The Generation Professionals Group is for utility professionals who work in biomass, coal, gas/oil, hydro, natural gas, or nuclear power generation fields. 

Post

Why Innovative Energy

image credit: Innovation stock
Paul Hobcraft's picture
Innovation & Energy Knowledge Provider Agility Innovation

I work as a transition advocate for innovation, ecosystems, within IIoT, and the energy system as my points of focus. I relate content to context to give greater knowledge and build the...

  • Member since 2020
  • 129 items added with 60,425 views
  • Feb 23, 2021
  • 335 views

As we focus on the contribution of innovation into the Energy System to transform it, I wanted to raise a basic question firstly. It is my approach into the community, do we have the established structures in the innovation systems in an organized and systematic way to separate out and channel the innovation activity in a sustainable way?

Having a "system of innovation" enables the potential concepts to be captured in common, identified ways for all involved, the inventor, the developer and the evaluation process, When you establish a recognized system that others can follow as it is transparent to all, you can evaluate innovation activities through common "hurdle points" and evaluation criteria. I would argue having a robust innovation process set up in in process and design can deliver a more sustaining program of innovation through a 'universal' recognised system. It focuses on efforts that bring common identity and purpose.

Why innovate energy? The front end of energy means what exactly as breakthrough ot transformational innovation occurs far more here?

The aim of building something new starts in ideas and observations, it gets tested, evaluating assumptions and comparing with the existing solutions to take it further. Often the idea emerges from research and engineering possibility and begins a validation process

The discovery, translating is the place I feel I can make the best contribution, a place where innovation thrives and drives discovery to commercialization of a new idea that emerges as a concept of value, often replacing something that does not “serve today’s or tomorrow’s purpose, where the energy transition must embrace fully “

The aim here is simple: “To achieve better, faster and more valuable future solutions with a focus on sustainability, to anticipate constant change and build different more exciting and valuable business models for lasting impact”.

The belief of why innovation is vital to the Energy Transition.

Internal perspective often needs to widen out thinking, there is real value for external evaluators to view what you are doing with a different lens. There is often a need to bridge the awareness gap. Knowledge is gained when it is shared and exchanged. I put a lot of my time into researching the energy transition, recognizing where the market or solutions seem to be heading. Having internal and external perspectives you can calibrate emerging concepts in a broader way. This can save time or add a further push or momentum to what might translate into a commercially viable solution. The journey from discovery or having an idea is a long one and it needs a regular validating. That is where I want to contribute.

I see the role of the external party to partly be a “translator” and partly a "catalyst" to support and challenge internal thinking. Having that different perspective of the external innovator who is equally always looking for fresh opportunities in a wider sense of market orientation can helo in, supporting and accelerating your existing ideas and concepts or give it a different "spin" or a reality check. Each saves time and money. The early you can do this validation, investigation, and conversation, my front end of energy, the better. We need to always relate, even “ground” the thinking and determine the real value and potential as a progressive journey and sometimes the external person can become a valuable partner in this process.

There are significant gaps in our innovation designs

I believe there is a real gap in the need to build a robust innovation capability, capacity and competency to help accelerate the Energy Transition journey. In having over twenty years of advising and transforming innovation activities, across multiple industries can bring new thinking and approaches to the innovation processes within organizations.

What do I mean by a systematic process, well Innovation begins with discovery, then it moves through the innovation pipeline, through its experimenting, validating, testing, often multiple trials, commissioning and eventual commercialization roll-outs. That can be fairly complex and demanding. It needs a combination of solution understanding (researchers, engineers, designers) but it also needs a constant "mapping back" to the commercialization and to the relating to the other stakeholders that can help facilitate or block progress. Often external views can make a decisive difference in any discussions, they have less vested interest, defending what they have, and can show different ways to see new possibilities.

Building a greater understanding of the innovation needs of the energy transition.

Innovation in the form of new technologies, solutions or marrying the virtual with the physical needs a sustaining goal. We have not just an individual purpose to drive us, there is this much higher purpose we require to resolve through innovation breakthroughs and new (business model) designed

We have such a real threat of climate change and any pathway to meet the Paris Agreements, where all countries pledged to keep the rise of the global temperature below 2 degrees C by 2050 and ideally try to work towards the position of 1.5-degree C above pre-industrial levels. These target goals mean bringing our temperatures down dramatically.

We are presently at a very critical decision time; there is the level of investment needed to achieve this, the current estimate to create a safe climate system is a need to invest USD 110 trillion of new investments in the energy sector by 2050.

Much of the investments need to be directed away from fossil fuels (the primary carbon emitters) into clean technologies. It is renewables, including most power generation and end-use applications that need to invest mostly through generation sources of wind, solar, hydrogen, and biofuels.

The opportunities for change are simply opening up everywhere.

This level of investment commitment will radically alter the job landscape, where energy is generated, by what means, and how it is going to be distributed, stored and consumed by us all.

Presently we are not making the essential investments we need to make. The period 2020 to 2030 is absolutely critical for investments not just to be pledged but effectively deployed on the ground in the physical solutions and effective operation needed to make this energy transition required on track to reach the climate goals.

Innovation is critical in this energy transition, its role is to "drive" these changes mentioned above.

We need to move from research and development, through engineering validation but into pilot and scaling actual solutions at speed. We do not have the luxury of evaluating these over standard lifetime returns or observing others over the years, there is the need to raise validation and take higher risks, than in more stable times.

We need to be more pioneering. Without a coordinated effort, risk is always cautious without some form of guarantee or point of crisis. To date, we have not generated co-ordination in policies, collaborations, and commitments to shared risks. We have yet to fully place in the minds of everyone what the crisis is and where it is heading if we do not respond with a real sense of purpose.

So I believe within the energy transition, at the forefront of change must come “cutting edge” innovation to deliver and why I have given this my 100% attention in the ways I can support the energy transition to offer ways to understand, investigate, research and become even more fully immersed in it.

My focus is to really become even more conversant in the Energy Transition, to build out what I know and where I can help offers and provide as “accelerating input” into its complexity in resolving both its issues and barriers, but also in “formulating outputs” in scope, opportunities and magnitude of scale for contributing where possible to supporting each organizations journey.

Specialising in innovation and having in place well-organized systems and well-established practices give innovation a discipline that can work well with any research and development process. Blending deep skills with broad ones does give a greater momentum to moving discepts and ideas through the necessary innovation pipeline, where different perspectives can combine and become a stronger force than, for example,  just the originator of the idea having to battle in areas they lack the expertise or exposure. Innovation needs speeding up and scaling, it needs to combination of forces to bring it to fruition, out into the commercial world. Bringing different voices and resources to this provides a greater realization potential and the external innovator can be part of the team, bring new concepts and solutions to the market.

Paul Hobcraft's picture
Thank Paul for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member
Discussions
Spell checking: Press the CTRL or COMMAND key then click on the underlined misspelled word.

No discussions yet. Start a discussion below.

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »