Energy risk management company DNV GL said this week that the energy sector needs to view renewables not as a "nuisance to be accommodated" but as technology that can contribute to balancing and securing electricity grids.
The comments from David Walker, CEO of DNV GL-Energy, came as the Norwegian-headquartered company released results of a survey of 1,600 global energy sector participants on their opinions of renewable energy and grid integration.
The study found that 80% of respondents believe the electricity system can be 70% renewable by 2050, with almost half believing this can be achieved in the next 15 years.
Mr Walker believes to achieve this the industry needs a dramatic change in its approach to the integration of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar photovoltaic.
"We need to adopt more collaborative approaches and go beyond old metrics, beyond old rules and beyond old silos.
He added: "The debate needs to move 'beyond integration'."
Integration of renewable energy
In the report 'Beyond Integration: Three dynamics reshaping renewables and the grid,' DNV GL identifies while developers, independent power producers and original equipment manufacturers are "relishing the opportunities brought about by the shift to a high renewables system", system operators and utilities feel challenged by the transition.
The study suggests that the industry needs new rules to rebalance the opportunities and challenges for developers and system operators. However, this should be handled carefully in which "a heavy-handed regulatory approach should be avoided" and market-based solutions are important as well.
DNV GL identifies a third dynamic needed to drive grid integration forward and that is new solutions to expand the electricity business into a true 'internet of energy'.
"Where policymakers often see energy in a holistic sense, industry thinking still can be too much focused on the electricity sector alone," said the risk company in a statement.
"Here an expansion of horizons is needed, to go beyond old silos and into the 'internet of energy', where smarter real-time operational controls are used to coordinate input from distributed sources of supply and demand, which span power, transport and heat."