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Scalability and the design of a new energy system – Initiate! Manifesto

The next step might prove to be the bigger challenge

Energy21’s Michiel Dorresteijn was asked to respond to the Initiate! Manifesto. Read below his findings and how he elaborates on what could be added to it:

The means to produce energy by yourself and to participate in an energy market are becoming available for anyone. Information and data can be obtained and analyzed with easy-to-use apps and increasingly (artificial) intelligent algorithms. At the same time, costs of solar panels, fuel cells and storage systems are plummeting, while the technical performance is being improved. In other words: Energy is democratized.

The Manifesto of Initiate! describes that process spot on.The world of energy is changing rapidly and this new order requires a new economy with new roles and responsibilities. That being said, the next step might prove to be the bigger challenge.

The Manifesto describes the need for something new, but has not yet reached the point of offering an approach on how to solve that. And the initiative is far too valuable and needed (!) if it would restrict itself to formulating the problem.

Customer empowerment needs a market design that enables it

If I would leave it with that I would be doing the same: describing a need without offering a way of how to deal with it. In that regard, it may be worthwhile to mention the attempt Energy21 has made on this issue last year together with the Dutch grid operator Stedin. Starting off with the basic assumption that there is a need for a new energy system that can accommodate the democratization of energy production and information, we explored a possible market design that could meet four main prerequisites: the system has to:

  • lower overall system costs
  • empower customers
  • stimulate renewable energy
  • be scalable
Accommodating both the existing and the new energy economy

Especially the fourth prerequisite is very important. Scalable means that a system can start on a small scale, but can grow without needing a complete ‘bing bang’ replacement of the existing system. A revolution will only lead to resistance and struggle with vested interests. With the Layered Energy System, we have designed and described a system that can accommodate both the existing and the new energy economy.

In my opinion, the strength of Initiate!’s message will be defined by the remedy for the sore spot that is offered, not only by putting the finger on it. Otherwise, very true observations may become hollow statements. Based on what can be read in the Manifesto so far, I am eagerly and expectantly looking forward to what this initiative will bring.

Interested to hear more?

Contact Energy21!