Australia's electricity industry is changing. There is a new smart energy ecosystem developing. Customers will be at the heart of that system, having a far greater say in how their power is provided and the grid will play an important and evolving role in meeting their needs.
TransGrid has recently published our Network Vision 2056 that sets out how the NSW transmission network could adapt over the next forty years and the principles by which it will be planned, operated and managed to deliver the future of energy.
Viewed with suitable caution, trends can provide a starting point for understanding what the future may look like. In recent years, energy consumption and maximum demand have trended down due to a confluence of economic and policy factors. Consumption and winter maximum demand appear likely to grow more steady over time, with the impact of economic and population growth largely offset by a contriving focus on energy efficiency and strong penetration of solar panel systems. Depending on the source of the forecast, summer maximum may increase of decrease slightly.
The mix of generation is starting to change with thermal (coal and gas fired) generation being replaced with renewable generation. This trend is likely to accelerate. Over the longer term, it is likely that a greater proportion of that generation will be at the local level rather than large-scale.
Advances in battery technologies will lead to the increased take up of storage options across the supply chain and both networks and customers will deploy more advanced ("smarter") information and control systems to better manage the delivery and consumption of electricity services, respectively. The pace of these trends will depend on a combination of economic, government policy and technology drivers. Whatever the specific outcome, the future of energy supply is likely to be:
> More complex with the supply chain evolving from being a one way system with limited product choice to a "many to any" model where a mix of traditional and emerging providers, including customers themselves, supply a much wider range of energy services
> Smarter with technology enabling both greater control by customers regarding how their energy needs are met and greater flexibility by networks and other parts of the supply chain in responding to that more diverse and dynamic set of needs
> Greener with renewable forms of generation becoming more competitive with traditional fuel types
> More local with customers being able to meet a greater proportion of their needs from embedded generation
> Where storage will undertake a range of important functions across the supply chain.
We're seeking your thoughts and advice on our Network Vision 2056 and encourage you to get involved in the energy conversation by emailing your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org