Smart Energy International Issue 2 2021


Board the DeLorean for a voyage through time

Mr Fusion Home Energy Reactor converts household waste to power. I am sure that the “Back to the Future” fans understand the reference… For the uninitiated, let me explain that the reactor is what fuelled the DeLorean and allowed the main characters – “Doc” and Marty McFly – to time travel. And according to an old IEA article I recently read, the concept is not entirely far-fetched. In fact, as author of the article Laszlo Varro comments, “the process to power a fuel cell from hydrogen produced by methane from garbage is relatively straightforward for today’s biogas plants”. True story!

In other words, two Hollywood screenwriters, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale managed to sort of predict our energy future. Or at least part of it. And although it was not the first time writers successfully predicted the future – let me remind you of the entire opus of Jules Verne – it is still remarkable. And thought provoking… If they could, then, how would energy experts cope with the same challenge? Would they be able to predict as successfully as the two American writers, the future of the energy sector?

To celebrate the 25th birthday of Smart Energy International, which by a funny ‘cosmic’ coincidence also marks my first contribution as editor (picking up the baton from the wonderful Claire Volkwyn), we asked experts to look into energy’s crystal ball for us. And while you read about the future of the sector, you will realise the slight but strategic changes that are already happening in the present of the magazine and will solidify in the near future. A magazine written by experts not only for experts, but also for all those interested in the future of the energy sector. With an issue per year dedicated to each region and Europe, as the leaders of the energy transition conversation – the common thread throughout. And a clear message: Green is the new Black! At least for the energy sector as we dream it.

As for what to read first? I highly recommend the celebratory glimpse of the past of the magazine, through its sometimes hilarious, yet always relevant, covers. This short trip down memory lane will also remind you of the most important milestones of the past 25 years of the energy sector. But this issue is not only about the past or the future. We do have the present to think of too. Metering infrastructure and AI, as well as smart metering and grid resilience in emerging markets, are on the menu. An article definitely worthy of your attention is IRENA’s first contribution to our magazine, which focuses on the rising energy usage from cryptocurrency mining. IRENA’s Sean Ratka and Francisco Boshell successfully address the pachyderm in the room in this exceptional article.

One of my favourite articles focuses on cybersecurity. ESMIG’s Francis D’Souza explains how important the smart grid is in our effort to tackle climate change. As he writes, “the impact of climate change triggered by greenhouse gas emissions has never been more evident”. And in addition, he also explains how important cybersecurity is for the proper functioning of the smart grid. So, get on board our DeLorean and enjoy a trip to the past, the present and the future with us and our guest writers. And to paraphrase “Doc’s” wise words: “Our future is whatever we make it, so let’s make it a good one”. Starting with the energy sector.

Areti Ntaradimou
Editor – Smart Energy International