Driven by the Dual Carbon Goals, the energy industry urgently needs to transform toward a low-carbon or even non-carbonized direction of travel.
Power generation enterprises should leverage digital to seize the turning point of China's power transformation and move towards new power systems.
Renewable generation companies should identify their gaps in existing digital capabilities and the opportunities for digital technologies development.
A centralized control center can serve as the "intelligent brain" for power generation businesses in the energy transition.
Five transformation trends in the global power industry
Renewable energy surge
According to Accenture analysis, it is expected that by 2035 the proportion of global coal-fired power will drop to 24%, and renewable energy power generation will reach 17,443TWh, accounting for more than 50%, with an average annual growth rate of 6%.
Distributed energy expansion
In the future, the source of energy supply will also change, with distributed energy becoming one of the main growth areas. By 2026, the global installed capacity of distributed energy is expected to reach 528.4GW, with a compound annual growth rate of 16.62%.
Increased electrification of transportation
As one of the major carbon-emitting industries, transportation accounts for about 25% of total global carbon emissions from fossil energy sources. In various countries, there is a focus on reducing carbon emissions from fossil energy through electrification in the transportation sector. The size of the automotive electrification market is set to maintain strong growth due to growing demand for petroleum-based fuel alternatives in the automotive industry.
Energy consumers are taking action
According to Accenture research, energy consumers expect energy suppliers to keep pace with the transformation by providing digital and diversified one-stop energy services. A range of new products and services has been launched, including intelligent equipment, personalized customization services, energy efficiency and home automation systems, along with installation of distributed energy, energy storage and other power generation and consumption integration systems, operation and maintenance support and other services.
Innovations in energy efficiency
With advances in science and technology, the utilization efficiency of the energy system is gradually improving, in terms of both energy supply and energy consumption. On the energy consumption side, energy efficiency improvements are achieved through energy consumption transformation services and electricity load management.
On the energy supply side, energy efficiency is achieved through clean conversion and efficient utilization technology for coal-fired power, which improves the efficiency of coal-fired power generation, reduces coal consumption, and increases usage hours of power generation by renewable energy.
Low-carbon transformation trends in China's power industry
In line with trends on a global level, distributed power generation is gradually replacing centralized generation in China, with electricity replacing traditional energy as the end source for consumption. At the same time, the proposal for a Dual Carbon Goals means that China's carbon-trading market is growing rapidly, to a point where it is predicted to become the world's largest such market.
Three “replacements” for two “markets”
Energy transition in various fields of the power industry
Path 1: Solutions in power generation
Operation and maintenance of new energy assets
Forecasting new power generation needs
Increased power generation
Spot-trading in the power market
Production and marketing integration
New energy project design and site selection
New energy project EPC
Path 2: Digital solutions in power consumption
Integration of photovoltaic storage and charging
Improvements in user energy efficiency
Energy storage service for users
Energy service for electric vehicles
Virtual power plants
Path 3: Digital solutions for transmission and distribution
Coordinated development of power supply, grid, load and storage
Newly added distribution network/microgrid
Technologies and platforms drive digital transformation for power generation enterprises
As the process of low-carbon transformation continues in power generation enterprises, development of new business and digital capabilities is crucial. A set of models can help companies generate significant value by identifying digital capability gaps and digital technology development opportunities.
Technical support for digital transformation
With the transformation of the power industry in China and internationally, power generation enterprises will gradually transform from the old model of "heavy assets and light service" to a new model centered on customer service. In the future, driven ahead by transformation initiatives in power generation, transmission and distribution, and consumption, power generation companies will have opportunities to participate in different segments and provide diversified digital solutions. At the same time, digital technology will accelerate the low-carbon transformation of power generation companies.
The importance of platforms
We are seeing a number of significant shifts in the new power system era. For power generation enterprises, industrial middle platforms will be the mainstay of low-carbon transformation from traditional to renewable energy. From the perspective of power generation asset management with renewable energy as the main focus, the industrial middle platform will cover three key areas:
use of AIoT technology to achieve effective monitoring of all new energy assets;
achieving synergies in crucial areas, including across multiple enterprise energy assets, group-branch organization structures, and diverse energy structures;
realizing synergies between production management of new energy power generation assets and the power market.
In future, to cope with a more "fragmented" energy system and meet the increasingly iterative needs of consumers, digital and intelligent solutions will become an important tool for power generation companies to compete in the market. Centralized control centers will become more and more important to assemble and integrate data to realize applications for various scenarios.
As they progress with the digital transformations that will enable them to navigate their paths to a net-zero future, power generation companies can continue to safeguard their traditional power generation businesses, while looking for a "second track" to business growth in power consumption, and complete the industrial chain layout in power transmission and distribution.