As customers we want safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy. We want energy with all these attributes simultaneously and we are reluctant to compromise. For example, in spite of occasional reminders such as electric power outages and price spikes at the gas pumps, still we do not want to trade reliability against affordability. We have come to take reliable and inexpensive energy more or less for granted. Safe is a given and we all like clean energy as long as it does not cost more!
To continuously make energy safer, more reliable, more affordable and cleaner I call it Energy Endurance.
It is not a trivial task with a growing global consumption of energy as well as increased expectations and demands on reliability in spite of extreme weather events and new challenges like cyber threats. Similar thing for clean energy, which originally was about improved air quality, but increasingly is about greenhouse gas reductions.
More challenges but also more opportunities. To name a few: The revolution in drilling technology has in a remarkably short time enabled access to inexpensive natural gas. Photovoltaic keep coming down in cost thanks to technology progress and economy of scale. Distributed energy and micro grids will provide resilience and improve reliability.
There is no single ‘holy grail” like solution. We need to expand traditional energy sources as well as accelerate the development of renewable energy sources and use it all more efficiently. We need new technologies . We need new business models. We need to supplement the existing infrastructure with new ways to process, store and distribute energy. We need to develop markets with more price transparency in order to get more optimal responses in supply and demand of energy. We need new regulatory models. The list goes on.
The 20th century started as a coal and steam based economy and transformed to oil and electricity based economy. Whether the 21st century will end as a hydrogen and electricity based economy remains to be seen. What-ever the transitions will be, we will need Energy Endurance.