With the emergence of decentralised energy, such as wind, solar, or biomass, as a major source for power generation, renewables are becoming part of an integrated service solution. In this article, the authors show how innovation and unconventional ideas are paving the way to new frontiers of our energy systems, both in the industrialised world as well as in developing countries and emerging economies.
Much of the first phase of the energy transformation is complete. Globally, we have shifted our focus from a firm reliance on coal, nuclear, and natural gas to truly imagining a future fuelled by renewable energy sources. In countries such as Germany and Denmark, the first phase of the transformation, characterised by extensive subsidies for and surging private investment in renewables as a niche, has given way to Phase II, where power generation by renewables represented more than 30 and 40 percent of these countries’ energy supply, respectively, in 2017.
Civic power, especially, has become a significant market force, complementing and competing with traditional government and corporate players in the sector. Here, a decentralised energy revolution – one made possible by the liberalisation of the energy sector – creates opportunities for new players, new platforms, and new strategies for (literally and figuratively) powering the grid.
Our new book, Decentralised Energy – A Global Game Changer, will be released in 2019 by Ubiquity Press London. Along with our co-authors, Antony Froggatt, a specialist on energy security at Chatham House (the Royal Institute for International Affairs), and Catherine Mitchell, a professor of energy policy at Exeter University, we examine the two major approaches driving the energy transformation. Our co-authors analyse lead markets in terms of decentralised energy generation from a regulatory (top-down) perspective, whereas our focus is on individual businesses and startups (bottom-up), who are embracing risk and agility and radically changing the energy sector business model. With the emergence of decentralised energy, such as wind, solar, or biomass, as a major source for power generation, renewables are becoming part of an integrated service solution. As our excerpted interviews with energy start-up leaders show below, A decentralised energy revolution – one made possible by the liberalisation of the energy sector – creates opportunities for new players, new platforms, and new strategies for (literally and figuratively) powering the grid.
Excerpted and adapted from Decentralised Energy – A Global Game Changer, edited by Christoph Burger and Jens Weinmann of ESMT Berlin and their co-editors Antony Froggatt (Chatham House) and Catherine Mitchell (Exeter University).
The book will be released in 2019 by Ubiquity Press London and available for free download at https://www.ubiquitypress.com.
About the Authors
Christoph Burger is Senior Lecturer and Senior Associate Dean Executive Education at the ESMT Berlin. His research focus is in the energy sector/ innovation/ blockchain and decision making/ negotiation. He is co-author of the dena/ ESMT study on “blockchain in the energy transition”, the “ESMT Innovation Index – Electricity Supply Industry” and the book “The Decentralised Energy Revolution – Business Strategies for a New Paradigm”.
Jens Weinmann was project manager of the Market Model Electric Mobility, a research project financed by the German environmental ministry (BMU) before joining ESMT Berlin. From 2007 to 2009, he worked as Manager at the economic consultancy ESMT Competition Analysis. He has taught master classes at the HTW Berlin, and was guest lecturer at Cambridge University and European Business School, London.
Antony Froggatt joined Chatham House in 2007 and is a senior research fellow in the Energy, Environment and Resources department. He is currently an associate member of the Energy Policy Group at Exeter University. He has worked as an independent consultant for 20 years with environmental groups, academics and public bodies in Europe and Asia.
Catherine Mitchell is Professor of Energy Policy at Exeter University, having worked on energy issues since the early 1980s. She has worked previously as an academic in the Centre for Management Under Regulation at the Warwick Business School, University of Warwick (2000-2007); the Energy Group of the Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex (1990-2000); and the Energy and Resources Group, University of California, Berkeley (1999). Prior to that she was a journalist writing about oil and gas issues (1982-6).