energy democratization

Hi everybody,

Thank you for your interest and all your comments on my previous articles. So here is the conclusion of my insights into the Future of Energy from an interview for TheEnergyBlog. I’m really looking forward to your comments and ideas.

All the best,
Michael

What will be the single biggest change in energy usage over the next 40 years? “I believe this is best described in terms of democratization of energy,” said Dr. Weinhold. “By this I mean that many more people will come to own, or share in the ownership of production, distribution and storage of energy, in the same way that the car democratized transport, or that the Internet democratized access to and distribution of information.

“We are moving from an infrastructure designed and planned by engineers to people and industries taking a stake of their own in energy production. This applies from the level of the individual who produces renewables on site to corporations, or cities that purchase their own power plants, micro-grids and storage systems.

“You see the reaction to this with utilities. They are now very proactively marketing to consumers to keep them loyal because the utilities know that the consumer now has more choices than ever before, and these will only increase,” said Dr. Weinhold.

“More generally speaking, this trend means engineers have to listen to consumers and understand what it is they want, and what they don’t want. Knowing we have to get a much better understanding of people and what they want means we have to open up to working with other disciplines, for example, the social sciences. I think this is a very good thing.  A great example of how energy adapts to people’s needs is the recent innovations in LED lighting, which can now match lighting to your current mood.”

Dr Weinhold concluded his remarks on the way we will consume energy in the future with a warning.

“The evidence points to the fact that climate change is real and that it is the biggest threat humanity faces.  This is the driving force pushing us to renewables as well as gas, which is a much cleaner form of energy than other non-renewables. It is also pushing us to come up with cleaner coal-fire operations because, even though coal’s share of the energy market will decrease in future, in real terms the use of coal will increase. How we choose to consume energy in the coming decades will have a major impact on climate change.

“Looking forward to 2050, I believe energy will still be a mix of several technologies, including non-renewables, accompanied by tremendous cost decreases for the production of renewables. And that can only be good news,” said Dr. Weinhold.

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