Multiple factors are involved in the transformation of the energy sector and the future of the industry will keep on evolving.
Fremont, CA: Today, modern civilization is dependent on critical infrastructures that provide power, transportation, and water, and with time, these infrastructures are getting complicated. Also, the world is undergoing a variety of energy transitions because of demographic, economic, climatic, technological, and social factors. It is quite evident that by the year 2050, the energy requirements will result in trillions of dollars of infrastructure investment. However, future infrastructural needs are currently unclear. The issues that the energy needs raise are of technical risks, and external threats or the technological sophistication make the integrated systems more resilient.
The energy sector is undergoing a massive transformation as it is choosing renewable energy sources such as wind turbines and solar power systems over fossil fuels. On top of the significant shifts, energy consumers are broadening their energy use by using electric vehicles and power-to-X technologies. The challenge of uncoupling energy generation and consumption presents a considerably complex challenge and every new distributed unit incorporated into the energy system adds to the complexity. Germany, a pioneer in the energy transformation, had approximately 1,000 large power plants supplying electricity to its industrialized economy in the 1980s. However, today, the country has 1.7 million plants generating electricity, including many household solar-power installations.
New grids and power supply units feature digital connectivity, which helps in gaining knowledge of the systems that were not equipped with sensors before. Consequently, the more knowledge the operators have, the faster they can detect problems and solve the issues and keep the damage in check. Thus, end-to-end digitalization and networking provide greater efficiency and transparency. At the same time, it offers a blueprint
to build infrastructure that’s robust, flexible, and resilient. In some scenarios, technical complexities present an opportunity to be flexible, which then enables large, integrated systems to prepare for problems and issues of the future.
The population of the world is growing relentlessly. Experts predict that by mid-century, the global population will reach approximately 10 billion, and 70 percent population will be city dwellers. Consequently, cities are facing mounting pressure. With the explosion of population, the growth in demand for resources such as energy, clean water, and healthy air will soar as well. However, the issue of escalating demand can be solved by cities as the urban population generates enormous amounts of data. By converting big data into smart data, the real benefits of the unmined data can be reaped. The generated data must be analyzed, but it would be challenging without connecting power grids, trains, intelligent buildings, and traffic systems to the digital world. Steps being taken towards digitalization are one-dimensional, and the energy sector needs across-the-board infrastructure networking for enhanced efficiency of urban systems.
Modern buildings are smarter and promote connectivity. Buildings can store and distribute energy and can be integrated into the power grid by way of energy and data exchanges. The synergy between power grids and buildings will yield greater efficiency in power generation and greater sustainability. Smart infrastructure must also be safe and secure. Energy companies must develop systems that foster not only the security of intelligent infrastructure but also society as a whole.
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