This is an extract from a recent report “Accommodating Disruptive Technology into RE&EE Policies for Energy Security” by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Energy Working Group.

Disruptive technologies have emerged in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors which have rapidly changed the global energy landscape. Disruptive technology is defined as a technology, which creates a new business model that could disrupt a traditional business model. These disruptions generate a revolution in technology capability, digital transformation, cost, new business model, and change of policy. A number of energy-related technologies have become the game changers of energy demand and supply in APEC region and the world. These include Smart Grid, Microgrid, Blockchain, AI, IoT, W2E, Energy Storage and 2nd Generation Power, Green Hydrogen, Green Building, V2G, and CASE. Understanding the impact of disruptive technologies on different sectors of energy, including power generation and distribution sector, transportation sector, and building sector,
is crucial and necessary, as it will allow disruptors to move further over time.

Review of Disruptive Technologies for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Power – Transportation – Building Sector

Smart Grid/Microgrid: Smart grid is an intelligent technology that modernizes electricity grid by the combination of various innovations together to obtain self-healing, adaptive, resilient, and sustainable power system with foresight for prediction under different uncertainties. Smart grid employs innovative products and services along with smart control, communication,
monitoring, as well as power forecasting system to provides flexibility to power system and manage power exchange including of delivering, managing, and integrating green and renewable energy technologies. The microgrid is a small distribution grid which is physically appeared at the load centers. It could be fueled by several resources such as solar, wind, biomass, hydro, diesel,
and natural gas.

High cost of smart grid is considered a primary barrier to its adoption. Between 2008 to 2017, annual average investment in smart grid is approximately $3.61 billion. According to a market intelligence report, smart grid in ASEAN is expected to reach approximately $2.9 billion by 2024, rising a CAGR of 18.76 per cent from 2019 to 2024.

Blockchain-Transactions: Blockchain is the trusted system for all types of transactions both monetary and non-monetary units. Blockchain is a continuous account database, which is complete, distributed, and unalterable. Over 46 per cent of blockchain energy start-ups are concentrated in Europe and the top 3 are in United States, Germany, and Netherlands. The most common use is peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading. Around 50 per cent of the existing projects use the Ethereum blockchain.

Structure of Electricity Trading Model

The free market will increasingly propel demand for distributed renewables, with wind and solar expected to make up the largest global proportion. Blockchain is needed to manage the transaction between distributed generations in the economy level, regional
level and international level.

Power – Transportation Sector

V2G- Vehicle to Grid: Vehicle to grid (V2G) uses electric-drive vehicles to provide power to particular electric markets. It presents the potential for the grid system operator to call on the vehicle as a distributed energy source. V2G technology can be employed, turning each vehicle with its energy storage (such as fuel cells, battery, or hybrid of these two) into a distributed load balancing device or emergency power source. Electricity flows all over the utility grid from generators to consumers whereas unused energy flows back and forth from the electric vehicles.

Forms of Emergency Power Source offered by V2G

Green Hydrogen: One common method of green hydrogen production is by splitting water. The energy required for this process can be provided from renewable or clean energy sources such as wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, ocean thermal energy conversion, anaerobic digestion of biomass and bio waste. Energy from renewable sources is often intermittent and needs to be stored before it is used in industry, transport, heating process or further power generation. Hydrogen could be stored for a period of time, and then oxidized or otherwise chemically reacted to recover the input energy. Hydrogen feedstock market has a total estimated value of $115 billion and is expected to grow rapidly in coming years, reaching $155 billion by 2022.

Power Sector

AI-Decision Making: AI is referred to an area of computer science that focuses on the creation of intelligent machines that work and react more like humans. Combined with the explosion of processing power and the generation and availability of large amounts of useful data, AI models are increasingly able to manage connected appliances and equipment smartly and perform specific tasks without instructions, especially in the decision making for power management. Ongoing initiatives of AI projects had increased as cybersecurity is growing its importance. EWeLiNe and Gridcast (Germany), DeepMind (United States), and EUPHEMIA (Europe) are successful approaches in RE generation and demand forecast, maintaining grid stability, demand
management, energy storage operation. Other approaches also appeared in France, Singapore, India, United Kingdom, Spain,
Brazil, and Denmark. In East Africa market, there is growing number of new market entrants.

IoT- Internet of Things: Internet of things, widely known as IoT, is the inter-networking of physical devices embedded with electronics, software, sensors and exchange data, sometimes referred to connected or smart devices. The primary goal of IoT is to automate devices that facilitate our lives and increase the efficiency of associated processes ranging from demand to supply side.

IoT Functions in Demand and Supply side in Energy Sector

IoT will power new technologies and unlock new industry in the coming years. By 2025, 75 billion devices worldwide will be able to connect to the Internet, providing accessibility to information to consumers, manufacturers, and utility providers. Along with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, the rise of IoT will also feed necessary information to machine learning algorithms which will further enhance the automation of the entire power system.

W2E-Waste to Energy: Waste-to-energy (W2E) technologies are promising technologies, especially for developing economies, to turn waste into a useable form of energy. These technologies are generally classified as biological treatment technologies (or biochemical processes, such as anaerobic digestion technologies or as thermal treatment technologies (or thermochemical processes, such as pyrolysis, gasification, and incineration technologies. Global Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) will be increased to 9.5 billion tons/year by the year 2050. It is expected the produced MSW of 261 million ton/year could be converted 283 TWh
of electricity and heat by 2022.

Energy Storage- Utility Scale Batteries/Behind-the-meter batteries: Energy storage can provide several advantages for energy systems, such as permitting increased penetration of renewable energy and better economic performance. Also, energy storage is important to electrical systems, allowing for load leveling and peak shaving, frequency regulation, damping energy oscillations, and improving power quality and reliability.

The market for storage technologies has been expanding. In 2016, the domestic market for storage grew by 284 per cent, and is expected to reach an installed capacity of 40 gigawatts by 2022. Combined with falling cost and battery advancements, the colocation of storage systems is quickly becoming an essential add-on for households installing small-scale renewables. Energy storage deployments in emerging markets are expected to increase by over 40 per cent year on year until 2025. Li-ion batteries represent over 90 per cent of total installed capacity for large-scale battery storage.

2nd Generation Power: The change from the 1st generation power system, where fossil fuels such as coal and
natural gas are mainly used to produce power, to the 2nd generation power system, where renewable energies become increasingly important and widely used, could create a disruption. The importance of large power plants will decrease because there are small power plants that use renewable energy derived from several green technologies spread out everywhere, while large transmission lines will be replaced by micro grid and smart grid. BNEF estimates that USD 13.3 trillion will be invested in new power generation assets to fund 15,145 GW of new plants between 2019 and 2050 of which 80 per cent is expected to be carbon-free. BNEF estimates that by 2050, wind and solar will make up 50 per cent of the world’s electricity generation. Europe is expected to decarbonize the fastest and furthest, while China and the US will play catch-up.

Transport Sector

CASE: connected, autonomous, shared, electric: CASE refers to new areas of “Connected” cars, “Autonomous / Automated” driving, “Shared”, and “Electric”. Through interconnection between automobile and infrastructure, technological advances in these areas are greatly changing the concept of the automobile. It is suggested that additional policies related to new technological context and tax revenue requirements should be introduced.

Innovative Automobile connected to Infrastructure

It is anticipated that CASE trend will take off somewhat earlier, grow faster than expected, and finally reach an almost complete saturation level by 2040. CASE diffusion will increase gradually and is expected to operate in transport system with substantial share of conventional vehicles for multiple decades. However, in initial stage of diffusion, CASE will be more expensive than cars with combustion with engines. It is expected that CASE will first penetrate the transport sector in the luxury private car market.

Building Sector

Green Building: A green building is a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on climate and natural environment. APEC economies exercise various types of policies to support the introduction of green buildings, including but not limited to new and more stringent building codes and standards, or legal and regulatory requirements; Funding for research, development, and demonstration projects; Other fiscal incentives, including subsidization; and, Green building certifications and awards. The global green buildings market is projected to enjoy a 10.26 per cent CAGR through 2018 to 2023.

In terms of product, the global green buildings market is segmented into interior and exterior products. The exterior products segment is dominating the market and accounts for the majority share of 79.6 per cent of the global market. The segment is expected to reach a market valuation of $268,573.8 Mn at a CAGR of 10.76 per cent by the end of 2023. By application, the market includes residential and non-residential. The residential segment is dominating the market. The segment accounted for almost 60.9 per cent share of the global market.

The complete report can be accessed here