costs.
If you are on a standard variable tariff, you can switch to a new provider at any time. What’s more, even if you are in a fixed term energy deal, which can be subject to exit fees, sometimes the cost involved outweighs the savings you can make with your new provider.
Customers must do their best to ask more of energy firms, check the service they are being given and hold it up against national bill averages. Compare what your neighbours, friends and family are paying under similar living circumstances, and weigh up if you are being given a fair deal.
Living costs and regulated price hikes are always going to be an ever present worry, so I call on both customers and energy firms to do their due diligence in these respects.
Age-old energy firms relying on their reputation must take a serious inward look at their lessening market share to understand why they are failing customers.
It’s time to make a change now, both from business attitude and a consumer standpoint; switching is quick, easy and a vital notion to bear in mind, as both retaining custom and saving money becomes an ever-growing sticking point in the energy market.