A recent global research initiative conducted by DNV GL has concluded that more than 80% of global energy participants believe that the electricity system can be 70% renewable by 2050.
In fact, the research finds that almost half of those involved in the research believe that a 70% renewable energy grid is possible in the next 15 years.
But, as the report concludes, such a transition to primarily-renewable energy “is contingent upon three dynamics”: convergence, rebalancing, and expansion.
The report, Beyond Integration: Three dynamics reshaping renewables and the grid, was published by DNV GL, the world’s largest resource of independent energy experts, and surveyed over 1,600 energy sector participants from more than 70 countries to address “key questions on how to best move forward the integration of renewables into the global electricity grids to ensure the future of electricity.”
One of the primary catalysts for the report was DNV GL’s concern that “Renewables are too often conceived as something to be ‘integrated’ into status quo arrangement. A smarter approach is needed.”
The report surveyed over 1,600 people from 71 countries, seeking “views on a scenario in which renewables account for 70% of power sector generation.” Additionally, “to help interpret these findings, [DNV GL] spoke to senior industry executives from E.ON, TEPCO, DONG Energy, and NYISO to understand what the energy transition means for them.”
- Convergence – New economic metrics must converge the needs of policymakers and system operators
- Rebalancing – New rules are needed to rebalance the opportunities and challenges for developers and system operators
- Expansion – New entrepreneurial solutions will expand the electricity business into a true ‘internet of energy’
“DNV GL’s analysis of these findings concludes that the solution for a high renewables future demands a dramatic change in the industry’s approach to the integration of new technology,” said David Walker, CEO DNV GL-Energy. “We need to adopt more collaborative approaches and go beyond old metrics, beyond old rules and beyond old silos. A shift away from a paradigm in which renewables are considered a nuisance to be accommodated to one in which the true potential of renewables in balancing and securing grids is unlocked. The debate needs to move ‘beyond integration’. DNV GL is taking the broader view and opening that discussion.”
A Convergence of Metrics
“One striking result from our survey is the degree of consensus among respondents about the likelihood of significant change to the power sector and the timescale on which people can believe it can happen,” wrote the authors of the report, as seen in the over-80% of respondents believing in a 70% renewable energy sector by 2050. But, respondents “stress that this is contingent on political leadership and affordability” — a cry we have heard time and time again. In fact, two thirds of respondents selected politicians and policy-makers as one of their top three most important groups to achieving a high renewable energy future.
Quoted in the report, the Head of Offshore Wind at an OEM went even further: “a transition to a low carbon economy is entirely dependent on government support.”