Today, about one fifth of world trade is accounted for by trade in extracted hydrocarbons. If the demand for oil, coal and, at some point in the future, perhaps even natural gas falls, huge gaps will appear in the balance sheets of today's extraction companies. The investments already made in exploration, extraction, transport, processing or combustion of hydrocarbons will then have to be increasingly written off. During the transition period, there is therefore a high risk of speculative bubbles in this case carbon bubbles.
The transformation of our energy system towards more sustainable forms of energy production and consumption also needs a pretty radical change in the way we expect that change to happen. Historically, the energy industry is a conservative industry – thinking in very long investment and development cycles, not moving before every step of the process (of building new power stations, of developing new sources of energy etc.) is clearly laid out and tested by engineers and business economists alike. Embarking on a path to entirely switch energy sources from conventional to sustainable sources in electricity, transport, industrial processes and heating, is not only a gigantic undertaking. It is also one that needs to be done incredibly quickly due to the havoc that climate change could do. This requires a way of thinking which is rather new to the energy industry: work in progress. We do not have all the precise answers to the challenges and transformations-of-the-second-degree laid out above yet, but we do not have the time to wait for definitive answers until we start the necessary transformation. More importantly: We do not need to have all the answers yet. It will take (at least two to three) decades anyway to change all the infrastructure that needs to be changed. And most of the technologies that will probably be used to that end are modular, combinable, and quickly scalable due to their comparably smaller size. It just takes a lot longer to build a thermal power plant than a wind farm. Don’t get me wrong, it would be better to have all the time in the world to plan the whole thing out thoroughly. But there just isn’t.
Despite all the wrangling over the transformation of our hydrocarbon-based energy system to a system based on renewable energies, we sometimes forget the dividends of this transformation. It is above all the preservation of a habitable planet by stopping global warming through switching to CO2-neutral technologies. But not only that. Air quality will improve and avoid tens or even hundreds of thousands of deaths every year. Access to electricity will be available to many people who do not have access today. Wars over fossil resources will decrease. We will be prepared for the time when fossil resources will be exhausted. In other words, our approach to risks to which we have either become accustomed or whose urgency we are only just beginning to understand will also change. For we will significantly reduce these risks or, in the best case scenario, simply eliminate them.
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With the rise of renewables all over the world, we are facing a gigantic transformation of the global energy system. The Virtual Power Plant answers the demands of the decentralized energy world and opens up new business prospects for its participants and, of course, RES aggregators. We help you utilize them in the best possible way.