2020: what to expect in the year ahead


We spoke with a number of industry leaders at the end of 2019 to get their thoughts on 2020. Watch the full interviews on SmartEnergyTV on YouTube.

Luis Vale Cunha, Director for European Affairs and FutureNetworks at EDP Distibuição and Chairman of EDSO for Smart Grids:

“I believe that we will start seeing more clarity on the connection between system operation and market operation. That might seem strange, but I think is the missing link in this ecosystem.

Last year, I presented on this concept by comparing the distribution system to a smartphone. Everyone has a smartphone, which is, in fact, a very complex device.

On top of it, we have the operating system. And then as a consumer, we can download any application on top of that.

So, there’s a big market for applications for smartphones. In reality, we aren’t tied to a specific device – we are only tied to a specifi c device or manufacturer because we have an emotional connection with them, which doesn’t happen with electricity. The thing is that for each one of these applications to run on top of my device, there are rules that these applications must comply with. We need to apply the same concept to the energy system. So, we need to know that we are running a fi nished system with certain limitations. In order to make it cost effective, we need to coordinate the market actions with the system actions.”

This article was originally published in Smart Energy International issue 1-2020. Read the full digimag here or subscribe to receive a print copy here.

Sanjoy Malik, CEO, Urjanet:

“The 2019 United Nations discussions and heightening environmental concerns of recent years have signalled the end of carbon offsetting as a viable plan of action for corporate sustainability. In 2020, companies will no longer be able to rely on the purchase of offsets as a sole approach to impactful sustainability. They must instead take real action to understand their energy consumption and apply it to inform their reduction efforts. You can’t fi x what you can’t measure; therefore it will be imperative for companies to invest in technologies that enable insights to achieve next-level sustainability goals.”

Peter Hermans, Technology Officer, Stedin:

My prediction for 2020? I think the market will move faster than we can follow. So, for the time being, the chaos might increase

Madeleine McPherson, Assistant Professor, University of Victoria:

“I think the biggest change that we could see would be in the ‘market’ space. There are market leaders who are really good at redefining their market or thinking about the different types of services that storage assets can provide. I think that’s where we’ll be seeing big shifts happening. On the academic side of things, and with regard to distribution system modelling, we’re starting to see some of those models come together and be integrated.”

Christos Aslanidis, Director, PRIME Alliance:

On the one hand, it’s the reduction of the CO2 emissions and meeting the 20-20-20 targets, and on the other, it’s use cases which are related to the convenience of the user. These will ‘dictate’ the way the future will go. I wouldn’t say that in 2020 specifically we will see any big changes, but we will see a continuity of what’s happening already. And there’s quite a lot happening today.

Anja Langer Jacquin, DEPsys:

I hope we’re getting close to an inflection point where the most advanced countries are using legislation to drive a third of their energy generation from renewable energy by 2034 as we look at reducing CO2 emissions.

We’re really getting to an inflection point where utilities are going to have the courage to make changes and realise that what they’re going through in terms of digitalisation challenges have actually been experienced by most other industry sectors out there. It’s manageable. And I think it’s about helping them from our perspective as a vendor so they realise it’s not as complicated or as daunting as it might seem at the outset.

Liana Ault, CX, Idea to Innovation Lead, Nokia:

“My prediction for 2020: Brexit will happen.

Gudrun Senk, Head of Asset Development, Wien Energie GmbH:

My prediction for 2020 is that we will discuss synthetic methane a lot more. At the moment, we discuss hydrogen as the saviour of tomorrow, but I think by next year, the mindset will change a little bit more. Green gas is not just hydrogen, but methane too, and we have to look more closely at how we are going to integrate it into our energy systems.

Roland Tual, Project Manager, REScoop EU:

“We’re going to talk a lot more about citizens. I think a lot has been done to get the technology ready in order to make the energy system fit for renewables. Now we need to bridge the gap between the technology, the decisions, and the citizens.

We can see all around that there are a lot of citizens willing – The Climate March from the US, the strike for climate and extinction rebellion. They are all citizen signals that we need to achieve more and that they don’t see the work that is being done at a European level, or that it isn’t happening fast enough.

“This will be the focus of the coming months with regard to the energy sector.

Heymi Bahar, Senior Analyst, International Energy Agency

We predicted that the renewable energy markets would rebound in 2019 from 2018’s installed capacity. I guess that, in 2020, we will see a higher rebound because of Chinese and US deployments of onshore wind.

James Sibony, CEO, Esparity Solar:

“I think we will see three gigawatts of solar farms developed in Spain without subsidy. And that’s the first market in Europe where we’re going to see that.

Bobbi Harris, Founder, Smart Water, Smart City and advisory board member for the Global Power & Energy Elites:

“In 2020, we are going to solve water challenges! In 2020, we’re going to truly have the opportunity to bring people from diverse areas together, and say: “Here’s a way we can solve water challenges in all of these places. And here’s how we can do better by our residents around the world.”

Eliano Russo, Head of E-Industries, Enel X:

My prediction, if I had to bet my money, I would say, at least 10MW of new energy storage capacity installed in 2020.

Paul Smith, Development Director, METKA

That’s an interesting one. Because although we’ve spoken a lot about the new countries that we’re going to around the world, the next 12 months actually marks if you’d like a return to our home market of Greece. We’ve recently started on construction of a major new investment, for our own group. This is an 826MW, combined cycle H-class, highly efficient power generation asset in Greece. We’re going to be focusing a lot of attention on that and we’re looking forward to that coming online towards the end of 2021.