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Flexible power grid crucial to meeting energy transition goals in 2020s

image credit: (c) Bertoldwerkmann |

Consultants Wood Mackenzie have issued a report highlighting five trends for utilities and power markets in the 2020s. As more renewable sources enter the power mix, and traditional fuels decline, greater flexibility will be needed by utilities and power markets. These create grid-balancing challenges, as supply becomes more intermittent and Distributed Energy Resources (DER) grow.

What are the biggest trends to watch in the global grid edge in 2020 and beyond?

Ben Kellison, Wood Mackenzie Research Director, and Elta Kolo, Wood Mackenzie Research Manager, see five key themes:

  • Regulatory reform

  • Evolution of market models

  • Grid edge investment to complement electrification

  • Grid-balancing will increasingly rely on flexible resources

  • De-risking investments so the DER market can scale

Kolo said: “Today, the US power system alone has more than 50 gigawatts of behind-the-meter flexible resources at its disposal from DERs enrolled in demand response programs.

“Initially, flexible volume will be attained by dynamically leveraging what is already integrated into the grid. Resources already enrolled in existing demand response programs will be the lowest-hanging fruit. Flexibility portfolios will scale with resources situated on either side of the meter.”

EVs and electric heating are expected to grow massively in the next decade and that will create new issues for utilities to deal with, even though the batteries in EVs are expected to add extra storage capacity to the system.

Read more from the report here.

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