Society and Innovation
The energy revolution is providing the path to a secure, environmentally friendly and economically successful future. The change in energy production from fossil fuels and nuclear fuels to renewable energies represents a comprehensive and broad system transformation which extends across all areas of energy production, energy conversion, energy distribution and energy storage as well as across all usage paths (electrical power, heat energy, cold energy and mobility). Renewable energy encompasses wind and solar energy, hydropower, geothermal energy and bioenergy. Moreover, a reduction in energy consumption by means of energy efficiency and energy conservation makes for an additional important contribution to the energy revolution.
However, the redevelopment of the energy business has also created challenges. The strong growth in use of regenerative technologies during energy production also increases variations and fluctuations in the power grid. At the same time, traditional thermal power plant capacities are reduced by the shutdown of nuclear and coal-fired plants. We therefore need more precise forecasts that reliably predict production and demand. Improved production and power load management are similarly imparative. The same applies to increasing our energy efficiency: Supply and usage technologies must be systematically optimised and linked to other energy efficient technologies. Over the medium term, increased interlinking of electric power, heat and mobility systems – including growing buffer capacities – would also be beneficial.
Innovations and, accordingly, a stronger integration of various energy systems to attain intelligent and cross-system energy supply are only possible by means of digitalisation of infrastructures and processes. Together with additional new technologies, digitalisation enables, for example, the coupling of various energy sectors, e.g. heat/cold (thermal energy usage), electrical power and mobility and thus overall opens up new possibilities for the storage, transformation and use of renewably produced energy. Over the long term, it embeds intelligent energy supply into an overarching system and thus tranforms into a component of a smart energy supply system.
This long-term restructuring of the energy infrastructure is a complex challenge which will not only revolutionise the manner of energy production, but also the way we handle energy in gerneral – and it will require complex and interconnected system innovations. This will require profound innovation policy efforts: Research and development work must create technological requirements for cost-effective implementation. In doing so, the economic aspects of investment risks and affordability as well as sociological challenges, such as the societal acceptance of the infrastructure measures related to the energy revolution, must also be taken into consideration.
In all these areas we support our customers from the German federal government and the German state governments as a competent partner in carrying out analyses and recommendations for action or promoting of research. For example, we conduct studies and draft articles regarding intelligent energy supply and intelligent networks. We also feel right at home in the energy business. In this case, we advise on innovations and the necessity of innovations for driving the energy revolution, identify the training/continuing education as well as personnel requirements, work to promote exports for renewable energy companies and analyse the conditions for renewable energies for developing and emerging countries. As project manager, we support our customers organisationally and technically – for example, regarding the digitalisation of the energy revolution as well as energy efficiency – and thus possess a multi-faceted wealth of experience.