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Energy:2030 | 5

Innovation and disruption at the grid’s edge

Neil Mearns Analyst

On 19 June, Cornwall Insight and Pixie Energy will host an event Innovation and Disruption at the Grid’s Edge. The title is borrowed from a recently published book, edited by Menlo Energy Economics Founder and President Fereidoon Sioshansi. It explains, in 19 chapters, how “distributed energy resources are disrupting the utility business model,” and is a very worthwhile read indeed. Edge of tomorrow Sioshansi explains, in the opening chapter of the book, that the unifying message is one of “innovation and disruption enabled by new technologies.” The “grid’s edge”, broadly defined as the interface between the electric distribution network and customers’ premises, is being transformed by information and communication technology – themes that are revisited several times throughout the book. Sioshansi explains emerging roles for customers in the energy system as either consumers, prosumers or prosumagers (someone who is a producer, consumer and who has made additional investment in distributed storage). The latter of these roles can operate virtually independently of the grid, with only sporadic reliance on balancing services and the wider grid. Enmeshed in this new paradigm are new types of intermediary, whose role lies in aggregating flexible loads and distributed generation. These intermediaries include: artificial intelligence providers, which better manages energy consumption and energy service costs peer-to-peer trading platforms, which better manage distributed generation and storage, as well as consumption blockchain technologies, which enable transactions to be carried out between participants microgrids, which offer groups of customers a ...

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